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!

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!

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!

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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.

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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!

 

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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…

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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!