Selling Your Home

How to Update Your Kitchen on a Small Budget

Kitchens are one of the most well-used and dynamic spaces in a house. Whether you have a small condo kitchen or a home with a spacious eat-in, it’s likely to have been the heart of your house, and potential buyers will be picturing it that way for their own needs too.

This is why it’s a great place to focus on if you want to do some basic upgrades to prep your home before selling. The kitchen can really make or break a purchase decision. With that in mind, here’s what to focus on if you have a small renovation or upgrade budget:

Cabinet Doors
Unless your cabinets are in terrible shape through and through, it’s often enough to just swap out or enhance the doors themselves. A quick coat of paint can hide wear or give your kitchen an entirely new mood. Even replacing...

Real Estate Q&A: What Happens If I Die Before My Partner and Our Mortgage Is in My Name?

Q: I own my home with my life partner with “right of survivorship” and understand that if one of us were to pass, the other would solely own the home. However, the mortgage loan is just in my name. What happens if I die before him?

A: There are many different types of mortgage loans, and each has its own rules and intricacies.

The most popular mortgage, by far, is the federally insured institutional amortized loan. This is the typical loan that most people get when buying or refinancing their home, where they make monthly payments for years until it is paid off. In a situation like yours, your credit was used to base the loan decision on, and that made you solely responsible for repaying the debt; however, it required your co-owner to sign the...

5 Ways to Keep the Peace With House Guests

Are you hosting the brood at your place? Whether you have one guest or 10, here are a few ways to make them feel welcome, while keeping your own sanity.

Favorite foods. Is aunt Tina on a new diet? Does your sister need coffee first thing to function? Does your brother-in-law like to wind down with a glass of red wine? Understanding the food-related habits of your guests can offer them comfort when they’re far from home, and ensures no one goes through caffeine withdrawal on your watch.

Extra amenities. From an electric kettle, a mug and a bundle of nice tea in their room, to a few good books by the bed or bath salts by the tub, giving your guests some extra amenities can make them feel taken care of.

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Creating an Office Space in Small Quarters

In many people’s ideal life, they would have a lavish home office with four walls and a door for privacy. Whether you run an enterprise out of your house or just need a quiet place to check Pinterest at the end of the day, a home office can be useful. But with today’s small homes and condos, a separate office isn’t always an option. Here are some tips for integrating your workstation into your home…and loving it.

Get a workstation that can be closed upA classic secretary desk, with a front that can be lowered as a writing surface and closed back up to hide your belongings, is a great choice for this. You can also find desks that are styled like a wardrobe, so at the end of the day you can close those doors and relax. If you only have a small laptop to deal...

Converting a Portion of Your Home into an Income Suite

For new homeowners especially, the idea of renting out a part of your home to offset the mortgage payments is incredibly appealing. In a market that is unaffordable for the average young couple, it seems like a potential way to get into the market when your budget isn’t huge. While becoming a landlord does come with a lot of extra responsibilities, the payoff can ultimately be worth it.

Here’s a few reasons to consider converting part of your home into an income suite:

It’s a second source of income. This is the main reason most people consider this option. Having a rental suite in your home gives you a guaranteed income every month that you can put on your mortgage payment, making homeownership much more affordable.

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How to Choose the Right Kitchen Sink

In the wide world of kitchen décor, the sink is rarely a star. Sandwiched between the granite countertops and the kitchen backsplash, it is perhaps the last thing homeowners think about. But considering how often we use it, and the different chores we use it for, the sink deserves a considered choice.

Kitchen design consultants at HGTV provide kitchen sink basics to think about:

Size and Shape 

Classic Farmhouse 
A large, single-basin sink, this classic design works well if you plan to use it for multiple chores beyond washing dishes, such as cleaning over-sized pots, pans and baking sheets, or bathing dogs or babies. More common is the double farmhouse sink, with two basins of equal size. 

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Protecting Yourself from Contractor Scams

A home improvement scam probably doesn’t look like one when you first see it, especially if it’s a great deal for something your home needs. And every home needs something.

But by the time it’s over, you may have felt cheated by shoddy work or materials, price increases or a contractor who disappears, among other problems. Here are some things to look out for before hiring a contractor to make improvements to your home:

Knock, Knock
It’s common to hang up on someone who calls you out of the blue from a phone number you don’t recognize. Turning away someone at your front door can be more problematic.

While not all companies that go door-to-door are bad, a salesman knocking on your door can be a sign of a business...

Financing Your Home Improvement Projects

As any homeowner will tell you, there’s always a renovation project just waiting to be funded in a home.

The problem is how to pay for the next kitchen update, bathroom remodel, bedroom addition or other improvement you want to make to your home. Here are some ways to pay for your next home project if you don’t have a pile of cash sitting around:

Home Equity Line of Credit
Known as a HELOC for short, a home equity line of credit secures a line of credit with your home as the collateral. Don’t pay on time and you could lose your home.

Interest rates usually start out in your favor, then increase as you spend more time repaying the loan. You only pay interest on the amount you borrow, and only make monthly payments if you’re using...

The 5 Benefits of an Open House

An open house is a great way to show off your home to a wide pool of potential buyers. As your local real estate professional, I thought you would find useful this infographic delineating the top five reasons on why an open house is an important marketing vehicle when selling your home.

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4 Steps to Stop Driving Buyers Away

Is your car impacting the sale of your home? Experts say it may be.

When visiting a home, potential buyers will form an opinion based on what they first see. Cars parked outside the house can negatively impact this first impression. A reasonably new car that is clean inside and out is likely to leave a positive impression or may not be noticed at all, which is fine.

But a run-down car that is dirty on the outside and a mess on the inside (think trash-filled plastic bags, empty cans, clothes) is going to send a message to visitors that the home they’re about to enter is going to be unkempt as well. That’s why it’s worth taking some time to follow these steps and avoid this situation altogether.

  1. Wash it. If the...