June 27, 2014

Two Years to the Down Payment You Need

Every month you pay the rent, you’re probably thinking, “I wish this money was going into my future.” For a lot of would-be first-time home buyers, it’s the down payment which makes home ownership seem impossible. Climbing the “down payment mountain” isn't impossible. Like any major challenge, it’s all a matter of breaking your big, hairy, audacious goal down into practical steps.

Here are some tips to conquer saving for a down payment:

June 20, 2014

Making Little Feel Big: Tips to Upsize Your Small House

Has your home started to feel a little small for your family? It happens to the best of us. The things we own gradually end up colonizing a lot of our free space, and the house which felt “just right” a few years ago can suddenly feel as tiny as a shoe closet.

Fortunately, there are some simple tricks you can try to super-size your small space. Most of these tricks are a matter of changing perspective rather than opening up more square footage. Before you try them, consider a real effort to de-clutter first. If your de-clutter campaign falls short, though, these tactics may come to your rescue:

Lighten up the walls. Color can make the difference between breezy, cozy, and claustrophobic. Dark colors on walls make them seem smaller and denser, while lighter ones broaden your view and reflect more light. While white can be a bit harsh, there are other cheerful tones such as lemon, mint, and cornflower which can transform a space.

Aim high. Many times, our gaze tends to lock onto the things in the way of our feet. If you have zones of heavy storage occupying square footage, look for ways to get those items off the ground. Corner shelves, hidden cabinets, and even hanging racks can do wonders for widening up narrow spaces. Hanging pictures higher up on walls can make rooms feel taller, too.

Widen up the windows. Big curtain rods which extend beyond the border of the window can make a window seem larger, and making the move to keep them open (perhaps with sheer drapes for privacy) can let in crucial light. If you have a little renovation money, consider adding windows to rooms where less-than-ideal lighting conditions exist.

Cast mirror magic. Amplifying light is a big theme here, so position large mirrors across from windows to create “windows” where no window can exist. Even if you don’t have a window handy, a large mirror can double up the tiniest room.

Demand double duty furniture. Hidden storage in large furniture can be a boon for making the most diminutive room more manageable. Take, for example, raised bed platforms with drawers built in the frame. Look for any opportunity to hide storage in existing objects.

Hopefully these five tips will make your small house more spacious. If they still don’t make enough room for peace of mind, it might be time to consider up-sizing. I’m happy to help you assess how much home you can afford, and what you might be able to get for the house you've outgrown. Drop me a line if you’re ready for the big time! scatesrealtyinvestments.com

June 13, 2014

3 Things Buyers Forget to Check During a Home Search

Think you’ve found the perfect home? Think again. There are three little details which can turn an ideal house into the world’s most annoying location. Before you make your offer, take into account these three small, but surprisingly important details:

June 6, 2014

Couples advice: Share priorities when home buying

It starts innocently enough one Saturday morning. Maybe you find yourself wishing you could host family at your house. Maybe you’re already dreading the long Monday morning commute. You look up at your partner and say: “You know, maybe we should think about moving.” To your surprise you hear: “I’ve been thinking the same thing. Let’s start looking tomorrow!”

Not so fast! Knowing that you and your partner want to move isn't enough to begin your home search in earnest. Before you jump the gun and a start going to open houses, it’s a good idea to determine what’s behind the desire to move. Is it the neighborhood? Is it the commute? Is it the lack of space? If you don’t get an idea what’s behind your urge for a new house, you could end up house hunting with mismatched priorities.

Without a mutual understanding, you can end up wasting a lot of time looking at homes which don’t have a hope of satisfying your needs. Without articulating your needs to one another, you could end up fighting without knowing why. Worse, you might decide to spend more than you can afford in order to accommodate each disparate desire. 

Here’s a simple exercise to ensure you share your home priorities with one another: