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Tips To Beautify Rooms In Your Home

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There’s no place like home, so why not make home the most beautiful and cozy place you can stay in? Let’s dive into some techniques that can help you showcase the best features of every room in your house. Just a touch of color, texture, and personality can transform your home into something new. Here’s a few tips that aren’t a lot of hassle:

ADD SOME COLOR

Going with a neutral scheme can never go wrong, but if you’re feeling like your room is a little drab, don’t be afraid to go with a bold color. You can do an accent wall that compliments the current color scheme or use your furniture or accent pieces to bring a touch of color. Color doesn’t have to mean clutter, you can keep the rest of the room simple and add the dramatic touch with a few elements.

USE SOME MIRRORS

Bringing in some mirrors can add light and room to your space. Using mirrors in staging is known to help the room look like it’s much bigger than it is it. Add a few accent mirrors, preferably right across the room from a window, to brighten up your space and keep it from feeling too tight and small.

PLAY WITH ACCESSORIES

We get it, furniture can get expensive, but there is so much you can do with a room just getting creative with accessories. Get some unique decorative pieces and let your room tell a story around them. Hop down to your closest antique store and grab some pieces that are bold. You can also hop into Hobby Lobby or TJ Maxx, they have beautiful and unique decorative pieces that are incredibly affordable.

ADD SOME GREEN

Nothing gives a space some life like some life, literally. Add some plants to your rooms, lots of green ones that are easy to keep alive, to add a unique touch to the room. You’d be surprised how much a room looks “finished” when you add a beautiful tree to the corner of a room.

EMBRACE THE LIGHT

The natural light, we mean. Don’t block out your windows with heavy drapes or hide them behind furniture. Decorate around your room in a way that compliments the windows and brings the natural light in.

ADD TEXTURE

Use fur throws or pillows, use patterns in your fabrics, etc. Don’t be afraid to add unique textures throughout the home. It gives your eyes something to land on as it’s looking around the room. You can even use metallics. Don’t over-do it, because then it can get overwhelming. Just get a few textures that compliment each other and put them in clever places around your room.

REMOVE CLUTTER

A tip you’ll hear often, nothing brings the best out in a room then getting rid of all the clutter and junk. If you have a hard time walking around your room or finding things, it may be time to get a few boxes and start cleaning out the things that don’t really belong.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Home Buying Myths

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Although the internet can be a great resource for a variety of information, a lot of that information is incorrect. One of the most important and expensive decisions in your life, home buying, tends to circulate a lot of misinformation. Most of that misinformation is in regards to how much of a down payment you need or what your credit score needs to be. Let’s go over the real facts about buying a home and knock those myths out, so they don’t hinder your ability to purchase!

CREDIT SCORES

Though it may come as a surprise, you don’t need a perfect credit score to purchase a home. Traditional bank lenders will work with credit scores as low as 640, but your agent can also get you connected with local lenders that accept credit scores as low as 580. Although there are other required stipulations to qualify for the loan, you don’t need a perfect score in the 700’s or 800’s to get approved for a mortgage.

DOWN PAYMENTS

You don’t have to sell an arm and a leg to be able to purchase your dream house. There is a huge misconception that you need to pay a minimum of 20% down to buy. That information is outdated. These days, there a large variety of loan programs that only need an average of 3-5% down. Based on your income or military status, you may even qualify for mortgage programs that require 0% down. Although you’ll expect to pay an additional 3% in closing costs, which is separate from the down payment, this is still significantly less that 20% of the purchase price. If you’re in a buyer’s market, you may even be able to negotiate for the closing costs to be covered by the sellers.

Be sure to connect with a local real estate agent to ensure you have the right facts. Don’t let online myths persuade you into thinking you can’t qualify or afford to buy a home. There are a variety of programs to help you get into your dream house. Since these vary by county to county, and state to state, it’s imperative to call your agent and let them fill you in on the facts.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Cleaning 101 Before Listing

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Before you put your home up for sale, you’ll want to ensure it’s clean for all of the buyers that will come through. A dirty house isn’t appealing, and you won’t get a good offer, if you get one at all, if your home isn’t in tip-top shape. Cleaning your home doesn’t have to be overwhelming, below we’ve listed the top things to remember to clean for each room.

FOYER:

+ Clean the door and hardware.
+ Wipe off all fingerprints on windows/furniture.
+ Clean off scuff marks on floors and door.
+ Replace all light bulbs and ensure light fixtures are working.
+ Tidy/clean up the coat closet. People WILL look in there to see the size.

KITCHEN: 

+ Wipe down all cabinets.
+ Clean all appliances, inside and out.
+ Clean stove hood, on top and bottom.
+ Clean behind the refrigerator, on top and bottom too.
+ Ensure the microwave is clean of food splatter.
+ Clean the space behind the sink.
+ Wipe down blinds/shades.
+ Wash any kitchen rugs, clean the floors and baseboards.
+ Store all of your pet food/food out of sight.

BATHROOM: 

+ Clean behind toilet and under sink.
+ Only display absolute necessities, declutter.
+ Organize and clean under the vanity.
+ Scrub floors and clean grout lines.
+ Keep dirty clothes and towels off the floor.
+ Be sure to lock away any medication.
+ Clean the fan and make sure it’s functioning.
+ Replace any dead lightbulbs.

BEDROOM:

+ Wash sheets, comforters, and blankets.
+ Clean the curtains and rugs.
+ Dust furniture.
+ Remove any obvious stains from fabrics.
+ Keep closets clean and organized.
+ Store away dirty clothes and personal photos.
+ Clean marks on walls.

These are just the basics you don’t want to forget about. If it’s within your budget, we highly recommend hiring a professional cleaner to ensure your home is in its best condition. Contact your agent to get a great local recommendation.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Residential Property Disclosures

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When selling your home, you’re obligated, by law, to disclose certain information about your property. Most states require that all sellers complete a written property disclosure form. Majority of the forms have a required set of questions that must be answered.

THE BASICS

Most states require sellers to complete this form when listing for sale. Nearly all of the questions are a basic yes/no/unknown response. The questions will address material facts, major defects, special disclosures, and federal disclosures. All forms vary by state and require different information.

MATERIAL FACTS

These include the age of the property, it’s condition, known problems, and defects. These are all of the information that would influence a buyer’s decision to purchase your home. These disclosures require you to address known defects, things that are reasonably apparent, to ensure you don’t knowingly hide a major defect.

MAJOR DEFECTS

All major defects MUST be disclosed. For instance, fire or flood damage. If your home’s electrical system isn’t up to code, and you’re aware of this, it must be shared with potential buyers. Repairs you have completed, as well as improvements and upgrades, should be noted as well.

Since all states have varying federal and special disclosure laws, it’s imperative that you reach out to a local real estate agent to get assistance with the sale of your home. They’ll have a copy of the required disclosures and can assist you to ensure you don’t find yourself in hot water, legally, if an important disclosure isn’t shared with buyers.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Simple Sprucing Tips For Your Home

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You don’t need thousands of dollars to fully refurbish your home to make it feel like new again. Instead, you can DIY a lot of features in your house to help spruce it up for the upcoming season. Whether you plan to sell your home, have guests over, or are just tired of how drab it’s been feeling lately, here are a few tips and tricks you can use to refresh your space:

CLEAN + DECLUTTER
Throw out all of the junk taking up space! You’d be surprised by how much more you’ll fall back in love with your home when you take out the collection of accumulated stuff that has piled up over the years and finally get to see your home’s features for what they are. Store what you don’t need/use in either the attic, basement, or in a storage unit. After you’ve decluttered, be sure to finish it off by cleaning your home. Clean windows, walls, and the floors for the best results.

BRING IN NATURAL LIGHT
Do you have heavy curtains covering your windows? Bring them down! Not only will this make your space feel bigger by removing stuff off the walls, it’ll also feel alive again with all of the natural light that pours in.

ADD FRESH PAINT
Nothing refreshes a home like a new coat of paint. If you have dark dull colors, opt for lighter tones. Covering up stains on the walls, or drab old paint, can help your house feel brand new all over again.

ADD TILE
Consider adding a tile backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get beautiful results. Be sure you get tiles that compliment the colors in the space, so it doesn’t clash and look unappealing.

ADD COLOR
Although neutral colors are always recommended as the base of any home decor, don’t be afraid to compliment your neutrals with a pop of color. You can add it throughout the home by using flowers, pillows, decor, or even light curtains that are staged on the sides of your windows.

CHANGE OUT FIXTURES + HARDWARE
You’d be surprised by how much more a kitchen can look different just by replacing the hardware on the cabinets. A bathroom or living room can come alive again by installing a brand new light fixture. If you moved into a place that still has the same stock hardware or fixtures, replace them and add a little creativity with the new pieces you have installed.

REARRANGE FURNITURE
Head to Pinterest and get inspired for new living room, bedroom, or dining room arrangements. Most homeowners decorate “incorrectly” when it comes to standard staging rules. View a variety of furniture set-ups on social media and let it motivate you to rearrange your space. You don’t have to buy a bunch of new furniture to make a drastic change.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Tips To Get Settled In A New Home

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Moving into a new home? We know how exciting it can be! We’ve compiled a list of a few things you can do after your move to make sure your experience is comfortable. The hardest part of a move is getting settled in, after that, let’s handle a few loose ends that sometimes get forgotten about till the last minute.

CHECK MAJOR APPLIANCES

Be sure to check all the appliances to ensure everything is still in working order after the move. You want to make sure nothing was broken in the move or stopped working suddenly. Look at things such as your stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer, refrigerator, and microwave. If you brought any appliances yourself and you used movers, you’ll want to make sure everything still works with them, since mover’s insurance companies give a limited timeframe for when you can make a claim.

CHECK ALL OF YOUR BOXES & FURNITURE

Be sure to go over all your boxes and furniture to make sure nothing got damaged during the move. Be sure that everyone has arrived and didn’t get lost in the process. If you notice something is missing a month later, it may be too late to file a claim with the moving company. Even if you don’t plan on unpacking everything as soon as you move in, just do a quick review and inventory everything you brought to protect yourself and your belongings.

SET UP UTILITIES

Did you remember to set up your utilities before moving in? There’s nothing more frustrating than moving into your home to realize the lights don’t work. Make sure you’ve gotten with all of the necessary utility companies to have everything turned on in time for your move.

REGISTER INTO A GOOD SCHOOL

You may have already known to look for a school for your kids prior to your move, but if you haven’t yet found one, be sure to research all the schools local to you to find the right fit for your family. The sooner you can find the right school and register, the easier and less stressful it will be to get them in and settle.

REGISTER YOUR CAR

If you’ve moved to a new state or country, you’ll want to make sure to register your car in your new hometown and update your driver’s license, tags, and plates.

CONNECT TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

Join sites like Nextdoor.com or get a subscription to your local magazine/newspaper to stay in touch with what’s going on in your neighborhood. Be sure to also join local community Facebook groups. You can find out about events or concerns relating to your community.

GETTING YOUR MAIL

Have you updated your address from all the people you’ll be expecting to get mail from? Like your bank, friends, family, and services you still pay for after your move. Check with the post office to have things redirected to your new address while you work to update your info with everyone else.

FIND THE RIGHT PROFESSIONALS

If you’re moving far from your last home, you’ll want to have the right connections. Find a new doctor, dentist, vet, handyman, plumber, etc. Add them into a contact book that’s easily accessible.

EMERGENCY CONTACT LIST

If you’re moving to a new country, 911 won’t be the local emergency number. Make sure you have all the correct numbers in the case of an emergency. This can also include doctors, the local police station, a vet, etc.

INSURANCE COMPANIES

More than likely, you handled home insurance and home warranty during the purchasing process. If you haven’t, be sure to get those taken care of right away. You’ll also want to get your auto, health, and any other necessary household insurances sorted for your move.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Eliminate Pet Odors In Your Home

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Eliminating bad odors from your home is incredibly important, you want to make sure you’ve removed them before putting it on the market. Often times, the first thing buyers notice upon entering your home, is how it smells. If there is an odd odor, it will instantly put them off. No matter how beautifully staged and presented it is, strong odors or stale air can make your home unappealing to prospective buyers. Opening windows and exhaust fans will only go so far in removing foul odors, but won’t generally eliminate it completely. To ensure you don’t lose potential buyers, follow these odor eliminating tips to ensure your home smells and feels fresh and new.

Don’t Use Artificial Freshening Sprays

Don’t make the mistake of spraying artificial room freshener sprays in hopes that it will remove the bad odor. Deodorizers will quickly fade, and only mask the smell, sometimes in an overwhelming way. If a buyer walks into your home, your air freshener can cause a reaction, like a runny nose or a headache, and will make them suspicious of an underlying foul odor. Instead of trying to mask it, locate the actual source of the bad odor and get rid of it.

Best Pet Carpet Cleaners for Accidents

We all love our furry friends, but unfortunately, they can get your home pretty smelly. Whether the smell is on the carpet, furniture, or even on the walls – it’s essential to have it removed. Most odors stem from accidents. You always want to attend to the accident right away. Blot them with a paper towel and use mild dishwashing liquid to help remove the odor. Once completely cleaned, blot again with fresh paper towels to dry the spot. If the accident is not recent, use an enzyme cleaner to eat the bad bacteria. Another great idea is to use activated charcoal. It is a form of carbon that has been activated to make it extremely porous. You can get activated charcoal meant for pet odors at most pet stores.

Green Cleaning Products

Using natural odor eliminators is a great green alternative to most of the chemicals sold at stores. One of the most recommended products is to use baking soda. You can place an open box of it in a room to help absorb unwanted smells. It also helps to remove musty aroma in dark spaces, like a basement. On top of being used to remove pet odors, it also works great for cigarette smells. If you don’t wish to use baking soda, most pet supply stores will have green cleaning products that help remove odors, while still being safe for your household.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Using Paint to Enhance the Size of a Room

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Paint colors can drastically affect the feeling of a room. It can make it enjoyable to be in, or leave you feeling uncomfortable. It can alter the perception of the room’s shape and size and add to, or take away from, the atmosphere you’re trying to portray in your space. The paint you use in your house can make or break its aesthetics.

COLOR TIPS

Dark Colors:
+ Adds coziness to a room.
+ Used to make a large room feel smaller.
+ Advances the color in the room.

Light Colors:
+ Used to make small rooms feel bigger.
+ Recedes the color in a room.
+ Light colors help a space feel more airy.

Lighter colors tend to recede, which makes it appear farther away, therefore making the room feel bigger. Darker colors tend to advance, which makes them seem closer, in turn making the room feel smaller. You can use colors to completely modify the size of a room by perception. You can use this concept to minimize unattractive features in your house or highlight focal points.

If your room is too large and doesn’t make the space feel cozy, you can paint your ceiling a darker color than the walls, to help them feel a little lower. Conversely, if your ceilings are too low and makes you feel claustrophibix, you can paint them a lighter shade to help them feel higher.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Fall Leaves Bring Sold Signs

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Summer has come to an end and you probably are thinking you’ve lost the opportunity to sell, and need to wait till next summer. But that’s far from the truth! Although it’s not as hectic and crazy with the swarm of buyers on the market, the fall season brings out the most serious of lookers. They are the pool of buyers that waited out the summer frenzy to find their perfect home in the fall, and you don’t want to miss these buyers! They are ready to make a move, today! And selling in a slower period does not equate to less money. That’s a misconception that home owners have based on untrue data that floats around. With the right agent, and your home being priced correctly, you can get a great deal selling your home during the fall season. And might actually prefer it. Here are the top 3 benefits to listing during the fall season.

1. Serious Buyers – Let’s be honest, if buyers are out during the busy season, looking for homes, they are serious and ready to buy. Although the summer brings in a large crowd, that crowd contains a lot of people that are excited by the season, and fall into the “trend” of house hunting. These people end up not really being serious about the process, and tend to hold off for another time. If people are investing time to look during the fall season, they are more likely to be interested in actually buying your home, instead of touring it.

2. Less Competition – Selling in the fall isn’t something many families can accomplish due to personal schedules. That’s why a significant amount of homes get listed during the summer season. Which means that summer time brings in a lot of competition. Selling in the fall means the potential house next door that has slightly more perks that may have been listed during the summer, doesn’t make your home sit stagnant, since everyone wanted your neighbor’s house. It also doesn’t devalue your home because of the house that could go up next door that could be under-priced in your neighborhood, and draw all of the attention.

With a slower season, you get dedicated attention to your property, which increases the chance of a sale.

3. Easier to Find Your Dream Home – Not only do you get to benefit from a slower season during the selling process, but you can also benefit on the buying side. With less competition on your dream house, you can get a better deal. The summer brings a lot of missed opportunities for buyers on their dream homes, because they go off the market instantly. This will give you the opportunity to get your home on the market and take your time to find the right one to resize into. A much calmer pace to the transaction will make it less stressful, and everyone all around happier. Don’t feel rushed into buying a home overnight during the summer, it could turn into a headache. If you want a far more peaceful transaction, that has calmer pace, then selling during the fall is perfect for you.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Don’t Replace Your Agent With The Internet

With the influx of new technology and web based solutions, it isn’t a surprise that everything is moving fast into the era of the internet. From sites like Uber to Grubhub, we generally can pull up our phones or laptops to order what we want with ease. And with every industry being revolutionized by technology, the same methods are “attempting” to be applied to the real estate industry.

We could all agree that the simplification of the process through paperwork would be much appreciated by agents and buyers/sellers alike; but the attempt of replacing the agent by sites like Zillow and other third party resources, can lead to a snowball affect of disaster. Think about real estate being smack dab in the middle of fast food and a doctor. You can use your mobile device to quickly place your order for a $20 meal, but when it comes to getting a surgery, you’ll want to put that phone down and visit a professional. Now think of your real estate agent being in the middle of all of that. You can use your devices to look for a home, look at market data the way you look at WebMD, knowing not to take it too seriously because you need a real professional’s input, but it’s fun and gives you a general idea of what to expect. But there in lies the issue, the data online is an oversimplified version of what goes into the process of buying and selling. The same way it oversimplifies medical diseases and surgeries, you’d still expect to get a professional’s diagnosis.

Although a real estate agent isn’t quite like a doctor, the industry in it’s legalities, contracts, and processes is similar in the sense that it needs to be taken seriously. Looking for a house online and wanting to put an immediate offer on one can be exciting and fun, but the issues that require a professional’s guidance comes after the initial contract is written up and the hard work comes into place to actually make the home your own. Same for sellers, if you decide to put your home on the market and want a website that will give you an automatic offer, how do you know you’re not being taken advantage of in the price? But most importantly, how do you know you’re not being taken advantage of in other aspects of the contract? Because there is a lot more to the sale of the home then just agreeing on a number.

The next time you’re digging through public sites for homes for sale, and getting instant home valuation estimates, keep in mind that this is a simple process to give you an idea of your market. A very general idea. But after you’ve found the perfect house, or after you’ve decided that the numbers make some sense for you to sell, call your favorite real estate agent and make sure they give you a more detailed look into the market and assist you through the full process, not just the exciting first parts. Because it’s going to be in the middle of a contract when the lending is falling apart, or negotiations can’t be made on repairs and emotions are at an all time high, that you are going to wish you had put down your laptop and had an agent fighting for you by your side. Use the internet, have fun with it’s amazing resources, but don’t let it replace your agent. We aren’t in an age, just yet, where technology can do everything a professional can!

 

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com