• Buying a Home,  Mortgage

    Q&A: All Cash Home Purchase vs. Mortgage

    Many of my clients (especially Baby Boomers who are downsizing or relocating) ask me if they should pay cash for their next house or finance it with a new loan. While the idea of owning a home free-and-clear is certainly appealing, I always present them with a series of questions to help them clarify the big picture. Perhaps you or someone you know may benefit from these as well: How much will you be left with after an all-cash purchase? Maintaining a safety net of three to six months’ worth of living expenses can be a real comfort after you’ve done well on the sale of your home. How comfortable…

  • Buying a Home,  Downsizing

    7 Ways Downsizing Saves Money

    Downsizing is hardly a dirty word these days, especially as Baby Boomers begin to question the size of their home, and more Millennials are finally making their way into the world. Home ownership is a good investment at any size, and if you’ve ever wanted to free up some cash for the rest of life’s joys (travel? new hobbies? investing?), downsizing can be a great way to rightsize your budget. Here are seven ways downsizing can foster a little more financial freedom: 1. Utility costs. If your gas and electric bills have been climbing year over year, consider the pleasant surprise of heating and cooling 1,200 sq. ft. instead of…

  • Inspiration

    Adjusting Attitude with Gratitude

    “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” -Aldous Huxley, (1894 – 1963) English writer Do you have a practice for dealing with daily stress? I thought I’d share a simple and surprisingly effective exercise you can do each day that will not only boost your spirits but, lighten the perceived burden of “the daily grind.” No running shoes required! You can do it without breaking a sweat, right from the comfort of your car, your desk, or even the line at Starbucks. It sounds simple, but it’s quite powerful: Each day, think of five things you’re grateful for. They don’t have to be big…

  • Home Maintenance

    Breathing Easier in Your Home

    Maintaining indoor air quality is an extremely important but often overlooked component of a living happily in your home. By and large it’s an invisible problem, but the costs can really add up— from high energy bills to creeping health issues. Many homes have become so energy efficient that they’re also good at trapping dust and other pollutants. Appropriate ventilation is an important aspect of indoor air quality. This includes venting bathrooms, kitchens, and fireplaces directly outside. It’s also vital to try and store industrial chemicals such as pesticides, paints, and harsh cleaners outside of the habitable areas of the home. Alarms are also a useful way to keep an…

  • Home Maintenance

    Dealing with Scratched Hardwood Floors

    Hardwood floors are highly desirable for most homeowners, but they come with their share of challenges when it comes to cleaning, maintenance, and repairs. After a few months or years of heavy use from kids playing with toys and chairs being shuffled around, it may be time for some DIY fixes. Hiding scratches: If you’ve got a good eye for matching colors, you can actually use crayons or markers or purchase wax sticks from the hardware store to fill-in scratches. Try to match the stain color on your floors, but don’t worry if it’s a little off. If the color is close, once the scratch is filled, it’ll look like…

  • Home Maintenance

    5 Secret Weapons for DIY Success

    Is there a home maintenance project that’s been lingering on your to-do list for too long because you’re dreading the trip to the hardware or craft store? There are some projects you can tackle with items that are almost certainly already in your home. Vinegar: There’s probably a jug of vinegar in your pantry right now. You can soak items in vinegar to remove mineral deposits (like in a clogged showerhead), and you can boil vinegar in your microwave to remove odors and make it easier to clean. Cola: A can of Coke or Pepsi can be used to clean many surfaces, including your glass windows, porcelain toilet, or chrome fixtures. Just…

  • Holiday,  Winter

    Easy DIY gifts for everyone on your holiday list

    (BPT) – You want to find unique gifts for everyone on your list this holiday season. Rather than search endlessly, have you considered making your own presents? DIY gifting is a growing trend, providing people the opportunity to create the ideal present with loved ones’ personalities in mind. Because it’s homemade, it’s customizable and one of a kind, with deeper meaning than anything that can be purchased at a store. Whether you’re an amateur DIYer, an avid crafter or don’t consider yourself creative at all, you can make the perfect holiday gift guaranteed to impress everyone on your list. Here are five easy holiday DIY projects for inspiration: Canvas handprint…

  • Home Decor

    Ideas for Accent Walls

    An accent wall can totally transform a room, taking it from boring and drab to bold and exciting. Accent walls create a new focal point for your space, add liveliness and contrast, and are typically a very inexpensive DIY project. The starter accent wall You can easily add an accent wall to your room in one afternoon by applying a new paint color. Deep blues and bright oranges are common choices for accent walls, but choose a color that will complement your existing decor and overall design aesthetic.                         Interesting textures Bright, contrasting paint is a good starting point,…

  • Buying a Home

    Top Tips for House Hunting Online

    Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind. Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes…