Sears Real Estate

Posted by Sears Real Estate on 5/22/2017

There is a multitude of ways to increase your homeís value. And there are multiple reasons why one would want to increase their homeís value. You donít have to be selling or thinking about selling to want to update your home. You may just want to update for the sake of updating. Take a look at the tips below for a few of the best renovations and updates to bring the most value to your home.

  1. Kitchen: Depending on the age of your kitchen, an entire remodel will bring the most value. Updated kitchens can sell the home itself. Itís the number one update homebuyers are looking for. Updating the cabinets, counters, appliances, and floor are all key bigger updates. Updating the paint and adding a backsplash will add style and again value. Small updates are a necessity including the faucet and lighting. For quicker and less expensive updates shop at discount stores and repurpose cabinets, if possible.
  1. Bathroom(s): Bathrooms are another important update for increasing your homeís value. They endure a lot of wear and tear with use multiple times a day. Small updates such as light fixtures and faucet(s) are short money for good value. A complete update will bring the most value but will dependent on the amount of space available. Adding a serene and luxurious feel to the master bathroom will be a great benefit to the value. Even making other bathrooms in the home more modern and spa like will greatly increase the value.
  1. Front Yard: The front yard is the first thing that anyone sees of your home. And your front yard can distinguish you from other homes in the neighborhood. Adding a fresh coat of paint or stain to your porch and stairs, adding flowers and new mulch, and keeping your grass green and luscious can greatly add to the curb appeal of your home and ultimately the value.
  1. Popcorn Ceilings & Wood Paneling: Completely removing popcorn ceilings and/or wood paneling will add tremendous value to a home. Both features are extremely outdated and unappealing. Removing those will give your home a more modern look and feel. If looking to sell, this update will make your home much more appealing to buyers. Having to update those two things will seem very daunting to a homebuyer that is looking for a modern home.
  1. Paint: Remove that wallpaper and add a fresh, bright paint of coat to any room that could use it. Wallpaper often times makes rooms look dated and can peel and tear, especially in bathrooms. Even if you do not have any wallpaper, a fresh coat of paint is a simple and inexpensive way of updating a room and making it look new and modern.
Remember to keep in mind the market value of your home and surrounding homes. There comes a point where you will start to lose money in home improvements rather than reaping the rewards. Itís important to consult professionals before beginning any large renovations such as a kitchen or bathrooms. They can help you assess what will bring the most value to your home and get you the best bang for your buck.

Posted by Sears Real Estate on 5/15/2017

If your family is growing and you're not ready to take on a larger mortgage, you have options. You can add more sleeping space to your current home. The additional space comes

 in handy if you have extended family or friends visiting during graduations, weddings or holidays.

A good night of sleep should be stress free

Say good-bye to worries. Try these simple ways to add more sleeping space to one or more rooms at your house.

  • Buy sofa beds instead of traditional sofas. Two adults can comfortably sleep on a sofa bed. You might be able to fit three to four small kids on one sofa bed. Check a furniture store, and you might be surprised to see how attractive sofa beds are. In fact, it's hard to tell a sofa bed from a traditional bed. Both are also generally equally comfortable.
  • Pull out rollaway beds. Use rollaway beds that are padded with quality mattresses. Otherwise, there's a high likelihood that people will feel the bed springs pushing into their back while they try to sleep.
  • Turn twin beds into bunk beds. To convert twin beds into bunk beds, attach support beams, safety rails and a ladder. If there's enough room to place two twin beds side-by-side in a room, create two sets of bunk beds. That simple step adds enough space for four people to sleep comfortably at your house.
  • Place a mattress on the floor. This is a temporary option, best used when company is visiting for a few days.
  • Add a double bed, thin sofa bed, dresser and chair to your attic, turning the top room of your house into a bedroom. Just make sure that the attic meets local housing standards.
  • Line the longest wall in your home office with a thin sleeper sofa. Choose a three-seater sofa. Bright colored pillows add decor and personality to the furniture.
  • Buy an air mattress. These mattresses take up more space than traditional mattresses. But, air mattresses are functional in that you can easily store them in a closet in the morning. You can get an air mattress from a neighborhood department store.
  • Design half of your basement into a bedroom.Adequate insulation and floor padding are needed to make the space comfortable.For padding, you could place decorative throw rugs on the basement floor. Consider moving boxes, cans and other items that you store in your basement to one side of your garage.
  • Donate old clothes, shoes and furniture to organizations that support the community you live in, and watch the sleeping and living space at your home expand.
  • Move coffee tables to one side of your living room or den to allow for more sleeping space in the middle of the floor.

Renovations that you make to add more sleeping space to your home could easily become hits with your children. The changes may also help you to find more work and living space. Small, simple changes could even sharpen your interior design skills,gifting you with a greater appreciation for your home.

Tags: bedroom   bedroom design  
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Posted by Sears Real Estate on 5/8/2017

It's the early years of home ownership that can make buying a house challenging. Closing costs, interest, property fees and home repairs are among the major challenges.Many people prefer to take on these challenges during their early adult years. Vigor and a fresh approach to home ownership aid with roofing, landscaping, flooring and appliance maintenance work.

Buying a house during your middle years could work

Buying a house during early adult years also gives you more time to pay off a mortgage. Take on a mortgage later in life, and you could end up making higher monthly mortgage installments. Plainly put, buying a house near retirement could cost you big, financially and physically. It could also help you to save on monthly housing costs.

You could save money on monthly housing costs because owning a home might:

  • Eliminate your need to make monthly housing payments. For example, you won't have to pay monthly rent. Pay your mortgage off early, and you could eliminate monthly mortgage payments from your budget.
  • Offer you the space and legal rights to rent out one or more rooms at your home.
  • Position you to receive tax advantages, money that you could use to add to your house's value or invest in your personal retirement.

Because lenders are not allowed to discriminate, you could be approved for a mortgage. Ask your mortgage broker or realtor about mortgage amortization schedules, homeowners association fees and property taxes. Also, find out how much houses in areas you're thinking about buying a house in are worth and how the property values have lowered or risen over the last several decades.

Property value trends in areas you want to buy a house in are important

Buy a house that has value that matches or exceeds what you pay for the house and you could earn a profit should you decide to sell the property 10 to 15 years later. Go with a 30 year mortgage and you could be responsible for paying lower monthly mortgage installments.

Just because you took out a 30 year mortgage, doesn't mean that you have to make payments for 30 years. You could pay your mortgage off in 20 years or less. That could put you in a position to reside in a house with only utilities, general maintenance and property taxes to pay.

Open to the idea of taking in renters and you could generate enough rent to cover the entire costs of your mortgage. Vet all potential renters thoroughly before you pursue this option. As it regards renters, you could also rent out one or more rooms at your house to your grandchildren while they attend college or after they graduate. Rent out the space at a lower rate than apartments rent and your grandchildren could appreciate the deal.

Above all, make sure that you can readily afford to take on a monthly mortgage. Don't just ensure that you can cover a monthly mortgage. Also, ensure that you can continue to invest in your retirement.

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Posted by Sears Real Estate on 5/1/2017

Garden with stone landscapingDo you dream of a home garden that welcomes the arrival of spring with a glorious display of spring flowers that seem to emerge from nowhere. Unique and strikingly beautiful, bulb type flowers spend most of the time resting beneath the surface of the cool soil. When the weather warms, the pop up full of vigor and bloom: a delightful addition to any landscape. Planting Bulbs Flowering bulbs look best when planted in groupings. Often home gardeners will purchase an assortment of bulbs in the fall and go about the yard planting them in a haphazard manor. Thatís fine if all you want is a spot of color here or there about the yard in the spring. When planted in this manner the spring flowers tend to blend into the landscape and do not show up that well. However, if you want to have a bold splash of color, you will want to plant bulbs in large groupings. Planted in mass, bulbs create a magnificent display. In late spring, consider where you would like to create a flowerbed for flowering bulbs. Prepare the bed by incorporating nutrient-rich topsoil as you til and turn the soil. Add a generous amount of well-composted herbivore manure (cow, sheep, horse, lama or goat) to the bed, working it well into the soil. Cover the bed with black landscape plastic to encourage organic composting and to prevent weeds from popping up in the flowerbed until you are ready to plant the bed in the fall. If you prefer, you can plant the bed with blooming annuals to keep the weeds at bay and to add a spot of color to the summer landscape. In the late fall, all you have to do is clean up the bed by pulling out the annuals and any weeds and you are ready to plant bulbs to the depth recommended on the packaging. Squirrels and other rodents are attracted to tulip bulbs. However, they avoid daffodils, crocus and jonquils as the bulbs are poisonous and they sense the danger. If you anticipate a problem with squirrels eating your bulbs, you can wrap individual bulbs in a bit of steel wool, leaving the tip exposed so that it can grow within the protective barrier you have created. Another way to protect your bulbs is to simply cover the flowerbed with a layer of chicken wire or plastic landscape netting until the bulbs sprout through the soil in the spring. In the spring when the bulbs sprout up and begin to bloom, it is a good idea to clip off spent blooms as they start to fade and wither. This process keeps the bulbs from producing seed, which requires a lot of energy. You want your bulbs to conserve their energy to store food in preparation of the bulbís winter resting period. Although you want to trim off spent flowers, do not trim back the plants tops until they wither and die. The leaves trap the sunís rays to make food, which is transported to the bulb and stored for later use.

Tags: gardening tips  
Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Sears Real Estate on 4/24/2017

Once you move in with a partner, you know you have reached an important milestone in your relationship. For the first time, you could be talking about money with your partner. Whether youíre moving into an apartment or buying a home together, itís important to break down how youíll merge your finances together. 

While itís one of the least romantic conversations that youíll probably have as a couple, sharing your financial situation is one of the most vital. Below youíll find some tips on starting that conversation and making it a smooth one.

Be Honest

In any relationship, honesty and communication are key. This is especially true when it comes to finances. Thereís a lot that goes into your own financial picture, and itís important that you share that with your partner. This is important for everything that will happen in the future including purchasing a home. Some things that your partner should know:

  • How much loan debt you have
  • A rough idea of your credit score and history
  • Your income
  • Your spending habits
  • Your saving habits

Itís important to know how another personís habits will affect you as a whole when youíre thinking of making an investment together like a piece of property. Everyone handles money differently, and you should know how someoneís spending habits meshes with yours. Do they live paycheck to paycheck? Do they save money regularly? Are they financially strained? All of these questions help you to understand where you are similar and where you are different when it comes to money.

Have A Plan For How Youíll Divide Expenses

It may seem like a 50/50 split on expenses makes the most sense. For many couples it does. In other situations, if one person makes more money, they may need to pay a bit more of the costs. Some couples have one person pay the rent while the other takes the utilities on as an expense. Take amounts and percentages that you feel comfortable with and do what wrks best for the both of you. 

Remember that chores count too when it comes to dividing up the ďexpenses.Ē This is just an extra tip that will help you to build a stronger relationship in the long term and help to save arguments.

Use A Joint Account For Expenses

You should still keep your own bank accounts when you move in with a significant other.  All of your money shouldnít be funneled into one singular account. Create a separate bank account for your expenses like rent or mortgage and utilities. All of your personal expenses should come out of your own respective accounts. 

Make Contracts

No matter how much you feel that you can trust a person, itís always good to put everything in writing. This way, if there are any disputes in the future, youíll always have a contract that you can refer back to. Itís also important to have these documents for things like security deposits or down payments. If the relationship ends at any point, itís important for the person who paid for certain things to get their money back.     

Planning and tracking your finances when you move in with a significant other is important. It will certainly make your life easier if you have these conversations beforehand.