Elisa Spence Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage


Ready to buy or sell a house? With the right real estate agent at your disposal, you should have no trouble acquiring a new home or selling your current residence.

Ultimately, it is important to assess a variety of real estate agents. This will enable you to find the right housing market professional to guide you along the homebuying or home selling journey and ensure you can get the best results possible.

Comparing and contrasting several real estate agents may seem difficult at first. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of hiring the ideal real estate agent.

Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider as you evaluate real estate agents.

1. Industry Experience

An experienced real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market. As such, he or she can offer comprehensive housing market insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

Take a look at a real estate agent's background and education. By doing so, you can learn more about this housing market professional's experience and determine whether this individual is the right person to guide you along the homebuying or home selling journey.

2. Communication Skills

Is a real estate agent an effective negotiator? Meet with a real estate agent, and you can learn about his or her communication skills.

A real estate agent should possess the communication skills to succeed in any housing market, at any time. He or she should be able to help you make sense of the housing market and respond to your concerns or questions as the homebuying or home selling journey progresses.

Furthermore, a real estate agent should be unafraid to be honest with you – without exception. This housing market professional will provide you with the support you need throughout the homebuying or home selling process. That way, you can reap the benefits of a fast, seamless homebuying or home selling journey.

3. Client Referrals

What are past clients saying about a real estate agent? Ask a real estate agent for client referrals, and you can gain first-hand knowledge about how a particular housing market professional supports his or her clients.

Typically, a real estate agent should be able to provide you with multiple client referrals. As a homebuyer or home seller, it is your responsibility to reach out to these past clients and use their insights to make an informed decision about a real estate agent.

Client referrals are exceedingly valuable because they can help you better understand what it's like to work with a real estate agent. They also can give you a glimpse into whether a particular real estate agent can provide you with the assistance you need to accomplish your homebuying or home selling goals.

Allocate the necessary time and resources to compare and contrast several real estate agents – you'll be glad you did. If you find the right real estate agent today, you can move one step closer to enjoying an unforgettable homebuying or home selling experience.


Photo by Alex Litvin on Unsplash

You don’t have to worry about getting good seats at your local cinema when you have your very own theater at home. With some planning, you can design a luxurious theater that lets you enjoy movies on the big screen in the comfort of your home. When you’re designing a home theater, keep the following ideas and considerations in mind. 

Screen and Sound System

Your home theater should have a projector that offers high-definition video quality and a state-of-the-art sound system for high-quality audio. The size of your screen will depend on how much space you have and what your personal preferences are. You can also have soundproofing done to keep the noise from the movies you watch from bothering the rest of your household if needed. 

Lighting

The kind of lighting you choose for your home theater can make a big difference in the way it looks and the atmosphere it creates. You can have elegant wall sconces installed along the sides of your home theater for an upscale look or have recessed lighting along the ceiling to mimic the lighting used in movie theaters. For a more luxurious appearance, consider having chandeliers or another types of hanging light fixtures installed in your home theater. 

Seating

The seating in your home theater should offer a comfortable place to spend a few hours at a time watching a movie or two. For a more authentic theater appearance and feel, you can arrange leather chairs or recliners in rows. For a cozier atmosphere, skip the seats and arrange high-end sofas and loveseats in your home theater. This type of furniture lets you lounge while watching movies. Add high-quality blankets and some accent pillows to sofas and loveseats for extra comfort. 

Decor

A home theater is more than just seats, a screen and a sound system. The right decor can create a cinematic ambience, such as red velvet curtains that open and close in front of the screen. Whether you’re a fan of vintage, glamorous movie theaters or more modern ones, the decor items you choose can add to your movie watching experience. For a more contemporary look, consider framing posters from your favorite films along the walls. You can also add other framed memorabilia from movies.

Extras

Depending on the space you have, consider adding a bar or even a concession stand area with a popcorn machine to your home theater. This makes it easy to get snacks and beverages for your movies without having to leave the room.


Your living room is one of the most used rooms of the house. It’s where the family gathers and company comes to chat. If the furniture in your living room is not arranged comfortably, then you may not enjoy the space as much as you should. Heed the tips below in order to get the furniture in the living room is arranged for comfort and practicality.  


See How Conversations Will Play Out


You want your living room to be a place where face-to-face conversation actually thrives. Even in the age of the smartphone, people still like a certain kind of connection with one another. Make sure that food and drinks will be in easy reach and that the seating is arranged in a way that allows everyone to be involved with a conversation. 


Use Dividing Factors


If you have a large living room, you’ll need to divide the space with either a room separation apparatus or a piece of furniture. Using furniture actually keeps the room cozy and free from feeling stuffy. If the living room bleeds into another room with an open floor plan, this becomes especially important. Use a sofa, and allow it to face away from the dining area in order to divide the conversation spaces and keep your home’s interior design flowing. 


Use A Focal Point


Most living rooms have a TV or a fireplace, or both. You can keep both on the same wall, or create separate spaces for both activities in order to have some division in the room. There are many different strategies that can be used in order to keep both the fireplace and the television in the same space without making a dizzying focal point.


Think Outside The Box


By arranging your furniture at a diagonal, or different angle than simple straight lines, you’ll be able to give your living room some flavor. First, set the sofa and the coffee table, then create the rest of the space around these establishing angles. This will make the room feel bigger and give it a sense of symmetry with flavor.          


Matching Furniture Gives Flow


By getting matching sofas, chairs, and side tables, you’ll be able to create a sense of symmetry in the room. The way you arrange the furniture ultimately depends on your needs and tastes, but you’ll have a few anchoring pieces to work with that will allow you to make the living room your canvas and your furniture your subjects. Have fun playing with the layout and design of the room. There’s really no right or wrong answers, just simply what will make you happy and what looks good in the space.


Image by Lisa Fotios via Pexels

If you're like many busy homeowners, the foyer of your home is sometimes treated as an afterthought. It probably contains functional items such as a coat rack and a place to put shoes, but it may lack the aesthetics necessary to provide an inviting introduction to your home. Fortunately, strategies exist designed to make the most of any foyer. Here are five to help you get started.

Wall Art

Wall art personalizes a foyer and makes it seem part of the home rather than simply being a transition area between the outdoors and the home interior. Paintings are a good choice, especially if you're able to position them in a way that makes them a focal point of the foyer. However, paintings aren't the only option — a gorgeous fabric wall hanging or a creative piece of metal art designed to be displayed on a wall will also work.

Warm Lighting

While it's important to have good ambient overhead lighting in your foyer for the sake of optimal visibility, secondary lighting provides a warm accent that welcomes both household residents and guests in the home. An attractive lamp on a table is a nice touch, but if your foyer doesn't have the room, consider installing a couple of wall lights.

Greenery

Adding a plant or two brings life to any foyer. If you feel you don't have enough natural light in your foyer to coax anything green to grow, keep in mind that houseplants such as Peace Lilies and Snake Plants thrive in environments with very little light. If you're lucky enough to have a foyer with a skylight, take advantage of this by hanging some beautiful Boston ferns. Have pets? Be sure to check that your plant of choice isn't poisonous to them.

A Small Seating Area

A small seating area in the foyer can function as a private reading nook, a place to remove or put on outer footwear during times of inclement weather, or simply a place to sit and relax for a moment or two after coming home from a long day at work. Even the smallest foyers can usually accommodate a single chair and a pint-sized table.

Scent

Aromatic pine cones in a basket, a scented diffuser discreetly placed on a table, or a plug-in air freshener in a warm, welcoming scent such as vanilla, cinnamon, or lavender provide a pleasant accent for those just walking in the door. Scented candles are an especially nice touch in the foyer on evenings when you're expecting guests.

If you've recently decided to put your home on the market, creating a welcoming entryway is more important than ever. Please feel free to reach out at your earliest convenience for more information on making the most of your home environment.


Image by Annie Gray from Unsplash

If you are handy with home repair, you could buy a more expensive house if you are willing to put some work into it. Many foreclosures are often sold “as is,” and require some work. The seller may also be more open to negotiating a lower price based on the number of repairs that need to be done. You could save quite a bit of money if you can do a lot of the work yourself.

The Down Payment

If you budgeted $300,000 for a home, you probably have the 20 percent down payment saved up already. Instead of putting all of that down payment on a $300,000 house, you could purchase a home that would be worth $400,000 if it didn’t need work. Instead, the sellers have listed the home for $200,000. Instead of putting $60,000 down on a home that is ready to move into, you could get a larger home and put down with a $40,000 down payment. That gives you $20,000 that you already saved to put into repairs.

Special Loans

Some lenders have loan programs that are specifically for fixer-uppers. They lend you the amount needed to purchase the home and extra money to make repairs to the house. However, you will have to follow the lender’s rules. The rules vary from lender to lender, but could include:

  • Doing a percentage of the work yourself;
  • Living on the property; and
  • Completing a portion of the work within a specific amount of time.

If you already plan on doing most or all of the work yourself, you’ve met that condition. If you are required to live on the property, you could set up an RV or live in a section of the house that doesn’t need extensive repairs. You could even convert an outbuilding to an in-law apartment.

The hardest part is committing to completing a percentage of the work within a specific amount of time. If you work all day, you only have nights and weekends to work on the house.

Know What Has to Be Done

Before you commit to a loan with terms for extra money to fix up a home, go through the house to make a list of everything that absolutely must be done. You might make a second list of things that you would like to do, but do not stop you from living in the house. Determine the costs of the “must-do” repairs to make sure you have enough money to make those repairs. Then, estimate the amount of time it will take you to make those repairs. You might want to pad the time since Murphy’s Law loves to interfere with your best intentions.

Once you determine that you have enough money to at least get the house habitable and can do it within the lender’s terms, you are ready to make a bid!




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