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.

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!

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!

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?

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!

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.

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!

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.