Bethany Blessing's Blog
The kids are gone and your home that once always felt full to the brim might begin to feel like too much for just the two of you. Which also means it’s the perfect time to buy just the kind of home you always dreamed of having. And let’s be honest, this isn’t always the home young couples need to raise their growing family.
Open the next chapter of your life by, quite literally, opening a new door.
One of the most important factors to consider when house hunting is whether to stay within your existing community. Many couples are excited to not be tied to one place and have the ability to move to somewhere much warmer or scenic. However, it’s important to consider a few factors that some couples find they wish they had when they first started house hunting for homes across the country.
One of the biggest factors to consider is your family and friends. Moving across country can mean seeing them a lot less. And even though we now have video call technology there’s no replacement for that one on one interaction you get when they’re just a drive around the corner.
Instead of jumping in feet first, consider vacationing in the location(s) you are considering for a week or two at a time. Get to know the surrounding community while you are there. What types of people are in the area and can you see yourself easily becoming one of the group? Visit the restaurants, coffee shops, library and community center to see where people gather and if they are “your” people. If you have a hobby or are looking to take one on look into what sort of activities are in the area. Look for sewing/knitting circles, cooking classes, speaking events, and/or hobby shops in the area.
You might just find that the area is best for visiting time to time and not a place you’d like to grow roots. However, you do find you love the location look into the different travel options and what pricing will look like throughout the year. Especially around the holidays. You don’t want to find out after the fact that you need to drive to a train station two hours away just to get on a train or pay an arm and a leg for a plane ride.
One last thing to consider is planning for your budget both now and in the future. Retirement has a lot of perks but cash flow can get tricky when it comes to big-ticket items. Look for homes that you can pay as much of the total as possible up front. Having small, or no, mortgage payments will ensure you are well within your means. If this is a home you plan to live in for a very long time you’ll want to make sure that all expenses can be covered by one of you if anything should happen to the other’s income source.
Having a family changes a lot. For one, your priorities about where you’d like to live change. This shift could be from a desire to live near restaurants and bars to parks and the best schools in a safe neighborhood. If you want to find a good neighborhood to search for a home in, there are a few things that you can research ahead of time before you even start your search for a home.
Research School Districts
For most parents, the school district in which they choose to live is an important part of the decision where to live. If you don’t know the area, or aren’t sure how the schools are, there are plenty of tools to help you. A quick online search can help you to compare and contrast neighboring school districts. Another important question to ask to find a suitable school district is if they actually have room for all of the students that would like to be enrolled in the school of your choice. You can also talk to people in the community about the schools and how they feel about them. Even a visit to local schools can help you to see what the education system in a certain neighborhood is all about.
Once you have a family, safety becomes even more of a priority. You do all of the right things from feeding your family well to baby-proofing the home. Yet, one thing that’s sometimes hard to control is the safety of the area that we live in. You’re going to want to find a neighborhood with low crime rate. There’s a few different tools online that help you to check the crime rates in certain areas. Don’t assume that the city is less safe than the suburbs, or even a rural area. Doing research and getting to know the area is key to finding a safe place to settle down in.
Shortcuts And Speedways
In the same realm as safety, you want to check out the actual street that you hope to settle down on. Some streets can be used as shortcuts and can end up being a speedway. You should check to make sure that the street you choose isn't a high traffic route. You’ll never feel comfortable having your children outside playing if you know that traffic is so dangerous on your street.
Once you have a family, you suddenly find a need to build a network of other parents and families that are just like you. A good way to tell a family friendly neighborhood could be just taking a peek through it. If you see families outside for a walk together, toys in the front yard, or a thriving neighborhood park, it’s a good bet that your home will be in a family-friendly community.
Buying a home with an in-law suite provides many families with peace of mind for years to come. Whether or not your parents don’t get around as well as they used to or you’re planning ahead for the years ahead, you’ll always be a stone's throw away from them. And while this isn’t a topic most like to think or plan for, it's never one you’ll wish you were less informed on.
When shopping around for homes with an in-law suite look for those that are a single story and open floor plan. Come crutches, walker or wheelchair this layout guarantees its inhabitants full access to every room. No chairlift required.
Some things that are especially beneficial when you’re feeling the effects of age are helpful to those at any age.
Consider these home upgrades first:
Switch out all door knobs for handles. The twisting action of a doorknob is hard and sometimes even impossible for arthritic hands. But it also makes for easier access to any room if you’re hands are full with a laundry basket, groceries or toddler.
A grab bar should be installed in every bathtub. Everyone is susceptible to the slippery surface of the tub. However, as we age our balance and coordination begins to become compromised. A horizontal bar along the length of the tub can multitask as a grab bar and place to keep shampoo bottles and facecloths. This placement is also more subtle than a bunch of horizontal and vertically placed bars.
Another feature every home should have? A motion-sense light outside. Our eyes are no more immune to age than the rest of our body. This makes getting around in the dark much more difficult. Coupled with balance could cause a very severe accident. If your new home doesn’t already have a motion sense lamp this is one upgrade that is best made ASAP.
Once you have the basics in place consider these upgrades your loved ones will really appreciate:
A hand-held shower head with the option of a waist height wall mount. For when movement is limited and especially for those who need to sit while bathing.
A built-in shower bench. This upgrade is really just a nice touch especially compared to the white metal chairs that feel more like an afterthought.
Textured flooring. Tile can get slippery especially when wet. Installing textured flooring can help avoid that infamous “help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” scene from playing out.
Railing along the stairs; ideally along both sides. Stairs can be a dangerous place for anyone especially if we are in a hurry or not paying attention. Having a railing to hold on to will help your loved ones keep their balance.
For home sellers, staging a house can help you transform an ordinary residence into a stellar one. And even though it may seem like an expensive process to stage your property, there are many cost-effective ways to do just that.
Here are three cheap house staging ideas that every home seller needs to know.
1. Put Away Your Personal Belongings
Although you may display many treasured antiques and photographs throughout your home, you'll want to put these items in storage before you show your property to potential homebuyers.
Remember, your goal as a home seller is stir up significant interest in your residence. If you keep personal mementos on display in your house, it may be tough for homebuyers to envision what life would be like if they purchased your home.
When it comes to home staging, putting away your personal belongings is a must. Lucky for you, if you place your personal items in storage, you can boost your chances of a quick home sale. Plus, you may even be able to speed up the process of relocating to a new address, as many of your personal belongings will already be packed up and ready to go.
2. Remove Clutter
Let's face it – clutter is an eyesore that most homeowners can live without. However, many home sellers may have large book, CD or toy collections that can take up a lot of space.
Removing clutter is essential for home sellers who want to stage their residences properly. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to eliminate clutter with ease.
For example, you may want to host a yard sale before you add your house to the real estate market. A yard sale enables you to get rid of excess items as well as earn extra cash.
Or, if you are desperate to get rid of clutter quickly, you may be able to donate various items to local charities or dispose of these items altogether.
3. Clean and Deodorize Your Home
Pet odors and other unpleasant smells won't do you any favors, especially if you want your home to make a positive first impression on prospective homebuyers.
Cleaning and deodorizing your residence usually requires hard work and patience. On the other hand, you likely won't have to worry about breaking your budget to keep your property neat and tidy.
With a fresh, clean home, your residence may stand out from others in a crowded real estate market. The pleasant aromas that fill your house also can bolster your house's chances of making a positive first impression on potential homebuyers.
Staging your home may seem difficult at first, but expert real estate agents are able to help you prepare your residence for the housing market. Real estate agents can offer recommendations about how you can enhance your property quickly and effortlessly and ensure that you can stir up plenty of interest in your home as soon as it hits the real estate market.
Collaborate with a real estate agent, and ultimately, you should have no trouble staging and selling your house.
The entryway to your home is probably quite small, but you can make the most of your space by pinning down what you really need there. Below, you’ll find some items that you should try and keep around the entry of your home for both design appeal and organization purposes.
A Place For Coats
When guests come to visit, it’s welcoming for you to be able to offer them a place to hang their coats, rather than throwing them into a bedroom or on a chair. You can place coatracks on a wall for easy hanging, giving everyone open access to their coats when they need them. You can even place a coat rack along a stairway hall. This way everything from coats to bags to hats will all be in one place.
Having a weather-resistant rug available in the entryway of your home can help to keep dirt and grime off of the floor.
Every entryway needs some type of storage for items like extra coats, shoes, umbrellas, even bags. You can use an inexpensive shelving system or go as fancy as using a dresser or armoire.
It’s important to have some kind of seating near the entryway of your home. This way, you’ll have a place to sit down and put on shoes. Seating will also help make the entryway more comfortable. Make sure that the seating allows for a casual feel to add to the warmth of the welcome.
Flowers And Plants
Using flowers and plants in the entryway of your home gives guests that welcoming pop of color that will brighten their day. It’s one of the first things that guests will see when they walk up to the front door of your home, so you’ll want to make a good first impression. Shoot for year-round plants that don’t require a lot of maintenance and can be kept up easily no matter what the season.
Once you enter your home in the evening hours, one of the first things you want to do is turn on a light. This is one of the best features for your home to have safety and security when you enter and exit the house. You can choose any kind of light fixture that you want to accent your home in order to bring out the beauty. The only requirement is that you should make sure a light switch is always within an arm’s reach.
Make It Your Own
The most important thing that you can do for your entryway is to make it your own. You can add any kind of accents and features that you choose. The entryway is the first impression that people will get of your home, so make it count!