House To Home Moving Blog

Turn your house into a home

There’s something alluring about walking into a house that feels like a home and reflects the owner’s personality so perfectly. Your interior may present beautifully, with well-designed furniture, high-quality finishes and a practical layout, but could be missing that homely vibe.

Frame up your personal photos of family, friends and adventures to inject some character into your space. You could create a gallery wall of several photos in a variety of frames or simply blow up some of your pics and hang them individually around your home.

Adorning your walls with your child’s favorite artworks is another way to brighten up your home and make it your own. You’d be surprised what a nice frame and some glass can do to their masterpiece.

If you walk into any unfurnished interior, you’ll notice that bare floors will accentuate the emptiness as there’s nothing to absorb the sound and everything echoes. When you layer in textiles, instantly it will make your space feel more homely.

Consider laying down a rug underfoot to help warm up your interior, define the space and add an extra layer of personality.

Functionality is a big component of any home. Often when we’re decorating our home we focus on design aesthetics first and the necessities of quality storage becomes an afterthought. Solely relying on building in cabinetry can leave your interior looking a little sparse.

Invest in storage that looks visually pleasing and adds another layer of texture to your space. A timber console, an open bookcase or handmade baskets all enhances the feeling of your home. They also give you an opportunity to display treasured, personal items.

For those short of floor space, utilizing your walls not only adds interest, it also improves the functionality of your interiors. Simple shelving made with L-brackets and filled with neatly arranged personal items can create a great visual impact.

Whether it’s a scented candle to make you feel at home, a collection of mementos from a holiday or an art piece that tells a story, filling your space with sentimental objects is what makes your house feel like a home.

A beautiful vase of flowers brings life into your interior and signifies that you’re house proud. In rooms of your home that lack personality, arranging flowers will instantly lift your space. If fresh cut flowers are not an option, opt for a few indoor plants that only need to be watered once a week.

5 Home Buying Mistakes

1. Not knowing what you can afford to buy
If you haven’t been pre-approved, don’t go shopping. Understand the math of your future home loan or mortgage and know what you’ll qualify for – this will stop you from looking at homes or neighborhoods that are beyond your financial reach. Be aware that pre-qualifications are not the same as pre-approvals. So make sure you know what you can afford with an official pre-approval notice. A real estate agent can recommend lending institutions or banks. Be sure you shop around for the best short- and long-term plans for your particular financial situation.

2. Ignoring the additional costs
Although you may be used to paying rent and utilities, there are more monthly and annual expenses associated with home ownership. Some costs are easy to calculate prior to home ownership like property taxes, homeowner’s insurance or even homeowner’s association fees. But there are a multitude of unforeseen additional costs like emergency repairs or replacements. Along with regular maintenance costs, first-time home buyers should have a clear understanding of just how much it might cost to own and operate the home each month. Most experts advise setting aside about 1%-5% of the cost of the home each year to save for future upgrades and maintenance costs. Although that might sound like a significant amount, knowing that you’ve saved money for emergency repairs will help alleviate stress on your paycheck.

3. Thinking a fixer-upper is easy and cheap
Although a few first-time home buyers purchase a home with the expectation of a full-scale renovation, most home buyers simply want to move in and make it their own. Making cosmetic changes like painting walls, replacing the front door or refinishing floors are fairly easy and inexpensive. But all too often, first-time home buyers see a home as having unlimited potential without understanding how much it might actually cost to renovate. They might also make the mistake of thinking they can do it all themselves. It’s too simple to think that you can tackle major structural changes on your own (unless you happen to be a licensed home improvement professional). If you’re tempted to purchase a home and really want an expert opinion as to potential costs, code upgrades, permits required or other important information, consider hiring a professional general contractor to tour the home with you and give you a realistic cost and time estimate for your desired renovations.

4. Not hiring an inspector
Even if your bank doesn’t require it, you should always have a home inspection contingency on your home purchase. Hiring a licensed and experienced home inspector who will thoroughly inspect your home is an important step on the home buying experience. Regardless of the age and condition of the home, first-time home buyers can benefit from the expert advice of a home inspector. Home inspectors spend several hours assessing a home and provide a lengthy, written report on their findings.

5. Thinking you can do it solo
Although you’ve probably done your homework, it’s always best to hire a licensed real estate agent, especially if this is your first home. Real estate agents know the market, they understand the comps (the competitive prices of comparable homes), and can help you identify the home that will best fit your needs.

Downsizing Tips for Seniors

Moving or downsizing as a senior citizen isn’t like any other move. It’s a transition that requires much more planning and help than a move completed in your twenties or thirties. You often have to worry about moving not just a few years of stuff, but a whole lifetime’s worth–not to mention items that belong to your parents, children, and even siblings. A lot accumulates over a lifetime, which makes downsizing as a senior a challenge far beyond a standard relocation.

Find the right home for your current and Future lifestyle. Make sure your home–new or otherwise–is equipped not just for issues you have now, but for potential health concerns you may have in the future. You may not be up to the task of renovations in another ten years.

Get your senior downsizing strategy figured out. Downsizing can mean a lot of things, so having set goals, limits, and a determined strategy will make a big difference.

Clear out the tough-to-reach areas. Before you can dive in and get decluttering, you may want to get all your stuff together first.

Enlist your children to help with downsizing. When tackling downsizing as a senior, “don’t go it alone” is the number one tip to follow. That could mean hiring a professional organizer, working with a motivational coach, or, depending on what you’re decluttering, getting help from someone who’s a bit more personally invested in your decluttering efforts to help.

Give your items a second chance by donating them. Once you’ve sorted through what’s wanted and what’s just clutter, half the job is done. The second half is taking it where it belongs.

Bring the feel of your old home to your new one. One of the hardest challenges of moving or downsizing as a senior is letting go of the home you know and love. But the touches that make your home feel that way can be brought into your new home.

Five renovating tips

You’ve decided to renovate. Congrats! Now what? It’s okay to be a little stressed about performing major upgrades to your home, but it doesn’t have to keep you up and night. Follow – or rather don’t follow – these tips to ensure your remodel goes as smooth as that brand new hardwood flooring you’ve always wanted.

1. Don’t rush it. Take the time to think about the existing layout and design of your home, and what you’d like to change. Having a clear idea of where you want to go from the beginning prevents stress, which prevents cash from being siphoned out of your bank account. This also helps you create a budget. Generally, your budget should be 20% more than the number you come up with for all the “just in case” scenarios.

2. Don’t choose a contractor without doing your research. Do your research. You want to choose the contractor that will work for your unique requests. You don’t have to choose the first person you interview. Treat your contractor search like a job interview, only you are the one doing the hiring. Clearly express what your expectations are and listen to what the contractor has to say. Some ideas may be unrealistic even for the best contractor, so take notes and make sure you are going to be able to effectively communicate with the contractor you choose.

3. Don’t be unrealistic about your budget. Cutting every corner doesn’t work, and going over your budget range is the last thing you want. A middle ground should be established during pre-planning process, with coordination from your contractor. Find out which cheaper alternatives you can live with, and which ones you can’t. For example, vinyl floors instead of ceramic tile can save money and look just as good when finished right. That rare Italian marble backsplash? You may want to pump the brakes if it’s way over your budget.

4. Don’t be afraid to get creative to get what you want. If your budget allows, by all means, go for that chic backsplash you’ve been dreaming of for years. A cool, creative centerpiece can turn a regular home into a place you can’t wait to show off.

5. Don’t go contemporary just because it’s contemporary. Just because a certain feature or aspect is “in” right now doesn’t mean you have to follow suit and suffer for another ten years. It’s your home; do with it what you want. You are the owner!

Increase the Value of Your Home Before Selling It

Are you thinking about selling your home? Then there are a few things you should know. But first, you should know what your ultimate goal is. In the sale of your home, just like any other sale, your goal is coming out of the process with the maximum profit. That means getting as much money for your house as you can but with the lowest investment. And yes, it’s a really tough balancing act. On the one hand, you need to invest so you can increase the value of your home and get a better price – but on the other, you want to spend as little money as possible. Don’t worry though – that’s precisely what home improvement pros are here to tell you about.

Where to Start
Many people realize that they need to increase the value of their home before they even think of selling it. Really, it’s only natural – the higher value of your home is the lynchpin of success in the increasingly competitive world of real estate. And sure, higher home value is crucial – but it’s also crucial to do it correctly. Trust us – you don’t want to burn a hole through your budget while remodeling; you could even end up losing money after the sale. That’s why it’s very important to learn where to begin.

Follow Current Real Estate Trends
When looking for real estate advice, it’s important to know who to ask. The last thing you want is to blow your money on a bad investment. For example – many people will tell you to spend the majority of your money on house painting right away. But true experts know that this is a badly outdated mode of thinking.

In reality, better education and the existence of the Internet have changed every single market in the world – and real estate is no different. So, what does that mean for you? Well, that means that all home sellers are doing business with a consumer population that is much better informed than the buyers of yesterday. Simply put – these days, buyers know just what they need. And in line with that, they put much greater stock in practical, useful home improvements than in exterior renovations. Bearing that in mind, where exactly should you spend your resources?

Increase Energy Efficiency
If we’re talking about practical improvements to your home, it’s important to find something that’s meaningful but also not too expensive. In light of this, we recommend focusing a large portion of your budget on increasing the energy efficiency of your house. Current market trends have shown that this is a sound investment. And remember – this doesn’t mean you should invest no money in other home improvements. But this will increase the value of your home a lot more. And sure, it may look a bit more expensive. But it’s not like you’re throwing money out the window. Remember – the return on an investment in energy efficiency is much greater market value.

If you’re handling a smaller budget or you want to leave some money for other things, you don’t have to do a job on the entire house. You can simply start with insulation in your attic, and see where you go from there.

Don’t Overlook the Heating System
Also, insulation isn’t the only thing you can work on. Besides that, consider how old your home is and how well was it maintained? If you’re dealing with a particularly old house, you could probably upgrade the in-house HVAC system. In the current real estate climate, these are the kind of practical upgrades that home buyers really tend to value.

Think About Lifestyle
Once you’ve completed the practical upgrades to your home, you can see what remains of your budget for further improvements. Then, you can think about increasing the visual appeal of your house. Once more, you will still need to balance your finances. If you’re being realistic, you’ll realize you don’t have the money to improve everything you’d like. So, the question is – what to work on next?

Spruce Up the Interior
If you’ve still got some money left over, you may want to think about how you can increase the value of your home by working on the interior. And even more importantly, how will you choose your priorities when picking which parts of the interior to fix up?

First, you could spend the majority of your interior budget on the kitchen area. And this is no arbitrary decision either. Actually, the kitchen is a good choice because it isn’t a very costly improvement. If you don’t want to spend too much money, you don’t really have to buy all new appliances. You should focus your money and energy on the cabinets and other surfaces, breathing in vibrant colors and strong textures. Also, a small tip – make sure you replace the doorknobs and cabinet handles. Those are details but people tend to notice those.

While we’re on the subject of the interior, think about what you will do with all of your remaining things once you start renovating and selling your home. This will also be an expense, so you don’t want to be caught off guard with this. You may want to find some storage and keep your valuables in a safe space while renovating.

Fix Up the Exterior
Finally, let’s talk about what to do with any money that remains. Today’s business world is comprised of market trends that rapidly change. But in real estate and housing, there’s one constant that seems everlasting – the value of a home’s curb appeal.

The first impression is important in every social interaction – and real estate is no different. Except in this case, it’s your home that needs to make a good impression. That’s why you should remember something. Namely, if the first thing a potential buyer sees is a decaying exterior, the chances of them buying the house decrease rapidly. That’s why you want to invest some of your budget into basic landscaping, at least, if you want to increase the value of your home.

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