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!

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!

 

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!

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!!

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!

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!

 

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.

Don’t Forget: Applying for your Homestead Exemption

Cheers to the New Year, y’all! It’s a time for resolutions, exciting new things and time too apply for your Homestead Exemption for your primary residence. Did you buy a home in 2018? 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. Address on the cards must match the homestead address.

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!

 

Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays, right?! The holiday season is full of traveling near and far to see family and friends. While you’re preoccupied with the hustle and bustle of bopping around for the holidays, you don’t want to forget about keeping your home safe. Traveling can already be stressful enough, so I took the liberty of speaking with Officer Lana Davidson, Gilmer Police Department Investigator, about the best tips and tricks to protect your home during the holidays.

Our local law enforcement is loaded with knowledge and information to help us stay safe and out of harms way, especially during a crazy time like the holidays. I’m so thankful for all of our police officers, especially Officer Davidson, for keeping us all safe. Officer Davidson gave me so many useful tips that she even uses when she’s traveling away from home, so you know it’s the good stuff  when even she’s practicing what she’s preaching! When you sit there and think about it the police department is there for every break-in or intruder alert, so they all know a thing or two about what people are looking for while homeowners are out of town.

With Christmas nearing in, here are some great tips from our local law enforcement to keep your home safe during the holidays:

Remove Hidden Keys Outside

Have those spare keys hidden under a flower pot? Front doormat? You’re not alone and you’re not being clever because everyone has that SAME hiding spot. Move those keys! Or at least move them while you’re out of town to give you a little piece of mind.

Have Your Mail Picked Up By Family/Friend or Held By Post Office

There’s nothing that say’s I’m out of town more than a full mailbox of unread mail. Have a family member, friend or neighbor drop in to pick up your mail while you’re out of town. If that’s not an option, you can coordinate with your local post office to hold your mail until you’re back in town.

Send Packages Elsewhere

Hitting up those last minute sales or have that Amazon Prime order coming in? Don’t let those packages pile up on the front porch. Either have them shipped to an office or different location. As said above, you can also have a family member, friend or neighbor pick up packages while you’re out of town. To request a mail hold, call 1-800-ASK-USPS or complete a “hold mail” form at the post office. You can make the request up to 30 days in advance or as early as the next-scheduled delivery day. The postal service will hold mail from three to 30 days.

Put Your Lights On A Timer

Sounds complicated, but it’s really not. You can buy a cheap timer for your lights inside and outside of your home, or get a smart plug. Have your inside lights on a rotation that matches with your normal schedule when you’re typically home and not. You can find timers at Walmart, Target or even Amazon. Officer Davidson also mentioned having your TV on a timer, it’s not necessary but it really adds to the look of being home.

Watch Your Social Media

Check yoself, before you wreck yoself. Avoid posting vacation countdowns or checking in on social media while you’re out of town. I know you want to share all of your insta-worthy photos with the world, so just be sure not to geotag yourself or even better… wait to post until you’re BACK HOME! Yes, this is difficult even for me, but no one knows you’re out of town if you don’t show them.

Ensure All Windows and Doors Are Locked

Check your windows and doors and then double-check them! Don’t forget to look at all of your screens, too. Officer Davidson said this is a surefire way to see if someone tried to break in by looking back at the screens after the trip to see if there’s been any bends or breaks.

Take An Inventory of Valuables

Take a video, pictures and write down all of your valuables. Photos and serial numbers are very useful for local law enforcement. For example, if a gun is stolen, having a serial number can help track if the item was sold or used. You want to file stolen items IMMEDIATELY to the police department so they can have it in their files.

Move Valuables Out of Site

Take those valuable out of the window area or any rooms that can be seen from outside of the home. Out of sight, out of mind!

Install Motion Lights

And make sure the lights work!! This will scare off intruders if they’re walking around your home.

Keep Your Neighbors In The Loop

Homies with the neighbors? Good! Let them know that you’ll be out of town so they can alert you if they see any funny behavior while you’re gone. It’s not an imposition to them because trust me, they’ll want the favor in return.

Set Your Alarm 

I mean… duh! Crazy enough, Officer Davidson said a lot of people don’t do this. WHAT?! Don’t forget this little step before you leave the home.

Keep Things As They’re Normally Seen

This means that if your curtains are typically open, don’t draw them closed when you’re out of town. Leave them open. Are your blinds typically opened? Leave them opened. That’s a big sign for intruders to look for.

Change Those Keypad Lock Codes

Keypads for garages and front doors sure do make life easy, but have you ever thought about how many people have your code? Family, friends and friends of friends could have quick access to the inside of your home. NO GOOD! Change those keypad lock codes often and only give it out to people who really need to know. 

Notify The Police Department Of Travels

Your local law enforcement is there to HELP!! Remember this. You can call your police department and let them know that you’ll be out of town and they can add your home to their typical route while you’re out of town to keep an eye on everything. Growing up, if my Dad was out of town, my mom and I have had no shame asking the police department to take a loop around our place at night. No. Shame.

 

Safe travels and happy holidays! I hope that you can rest easy knowing that you have these great tips and tricks to keep your home safe from our local law enforcement. Share any useful tips that you use while you’re out of town during the holidays!

Listen In! 5 Great Podcasts for Real Estate Agents

Podcasting is a habit for me! I love listening along as I get ready in the mornings, drive around to showings and while I’m working. It’s a great way to pass time, but also learn something new and useful at the same time!

When I lived in Houston, I would drive back and forth to East Texas quite often (because Wedding Season is the season that never ends). I started to get sick and tired of listening to the same songs over and over and OVER AGAIN, so I knew it was time to switch up my little driving routine. Podcasts were always a topic of conversation in my workspace in Houston, so I decided to give it a try and listen, and I’m so happy I did!

If you’re new to the podcast world, I highly recommend that you start our with How I Built This with Guy Raz. The inspiring stories about how people built their businesses were uplifting and fun to listen along with. The different stories about perseverance and how people built their businesses from beginning to end makes it worth the listen. While I always love an inspiration story, I also find it useful to listen to sales and real estate podcasts. There are MANY podcasts to choose from that are focused on marketing, leads, listings and so much more. Below are five podcasts that I enjoy and think you will, too!

5 Great Podcasts for Real Estate Agents

FACE TO FACEIt’s all about building a brand and your imprint in the real estate industry with the Face to Face podcast. Jay and Michael do a great job building off one another sharing their experience from being in the real estate industry, leaving to start a different business and then jumping back into the industry. They talk about it all coming full circle and share their past experiences, as well as, their present experiences. They really are fun to listen to and learn from. This is one of my newest finds and I HIGHLY recommend.

Super Agents LIVEToby Salgado interviews industry leaders and really digs deep to find answers of what got these people to where they are and how they found success. I sometimes have difficulty listening to this podcast because Toby is a little condescending with his interviewees but I’ve come to find out that it’s so he can get the RIGHT answers and not a glossed over “I just worked hard and kept my head down.” Super Agents Live has great teaching points. Is this podcast centered for newer agents in the industry? No, it’s not. But it’s useful and provides great tools for marketing and listings. This podcast is not consistent on a posting schedule, but they’re lengthy and provide LOADS of great information.

The Honest Real Estate AgentThis one lives up to its name… HONEST! Mario Jannatpour, the creator and voice of the podcast, shares some really great advice. It’s not all just about marketing a property or winning a listing; he really dives into how you as an agent should present yourself. A great example he had was an agent look sloppy, fumbling papers as they were walking out of the dirty and messy vehicle to greet the potential buyers.  People are always watching and he does a great job explaining how important your presentation is. He also has a fantastic book called The Honest Real Estate Agent that covers all of the same aspects the podcast does. Unfortunately, his podcast is not consistent with posting every week (or sometimes month), but it gives you an opportunity to catch up on old episodes.

Business Unusual with Barbara CorcoranShort, sweet and to the point! Barbara Corcoran was a real estate mogul, ’Shark’ on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank and is just fun to listen to. She’s witty and quick and just a straight forward type of gal, which is what I love! In her podcast, she focuses on using your smarts to read people, how to get what YOU want and pushing forward professionally. Her episodes are normally around seven minutes long, so you can listen in on your daily commute!

Side Hustle School with Chris GuillebeauSeems like an odd, random choice for real estate agents but hear me out. This is a daily podcast that normally is a maximum of eight minutes long with a 15 minute weekly recap on Sundays. Every day there’s a different episode about people with different “side hustles” and it’s anything from creation of products to trainings and more. What I truly like about this podcast is the lessons the people learn from sales and how they uniquely market their product. It’s fascinating how a lot of these side hustles can teach you about marketing a property or dealing with a client. I’ve an OG follower and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t squeeze in around eight minutes to listen in of people’s new and fun side hustles and the take aways they have that I can use.

 

These are some of my favorite podcasts and I hope you give them a listen! If you’re a podcaster, I would love to hear what some of your favorites are. I’m always trying to learn more as I listen along.