Featured

Apply For Your 2021 Homestead Exemption

It’s a new year, new you and time to apply for your Homestead Exemption for your primary residence. Did you buy a home in 2020? Then you don’t want to forget to apply for your Homestead Exemption. It’s actually a super simple process, but I’m here to help you through it! Let’s break down this whole Homestead Exemption thing…

img_6614

Homestead Exemption /ˈhōmˌsted ex·emp·tion/ noun

According to the Texas Comptroller, a homestead can separate structure, condominium or a manufactured home located on owned or leased land, as long as the individual living in the home owns it. A homestead can include up to 20 acres, if the land is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to the residential use of the homestead. You can apply for a homestead exemption on your main residence to lower your taxes.


Who qualifies for a Homestead Exemption?

Requirements to receive the exemption:

  1. Must own the property on January 1 of the year you are applying. January 1 is not required if you’re over 65 and/or disabled. 
  2. Must reside at your home as primary residence.
  3. Must be individual homeowner, not entities or corporation.
  4. Can be house, manufactured home or mobile home. Can include up to 20 acres if land is used as yard and owned by homeowner.
  5. Must apply between January 1 and April 30 for year you intend to use exemption.

How to apply?

  1. Find and complete APPLICATION FOR RESIDENTIAL HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION.
  2. Include copy of Driver’s License or Identification Card. The address on the card must match your homestead address, so if you haven’t already – run down to the get that changed!

Remember, this can ONLY be used on your primary residence. Not investment properties, not land. The best resource to use when applying for your Homestead Exemption is your local county appraisal district’s office/website or the Texas Comptroller.

File today and get that tax break! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Featured

Hosting A My Favorite Things Party at The Dollhouse

These are a few of my favorite things….

I’ve been reading all about My Favorite Things parties for a while and decided it was finally time that I threw one myself! With The Dollhouse all festive and parties needing to remain small and quaint, I decided what better of a time than now?!

So what is a My Favorite Things Party you might ask? There are many ways to throw one, but I’ll break the way I threw mine down for you and ways you can customize it for your crew. Basically, a Favorite Things Party is where everyone brings their favorite thing, explains why it is their favorite and someone else takes it home. It’s a fun twist on your typical White Elephant party. But what I love about this twist is that people really put some thought into their items and you don’t have to fight with strangers over gifts.

Here are the Rules:

  • Think of something that you LOVE that’s $10 or less and bring 3 of those items (all 3 items are the same)
  • Bring all 3 items to the party in one bag (unwrapped)
  • At the party, you’ll have a chance to share your favorite items and draw names for 3 people that will go home with that item
  • Everyone will walk away with 3 favorite items from friends
Feel free to use this image I created to share with your friends for your Favorite Things Party!

Rules Breakdown for the Host:

  • When people arrive, have them place their favorite things underneath the Christmas tree (this was a fun way for people to check out all of the items unwrapped)
  • Have people write their names down on 3 pieces of paper and put it in a bowl
  • When the exchange begins, have everyone draw a number and when their number is called they present what their favorite things is, why they love it and draw 3 names from the bowl
  • Have small gift bags for everyone to take home their new favorite thing items home – I ran to Dollar Tree and got small bags with name tags so that people could put their name on it after the exchange to know what their bag was when they left! I even threw a little goody in their of a festive light up necklace for future Christmas parties!

Decide on a Theme:

This goes for both the party and the favorite thing items. So first let’s start with the party! I did a pajama party theme because who wants to dress up just to go to someones home when you could show up in your comfiest PJs?! To go along with the theme, I served yummy breakfast items and did a hot chocolate charcuterie board along with some ways to spike it… if you wanted!

I made my famous hot chocolate cookies, pigs in a blanket and parfait cups and the rest was a simple freezer pick up from Sam’s Club (quiches, cinnamon rolls, hot cocoa mix and a majority of the treats on the hot chocolate charcuterie board).

There are a lot of ways to customize the party from the gift theme to outfits. Some people make their favorite things follow a specific theme like beauty, kitchen, decor, outdoor, entertaining pieces. While I think following a theme sounds so fun, I decided to make it simple this year and just people bring whatever their favorite thing is whether it be beauty, kitchen or decor related.

Favorite Thing Gift Ideas:

My friends really showed out with their favorite things and here are some of the items we all loved:


I highly recommend putting a spin like this on your next White Elephant party! We all embraced a little bit of change with this fun gathering and look forward to making it an annual affair at The Dollhouse!

Such a fun night with this group of girls!
Featured

The Dollhouse: Sunroom Before & After

Keeping it sunny, keeping it cute! Whether it’s chilly or toasty outside, a sunroom has already been a MUST on my home wish list. There’s just something about being able to sip on coffee in a screened-in porch that gives me all the homey vibes I could dream of. It’s the little things that make the smallest home feel the coziest.

You’ve seen all the beauty and glory of the interior of The Dollhouse, so now it’s time to show you one of my favorite rooms that truly took the most creativity… my sunroom! It is located at the back left corner of my house and is what I like to call the perfect wine drinking room! There were some debates on adding a half bathroom to my home, but it would have needed to be where the sunroom is and that was just a non-negotiable for me to take such a fun room away.

The good news from when I purchased The Dollhouse is that the bones for the sunroom were already there. The room just needed a little bit more fun and a whole lotta love to make it more me! I always had this vision of black and white hand painted flooring with cedar colored furniture and while the vision shifted here and there, it truly came out to exactly what I was envisioning.

THE SUNROOM

Matching the brick with the exterior white color and have the painters also paint the concrete floor white really were the biggest game changers before decor and stencil painting came into play. My mother and I hand painted the floor with a stencil and while it was totally worth it, it was quite the ordeal to have done. This was the perfect sized space to hand stencil, but anything larger than this room would have been quite the job to take on.

I plan to do a blog post going into full detail on how we stenciled the floors because there are a lot of different details that helped throughout the process. In a summed up version, though – it took me about two days to stencil the floors and a hand dobbed with a round paint brush. I learned very quickly that sponges seep through underneath the stencil and had to redo a couple of portions. My biggest blessing was having a high speed fan to help the paint dry faster but the hardest part was the edges. My worst edges thankfully have furniture over them, so I didn’t feel like I had to be as much of a perfectionist.

This is one project that my Dad did not touch at all as I (the painter contractors daughter) wanted to prove I could handle it. He was actually very impressed, but no worries I did consult on types of paint and he made me veer away from sealing it as it’s white and outdoor so the weather changes may turn it to yellow once sealed.

What I really wanted this room to have were those black and white accents with pops of green full of plants and pillows that made me look like a crazy plant lady although they’re almost all succulents that don’t need much love at all. Work smarter and plant easier, y’all!

This last section is by far my FAVORITE! Where the now plant wall is was once a door to my bedroom that we had closed in. The door made the inside of my master bedroom very choppy and awkward and closing it in truly changed the layout of that space. Once we closed and insulated in this doorway, I was tasked with what to do to make this not quite look like an old door. There were many options: brick it in, paint it, add shelves and so on. I felt that you would still be able to see the bricked in section and it wouldn’t look natural if we went that route. Shelves wouldn’t be deep enough to hold enough plants or watering jugs but then I thought what about a plant wall?!

I am so, so pleased with how this plant wall turned out. Both the hooks and the planters are from Crate and Barrel. I really let my Dad (y’all he’s the best for all the projects I had him do!!) take the lead on this project with measurements and distancing of the planters. He was very exact and wanted to be able to measure with the planters and plants inside them to see the proper distance of what was needed. It was a task that took a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon, but didn’t they turn out great? It’s just the perfect pop on the wall that was once a doorway and feels far more natural of a focal piece than antyhing else did. This sunroom is my perfect like outdoor oasis and I’ve enjoyed making it my little wine drinking room for my friends, family and me!

Thank you always for following along on my little Dollhouse journey!

Featured

The Dollhouse: Bathroom, Guest Bedroom and Hallway Before & After

We are nearing the end of my Dollhouse before and after reveals! Lots of changes are continually happening in my home like drapery and pillows that took a little longer for me to decide on (no worries… I’ll share it down the road). You’ve seen the rooms like my master bedroom and the kitchen that took some of the most creativity in the home, but my guest bedroom and hallway area needed some cosmetic love. On the other hand, the bathroom was a total overhaul!

Just a reminder, I’m working with one bathroom in my home. We really tried to find a way to add at least a half bath elsewhere, but it would have taken away from other useful spaces and it’s just me to deal with in The Dollhouse for now anyway! For entertaining purposes it can be challenging to have just one bathroom, but it hasn’t become large enough of an issue for me to regret the decision. Older homes have their charms, so I guess one bathroom has to be part of that… right?

THE BATHROOM

For as much as I loved the archway to the bathtub/shower, it was truly disgusting and dark. It is too small of a space to have something like an archway make the shower area feel smaller. I love a good subway tile, but fell in love with these thin uneven styled tiles that lead the eye straight up to the ceiling making the shower space feel much larger than it actually is. I wanted this to be a bright and light space with pops of brass and funky colors.

A couple designs I’m happy I focused on were making the storage space larger (my shoe closet is behind the cabinetry), adding in a glass door for openness and finding function in my medicine cabinet and above the toilet storage. It was tough finding the perfect glass and hardware for the glass doors. I unfortunately couldn’t do the minimal hardware look with the swinging doors as there’s not enough room to have the door open both ways so it had to be a sliding door. My glass guys had never installed one with a white border and gold handle, but it turned out perfect – any other color would have taken away from the clean and minimalist look I was going for.

As you can see all the beatiful pepto pink tile is off the walls and it’s all a fresh gray look with pops of gold. I found this functional shelving/towel rack that allows me to store items for guests (or me!) and hang hand towels as well. Also, if you don’t know this saying “Please don’t do coke in the bathroom” then you’re obviously not a real housewives fan! My older sister Ilissa got me this and it’s the funniest and cutest addition on the wall.

While you can’t see the inside of the mirror, it is a functional medicine cabinet that I made into a space with a plug for my electric tooth brush and custom glass cuts for shelving to add perfumes, deodorant, etc. One of the best parts, though, of the bathroom is that I did get to keep the original pedestal sink. I think it adds a fun and frilly charm that I just couldn’t do away with!

THE HALLWAY

Nothing crazy here in the hallway other than taking away storage. What I took from the hallway was added in my master closet which is behind this wall. By adding storage in my bathroom, I could make sense of take away what was in the hallway.

GUEST BEDROOM

My guest bedroom (or as both of my sisters like to call their room) isn’t quite complete, but it’s getting there! You see this room directly to the right when you enter through my living room so I wanted there to be a bold look. I love, love the simple gold frame of my guest bed with the pop coming from the zebra hide. I originally wanted a metallic cowhide, but when I saw the zebra rug I was SOLD! I hung up an East Texas Yamboree posted from when my little sister was Yamboree Queen last year and I have a family chair that lots of my mother’s side of the family has been rocked in throughout the years below. It’s fun to have family pieces and memories in the home. When my cousin and uncle came to check out The Dollhouse, they knew exactly whose chair it was and made me promise to never get rid of it!

There’s still so much to be done in my guest room, though! I have pink curtains and abstract pillows that are ordered and in the making that will totally complete the room. I’m excited to see it all come together and make it even more of a Dollhouse than it already is!

Featured

The Dollhouse: Office Space Before & After

Working from home is the new reality for most of us in 2020. In most homes, it’s basically looked at as a luxury to have a designated and separate work space and is honestly desired by most buyers. The back room in The Dollhouse was a TV room when I bought it, but I wanted to turn it into a potential bedroom that also served as an office space and workout room.

The original room was something, y’all! There was fabric wallpaper. Yes, like a wall of curtains collecting all the dust and dirt it wanted to over time. Talk about an asthma attack waiting to happen! I appreciate the vibe that these fabric walls once gave, but they had their moment and it was time to graduate to a fresher look. It was surprisingly super easy tearing down the fabric and taking out the Styrofoam ceilings. The demo was probably the smoothest for this space and I was thankful for that!

The biggest challenge this room provided was the TV cabinet. I wanted to turn this cabinet into a closet to make it a room. Did you know that in order to be considered a bedroom there must be a closet? It wasn’t difficult to tear it into a closet, but it was challenging determining the size it would be. The back of the closet lined up to the kitchen where the refrigerator was placed. I battled with doing a skinnier fridge for more closet space but am so happy I went with the larger fridge size and sized down that bonus closet. It’s now used as a dress closet (like a true dream for me to have an individual closet for my daily dresses) and it can in the future be used as a bonus room or nursery for growing families down the road. I’ve learned from real estate to never take away a functional bedroom, just utilize it for your needs – but keep the closet!

OFFICE SPACE

Cosmetic updates were really all this office space needed! A little TLC getting rid of that wild fabric, refinishing hardwoods and adding in a nice little gray wall with a pop of gold from my light fixture and BAM! I needed this room to flow as a work space and work out room. It also doesn’t hurt to bring in a little bit of my agriculture roots and add in some Hereford hide. I seriously looked everywhere to find the right type of rug that could work for a corner desk and then thought about how a Hereford hide rug might just work and boy did it!

I honestly had to move my desk around a couple of times before I found the right flow and layout I wanted for my office. The first desk I bought was a beautiful wooden mid-century desk, but it truly wasn’t big enough to fit my computer, monitor and my printer. I love, love this Ikea desk that is wide enough yet deep enough as well for me to lay out my thank you notes or write to do lists. You would be surprised how difficult it is to find a simple white desk without weird accents on it.

My diploma frames are hands down my favorite! I had the original and traditional diploma frames with the college crests, but it just wasn’t fitting the vibe of the room. I took a chance on ordering these custom floating acrylic frames and they’re simple enough yet also show off my undergraduate and masters degrees. They needed a place to shine – and this was the space!

With this small wall space, I originally thought that I wanted a big gallery wall (which could have been cool). I know myself well enough to know that the second I put up a gallery wall that I wouldn’t love the placement or the art and would want to completely redo it. I thought on it for a while and found a better solution, which was to do shelves and treat the decor like a gallery wall. These acrylic shelves give more attention to the decor and awards and don’t overwhelm the space. I can change it up seasonally and move around books or awards as I feel the need!


It’s all about that work from home flow and I’ve set my office space up to do just that! It’s simple yet has all the finishes and touches that just work for me. This room flows right off my sunroom, enters to my master bedroom and goes to my pantry/kitchen area. Because there are so many different access points, it really is hte perfect space for my office. Hope you enjoyed this peak into The Dollhouse!

Featured

AMAZON PRIME DAY: Here’s What You Need

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – it’s Amazon Prime Day! There are lots of deals and lots of steals – so I’m giving you the best of the best. Not only do I love the convenience that Amazon brings into my life, I love the abundance of products and subscription services that I can utilize. Alright… enough talking, let’s get to shopping!

AMAZON PRIME DAY

Smart Home

Home

Kitchen

  • Zwilling Cookware Set: WOW WOW WOW!! What a DEAL! This set is normally priced at $650 and is down to $279.95. If you need a new set, jump on this one!
  • Instant Pot: This 3 QT version has the biggest savings I’ve ever seen! It’s at $49.99 and that’s 58% in savings.
  • Breville Coffee and Espresso Machine: It’s a two for one! These are a hit and have 28% in savings.
  • Le Creuset Griddle: I love, love all of my Le Creuset products and this griddle is a must at only $89.99.
  • 5-Cup Coffee Maker: This Amazon Basics coffee maker is an essential for any kitchen at just $12.
  • 6 Piece Bakeware Set: Ayesha Curry Nonstick set for bakeware at just $34.99 saving you 30%. The copper set is a beauty!

Home Office

  • Power Strip: Fast charging surge protector with USB ports for $24.
  • Samsung LED Monitor: I LIVE for my monitor in my office. This one is very, very reasonably riced at $149.
  • HP Monitor: This is the monitor I have in my home office and I love the sleek look.
  • Laptop Stand: This stand lifts my laptop to the same eye level as my monitor and I love having the capability of two screens or just closing up the computer and leaving the laptop on the stand.

Decor

Subscriptions


Happy shopping! I will be adding to this list throughout the two Prime Days!

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.

Featured

The Dollhouse: Master Bedroom Before & After

It’s all about the pillow talk! The before and after of The Dollhouse’s master bedroom will have some of the biggest changes in the home. We had to make a lot changes to ensure I have plenty of space, safety and room to breathe. I am very lucky to find a master bedroom in a 1930s home that is as large as this one is. Lots of change, lots of function and lots of color!

The biggest change I made for the master bedroom was taking out the exterior door that led to the sunroom. You’ll notice that most older homes have a door that opens up to outside because the homes didn’t have electricity and needed airflow. While I totally understand the need for the doors, I have central air (bless it) and just really wasn’t loving having an exterior door in my bedroom from a safety aspect. It was also just in a wonky spot that really messed with where I could put my bed. Once this door was covered – the room truly came together!

THE MASTER BEDROOM

Can’t you see how big of a difference it made to close in that door?! I was able to make ample space for my bed along with two larger bedside tables and just make the flow so much better than it originally was. The door just really took over the wall and needed to go. I have another door to my sunroom that’s in my office, so there was no need for two.

One of my biggest wishes for my master bedroom was to have a tall, velvet headboard (mainly because I didn’t want to find decor for above it), but so I could have a crazy and fun pop of color. I waited months for this headboard… but it was totally worth the wait! Having a bed that was a statement on its own made it easier for finding simple bedding and pillows.

Two other important spaces for me were a vanity area and sitting space. I am a hair and make-up gal and love my glam, so I really wanted a designated space for this – that way I can keep it tidy. I also wanted a space for friends or family to sit if we’re hanging out in my room and luckily enough my striped chair I had from when I lived in Houston worked perfectly! It helps that this is such a large room that I was even allowed to have a vanity area and sitting space. People don’t want to lounge around on your bed and like a more structured space to hangout and chit chat.

If I would have kept the wall, my bed and bedside tables would have needed to go on the wall where my dresser and TV are located now. I mean… talk about a tight space. I’m so happy with the new arrangement I have in this room. There is the perfect amount of space for my dresser and TV and I can see my TV if I want from my office – which is ideal! I’m also so, so in love with all the natural light that continues throughout my home into my master. It helps brighten everything!

The now shoe closet was originally a smaller coat closet that backed up to my bathroom storage. My Dad (being the amazing girl Dad that he is) had the most amazing idea to cut the close in half and make this a dedicated shoe and purse closet and have more space in my bathroom (it had such a small amount of storage). Just like I did with bringing spices for my spice cabinet to measure, I brought my booties, heels and boot boxes for my carpenter to measure the space. We left plenty of room at the top of the closet to store my boot boxes and keep them hidden and easy to pull out when needed. No worries… my 5’2 self has a step stool.

The master closet was the most creative and frustrating process of the whole home, in my opinion! My initial problem with purchasing this home was that the closet wasn’t large enough (I mean if you know me… you know). The original closet was snug, but there was hallway storage that I was able to take from on the right and a built-in book cabinet on the left side that I closed in to make space for the washer and dryer. If you’re not following the flow of my home, the master closet backs up to the kitchen, which is where the washer and dryer originally was so it was only natural to just put a stackable unit in my closet. Luckily, they make larger stackable units that can fit a normal load versus the older versions.

While the closet isn’t huge, it gets the job done! I knew when mapping out hanging space that I wanted room for short sleeve blouses at the top, long sleeve blouses below and a longer hanging space for jumpsuits and maxi dresses. There is nothing more frustrating for me in a closet that not being able to see my long dresses – when I hang them folded, I forget what I’ve got. I also lined up my pants storage with lots of space for my different types of pants from shorts to skirts to jeans. This is a space that works for me and that’s the way I designed it.

A COUPLE MORE PRETTIES…

Each one of the rooms in The Dollhouse has a fun pop of color and shows a big piece of my personality. I really enjoyed making my master bedroom vibrant and colorful because I wanted to really have happy room for me to enjoy! I made a functional space with my closets (yes – I’m using closets in my other rooms and I have a built-in storage space upstairs – don’t judge me) and have specified spots for certain clothing and they have their place. Your bedroom should be your happy place and mine is!

Featured

Home Warranties: What Are They and Do You Need One?

I’ve been getting this question more and more from my buyers and my past clients when it comes time to renew the home warranty they got when they first purchased their home or for my first time home buyers on if having a home warranty is even worth it. So first things first, let’s break it down…

home war·ran·ty

/hōm/ /ˈwôrən(t)ē/

an annual service contract that can cover a cost to replace or repair home appliances or systems that may break down

Now that we know what a home warranty is, let’s talk about what it can do. Home warranties can cover as much or as little as you choose to pay in coverage. It’s like a little insurance policy on your appliances and systems. Sounds peachy, right? It can be! There are some huge perks of having a home warranty, but for some people there can be downfalls or frustrations.

Price Breakdown

Home warranties range in price depending on the company and package you order. They typically range from $500-$800 and your service charge can range from $50-$75. There are add-ons like pools, septic systems and more than can hike up the cost a little, but can be totally worth it. For first time home buyers, the seller typically pays for the home warranty to cover the first year at closing – but this is all dependent on negotiations. When I say it’s dependent on negotiations, I mean sometimes a seller doesn’t want to pay for a home warranty (that’s their right) or it may make that buyers offer look sweeter in a multiple offer situation to remove it and buy their own before or after closing.

Companies that my clients love to work with include:

What Does It Cover?

A basic plan typically covers the following:

  • Heating, Central Air Conditioning, Ductwork, Electrical system, Garage Door Openers, Attic – Ceiling – Exhaust Fans, Plumbing System, Plumbing Stoppages, Water Heater, Sump Pump, Dishwasher, Oven/Range/Cooktop, Built-In Microwave, Garbage Disposal, Trash Compactor

More premium plans can include:

  • Clothes washer/dryer, Kitchen Refrigerator, Plumbing Upgrade, Heating – Air Conditing Upgrade, Appliance Upgrade, Permit Fees, Code Violations, Haul Away Services, Improper Installation — Repair – Modifications

Potential add-ons to services:

  • Roof Leak, Central Vacuum, Additional Refrigerator, Geothermal Heating System, Septic System, Septic Plumbing, Above Ground Pool, Standalone Freezer, Well Pump, Pool/Spa, Ice Maker

How Does It Work?

  1. Make a Service Request. You will contact via phone or website the claims department and request servicing on the item that is deficient.
  2. Schedule Appointment. You’ll be assigned a local service technician that the home warranty company works with that will coordinate with you to schedule a mutually convenient appointment.
  3. Pay Service Fee. You will directly pay the local service technician directly for the service fee that is in your agreed upon contract. It’s running from $50-$75 with most companies. The perk of keeping your home warranty year after year is that you can get grandfathered in at the same payment and it won’t go up while new clients may have service payments that are $100 down the road and yours stays at $65.
  4. Have item repaired or replaced. The service technician will determine if the item is reparable or needs to be replaced. This can get tricky when it comes to replacements – the warranty company will determine coverage eligibility and see if its a complete replacement of the item or explore a claim buyout (i.e. they would cut you a check for the item and you go get another one). There’s no one size fits all on the solutions… but this is where a lot of frustration can come from clients with home warranties as you may need an item needs to be replaced while the warranty company may say it needs one small repair or will cut a check that wouldn’t cover the expense of a new item.

Do I Really Need One?

Talk about a loaded question. I go through the should we or shouldn’t we question on the home warranty with my buyers all the time! My answer is that it truly depends for the buyer and their situation. I do think that home warranties can be very useful, especially for first time home buyers. When an appliance or item breaks down, it’s nice to have a home warranty company direct you to a local service technician and know that they’re a licensed professional coming in to repair or replace and you know upfront what that service fee will look like. I find it to be especially useful for my clients that are transferring from another city or state and they don’t yet know who their preferred electricians or plumbers are.

Advantages of having home warranty coverage in place is just like having insurance on your home. It’s most beneficial for the biggest mishaps. When a big ticket item like a hot water heater or air conditioning unit breaks down, they could potentially replace the whole unit. Imagine not having that warranty… that would cost one pretty penny! It’s even useful for when a smaller item like a dishwasher breaks down… they’ll get out their and replace the broken piece and you know what you’re paying versus blindly hiring out.

When it comes to a downfall with a home warranty, it’s truly when they can’t cover what you’re needing. They get to say yes or no to replacement of the product or how much it will be covered for. This can be frustrating… but hey, that’s ~$500 to cover the potential to replace items versus having nothing in place and paying everything out of pocket. I’m not going to lie, I do have a lot of client that never touch their home warranty. They’re lucky and nothing breaks down. That’s great! But the clients that do utilize the home warranty services, truly have benefited.

The only reason I would say to not worry with a home warranty is if you have loyalty and connections with local plumbers, electricians and HVAC specialists. It may not be worth it to pay that $500 when you know you want to call your trusted crew regardless. I totally get that. But they can’t cut you a deal (or maybe they can) when that refrigerator breaks down or dishwasher busts.

Overall, home warranties can be a great tool for homeowners. It’s all about having a little bit of protection when stuff breaks down and life ya know… happens!

Featured

The Dollhouse: Dining Room & Breakfast Nook Before and After

Now that you’ve seen all the glory of The Dollhouse’s kitchen, it’s only natural that I reveal the two rooms that are attached to it – the dining room and breakfast nook! These are two rooms that simply just got a cosmetic facelift. It really is wild, though, how some paint and the right decor can add to a space.

After tearing down the wall between the kitchen and dining room, the biggest challenge for me was how to fill up the dining room with furniture and decor that allowed enough room to roam. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m all about the flow from room to room! It was most important to me to have ample seating space that didn’t go against what I chose with bar stools on the kitchen island, but also leave space to potentially have an additional table in the dining room for future Friendsgivings or Cookie Exchange parties.

The biggest pieces that were my statements for both the dining room and breakfast nook were the light fixtures. I wanted the mid-century vibe and charm that comes with an older home. A little updating goes a long way!

THE DINING ROOM

What a difference a torn down wall can make! I’m so lucky that there are huge windows throughout the home to give so much natural light, but also that it takes up wall space and means… less decor needed! Yes, I can get lazy with it sometimes. I found the half sputnik light to be the perfect pop to the dining room, without overpowering the space. The ceilings aren’t tall enough for me to allow a full rounded sputnik or really any type of larger light fixture. It’s an attention grabber, but not overwhelming!

When it came to choosing a table, I really measured it ALL out! I wanted an oval shape as a rectangular table just would have felt too overpowering. I do wish the table could be a little wider, but there’s nothing saying I can’t keep the base and replace the top.

One piece of furniture that I was most excited to find a space for was this beautiful antique record player. This was my Grandmother Nolan’s record player and I remember it from my childhood and have always loved it. It was originally going to go in the entrance of my home where you saw it as soon as you walked through the front door, but it sat too low. We transitioned it to the dining room and it was like it was meant for that spot, especially with the Ken and Barbie picture! I mean… how fun is that print?!

The doors that go from the dining room to the living room are the originals – including handles and all! I thought they were so pretty yet so perfect to close off a space, if needed. During the quarantimes, my older sister would come do webinars in my office space and I could close myself off in the living room by shutting these doors and we wouldn’t hear a peep from each other.

I also knew that with my very minimal space for storage in The Dollhouse, that a bar cart would be a necessity! They’re cute, but also can store quite a bit of bar essentials instead of being hidden in a drawer and never used. Big shoutout to big sister Ilissa for getting me all the cute accessories and setting it up! We do useful gifts for each other around Christmas and I told her I wanted her to outfit my bar cart and she crushed it!

THE BREAKFAST NOOK

This breakfast nook is just the cutest little space. I was so lucky that it already had its built in storage that I could take advantage of – it just needed a little TLC from paint to handles and I had the electricians add in plugs hidden in the bottom cabinet so I had a place to charge my electric wine opener and potentially add in holiday decor. I’ve learned – the more plugs in a home, the better. I’m still finding spaces where I’m like “aghhhhh I should have put a plug there!!”

The cabinets in my breakfast nook needed pretties to be displayed so I decided that would be a great space for my wine and cocktail glasses along with some of my colorful coffee mugs. Since the cabinetry was going to match the kitchen, the furniture needed to be simple. I really, really wanted acrylic chairs somewhere in my house and it really helped make this room look and feel a little more open than it really is. If the cabinetry wasn’t already in this room, I would have loved to make this a booth style space with build in seating and cushions with a much larger table, but I totally love the way this space turned out!

I do still plan to add in wallpaper, but all of the ones that I love are peel and stick only. My father refuses to put in peel and stick as it’s not permanent and will roll up over time. I get it, so I’m just being patient until I find the perfect print!!


My dining room and breakfast nook are such a fun space that just needed a little bit of love and lots of fun decor. Now that you’ve seen all of my entertaining spaces… what do you think will be next?

Featured

The Dollhouse: Kitchen Before and After

This reveal may just be my favorite one to share with you! When determining what I wanted my kitchen to be like… the main priority was entertaining friends and family. I wanted to be able to see from the kitchen to my living room and enjoy all guests, or ya know just watch TV while I’m cooking. It’s the little things, y’all.

The previous layout of the kitchen when I bought The Dollhouse made it feel so closed off from the rest of the home. There was a wall between the kitchen and dining room that I knew had to go! Once the wall was gone, it made a WORLD of difference for the flow of the living room to dining to the kitchen. I love, love that I can see straight through the house and when I do entertain, I can see all my guests in each room.

The kitchen also had a couple of unique items that older homes tend to have like a washer and dryer in the kitchen and a built in ironing board. There was a lot of creativity that had to be used when designing the new kitchen layout to help fit in all of my needs and wants, while moving items like a washer and dryer to the master room.

If there’s one thing I’m most proud of… it’s the BOLD GREEN I chose for my cabinets. That is one choice that I never thought twice about. Seriously, no regrets! I wanted the cabinets to feel funky and retro and just POP when you walked in with a flooring that really hit the vibe of my 1930s style home. While I have beautiful hardwoods throughout my home, the kitchen had a different type and size of wood that would have never looked right against the rest of the flooring, so I searched hard for the perfect vinyl tile that would compliment the kitchen cabinets.

“Happiness is a small house, with a big kitchen.”

Alfred Hitchcock

THE KITCHEN

I mean case and point for what breaking down a wall can do! It went from being closed and not knowing what was going on in the kitchen to airy, open and happy. I wanted a big, open and level countertop to place lots of foot on for parties and to be able to cook and chat with friends or family. All my life, I’ve always sat and chatted with my mom in our home kitchen while she cooks and it’s where we’ve always gathered as a family – I wanted that, too!

It’s all about that line of sight! I know I didn’t want a vent hood getting in my way, so I really splurged on getting a downdraft oven so that nothing would mess with the open feel of the home. Designing this cabinet layout was TOUGH. I really, really wanted a downdraft oven and microwave drawer, but also wouldn’t budge on a hidden trash compartment and cookie sheet corner. I love to bake and cook, so I designed the kitchen with that in mind and the flow of how I cook!

From the previous layout, I really tried to mirror where the sink plumbing already was. Where I could cut costs from moving lines or wires, I did. If you didn’t know by now, I’m a big lover of all things WINE! One non-negotiable for this kitchen was a wine fridge. I had a couple of cabinetry people tell me I just simply didn’t have enough room, but it’s custom cabinetry y’all… we MAKE ROOM! I’m so happy with all the space in these cabinets and saved the very tip top cabinets for entertaining dishes like charcuterie boards and bowls.

Seeing as I didn’t think I would get much use out of a washer and dryer in my kitchen, I moved a stackable unit into my master closet which is right behind this wall. It took some rearranging, but makes so much more sense! I moved my fridge to this corner pocket and made room for a big fridge that I can hold beverage and long platters in. This wall felt so empty and I couldn’t even start to think of how to decorate such a large space and then BAM a cookbook display came to mind! I love reading through cookbooks and having them displayed and right at my fingertips instead of hidden in a cabinet motivates me more to read through them. Such a fun but useful way to take over a large wall space in a kitchen.

This is probably these greatest use of space YET! While my family and I were looking at this built in ironing board trying to decide what to change it to, my older sister Ilissa had the brilliant idea to turn it into a spice cabinet! I mean… GENIUS! Now I don’t have spices taking over my tiny pantry and I have easy access when cooking. When my carpenter was measuring, though, I brought over all of my favorite spices and sprays to ensure that everything would fit.

Although my pantry is in a back hallway, I still wanted it to match and flow along with the kitchen for access and convenience. We had toyed with keeping the original one and just adding new cabinet faces, but my Dad accidentially tore it down when demoing… so it’s all fresh and new like everything else!

A COUPLE MORE PRETTIES…

The vibrancy and pop of this bold green makes me so happy every time I’m in my kitchen. I made this kitchen work for and function for ME! I truly think everyone should have a bold color on their cabinets and some funky flooring to add a finishing touch! I did try to simplify all other items like my white quartz countertops and subway tile backsplash. It’s fun, funky and colorful. Now I’m going to read through some of my favorite cookbooks and get to cooking some dinner!

Thanks for visiting my Dollhouse!

Featured

The Dollhouse: Living Room Before and After

One year later and here we are! Last September, I closed on my perfect little Dollhouse and now get to share the practically finished result with you! It’s been a labor of love for not only me, but my family and many friends that listened to me obsess over paint colors, decor and light fixtures. I’m so excited to open my door to you and show you room by room how The Dollhouse has little pieces of my personality layered throughout.

My biggest goal when starting the demo and renovations on my home was that it be an entertainers home and flow for parties and events. Now COVID put a damper on me hosting events anytime soon, but The Dollhouse sure is ready for one! Since this is a smaller home (~1,500 SF), it was crucial that my living room, dining room and kitchen all flowed comfortably and felt open enough without taking away from the original charm of the home.

Documenting the complete gut and renovation of my first home has been so important simply for the memories to one day look back on, but I’ve also so appreciated everyone that has followed along from beginning to end! The door is open and I hope you enjoy…

THE LIVING ROOM

Rug // Coffee Table // Couch // Lamp // Crown Light Fixtures // Pouf // Gallery Wall Frames

For the most part, I really did try to keep the character and charm of this home in mind during the process. I chose tall baseboards, worked with the original mantle and simply refinished the original hardwoods. My assumption is that the previous owners attempted to strip the original wall coverings from what you can see in the images, but once we got behind it (many people thought it was shiplap… it certainly wasn’t and was truly wood holding up the structure of the home) we got it quickly insulated and all the good stuff like drywall and paint followed suite.

I was most excited for the fact that I was able to keep the original mantle and front door. I needed the mantle to pop, but didn’t want it to contract too much with the rest of the colors so black felt like the best bet and I’m a big fan! Having a mantle that I can decorate was also huge for me. I love florals and seasonal decor, so I’m excited to change this out through the seasons.

Hands down, the best part of The Dollhouse is the natural light. There’s a window at just about every corner in this home (there’s 12+, y’all!!), but it helps bring a beautiful light into the home. Next, I’m focusing on window dressings and I cannot wait to share it with you all.

Keeping the furniture to a minimum but with ample room for flow and entertaining was obviously top priority. My living room flows directly into the front guest bedroom and the dining room. I love that this home gives space for a sectional but that I can see through to the other rooms and the dining/kitchen area.

Sitting and watching TV every evening above this mantle is always my favorite. Minus the funky and retro tile, the floor bricks, mantle and blocks in the fireplace are all original. It was a simple paint job for those and finding a tile that felt retro, but wasn’t too simple and not too busy was actually quite a challenge. Very thankful for the crew at Paint Etc. that helped me with all my tile and paint colors because those were some of my hardest decisions. I also had my sweet friend Designs by Dylan create this beautiful floral piece for my mantle and it truly changed the space!

A COUPLE MORE PRETTIES…

The Dollhouse is now bright, inviting and full of personality! Yes, I know a velvet pink couch is a little much but doesn’t it just make sense! It’s functional, though. I made sure that if I was going to buy this couch that it needed to pull out into a bed (that’s my form of function!!). It was so fun decorating my living room and finding the right pieces that matched and complimented the home without being overwhelming or too busy in the home. I’ve always heard that you should have one statement piece per room, and I’ve tried to stick to that principle.

I hope you enjoy and love The Dollhouse’s living room as much as I do! I am excited to bring you more room updates throughout the next few weeks. Thanks for letting me share my Dollhouse with you!


Featured

It’s a Hot Market Summer

We’ve had a hot summer with an even hotter housing market! Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s been a wild ride watching homes literally fly off the market after barely being listing one day! One day, y’all! JUST ONE! I’ve been in more multiple offer situations this summer than I have ever before with not only my buyers, but my sellers as well. I’ve also never been able to get more first-time home buyers in homes than I have ever before. Rates are low meaning that money is cheap and homes are moving! I love, love helping buyers and sellers alike, but here are some of my fun closings with first-time home buyers this summer.

With barely seconds on the market, homes are being shown up to 10 times in one day with multiple offers, leaving lots of stressed out and disappointed buyers and agents. It doesn’t help that our inventory is LOW – meaning that there’s not a lot of homes on the market to choose from. So basically, when a good home hits… it’s GONE! This hot market summer (as I like to call it – playing off the infamous TikTok dance of Hot Girl Summer), has lead to frustrations and some buyers just wanting to throw their hands in the air and be done with the search. I get it! You want your home and you want it NOW with zero competition and stress.

Hot market summer is NO JOKE and I’m going to share ways to stay calm, stay positive and get that home you’ve been dreaming of. Buying a home is already stressful enough, so let’s cut through the tension and tears and get you that home!

HAVE PATIENCE. Yes, young grasshopper… have patience! Your real estate agent wants you in a home as badly as you do. With low inventory, homes moving faster than lightning and multiple offer situations becoming almost expected… so give everyone a little grace and kindness.

PAY ATTENTION. Do you have apps like Realtor.com downloaded? Do you regularly check your emails or texts for messages from your agent? Be aware of what’s hitting the market and if you see something that hit before your agent did, LET THEM KNOW! They’ll get you scheduled to see the home ASAP!

BE TIMELY. When a home hits the market, be as urgent as your real estate agent is. Be transparent with your agent when you can and cannot fit touring homes in your schedule. There will be some homes that your agent may want to show you the day it hits if it’s the perfect home for you, so respond to the emails, texts or calls in a timely manner and get in that home!

MAKE IT ATTRACTIVE. Know the difference at the beginning of the home buying process of what you need in order to buy a home and what you want. For example, you and your lender will discuss if closing costs assistance is a necessity. Do you really need to seller to purchase that ~$600 home warranty for you or could your offer be more appealing if you paid for it yourself? What about that refrigerator… Is it something you desperately need to stay with the home because it matches all the other appliances or can you get another one? The list can go on and on and on, so really seek your agent’s advice and guidance.

DON’T GIVE UP. The biggest thing to remember is to not get discouraged or just say you’re done looking for a home. Sometimes the perfect one pops up right at the exact moment you needed it to. Trust in your agent and truly trust the process!

LISTEN TO YOUR AGENT. Your real estate agent is going to guide you on making an offer that’s fair market value and ensuring you ask for everything you need. But listen, listen, listen when they’re giving you the tools and ways to make your offer the most attractive it can be in a multiple offer situation. You are who they’re fighting for!

Don’t let this hot market summer get you down. Happy hunting, y’all!

Featured

Dollhouse Update: Flowers, flowers and more FLOWERS!

It’s been a minute since I’ve given y’all an update on The Dollhouse! I officially moved in at the end of February, but it’s taken a little while to get all settled in. This whole stay at home order has actually been quite useful in transforming my little dollhouse into feeling like a cozy little home! And making it cozy means adding FLOWERS!

Since spring has sprung, that means florals are a necessity! I mean flowers just take a place from drab to FAB. I’ve been working on not only the exterior of my home with my flower beds and shrubbery, but my interior as well. I love a little color and vibrance, so it’s been fun getting creative with my family and friends on what I’m doing throughout the home.

What’s going on inside…

I know myself a little too well and decided not to overwhelm myself with too many live plants on the interior of my home. There are some times when you can DIY and others when you hire a professional. I knew that pulling together faux floral pieces would stay on the back burner for me and never get completed. That’s when you know it’s time to bring in the professionals! So I hired the very talented Designs by Dylan help me design some pieces to go throughout my home and he D E L I V E R E D! We collaborated and really found something that matches my v i b e and the dollhouse in general.

First was my fireplace mantle. I wanted something seasonal but I also just didn’t want to decorate a mantle with different nicknacks, so a garland style mantle piece was the choice! I also have a very large tv box that needed to be hidden and hydrangeas did just the trick. I love how girly and colorful it turned out! Dylan provides great videos and tutorials on how you can make your own florals, so check out his page and subscribe!

I also wanted frilly, pretty florals throughout the rest of my home, so we put orchid arrangements in my dining area and a fun succulent in my breakfast nook. I would have never thought about orchids, but they were the perfect chill flower to add into my very loud dining/kitchen area. I love finding fun ginger jars at estate sales and we actually ended up using a soup bowl ginger jar for my succulent arrangement. It’s a fun way to add a personal touch!

While I do have my faux florals, I did decide to go brave season and get some REAL plants. You know… get that clean air and purify a little bit. I got the cutest plant holders from Wayfair and hopped over (safely, through social distancing) to a local plant store and got a Fiddle Leaf and Snake Plant. A lot of your local stores will let you call ahead or order online and all you have to do is pick up your plants!

When it came to using real plants on the interior of my home, I wanted low maintenance but also pretty! I chose a fiddle leaf plant because they grow large and the leaves are grand and beautiful. It’s a plant that can take over a certain corner and be used as decor versus hanging a piece of art. The next plant I chose is the snake plant solely because they are legit low maintenance. Not a lot of love is needed for those little things!

Now my mother is a master gardener… like literally. So I’m working toward that! Being a new plant mom, though, I have learned some tips and tricks:

  • Water by using ice cubes. This helps prevent over-watering and lets the water drizzle down slowly. I do it once a week (I’m doing every Sunday evening to stay consistent) and I test the soil to see if it’s dry or still moist.
  • Clean off the leaves. I’ve used a damp towel to clean off the dust that the leaves can attract.
  • Look for the light. These plants don’t need direct sunlight, but they need to be near a window or area with indirect sun shining in.
  • If there’s a brown spot, cut it off! It won’t go away, so do away with that spot and let your plant shine.
  • Give it a name for no other reason than it’s just fun! My fiddle leaf is officially named Figgy Fresh and my snake plant is Ms. Snake. They only have names because honestly I feel like that helps me not forget them!

I also ordered small plant saucers from Amazon for the bottom of my planters to hold in moisture and placed these planters by indirect sunlight near one of my living room windows. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been moving the plants around a lot to see where they thrive… all about surviving right now over thriving, though.

I am planning on adding a couple more interior plants and even plan to transform my sunroom into a little green space/oasis. I’m dreaming of ivy hanging and spider plants throughout! I highly recommend adding in some beautiful florals to your home whether it’s fresh from the yards, air purifying plants or even some faux florals to keep it cute! It can really liven a place up.

Featured

NOLAN AWARDED SELLER REPRESENTATIVE DESIGNATION

I’ve always prided myself on education, education, education! I’ve found it to be the best foundation to ensure that I’m continually learning. I love to listen to new podcasts, read different books and skim through magazines. While all of those have been great and inspiring, I also made a promise to myself to receive designations in real estate that will help me better my knowledge and better represent my clients. I’ve learned that experience counts and credentials matter!

I’m honored and excited to announce that I have been awarded the Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) designation, the premier seller agency designation in the country. The SRS is conferred by the Real Estate Business Institute (REBI) and is an official credential of the National Association of REALTORS®. I join an elite group of real estate professionals from around the world who have earned the SRS designation. All designees are required to successfully complete comprehensive coursework in seller representation, demonstrate significant seller representation experience and expertise, and subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.

Here’s what I gained from this designation:

  • Trained seller advocate who knows the importance of client needs through each step of the selling process
  • Extensively trained in a variety of marketing methods to uniquely promote your property to the widest range of prospective buyers
  • Understands importance of staging properties for best results along with accurate pricing to attain desired results in a timely manner
  • Negotiation skills to ensure a successful transaction
  • Keen understanding on how to collaborate with a variety of cooperating agent of all skill level to help you get the best buyer

In addition to my SRS designation, I’ve also received my Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS (NAR) and Accredited Luxury Home Specialist (ALHS) designation by the Luxury Home Council (LHC).

With this new designation, I am providing clients with confidence, trust and experience. You can feel confident working with me as your Seller Representative Specialist.Let me help you take your home from for sale to SOLD!

Featured

Staying Green While Staying Home

Right now, we are all spending more and more time at home during COVID-19. And with all of this time inside our homes, we are likely using up more energy and not being quite as green as we want to be. We are leaving lights on, cranking up that A/C and maybe leaving that back door open a little longer.

While we are home and since today is Earth Day, I’m going to share ways we can conserve and stay green while at home. Now there’s no need to get all crazy and make drastic changes in our homes because we’ve gotta stay sane. So let’s keep it simple.

Unplug appliances. Honestly, I’m guilty of just leaving everything I own plugged in. So don’t mind me while I go and unplug the toaster I haven’t used in a hot minute.

Turn off lights. Not in the room? Turn the lights off. An even better and easier solution could be to switch over to smart lights and do it from an app on your phone. I’m a BIG fan of my smart lights and have them hooked up to my Alexa system.

Switch to LED. Change out those old light bulbs and change over to more energy efficient lights like LED. First of all, LED is brighter and just really can change up the vibe of a room.

Check that Temperature. Keep an eye on your thermostat. Are you heating or cooling a room you don’t use? Keeping your home too toasty or like the antarctic? Adjust to save energy. Even better, invest in a NEST Thermostat. I have one and love that it automatically sets to ECO Mode when I leave the house.

No waste pact. Make a deal with yourself to waste no food in your pantry/fridge. Cook all that you have before you head to the grocery store. This may give you an opportunity to get creative with your cooking!

Switch to paperless. When paying bills for your home, do it online and reduce wasting paper. Opt out of receiving mail.

Plant inside. Make your own indoor green space. Get a fiddle leaf or snake plant and add a little oxygen flow in your interior. It looks cute, too!

Open those blinds. Natural light is the best light! No need to turn on lights or lamps when you’re using that nice sunshine from outside.

There are so many other great ways to keep your home, but these are just a few items you can add to your daily checklist. Stay home and stay green!

Featured

What Am I Even Signing: One to Four Family Residential Contract

Not to be the bearer of bad news here, but when it comes to buying or selling a property it’s more than just house hunting. There’s a big portion of the process that all about contracts. Sounds boring… I know. But this is really the most important part! You’re signing your life away on a very, very expensive piece of property, so it would probably be nice to know what you’re signing…right?

While you typically trust your agent and would prefer them to just tell you to initial here or sign there, I always make an effort to sit down with my buyers or sellers (especially first-time home buyers) to walk through the contract they’re signing. Luckily as a REALTOR® in Texas, we are giving contracts and forms that have been prepared by attorneys that protect our clients, but regardless you should still know what you’re signing! I’m not going to break down the whole property contract line by line, but I will tell you what a lot of the verbiage means at a high-level help you understand what you’re signing.

I would like to always note that you should to consult an attorney if you have any questions about a real estate contract.

WHAT ARE YOU EVEN SIGNING: ONE TO FOUR FAMILY RESIDENTIAL CONTRACT

Now here’s to the heavy stuff. There’s a lot of information, numbers and details. I find it important that you understand every page of this document before you sign it and this is why you sit down with your agent prior to signing to have any questions answered, but for this blog’s purpose I will breakdown the top items to understand.

Sales Price: This is your total purchase price. It is broken down by your cash portion brought to closing and your borrowed funds through your loan.

Earnest Money: This is typically 1% of the purchase price of the property. You’ll input to amount and what title company you’ll be using (both the earnest money and title company are negotiable). This is credited at closing.

Title Policy: The seller normally pays for the title policy, but this is negotiable.

Survey: The title company and your lender will likely need a good survey on file but sometimes a neighborhood plat works. If the seller has a survey on file then great! If not, this is something to consider whether the buyer or seller purchases. Depending on the property, they can be pricey.

Property Condition: Allows for you to conduct inspections, confirms you’ve received a seller’s disclosure about the property and acceptance of the property. The main takeaways from this portion is to ensure you’ve received and thoroughly reviewed the seller’s disclosure (if applicable for the property) and accept the property as is. Yes, you will still have an inspector come out to the property, but the main reason you wouldn’t accept the property as is would be if the roof must be repaired and other major defects that could be there and are obvious.

Residential Service Contracts: It’s always nice to have a home warranty on the property to protect your HVAC or hot water heater. You will determine what type of home warranty you prefer with your agent and input the price in the contract. You don’t have to ask for one, but they’re great and this is typically covered by the seller for the buyer.

Closing: This is the determined date you plan to close on the property. There is always a possibility the date can move up or be pushed back. It’s typically pushed out 30 to 45 days from the day of signing the contract.

Possession: You’ll either have possession of the property upon closing and funding or there will be a leaseback on the property. Leasebacks are needed if the seller needs more time to move out or buyer needs to move in earlier.

Settlements and Other Expenses: Are you needing closing cost assistance? This is the portion where you would put that amount. Your lender will know what your financial situation looks like and can guide you on this aspect.

Termination Option: This is the timeframe that you’ll use to have your inspection conducted. You can negotiate the amount of days and the amount of money paid to the sellers. People typically ask for 7-10 days and pay $100. This is credited at closing. Your termination option begins the day after the contract is executed.


While this does not include every little piece of wording in the One to Four Family Residential Contract, it does give you a good idea and understanding of what you’re signing. Your REALTOR® is there to protect you and answer any questions you may have when signing a contract. They always have your best interest, it’s our responsibility! Remember that no question is stupid, so ask away!

Featured

Quarantine Chronicles: What Home Buyers and Sellers Can Do

Hello and welcome to hands down one of the weirdest times featuring the infamous COVID-19 along with lots social distancing and quarantining with family or by yourself. Every profession is learning to adjust and transition the way we do work by moving more digitally and enhancing relationships virtually. For some real estate buyers and sellers, you may think that these quarantimes is putting everything on pause, but I don’t find that to be the case. This time can be utilized as an opportunity for reflection for buyers and preparation for sellers.

We’ve got lots of time out our hands to scroll through Facebook and binge through Netflix shows (I mean Tiger King had me SHOOK), but let’s use it for something productive as well. Whether you’re buying or selling, I’ve got a couple of items you can handle now before life hits us even faster later on.

THINKING ABOUT BUYING A HOME?

Get with your agent. Well duh! This is a great time to build a relationship with your real estate agent and let them know that you’re ready to buy. You can discuss the type of home you are looking for, wish list items and really start narrowing down what you’re wanting in a home.

Think about that money. Your agent can set you up with a great lender, so use this opportunity to see what you want your monthly mortgage payments to look like. Set up a monthly budget. This can help narrow in your price range when house hunting. It’s also a great time to speak with your agent and lender about down payments and closing costs so fees don’t hit you in the face later on.

Narrow down your wants and needs. With all this time you now have, truly figure out what you want and what you need in a home. Yes… there’s a difference! Do you need a big yard for a growing family or your cute little pup? These are priorities that you an get in line before you start looking after the quarantimes. Just be sure you’re making a list of what is a priority and what may not be.

Research areas and school districts. Hey, school districts and location may not matter to you right now, but it’s good to start researching potential schools or drive by certain areas. This can save you and your agent so much time in the long run. You doing this extra homework helps!

THINKING ABOUT SELLING A HOME?

Declutter. Take spring cleaning to a whole new level and really clean out those toy bins or junk drawers hidden throughout your home. As your agent, I want your place to look clean and make it easy for a potential buyer to see themselves living in it without jumping through mess and junk everywhere.

Landscape. No, don’t run to Lowe’s with all the other people. Get a little dirt therapy in your system and weed your flower beds or clean up around the exterior of your home. Curb appeal is EVERYTHING!

Give it another eye. Walk through your home with a new lens. Think about coming in as a first time home buyer and take note of little items that could use a little love or upgrading in your home. While it may work for you now, it probably won’t for others. I’m not saying completely repaint your whole home or replace appliances. What I’m talking about is painting over that scrape on the wall or caulking in that opening from humidity. These little projects make a big difference over time and right now all you have is time.

Keep it cute. Yes, you’re decluttering, but don’t forget that buyers like a staged home. You don’t have to go out and buy all this new decor. Use what you have! Take down those family photos, play around with furniture and make the home flow from the front door to the back of the house. You’ll want these buyers to imagine themselves in your home. Make it welcoming!

Plan for what’s next. Where are you going? Do you already have an idea of a house you want? Let your listing agent know, so they can keep an eye out. Want to build? Your agent can help you find land and a builder. Your home could sell quicker than you think, so take this time to figure out a plan for the next step.

Although we all seem to be at a pause and standstill in life right now, this is a great time to prepare. Prepare to buy, prepare to list and prepare with your agent!

Featured

Preparing for your Custom Cabinetry

New, new, new! Whether it’s a new build or a remodel, custom cabinetry is typically part of the process. When it comes to cabinetry none of it is simple but it also doesn’t have to be complicated. Seeing as I just went through this tumultuous process, I wanted to share some of my pains, tips and things you don’t want to forget!

When it comes to cabinetry you’re main priorities are fitting in your appliances and leaving a little bit of rooms for storage. Some people may want simplicity and not need much storage while others may be the entertainer of the century and need rooms for platters, decanters and more. At the end of the day, though, what really is the most important is the space you’re allotted and the creativity of you and your cabinetry company.

Creativity – This is where Pinterest became my best friend! First of all, did you know you can save folders within boards? GAME CHANGER!! I pulled different aspects that I like in kitchen cabinets and created my own little vision board to showcase specifically what I was looking for and what was a priority for me.

Cabinetry Company – You’re likely going to meet with multiple companies (I recommend a minimum of three) to get quotes and see what they can envision as well. I met with about four companies and ended up going with the one that wanted to help me create my vision. You need to find someone that finds solutions for your wants and needs in cabinetry and makes it work! For example, I really wanted a wine fridge in my cabinetry and understood it was such a tiny space… but I finally found a company that helped me make it work for my area.

Let’s think about your wants and needs when it comes to cabinetry. Some add ins and necessities to keep in mind.

What are your cabinetry needs?

  • Room for appliances 
    • Stove – Are you doing a slide in or separate package units?
    • Dishwasher – Want it close to sink!
    • Microwave – Are you doing a vent hood microwave? Lower Cabinet? Drawer?
    • Refrigerator – Is it attached to cabinetry or not?
  • Pots and pans drawers – Trust me… you need some deep drawers near your stove!
  • Flatware and Utensil Drawers – Necessary!
  • Dish towel and oven mitt drawer – Need!
  • Spice Cabinet – So many alternatives for this with a vertical pullout near the stove or a drawer style. Don’t take this for granted – it is important.

What are your cabinetry wants?

  • Soft close hinges – It’s not necessary but people do LOVE these! They can also save from scuffing up cabinets from slamming the doors shut.
  • Cookie Sheet/Cutting Board Storage – Gives easier access and is a great use of space.
  • Hidden Trash Can – Don’t care if your trash can is seen? Then forget this. But if you do, these are a fantastic way to hide your trash!
  • Under Lighting – You may want room for hidden lighting above your countertops. It can REALLY brighten up the space.
  • Upper Cabinet Space – Do you want your cabinetry to go all the way to the ceiling or do you want a display area? I personally like more storage to keep all of my entertaining pieces close or candles near.
  • Wine Rack or wine fridge – You may have room above refrigerator for a wine rack or an end corner for a wine fridge. My big thoughts on this – go ahead and add something like this in so you don’t get one year down the road, wish you would have added it and then it looks like an afterthought next to your beautiful custom cabinetry.
  • Drawers within Shelves – These are a big plus when I show homes! Being able to pull out drawers once you open up cabinetry doors help you see EVERYTHING in that cabinet.

Wanting an example for a small space with an open floor plan? Here’s a look at mine! One bit I have from my cabinetry selections was to add the shaker doors to the front facing portion (back end of cabinets). I have one hidden storage spot but didn’t want there to be one odd door, so the company matched with false shaker doors. Big fan!

Kitchen Cabinetry 1


These cabinetry necessities are just a scratch on the surface for what you may want in your kitchen. Would love to hear what you love in your cabinetry or what you wish you would have added.

 

Featured

The Dollhouse is Looking… Livable!

Livable. The Dollhouse is looking like it is L I V A B L E! This is big because for a minute there it looked like the interior would never come to this point. The floors are pretty and stained, cabinetry painted and countertops are installed. We are getting there and I have a countdown for move in day… but we all know that number changes on the daily.

Since the last time I updated you, we were just getting ready for cabinetry and a lot has happened since then. Here’s a breakdown of the big happenings in The Dollhouse and some ups and downs that came along with it.

CABINETRY

To say I love my cabinetry is an understatement! I designed to fit everything I wanted in it from my wine fridge to a hidden trash compartment. I did the installation solo – my amazing mom and dad have come to a lot of installations with me because they’ve done this a time or two and I value their opinion more than anything else! Everything was installed perfectly, but there are some notes/tips I have for first time cabinetry peeps:

  • It won’t all align perfectly. The cabinetry people install doors and drawers but will come back after it is all painted to make sure they’re even and balanced. They know that with painters the doors and drawers will be taken off and put back on so they come back to make sure it looks perfect. I did not know such a thing and was like what is this!!!!  With a quick call to my parents they informed me this is very normal, but for most people doing this the first time it’s not so obvious. The more ya know!
  • Think about your crown molding. You may want the crown molding to line through the top cabinetry to have a flow throughout the room. This isn’t a huge ordeal, but something to think about and keep in mind.

It’s funny that I thought designing the cabinetry was the hard stuff because picking a paint color was even harder! From the beginning I have been dead set on painting my cabinetry green. Not Nolan Green (those that know my family know this is a thing – my parents have everything a particular green at the ranch), but a very jewel-toned, Wizard of Oz Emerald Green.

How did I choose? We did a couple of dry samples of papers and held them up against the cabinetry to help me really visualize the colors. This came with some picking and choosing but I went with Sherwin Williams Ivy League paint color and it DELIVERED! 

Once the color was picked, it took two full coats and some extra time to dry, but the end result was WORTH IT! Going with a bold cabinetry color was always the game plan for me and the green choice was something that I didn’t second guess for over two months (which seemed good enough for all the other back and forth decisions I’ve made). I’m so happy this was the color I went with and just see how bold it looks!

5DF69562-C8A0-4F92-988A-7E53FE1EB59E

COUNTERTOPS

Initially, I thought this would be a much simpler option than it was. After gathering bids and comparing quartz versus granite, my choices kept getting slimmer and slimmer with the budget I needed to stick around. I really had to sit and take into account that my vibrant green cabinets and future black and white floor tiles didn’t need a crazy countertop to compete with. I wanted simple and clean, but that’s not necessarily what comes to mind with granite so after lots of looking and online searching, I decided that quartz was my answer.

With some major search by Tim Fielden at Simply Floors and Lights in Gilmer (shop local, y’all!), we found the PERFECT plain, beautiful and simple white quartz countertop called Zen White. I really thought I wanted the calcutta quartz countertops or even the gray granite, but there was just too much movement going on in the countertops to give attention to all the other features I was adding in my kitchen.

952AE7F2-7CBE-481C-93B8-A8529AE19896

 

REFINISHING ORIGINAL HARDWOOD FLOORS

This was the TOUGHEST OF THEM ALL!! I am so lucky to have original hardwood floors in the majority of my home and knew from the get go that these would need to be refinished. This is basically one of the last big steps in the remodel process. The original flooring had a very multi-colored effect and you could see in other rooms where previous owners have tried to stain on top of previous stains. It was time for these floors to have a fresh start!

This all started with sanding the floors down which took about two days, picking a stain and being kicked out from peaking at those beautiful floors so they could finish for 3 days. The most challenging part of refinishing these floors for me was the stain color. I looked at an online deck and my refinishing guy put down samples to choose from. I looked at the floor stain options at night and in the daytime to see it differently with lighting.

While the pictures don’t quite do the floor the justice they deserve, I ended up choosing Walnut (middle option on bottom row). Funny enough, that’s the color I originally chose from the stain deck before event seeing it on the floor – stick with you gut kiddos!

While a lot of people will recommend to not go darker, with everything going on in my home from the green cabinets to the potential decor, there has to be dimension to break it up with the flooring.

I patiently waited over the weekend and didn’t even PEAK through windows to see the flooring. I’m so please with how they turned out, especially against my cabinetry. I wanted a very warm vibe and it’s just that!

IMG_5518 2


I really want to say thank you to everyone that has been so invested in the remodel of my little Dollhouse! I feel like people get just as excited about the littlest updates as I do and that really means the world. There’s so much more to come with finishing up my light fixtures, tile installation and closet completions. Thanks for following along!

Featured

Bethany’s 12 Books of 2019

Another year, another opportunity to try and get back to my old bookworm ways! For 2019, I have decided to know my strengths and my weaknesses and chose to maintain the same goal from 2018 (read about it here) – which is to read 12 books throughout the year. Now when I say read… I mean listen. Ya girl over will fall asleep reading a book, so Audible has become my best friend! While it sounds like it would be simple for me to read *listen* to one book per month, that’s actually a tough one for me. I typically squeeze books in when I’m traveling or driving long distances and use that as an opportunity to dive into a book. Listening in segments on and off just doesn’t work for me.

For 2019, I am proud to say that I have completed 12 books… yes 12!! That’s big because this is accomplishing my reading goal two years in a row. It really is a big accomplishment for me to take time to lose myself in a book to help either build me professionally OR just give myself a break and enjoy a good story. When it comes to my reading selections, I try to rotate between professional and personal development and a some fun reads between.

IMG_3151

Below I’m breaking down some of my top reads of 2019:

The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines

Big Fixer Upper fan girl over here, but this book is so much more than a high level look at the life of Chip and Joanna. First of all, I love that they both told their story of how they got where they are now from both of their individual perspectives and what they’re proud of and not so proud of. They really dug into the struggles of buying and flipping with all the risks and how long it took them to get to the rewards. Highly recommend this read whether you’re in real estate or not!

The 10X Rules: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone

It’s all about reaching extreme success! Grant Cardone is a LOT to take in when you first start following along, but he’s not just here to tell you how to reach a goals, he’s here to to tell you how to go 10X above that goal. This book dives into how to be crazy with your goals and dreams not just yearly or monthly but DAILY. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “If competition is healthy domination is elimination.” Now that one will make you think and the whole book really makes you sit back and go well okay I’m obviously not doing enough… let’s level up!

Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk

A little disappointed I haven’t jumped on the Gary Vaynerchuk train until right now. Like get it together, BETHANY! I’ve always seen his videos and TikToks here and there but didn’t realize that he is a wealth of knowledge and seriously gives it out basically for free online and gives great guides on how to be successful in both of his books (both are FANTASTIC reads). I read these out of order, but both books are insanely useful. This specific book is more of a high level look at his success and what he did to get there. What I love the most is that it doesn’t matter what you want to do, he will open your mind and eyes to create a way to be the best at it. Want to do garage sales and flip items? He’s got you covered! Follow him on all of his social channels because he’s seriously just throwing out advice to make you a success. Quick and easy read!

The Altman Close: Million-Dollar Negotiating Tactics from America’s Top-Selling Real Estate Agent by Josh Altman

This book is Josh Altman’s most recent release that came out in 2019. I’ve always enjoyed watching him on Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and always find it useful to learn from other real estate agents that are on such a level as his. What I liked to learn about was his beginning was very calculated even when he thought it wasn’t. He started in mortgage lending while his brother in talent management for sports that eventually led them to real estate and high end clients from previous careers.

I also enjoy his confidence. There’s a certain fine line between being confident and arrogant and he crosses them all the time, but he uses these at his advantage in real estate. It’s a good read… but I do wish he would have done the narrations in the audiobook. Could have followed along a little easier!

Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom

So I kind of did this one backwards, but I love a good book that transforms into a movie! Honestly, it was just a really good read and fascinating story to follow along, but there were still some little takeaways. What I loved about this book is Molly Bloom’s character and let me tell you… this lady is LOYAL! She’s always thinking ahead to the next step and respects her clientele enough to never reveal any information and still to this day hasn’t!   

The other books I read in 2019 include:


 

If you’re more of an Audible reader like me, I’m giving you a special promo for an Audible membership here. You may think getting a membership is overrated, but I love it because it holds me accountable each month to use my book credit and purchase a book to read along. It does roll over with credits each month if you don’t use it as well!

Looking forward at my 2020 goals specifically around reading, I’m pushing myself to up my goal from 12 books to 20. I plan to read 20 books in 2020! Have any books you loved or are excited to read? Share with me and I’ll add it to my list!

 

Featured

Common Misconceptions of First Time Home Buyers

Daunting, overwhelming and terrifying. Exciting, thrilling and blood-tingling! That’s exactly what home buying can feel like for a first time home buyer. It can be a roller coaster of emotions throughout the process of purchasing or even thinking to purchase. I’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt to live and tell the tale. I’ve also help a LOT of first time home buyers in this process as well and I have heard all the questions and misconceptions of home buying. One thing I always try to emphasize to my buyers is that no questions is stupid. Not one!

As always, I want to be a resource for my sweet first time home buyers, but I also think it’s important for anyone thinking about buying to know what is even possible!  I’ve pulled together common misconceptions that first time home buyers to help you or even a close friend or family member to see what’s possible with first time buyers.

Real Estate Home Selling Social Media Graphic

Common Misconceptions for First Time Home Buyers

I can’t afford to buy a house!

You don’t know that yet! This is why it’s great to meet with a mortgage loan officer or your local bank to explore ALL options. You may actually be ready or they can help create a timeline and program to get you on track whether it’s increasing cash flow/assets or building credit.

I’ll save more money if I rent. 

Want to hear something W I L D? ! A lot of first time homebuyers end up having mortgages that are LESS than what their rent was costing them. Crazy! While you’re thinking you save on repairs and upkeep on the home, you’re still toward someone else home and not you own. Why not pay toward your own dream? I need to have a 20% in cash for a downpayment! 

No one is asking you to liquidate all your cash monayyy! There are so many great loan programs like FHA and USDA loans that require very little (like 3.5% down) or zero down if you’re in a rural area. FHA loans are fantastic for first time home buyers and great lenders can also find grants to help assist in closing costs.

If you’re in the military or a veteran, you can also look into VA loans where they will take 0 down. There are programs for E V E R Y O N E!

I need to have perfect credit! 

Your credit needs to be good, yes. But it doesn’t have to be PERFECT! While credit scores can effect your interest rate, there are many ways that lenders can find the right loan program or ways to build up your credit quickly to prepare you to purchase YOUR own home.

I need to have a job for 2 years before I can buy a home! 

Not going to lie, I always thought this as well. While this does pertain for self-employed people to show a complete history, salaried people have a different set of rules. Sometimes all you need is a letter from your workplace with your salary and some pay stubs.

I can’t afford repairs. 

Ever heard of a home warranty? I try to always get my buyers a home warranty that covers repairs on AC units and other appliances in their home. While home warranties don’t cover everything, they do help pay toward some larger expenses. All you have to do with a home warranty with pay an upfront fee that could range from $60-75 per visit from contractor sent to repair items. These home warranties can basically pay for themselves over time.

I don’t bring in enough money. 

You don’t have to be raking in the dough to buy a home, you just need to be consistently making money! You Realtor and lender will help guide you on budgeting and staying within your limits on what you can afford, but never assume what you cannot do.

I need to find the home before I get approved for a loan. 

WRONG!!! I typically won’t even show a client a home until they’re approved for their loan. Here’s why: I hate to take a client into a home, they fall in love and then come to find out… they can’t get approved for a loan to purchase the property. That’s a bummer and then the buyer is stuck on that one home and it really sours the rest of the house hunting experience. Getting with a Realtor first is a great game plan and we can then guide you to the right lender for what you’re needing. After you get all your ducks in a row with the lender, it is then time to find the home!

I need to purchase a price at the high end of what I am approved for.

Not quite. You need to purchase a property that keeps you living within your means! This is why it’s important to start the home buying process with a budget in mind – you need to know what you can afford in a mortgage and utility payments. Just because you’re told you’re approved for a $400,000 loan, it doesn’t mean you have to go near there. No one wants to be house poor.


Buying a home has enough what ifs, so don’t let all of these misconceptions scare you away from pushing toward your dream of home ownership. As always, a handy perfect Realtor like me is a great FIRST STEP in the home buying process. I help guide you on all of the next steps and how we make YOU a HOME OWNER!

Featured

Nolan Earns Luxury Home Designation

In everything I’ve done, I’ve always put education at the forefront. To me, knowledge is POWER! From obtaining a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University (WHOOP!) in Agricultural Communications and Journalism to a Master of Science from Texas Tech University in Agricultural Communications, I’ve always pushed myself to be an expert in my field and that in doing so means continually learning. I made a goal at the beginning of this year to obtain up to two designations in 2019 in order to expand my knowledge in the real estate world. Last January, I received the Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR) to help make me your ultimate home buying expert, but I didn’t stop there!

Earlier this fall, I decided to better my understanding and expertise for my luxury clientele and received the Accredited Luxury Home Specialist (ALHS) Designation. I am now among the elite agents in not just the state of Texas, but the county that specialize in the luxury real estate market.

So, what does it even take to receive this designation? I completed coursework that focused on luxury clientele and marketing of unique high end properties. I also had to meet a minimum sales requirement showing that I had sold multiple properties that were double the median price range for the East Texas area,  In a nutshell that means that if the median price in East Texas for homes was close to $200,000, my sales of luxury homes would qualify as $400,000 and above. Being a part of the Luxury Home Council is also a major benefit of gaining this designation, as it gives me access to luxury and exclusive listings for buyers and the ability feature my seller’s properties on their websites, as well as an extensive of list serves on top of all of the marketing a typical agent does.

Here’s what I gained from this designation:

  • Local and global marketing of upscale properties.
  • Understanding special demands of affluent clients.
  • Training and expertise in the luxury home marketplace.

I am proud and honored to join this elite group of real estate agents and strive to continually serve my clientele with my understanding of the demands of luxury buyers and sellers. Your home  is special, shouldn’t your agent be? 

The next time you’re looking to buy or sell a home, know that I am your trusted agent! You can always contact me at bethanybreannenolan@gmail.com or (903) 738-8858.

ALHS

Featured

2019 Cyber Monday: Homeowner Edition

Christmas is HERE! The trees are up, I’ve got Mariah Carey blaring in the background and it’s time to get a little shopppppping done. If you read my 2019 Black Friday: Homeowners Edition blog, there were lots of great deals in-store, but now it’s all about what you can get online and dropped off right at your doorstep!

As I’ve previously noted, I’m trying to fill up a new house with just about everything! On Black Friday I purchased my iRobot vacuum, TVs, mounts and more – so all the BIG STUFF! For Cyber Monday, it’s time for me to find all the little goodies from wine glasses to smart home accessories. I’m on another level this year with lists and Pinterest boards to keep me on track. For all of you out shopping for Cyber Monday goodies, I’m going to make this easy and pull all the top finds and codes so you can purchase at the click of a finger with a glass of wine or cup of coffee in hand! Happy shopping!

19 WordPress Featured Image- Cyber Monday 1029


||AMAZON||

81ilNbqaGWL._SL1500_-2  51CgKGfMelL._SL1000_  71TzCLRzYAL._SL1500_  51wdEx4mFkL._SL1000_  81DcDxh0yfL._SL1500_  61LsIsx9kFL._SL1000_  Instant Pot  Ring lighting GUEST_a755f810-5a36-461a-9102-2e981f79543b


|| BATH & BODY WORKS||

40% OFF SITEWIDE PLUS FREE SHIPPING ON $40 PURCHASES

Stocking up on all of my Bath & Body Works favorites for my new place! Big fan of the Champagne Toast 3 Wicks candles and Stress Free Aromatherapy lotion. Also love buying all of the wallflowers to have for days!!

USE THE CODE: CYBERDAY


|| POTTERY BARN||

25% OFF PLUS FREE SHIPPING

UP TO 70% OFF SITEWIDE

cozy-pom-pom-throw-1-o mango-wood-handled-cheese-board-paddle-o white-marble-glass-domed-cheese-board-o  velvet-tufted-quilt-shams-stormy-blue-o

USE CODE: CYBER


|| CRATE & BARREL||

20% OFF SITEWIDE  & 30% OFF HOLIDAY + FREE SHIPPING

images.crateandbarrel.com camille nesting marbles

USE CODE: SAVE20


|| BED BATH & BEYOND||

SPEND $300 ONLINE AND RECEIVE $100 IN MY FUND REWARDS

116523161083295p  81DcDxh0yfL._SL1500_  306580260800343p


|| OVERSTOCK||

70% OFF THOUSANDS OF ITEMS

EXTRA 20% OFF SELECT FURNITURE, RUGS, DECOR AND MORE!

 Desk  Carson-Carrington-Bodo-Mid-century-Modern-2-drawer-Nightstand-f7a3cc16-f0f9-4aa2-bc2e-8e02aa1fffc1_1000Simple-Living-Margo-Mid-Century-3-Shelf-Bookshelf-59.5-h-x-36-w-x-11.8-d-082c277d-e7a5-4546-9dc7-291c5c05f0dc_600  


|| WILLIAMS SONOMA||

10% OFF $50 OR MORE

15% OFF $100 OR MORE

20% OFF $200 OR MORE

25% OFF $500 OR MORE

  • Coravin – 30% off of products. These are rarely at a discounted price and are great for the wine connoisseurs!
  • Goldtouch NonStick Bakeware Set – Always loved these sets of bakeware and great price for a 15 piece set at $224.96 for ones that LAST!
  • Le Crueset Dutch Oven – Love the set in white. Great deal for a discount on fantastic cookware.

caroavin gold touch le c 

USE CODE: SAVEMORE


||TARGET||

  • 6 QT Instant Pot – $49.99 at lowest price I’ve seen! Other stores are price matching, too!
  • KitchenAid Mixer – Larger mixer with $100+ off at $239.
  • 2 QT Air Fryer– Just bought this air fryer during Black Friday! Only $40 for this this healthy alternative.

6833115d-5c6d-4682-9f26-f2fa67a4438b_2.a2bad59a8c23e099cf04c31f7ee6b162 KitchenAidair fryer  


||JOSS AND MAIN||

UP TO 80% OFF RUGS, CHAIRS AND MORE

I’ve been eyeing this recessed medicine cabinet and this gold exterior light fixture. Lots of great choices!

Cotswald+16+x+25+Recessed+Frameless+Medicine+Cabinet+with+3+Adjustable+Shelves  Kaylie+Elroy+Outdoor+Wall+Lantern


 

Happy shopping!!

Featured

2019 Best of Black Friday Sales: Homeowner Edition

Today is a day to give thanks and gratitude! It’s also a day when people go CRAZAYYY for some deals and steals on what we all call Black Friday. Here’s the honest truth, I’ve never been a Black Friday shopper. Rushing to grab an item and the thrill of the shopping just never appealed to me, but now it does. Being a new homeowner means I need to fill up my home with lots of goodies like TVs, vacuums and lots of cooking utensils and appliances. So you can say that this year, I’m going to be a part of the Black Friday craziness!

There are a lot of great posts with overviews on Black Friday shopping, but I’m narrowing this down with the homeowner in mind. Whether you’ve recently bought a home, have been a homeowner for a minute or are just thinking about purchasing a home, these are ALL good finds!

|| WALMART ||

  • iRobot Vaccum – It’s under $200!! This is my number one buy!
  • Instant Pot – B E S T   F I N D!! It’s $49 and you better grab it before it’s gone because it doesn’t get much lower than that!
  • Samsung Smart TVs (up to $50 in savings) – I’ll be purchasing the 50″ Smart TV to put in my home – it’s only $277!
  • TV Mount – Not your typical Black Friday find, but gotta save where you can!
  • Arlo Security Cameras– Saving $70 on a three camera system. My parents LOVE their Arlos and can pull up the system from an app on their phone with email alerts.
  • Keurig – Another low price at $40 and perfect for you coffee lovers!

 

dce8799c-9981-4826-857e-8ebbb9027fe1_1.f4b166721c6d31afb59cc12f68936e4b6833115d-5c6d-4682-9f26-f2fa67a4438b_2.a2bad59a8c23e099cf04c31f7ee6b162  85cfe7f4-ad5b-49ce-9246-91f0c63a048b_4.776c6a41b1d4ea3cd435531f4d006301.jpeg c877ac66-a81e-4b05-959d-0bb9cc0d33cf_1.0716481b41936fc7a563ee9651ee0f2ce3f2b457-17ef-42c4-9629-b0e4318e7736_1.c7397cbf417bdba21a5a5b2b86711eed   

Walmart’s Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 6PM in stores.


|| SAM’S CLUB ||

  • Bamboo Pillows – Save $4 on already low priced pillow sets! They’re only $10.
  • Gas Fire Table – Great for backyard to keep you warm in the winter and $50 in savings.
  • Serta Mattress – Savings of up to $100 on Full/Queen Mattress or savings of up to $200 for King/California King.
  • Ninja Blender and Cups – Great blender for under $100.

0076002851705_A  0019396802275_D  0074793583242_A  0062235653209_A

Sam’s Club Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 7AM in stores and last through December 1.


||TARGET||

  • Google Home Mini – Only $19, so that a $30 SAVING! 
  • Amazon Echo – You’re getting about 40% in savings on this bad boy.
  • Serta Air Mattress – These are just good to have for extra guests… always! Only $50.
  • 12 LB Weighted Blanket – This just sounds amazing and I’ve had my eye on it for a minute! Love the ivory choice.
  • Nest Thermostat– ON MY LIST!! These never go on sale and I love that I can control the AC from my cell phone!
  • Rubbermaid Storage Containers – We all could use more storage containers and these are the best. They’re $7.99 Y’ALL!

GUEST_f94992ca-1ca0-4123-9d70-ebbe20c0625f  GUEST_f8bd14ab-7ed7-4832-a165-8abf9de5a9a2  GUEST_e90d5858-1633-4bf2-95ab-ebcfcf1db014  GUEST_52464cfa-b14e-419f-984e-66daaaf14223  GUEST_a755f810-5a36-461a-9102-2e981f79543b

GUEST_4791c692-8d88-441f-b1ab-f75fdb647034

Target’s Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 5PM in stores and doors close at 1AM on Friday and reopen at 7AM Friday. 


|| BEST BUY||

6172783_sd.jpg;maxHeight=1000;maxWidth=1000    6268405_sd.jpg;maxHeight=640;maxWidth=550  6327856_sd.jpg;maxHeight=1000;maxWidth=1000

Best Buy’s Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 5PM in stores and doors close at 1AM on Friday and reopen at 8AM Friday. 


|| BED, BATH & BEYOND||

Big deal of the day is 25% OFF in-store all day!

I’ll probably be buying some sheets and bathroom necessities like mats and more with that discount!

29638941566244p  299289668531102p

Bed, Bath & Beyond’s Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 5PM in stores and doors close at Midnight. 


|| AMAZON||

  • Amazon Smart Plug – $4.99 bundled with purchases. I try to buy these overtime I see them $20 off. Great for Christmas trees, lamps or outdoor lights!
  • Echo Dot – Drops down to $22 for Black Friday. Love listening to my podcasts and making notes on my phone while I get ready with mine!
  • Schlage Smart Deadbolt– Big fan of this at my parent’s AirBNB! You can control it with your phone AND it’s compatible with Alexa.
  • Fire TV Stick – Great to take along with you when traveling and easy to hook up to TVs.
  • Ring Peephole Cam with Echo Show 5– New product that pairs perfectly with Ring Doorbell. Super cool!

41uF7hO8FtL._SX466_81ilNbqaGWL._SL1500_  61ul6d2AkRL._SY450_  61mAA2BB-FL._SL1000_  51RGPuO2KeL._SL1000_


Happy shopping to you! Let me know what you’re buying this Black Friday! 

Featured

Progress Is…. Progress!

I’m going to say the understatement of the year and it’s that my family has been just a littttttle busy this fall! From having the most beautiful Yamboree Queen (my little sister) at our hometown festival and then running all over for events with our Hereford Association to Fighting Texas Aggie football games, my weekends that are typically my open time to work on my home have been BOOKED! 

Since the last time you had an opportunity to look at my little Dollhouse, it was just vacant and ready for DEMO!! Now we’ve completely gutted the place, changed my ideas here and there and have gotten moving with lots of different things! It was so fun to tear down all the fabric wallpaper and old walls to find all of the wood planks hidden behind. I know a TON of people would leave those wood planks raw and show them to the world but they’re just too wide for my taste and I promise the end result with be worth it! Ya girl over here needs her home to have some insulation and that has to go behind those planks.

So what have we done since the gut job? Here’s a little lowdown:

Foundation: When I bought this cutie of a home I knew that it wasn’t the most level space so getting my pier and beam foundation leveled was priority numero uno before I had any big work done. Luckily, this was an easy fix and Benchmark Foundation came in while I was booked during Yamboree to get it DONE! 

Carpentry: A little carpentry work has made its way in. After the wall between the kitchen and dining was destroyed we waited for the carpenters to come in to install a beam between those rooms and frame up my master closet and the refrigerator area. It was my lucky day when they came because I didn’t need a beam so now it feels like one OPEN space!! The carpenters still came in, though, to frame up room in my closet, close in one of my FIVE exterior doors that was in my master bedroom and more.

Plumbing: Plumbers came in and replaced cast iron and have moved my lines for my refrigerator  (was in where the original kitchen wall was and is now on a separate wall) and washer/dryer combo (was in the kitchen and is now in my master closet). They’ve also been busy, busy taking out all o the cast iron plumbing and replacing it throughout my kitchen and bathroom area.

Electricity: My electrician’s crew is in the works on putting some updates throughout my home – I am very lucky and a majority of the electrical work was updated before I moved in which is not typical for most 1930s homes… that’s what I thought. They actually had to come in and replace just about everything due to it not being correct with different sized wires. People – this is why you do it right from the beginning and hire the professionals! Since it is an older home, I’m also moving around some light switches (they’re in the oddest places) and plugs throughout the home. Most of the plugs are in my baseboards and we are replacing all of those, so the plugs are being pushed up a little and some will even have the USB capability.

Cabinetry: With what seems like it’s been an eternity, we have FINALIZED my cabinetry. I mean I knew I was picky, but WOW! Since I’m working with such a small space, I wanted to ensure I was utilizing every space I could with the cabinetry I am putting in my kitchen. After quite a bit of back and forth we are done and it will be built in the next 2-3 weeks. I’ve realized that what I thought was necessary in cabinetry sometimes isn’t, but I’m still getting room for my wine fridge and trash compartment because those are the little things that make me happy!

Insulation: Once the electrical was complete, insulation was inserted between the wooden boards and brick on all the the exterior walls and throughout my attic area. This will ensure I am warm in the winter and cool in the summers and is SO WORTH IT to get done while I’m down with the bare bones of the house.

Drywall: After insulation was put in, my drywall came in and now I have walls!! It was such an odd experience to walk in the house from being used to the wooden walls to having actual walls and seeing my vision of the home come to life. Big fan!!

A lot has already been completed, but here’s whats next on my list for December: 

  • Tape, bed and texture: I’ll have some guys come in to tape, bed and texture the walls in the home. Once this is complete, it will be paint time!
  • Base boards: The carpenter will add in my new baseboard (trying to keep the original sizes).
  • Paint: Planning to paint the interior of the home with a light gray on the walls and white on all of my trim and the exterior of the home white.
  • Cabinetry: Installation of cabinetry for my kitchen, pantry and bathroom will be put into place. They will then be painted a super fun and funky green color. I promise it’s going to look GREAT!
  • Refinishing hardwoods: My original hardwoods are BEAUTIFUL and I could not be more excited to have them in my home. Unfortunately, they’re all a semi-different color in each room so we plan to refinish those as well to make it uniform. I mean – might as well while we’re working on it!

Hope you’re enjoying following along! A lot of work has been done but there’s still more to come!

Featured

A Little Before Action

It’s flippin’ happening! Get it?! Ha! Demo is in full swing and no time is being wasted on my watch! I closed on a Tuesday and from there I’ve been rocking and rolling. Over the next week, up until last Sunday, I did walkthroughs with family and friends to show everyone what the home looked like and to ensure I knew EXACTLY what changes I wanted to make in my little dollhouse. My Nanny and her friend Norma came over and awed over the little characteristics that this 1930s home has and my Grandpapa came over later on in the day and was just so excited about the neighborhood and backyard.

After letting my grandparents in the home, I took ALLLL of the before photos and have them in a slide show for YOU! It is a goal of mine to keep track of all of the progress from beginning to end so I want to document it on my blog and Instagram. I hope you love the character and charm that this home gives and love what I plan to do over time!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last Sunday we had a full on clean out! The sweet little lady that owned the home before me had lots of books, some pretty neat National Geographic Journals (like up to the 1940s), furniture and random trinkets throughout. After clearing out all cabinets from the kitchen to closets my Dad, mother and older sister Ilissa came over to start covering up those original hardwood floors. We got builders paper and taped it throughout every room to make sure that it doesn’t get ruined and scratched up during demo. We’ve already started tearing down the walls and insulation because I’ll get new insulation and drywall along with updated electrical throughout where it is needed.

After protecting my precious floors, my Dad decided to get a little adventurous and we started checking out what was behind those walls and it’s just a whole lot of wood planking. Nothing too fabulous but neat nonetheless. So far we have demoed out FOUR full rooms and that’s my living room, dining room and guest bedroom. It’s been a family affair and I’m so thankful for everyone that has helped me get this thing rolling including my dad, mom and sisters! It’s so fun seeing the small changes over time that I know will be BIG in the end! Hope you enjoy and follow along!

 

Featured

An Insider’s Look at Being A First Time Home Buyer

Being a first time home buyer is stressful, overwhelming, exciting, emotional and about a million other things bundled together! It can be a simple process or difficult depending on what type of shopper you are, REALTOR you have and lender you’re working with. Being a REALTOR, I’ve been through this process many a times but it’s a little different when looking for your own home.

I’ve never minded picky buyers that wanted to see a little bit of everything to help them make up their minds because… hey, ya never know! With me and my thought process though, I was all over the place. It’s tough because I help people all the time and I go from luxury home to smaller townhouses to everything in between. I mean I went from wanting one specific location to wanting older homes to think well the market is so hot and things are moving so quickly that maybe I should just build a home. Talk about hot mess express! With my Dad in tow, I had us all over town looking at polar opposite homes not knowing quite what I was feeling and vibing yet. I even told my dad that I would have fired myself as a client as a REALTOR. I was wearing myself OUT!

One day when I was fed up with my own crazy process, I decided to make a drive down the neighborhood I grew up in and low and behold there was a sign in front of the CUTEST 1930s Dollhouse. I mean I was in love! I got in the house before the house hit the market, made an offer and got it accepted! This home was about as far from everything I thought I wanted but it just felt right! My Dad kept telling me that when I walk in a home it’ll just hit me and I’ll know it’s the one and it did! It makes me think of the show Say Yes to the Dress and how the bride has that good feeling when she finds the ONE! Now I get it when I tell my clients the same thing!

The process after finding the home was pretty straight forward… get all paperwork to my lender, choose an insurance agent, schedule my inspection and start working with the title company. With a clear to close in 21 days thanks to my amazing lender Jordan Johnson with GUILD Mortgage, we were moving and grooving! I could have gone with a local bank or offered different types of loans but I really wanted to go through the whole mortgage process with the lender since I always refer them to my clients. It was easy breezy but only because I did my homework like your REALTOR typically tells you to – have all tax documents, bank statements and sign/review items as SOON as the lender sent it because time is of the essence. I was also patient – I waited two year to have two tax returns because I’m self-employed and really pulled numbers together to see what type of monthly payment made the most sense for me. I’m self-employed and commission-based so it’s difficult to sit down and think of what I make each month when it ebbs and flows. Really makes ya think!

The week of closing was exciting and a little stressful because you’ve got to remember to get those utilities switched over – some can’t be switched over like water and sewer until you close. Final walkthroughs ensue as you make sure the home wasn’t left in shambles and you’re ready to take it over and then I mean it’s time to sign your name away to 30 years on a mortgage! The to-do lists start piling and honestly I don’t think they really stop after – but HEY that’s okay!

Closing day a fun one, though! Now I’ve gone to quite a few closings with clients, but I legit think I lost my head that day – literally a REALTOR’s worst nightmare. I may or may not have LEFT, yes I said left my wallet in my workout bag and showed up to my closing without my driver’s license. Here I am the REALTOR that always reminds her clients to bring their cashier’s check and driver’s license and I don’t even have mine! Odd enough, though, I had my passport in my work bag (because I guess I’m just ready to jet off just in case?) and that thankfully works as an ID. Do as I say, not as I do sometimes, people!

Im thankful, though, to have the sweetest group of ladies at Central Title Company in Longview that made closing day so special and fun and acted like it was their own closing day! They all gave me big hugs, champagne and took all the stress away!

IMG_2688

My amazing Central Title Ladies – Shannon, Lindsay and Christina! 

 

My Dad and mortgage lender were there in tow to make sure everything went smoothly (sweet momma was there in spirit as she was at work). I cut a big ole hefty check and then I was CLOSED on my first home!

I have to admit, it’s kind of fun and empowering buying a home on your own. Not that it officially made me feel like an adult but it’s something I have on my own and in MY name! There’s a lot of work that goes toward being a home owner – saving money, building credit and on and on – and it makes you feel excited and proud to make this new property your home! 

IMG_2685

In front of my little 1930s Dollhouse on Closing Day! 

I’m so appreciative of EVERYONE that helped me become a home owner from my super supportive parents to my encouraging friends that built me up when I was ready to give up to my sweet sisters that are already decorating their rooms in their heads. I won’t be moving in immediately because this 1930s Dollhouse is getting a facelift, but get ready because you can follow along with the whole process on my Instagram and some upcoming blog posts!

Here’s what I learned from being a First Time Home Buyer:

  • Patience, young grasshopper. Don’t rush it and you’ll know when it’s the right house. Looks at all areas and do drive-bys to ensure you like the location before dragging your REALTOR out there, like seriously just check it out.
  • Pull yourself together! Seriously, get it together! Check that credit score, shop for lenders and insurance agents and know your budget and what you want that monthly payment to be close to. You may need to wait another year to buy and that’s okay!
  • Listen carefully. Everyone is going to share their two cents with you and that’s family, friends, colleagues, your teller at the bank and everyone in between. Remember that they ALL want what’s best for you and are on your team – remember that! BUT, this is YOUR home so do what is going to bring you happiness at the end of the day because you’re coming home to this and they may visit once or twice.
  • Celebrate the little things. Did your offer get accepted? Inspection went well? Just feeling excited that you found a home?! Celebrate that! Go out or cheers to yourself at home. This is a big step and you should be SO PROUD of that so acknowledge this accomplishment and moment in your life! BE EXCITED and don’t downgrade such a big thing!

Thanks for listening in and I truly hope this helps! I enjoyed the process and know that it all led me to my cute little dollhouse! There’s a process and gut feeling and you have to trust it!

Featured

Labor Day Sales: Home Edition

First of all, how is it ALMOST September? Talk about a whirlwind of a summer! We’ve got football season and a little more fun in the sun that follows up with Labor Day Weekend. But what’s even better than fun in the sun is all of the SALES!!! You’ve got mattresses, furniture, decor and more! Keeping it short and sweet, I’ve pulled together top sales by their specific products.

Instagram Post - Labor Day Sales

MATTRESSES

Mattress Firm: Save up to $600! King for the price of a queen and queen for the price of a twin PLUS a free adjustable base. Ends Monday. Best deal I found was a memory foam mattress for a guest bedroom that’s 50% off!

Serta: Cutting prices on all iComfort and iComfort Hybrid mattresses. Up to $200 off on some prices with this iComfort Foam Blue 100 CT Gentle Firm mattress being the best find.

TEMPUR-Pedic: Save up to $700 on select power base mattress sets. Their TEMPUR-LuxeAdapt mattress is $300 off.

Mattress Firm  serta  Snip 2019-08-30 09.03.07

 

FURNITURE AND HOME

Crate&Barrel: 15% off entertaining, decor, bedding and kitchen through September 2. Use code save15. I personally will be stocking up on the Camille Wine Glasses and marble serve ware.

Overstock: Extra 20% off select items + free shipping. Loving this round coffee table and this gold industrial chandelier. Really great decor items and furniture to peruse through. I’ll be stalking the site throughout the day!

Pier1: Save 25% off on sale and regular price. Use code LABORDAY. Time to stock up on that fall decor because Pier1 has the cutest pumpkins and quirky furniture to fill up the home.

Sur La Table: Up to 60% off kitchen basics and appliances. Love this place and they even have a set of All-Clad skillets for $60.

Wayfair: Up to 65% off on outdoor furniture and 75% off bedding. Big fan of this outdoor sectional and great deal on this down duvet insert for $37.99.

Joss & Main: Up to 80% off rugs and 65% off chandeliers. Wanting this single globe pendant in my kitchen area and this canopy bed is only wish list!

Snip 2019-08-30 09.27.26  Snip 2019-08-30 09.28.57  Silver-Orchid-Helbling-36-inch-Round-Coffee-Table-with-Gold-Metal-X-Base-36-x-36-x-19h-f2148adb-7ac5-4543-8a3a-220d323933a5_1000  Lorena-Sputnik-Industrial-Chandelier-with-Chrome-and-Champaign-Gold-Finish-17749ffa-bae6-4c39-aab2-6fd6207cd7e4_1000  3915168_1

ELECTRONICS AND APPLIANCES

Best Buy: Up to 40% off  of appliances and 65″ and larger TVs as low as $399.99. Eyeing this Samsung Smart TV and looking at investing in some stackable washer and dryer.

Home Depot: Up to 40% off special appliances and great deals on power tools.  Adding this built-in Winter 18-Bottle Wine Fridge to my kitchen.

Lowe’s: Up to 40% off appliances. I’ve been on the hunt for a dishwasher and there are great savings on their stainless steel dishwashers specifically this Samsung dishwasher.

Walmart: Some electronic are up to $100 off  and they have a George Foreman Grill on sale.

Amazon:  Up to $30 off a home security camera system.

 6325561_sd.jpg;maxHeight=200;maxWidth=300  6181273_sd.jpg;maxHeight=640;maxWidth=550  stainless-steel-whynter-wine-coolers-bwr-18sd-64_1000.jpg Snip 2019-08-30 10.34.00


 

Happy shopping! Cheers to a safe and fun Labor Day Weekend!

Featured

Are You Ready To Buy A Home?

It’s simple buying a home, right? No prepping, no money, no worries. WRONG! There’s a lot that goes into the process, but let’s start with what you should think about before you even consider looking…. are you even ready to buy a home?

Going through this process myself and with many other clients, it’s good to have a little checklist of priority items you need completed before even considering to look at homes.

MONEY ON HAND

Got that money in the bank? I’m not saying you need to have tens of thousands of dollars in the bank but you need to have some cash on hand for a downpayment, inspection, earnest money and any other upfront expenses of items you may want to repair in the home. There are now so many great loan programs that either require zero down or just 3.5% but don’t get stuck on that. The more money that you can put down is sometimes better. It can lower your monthly payments and even lessen some closing expenses.

FHA Loans – 3.5% down payment and have great first-time home buyer programs

Conventional Loans – Minimum of 3% down payment

USDA/VA Loans – No downpayment loans are offered

Jumbo Loans – 15% down payment

Here’s how I prepped: I have a completely separate savings account that is JUST for my home savings and that is where I allocate anything and everything that I pull out for a property and put into it with repairs, etc. It helps me keep track of my cash on hand and stay organized.

GET YOUR CREDIT IN CHECK

Do you have credit cards or loans? Are you paying everything on time or in full? This will ALLLLLL come up at the end of the day when your lender pulls your credit to loan you money. Those two missed cable bills will come to haunt you so stay on top of all of those bills so the lender feels confident lending money to you.

There are also fantastic credit repair companies that can help you bump it up to where you want. I utilized my credit cards to build credit and a history for myself. I recommend stalking The Points Guy on where you can start. There’s truly a wealth of information on their site from which cards you can take advantage of at certain times of your life to how to better manage credit card points. BIG FAN!

BUDGET AND BUDGET WISELY

It’s important to know what you’re willing to spend per month when it comes to mortgage payments. This not only helps narrow down the types of properties you’ll be looking at with your real estate agent but also give you an idea of budgeting and knowing what your pocketbook can handle. 

LOOKING AT YOUR FUTURE

How long do you plan to stay around the area you’re looking at buying? Are we talking six months, three years or 10 years? It takes a minimum of three to five years to recoup the closing costs of your home. Basically, if you don’t think you’re sticking around the area for long then renting is in your best interest. Buying a home is an investment and you want equity in your home when you sell not to be in the hole.

Keep job stability in mind with your future as well. If you think there’s a possibility of relocation or promotions that require moving, it may be better to rent unless you know the company has a fantastic relocation program. Some companies do, some companies don’t.


If you have every last one of these items checked then congratulations! It’s time for you to get with a lender and real estate agent to make your home buying dream a reality. If not, utilize this list and make it your homework!

Featured

5 Apps for the Home Buyer

Yes it’s true, we are GLUED to our cell phones. From Facebook to podcasts, we use our phone to keep up with friends and expand our knowledge. Being a millennial myself, I love the tools and resources that apps bring to my phone. When I look at the tools that  app provide, it’s not just calendar reminders and social media, there are also a lot of great tools to help with home buying. Pretty handy, right?

While there are plenty of house hunting apps like Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia, you don’t want to overlook all of the other useful apps that help out homebuyers. I’m sharing my top five apps that help home buyers during their purchasing process.

5 APPS FOR THE HOME BUYER

  • Mortgage Calculator Plus: A quick and simple way to calculate your potential monthly payments for a home. It gives you the opportunity to plug in the customized purchase price of home, downpayment, insurance costs and even potential HOA fees. Is this the MOST accurate? No! That’s what your mortgage lender is there for, but it can get you pretty close.
  • Mint: Get your finances in check! I love, love, LOVE this app. It let’s me have all of my checking and savings accounts, cards and even 401K savings in ONE SPOT. This one provides a great overview of finances and the app even tracks monthly/weekly spending and normal spending behavior and alerts you when you’ve gone a little crazy on that shopping spree last week (HA!).
  • DocuSign: Talk about a handy app! You can easily sign documents on the go for contracts or amendments for your agent or lender. It’s a quick click of a button and the document is SIGNED without needing to open up a computer. You can’t finish the document until you’ve signed everything that your agent or lender asked you to.
  • Houzz: Design your home right from the phone. Open floor plan stressing you out? This app is for you! Love, love Houzz because it helps you get a better idea of where to place different pieces of furniture. Super useful and perfect for the visual person.
  • Evernote: This is not only helpful for you but for your agent! You’re likely going to look at quite a few homes and they’re all going to start blending together. You think it won’t happen, but it does! This app if fantastic for keep your pros and cons for each home and organizing it by property address. You can then simply send it on to your agent and review at your leisure.

There are plenty of other apps that people find useful in the home buying process, but these are some that you may not have thought about downloading. Hope this helps make the home buying process a little less stressful. Happy hunting!

Featured

Home Buyers: Here’s Why I’m YOUR Expert!

Buying a home is one of the biggest and likely most $$EXPENSIVE$$ purchases you will make in your life. As a REALTOR®, I do NOT take that lightly and want to ensure that I can represent my clients in the best way possible by being knowledgable and experienced. To ensure that I can be YOUR home buying expert, I completed a designation course to become an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®). In order to become an ABR®, a REALTOR® must complete training that is specialized in understanding a home buyer’s perspective and promoting and protecting the buyer’s interest. 

While through experience and time as a REALTOR® you learn the ins and outs of representing a home buyer, this ABR® designation teaches you so much more. I joined a network of ABR® designees across the nation and we worked in groups on scenarios and how to better help our home buyers. I also took an additional course on New Home Construction to help assist my buyers that are looking to possibly build instead of buy and learned building process from beginning to end. I am here to help my buyers make informed decisions! 

So what can I do for you as an ABR®? I can assist you…

  • With needs and wants, and locate properties appropriate for buyer’s specifications
  • Help determine budget (pre-qualify)
  • Accompany in showing properties
  • Assisting in creating offer
  • Negotiation strategy for home buying
  • Vendor referrals (inspector, lenders, etc.)
  • Buying process from beginning to end in transaction – to closing and after!

All buyer’s representatives are NOT EQUAL! With my knowledge as an experience agent and as an agent that has earned the Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation, I have made the extra effort to raise the bar with additional training and education. I am confident that you’ll receive the HIGHEST level of buyer representation because I have taken the time to expand my knowledge in real estate and the home buying process.

If you’re  interested in buying a home, I would LOVE to help guide you in the process. Feel free to email me at bethanybreannenolan@gmail.com or call at (903) 738-8858.

Featured

Closing Costs: Here’s Your Breakdown

Home buying… it can be fun, it can be stressful and it can be overwhelming! There are so many steps and processes and costs involved in the process, and as a Realtor it is my job to have answers to all of my client’s questions and concerns. While I always get asked about negotiations, inspections and more, one of the main questions I receive from my buyers is…

“What will my closing costs look like…?”

Honestly, it’s important to have a nice breakdown to show where all of your money is going and possible costs that seem hidden to the first time home buyer. This is likely BIGGEST purchase a person will make during their life, so people need to know what it’s going to cost and where their money is going. It can get complicated on whether the buyer or seller is paying for certain portions of closing costs, but that’s where your handy-dandy Realtor swoops in to guide you in the negotiating process!

So first of all… what are closing costs? Closing costs are fees associated with the purchase of your property/home that are paid at the closing of your real estate transaction. A closing is when the title of the property purchased is transferred from the seller to the buyer. Closing costs are incurred by either the seller or the buyer, these CAN be negotiated.

Now that we understand the high level description of closings costs, let’s break it down. While there is a rather large list of items that can go into closings costs, what I’m going to do is break down the biggest costs first and dwindle it down to other associated costs.

CLOSING COSTS

Title Company Fees (Cost Ranges Follow the Descriptions)

  • Appraisal: Paid to appraisal company to ensure fair market value of purchased home. Cost: Ranges are ~$500. 
  • Flood Certification: Pulled by third-party, determines if property is located in a flood zone. Cost: Ranges close to $10-$15. 
  • Postage or Courier Fees: Cost for transfer of documents. Cost: Ranges close to $40.
  • Recording Fee: Recording of public land records. Cost: Typically around $130-$150.
  • Settlement Fees: The title company is paid for handling the closing. Cost: Ranges from $200-$300.
  • Survey: Goes to a survey company to verify property lines. This is not always necessary as some sellers already have a survey on file. Cost: Ranges around $650 for a normal lot.
  • Tax Services: This includes transfer taxes, property taxes that will either be prorated or handled at the closing table. Cost: Ranges close to $100. 
  • Title Search: The title company is paid for their search of the property’s records. They check on the deed of the home and ensure there are no liens, etc.

Lender Fees (These fees vary, so depend on lender for guidance with your situation)

  • Credit Report: Pulled by lender, grabs credit history for loan approval.
  • Homeowner’s Insurance: You’re typically paying your first year of insurance at closing. Simple as it sounds, it’s insurance and covers any potential damages to the home.
  • Origination Fee: Covers lender’s research and administrative costs. Typically 1 percent of loan.  
  • Owner’s Title Insurance Fees: Can be optional, but protects you in the event that there are challenges to the ownership of your home.
  • Underwriting and Processing Fee: Goes to lender and pulls history/researches buyer for loan approval.

A great estimate that I like to give my buyers on their potential closing costs would be to vary it from 2 to 4 percent of the overall purchase price of the property. So if you’re purchase a $200,000 home, you can think ~$8,000 on the very high end and ~$4,000 on the low end. I find it better to give my clients an estimate that near a number than nothing at all. It gives my buyers and sellers a little piece of mind.