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.

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!

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!

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.

 

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!

 

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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.

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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!

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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||

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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!

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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!

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

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!

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!

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!

Home Buyers in a Hot Market

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired of a HOT, HOT, HOT real estate market? Real estate agents and sellers are certainly not mad at how quickly homes are moving, but being a home buyer in this situation is just a little frustrating to say the least. I say this from experience because I’m currently a home buyer that’s growing increasingly impatient in a market like this.

Homes are hitting the market and hours later they have a contract or you enter into a bidding war and while it can be exciting, not everyone wins. This is just a little frustrating and a little discouraging for some buyers. When you’re a home buyer in a hot market, it’s important to remember a couple of tips:

  • Don’t settle. Well, duh! This is an important reminder, though. When there’s only so much inventory to choose from, buyers tend to get a little too excited and settle on a property that they don’t truly love. I recommend my buyers really take a step back, look at their need/want list and ensure in their gut that this is THE HOME for them before signing their name on that dotted line.
  • Be decisive. When you’ve gotten to the point of house hunting, you should have already been pre-approved by a lender or bank and have a general idea of what you want. I think it helps to look a couple of homes to guide what you like and dislike, but when homes are moving as quickly as they are in a hot market you have to remember that time is of the essence. So basically, know what you want!
  • Do your homework. Drive by homes, know the neighborhoods you desire and know what is NON-NEGOTIABLE when buying a home. Doing drive-bys and research beyond what your agent provides you with can really eliminate a lot of running around!
  • Stay patient. Inventory may be low or you may have a very specific need when it comes to finding a home. Good things come with time and you need to keep your eyes wide open and know that something will come along, it just may not be in the next 24 hours, 2 days or even month.
  • Help your agent. I am constantly watching the market and sending my clients homes that are hand picked specifically for them with regards to school districts, bedrooms, acreage and more. When your agent is contacting you or sending you emails, let them know if they’re hitting the mark or not getting anywhere near what you’re wanting in a home. They can’t help you if you don’t help them. And that’s a fact, Jack!

As an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®), I can hone in my skills to represent the needs of my home buyers from the comprehensive knowledge I’ve received from real estate education. Each and every home buyer is different and it’s important that you as a buyer are treated that way. I want all of my buyers to know that this process is for THEM and only them because it’s their money and their home. When the housing market is hot, people tend to throw all reason out the window and it’s important to stay grounded and ensure that the home you’re buying is what you know in your gut is the right home for you and your future. After all, this is an INVESTMENT! 

Enjoy the house hunting and don’t let the stressor of a hot market get the best of you! Happy hunting!

Upfront Costs in Purchasing a Home

Money, money, money! When you first start the home buying process, a big concern can be the money and cashflow that you’ll need to pay upfront once you have an accepted contract. Payments can start adding up, so I always try to make sure that my buyers are aware of what checks they’ll be cutting from the beginning once their contract is accepted.

While closing costs are a big concern to buyers, those don’t really come to fruition until closing day (end of the deal). When it comes to upfront costs, you’re top costs will include your Option Period Fee, Earnest Money and paying for your Inspection. I’ve pulled the ranges and explanations for each below.

UPFRONT COSTS IN PURCHASING A HOME

Termination Option Fee: Typically ~$100

Your Termination Option OR Option Period is typically a time frame of 7-10 days where you complete your inspections, come in and get quotes/estimates on any repairs you’re needing and ensure that you’re ready to move forward on purchasing the home. This period starts the next day after the contract is executed.

The Termination Option Fee protects your Earnest Money so that if you back out of the contract within your 7 to 10 day period due to the seller not agreeing to repair certain items or the home not being quite up to par, you would get your Earnest Money back. After the 7 to 10 day Termination Option Period, your property will go UNDER CONTRACT.

This fee is written out the seller of the home as they’re giving you this time frame to complete any inspections, etc. You do not have to complete an inspection or have a Termination Option Period, but it is always recommended.  Your Termination Option Fee CAN BE credited to your closing and negotiated on price point and day period.

Earnest Money: 1% of home purchase price

Typically, your Earnest Money is 1% of the overall price of the home. For example, if you purchase a home for $200,000 then your Earnest Money check will be $2,000. That is 1% of the purchase price. Is the 1% fee negotiable? Yes! But the Earnest Money is seen as good faith that you’re ready to rock and roll as a buyer so most buyers and sellers stick to using the traditional 1% number. If you’re in a bidding war, you may put down more in Earnest Money. It all depends on the buyer and the seller.

This fee is written out to the title company that is handling this transaction. Your Earnest Money IS credited at closing to your costs and can be negotiated.

Inspection Fee:  Truly varies on square footage of home/company – ~$360-$600

Is this a required fee? Not necessarily, but some lenders do require an inspection and I ALWAYS recommend my buyers order one so that they know the ins and outs of the home from a licensed professional. The fee ranges by the company you use and the square footage of the home. The bigger the home, the higher the cost. In my opinion, this cost is WORTH IT! 

This fee is paid directly to the inspector or inspection company. This IS NOT credited to your closing and if you back out of the contract you will not receive a refund for the fee. Inspections are there to give you piece of mind and know what’s going on from plumbing to foundation to electricity. It’s beneficial on ALL fronts!

 

While there are some other upfront costs in purchasing a home, these are the main costs after you receive and accepted offer on a property. These are all fee to expect and later on pull money for your downpayment, lender (appraisal, etc.) and closing costs. This is used to help guide you at the very beginning stages after a contract is accepted.