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You may think of downsizing as something that makes sense when you have an empty nest. Larger families do, of course, need more room. Downsizing can also be financially strategic and rewarding for you and your family if you have the opportunity to do so.


How Much Is Your Home Worth? 


There comes a point in your life when the amount of money that your home is worth is very important. Maybe you need the money for retirement and are looking to move to a cheaper city or state. Maybe it’s time for you to pursue your goals and dreams. Whatever the reason, your home is a very large asset.  


If you downsize, you’ll have a bit more money available to invest for your future. You may even consider buying an investment property. If all of your money isn’t tied up in a home, you’ll have a bit more freedom to do other things with your money.


A Smaller Home Means Smaller Expenses 


When you downsize your home you end up with much lower expenses for your housing. You’ll save big on both utilities and home maintenance. You’ll be surprised as to how much extra cash you’ll have each and every month that you’ll be able to use for other things like investing, travel, or other expenses. You’ll have the ability to do things beyond simply achieve that one dream goal of home ownership. 


What If You Don’t Already Own A Home?


There’s a lesson to be learned here for renters as well. If you’re getting ready to buy a home, you may want to think small. A smaller home that can suit your needs will allow you to save thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage on your home. Remember that a mortgage payment is more than just the cost of the home. You’ll need to include things like taxes, insurance, mortgage insurance, heating, electricity, and more. The smaller the house that you buy, the less all of these things will cost. Think of what you could do if you invested that extra money that you saved on all of these things each month. 


What Would You Do With The Money You Save?


Having a big, beautiful home is a fantastic goal to achieve. You may have other dreams that you want to pursue in addition to owning a home. While downsizing isn’t for everyone, many people use the money they save to do some pretty incredible things like:


  • Travel
  • Go back to school
  • Buy a vacation home


The Negatives Of Downsizing


If you move into a smaller home, there are a few drawbacks. For one, you’ll have less storage and will actually need to downsize your amount of belongings as well. You’ll also have less room for visitors if hey come to stay. If grandkids frequent your home, you may be hesitant to sell and find a smaller place. It may also be difficult to find what you’re looking for at a certain price in a specific area. Think carefully before you decide to downsize and see if it has the right benefits for you.


If you're like me, cleaning isn't something you regularly schedule into your day. When I clean it's usually a last minute scramble to tidy up before company arrives. What's more, cleaning often involves going out to buy costly supplies and potent smelling chemicals. That's why I've compiled a list of cleaning hacks that avoid harsh chemicals and can be done with items you probably already have laying around your (messy) house. Cleaning the kitchen is an unending battle. In my house of four inhabitants, we are constantly piling high dishes into the sink and dishwasher and pretending we don't notice how dirty the microwave has gotten. These hacks will help you spend a less time scrubbing in the kitchen: Cleaning the blender You wake up in the morning, go for a run, drink your refreshing shake and then your bright mood is ruined at the thought of having to scrub peanut butter out of the bottom of your blender. The hack: Rinse it out once lightly, then add a few drops of dish soap and fill it up a quarter of the way with water, then blend. You're basically turning your own dirty blender into a dishwasher (just don't toss any silverware in there). Washing your dishwasher Speaking of dishwashers, does yours seem like it's getting a bit discolored and have a sort of musty smell? Just because the dishwasher cleans the dishes doesn't mean it also doesn't need to be washed every now and then. The hack: Take a measuring cup and fill it with 1cp of vinegar and place it upright on the top rack of the dishwasher. Then sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher. Run it on the highest heat setting and you've got a sparkling clean dishwasher. Glass baking dishes Who could go for some freshly baked brownies? Everyone could, obviously. But no one wants to scrub the pan of charred brownie remains afterward. Sponges just don't seem to cut it, so what's to be done? The hack: You have two options, here. If you have a minute to wait, you can put a few drops of dish soap and some water in the dish and microwave it for 1-2 minutes, then wipe it clean with a sponge. Alternatively, you can roll up a ball of aluminum foil, add soapy water, and scrub the dish clean with ease. Degreasing your appliances Is your microwave splattered with sauce? Does your toaster have unexplainable coffee stains dripping down the sides? Avoid looking at the walls of the oven when you put in a roast? We've put this moment off for far too long... it's time to scrub the appliances. Our food goes in these items, so it makes sense to be hesitant about using harsh chemicals on them. Luckily, you probably have everything you need to get them shining again. The hack: Three ingredients are all you need to make a great cleaner/degreaser. Water, lemon, and baking soda. In a spray bottle, combine 2 cups of warm water, a tablespoon of baking soda and 20 drops of lemon juice. Spray it onto the surface liberally, let it sit for a few seconds and then wipe it away along with all the grease. Now roll up your sleeves and get to work cleaning. Or, better yet, share this with your family and have them do it.

If you're getting ready to put your home on the market, the thought of organizing, cleaning, and arranging it may seem like an overwhelming project!

Knowing where to begin and how much money to spend on home staging and decorating are among the many questions that may be flooding your mind, right now.

The key to success is to make as much of an impact as possible, without spending more money than necessary.

One way to avoid "spinning your wheels" when it comes to maximizing the appearance of your home is to work with an experienced real estate agent. A good agent will quickly notice aspects of your home that need attention and advise you on the most cost-effective ways to improve its marketability. If they've shown dozens (or more) houses in their career, they'll be very familiar with all the things that attract buyers, as well as what repels them.

Although everyone has different tastes and expectations, many house hunters are attracted to gleaming hardwood floors, energy efficient windows, and stainless steel appliances. While it may not be cost effective to have new floors, appliances, and windows installed to sell your house faster, you can make the best possible impression by making sure the windows are crystal clear, hardwood floors are polished, and appliances are clean and shiny.

Since many house hunters pay close attention to the kitchen, it's especially important to win their approval on appearance and cleanliness. Because food is prepared and often consumed in the kitchen, it's going to be one of the more challenging rooms to keep clean -- especially if you have children. However, if a prospective buyer is wavering between two houses for sale, you can be reasonably sure that the one with the clean kitchen and bathrooms will be their preferred choice.

There are a lot of other ways you can make your kitchen appealing to buyers, too. By minimizing clutter on counter tops and displaying fresh flowers and a colorful bowl of fruit, you can make your kitchen look much more inviting. Prospective buyers will also respond favorably to appealing fragrances, such as freshly baked bread, cookies, cinnamon buns, or coffee. Clean windows, attractive curtains, and plenty of natural light will also add to the ambiance of your kitchen.

The ideal reaction from potential buyers touring your home would be something to the effect of "I can imagine us preparing dinner, entertaining guests, and sitting around the breakfast table in this house!" Setting the table so that it looks like the family is just about to sit down for a meal together is one way to help convey that image. The encouraging news is that when someone expresses sincere appreciation for the comforts and features of your home, there's a good chance they'll find a place for it on their short list of possibilities!


Have you heard the term “earnest money” but really aren’t sure what it means? Once you have found the perfect home and are all set to make an offer, there’s one more step that you need to take. That’s to make a deposit on the home you want to buy. This is known as an “earnest money deposit.”  


The Purpose Of The Deposit


The deposit shows the seller that you’re serious about buying the home. It’s a measure that allows the seller to have some faith in you as a buyer that you’re truly moving forward with your decision; you’re ready as a buyer to make the financial commitment. This deposit allows the deal to begin on a solid basis without much question. 


Is The Deposit Required Legally To Buy A Home?


From a seller’s perspective, a deposit keeps a buyer from changing their mind. If there is a significant amount of money involved, the seller sees the deposit as a way to keep the buyer locked in. This makes it easier for sellers to accept an offer. 


How Much Is Expected For An Earnest Money Deposit?


These deposits don’t quite have a standard amount. The general rule is that they range from 1% of the home price up to 5%. The more expensive of a home that’s being purchased, the larger the earnest money deposit should be. In some cases, the seller may even ask for a certain amount of a deposit to ensure that buyers are serious. How much money you pay at once is often negotiable. You may be able to pay part of the money at one time and the other part at a later date.


New Construction Can Require Large Deposits


New construction homes can require large earnest money deposits- up to half of the purchase price of the home. This is because the construction costs need to be paid upfront and the bank wants proof that the units being constructed with loan money are being sold to buyers who can pay for the home. 


New construction homes are often customized as well. It would be detrimental to a developer to make special changes to a home only for a buyer to walk away. 


Getting The Deposit Refunded


As with everything in real estate, you’ll have a contract. If you don’t follow the terms of the contract, you risk losing your earnest money deposit. Two main reasons for buyers to walk away are a flopped home inspection or financing that falls through. Read your contracts carefully. Sellers sometimes state that deposits are nonrefundable after a certain number of days. 


You need to be sure that you are covered as a buyer in the purchase and sales agreement. If you back out of a home purchase without good reason like a contingency included in the agreement) you could be out of luck when it comes to getting your deposit back.    




Millennials are often a topic of discussion in everything from jobs to cars to real estate. They are the generation who is changing the way we think about so many things. So, when it comes to selling your home to younger buyers, there’s certain things you may want to consider to raise the appeal of your home. Here’s what Millennials are looking for and what you can do to entice them in the home buying process: Young People Want Something Move-In Ready Millennials are young professionals who don’t want to make the time for home improvement projects. These buyers are typically looking for something that’s known as “turnkey” or move-in ready. Other groups of Millennials are more creative and see a vision in the home they buy, investing in the right property over time. What Sellers Can Do: The biggest thing you as a seller can do is be sure that the home displays all of its potential in each area. Even if your home isn’t move-in ready be sure that potential buyers understand what needs improving. Updated Kitchens And Baths Are A Must... Maybe Most home buyers desire a home with brand new kitchen and bath fixtures. Younger buyers have limited budgets and updates to both the kitchen and the bathroom are among the most expensive renovations to complete. On the seller’s side of things, however, these updates may not be within the budget either. It may not add enough value to the home in order to make updates worth it. Also, even with updates, the style of a kitchen or bathroom may not gel with the desired style of the buyer. What Sellers Can Do: Update the big things in the kitchen and bathroom where needed. The purple tile in the bathroom may appear ugly to you, but a buyer could find some great potential in it. Just be sure the kitchen and bath appear clean and have the basics such as storage areas in them. Big Open Kitchen The younger crowd likes bigger kitchens for entertaining and cooking elaborate meals. Millennials also like a lot of storage to keep things organized, simple and neat. They are the generation known to be “minimalists,” and their preferred style holds true to this. What Sellers Can Do: Sellers should at the minimum be sure that there is adequate storage available in the kitchen. When staging the home, take any unnecessary furniture pieces out, so that they don’t deter from the size the kitchen appears. Staging Your Home Overall, one of the most important things that sellers can do to appeal to young buyers is to stage the home well. While it’s often up to the buyer to create their own vision, having the home staged helps to ignite the creativity in the mind of the buyer. By using some of the above tips, you can help to make your home appeal to a younger demographic who are looking for very specific things in a home. Even if you don’t think your home can meet these expectations, you’ll be surprised what a little creativity can do!



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