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Date Archives: January 21st, 2021


Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial investments people will make in a life. The stress of that fact alone can be a burden on any relationship when you are buying a home together.

Programs on networks like HGTV are always showing the happy couples who are buying their dream home, but what they don't show is the arguing and disagreements that are likely going on behind the scenes. Before you and your significant other find yourself at opposite ends of the home buying process, take a moment to review these helpful tips on keeping your relationship strong and sane.

1. Discuss your expectations

This seems simple enough, but you might be surprised with the differences you discover once you start discussing what you want in a home. Before you meet with a Realtor or start looking at houses online, have a conversation about your expectations. Some common topics to discuss would be how long you would like to live there, if you want a fixer-upper vs. a move-in ready home, location preferences and of course your budget. Your expectations might evolve as you begin house hunting, but it is necessary to have this talk from the get-go.

2. Know that it's okay to back down

Chances are neither of you are going to completely get what you want. While it's great to make compromises, sometimes you might just have to back down. If an agreement can't be made, you will sit in gridlock not making any progress toward reaching your dream.

It can be beneficial to put yourself in your significant others shoes and try to understand why they have a disagreeing viewpoint. For example, if you found a home you like that is 15 miles from your children's school, but your significant other is who takes the kids to school every morning, you should be understanding as to why they wouldn't want to live that far away. Be prepared to accept "no" as an answer.

3. Rely on a third-party expert

One of the many benefits of using a trusted Realtor is that they are a bipartisan voice of reason, but they can also provide a much-needed reality check. Maybe what you're looking for is rare to find in your price range, or certain amenities aren't realistic for your location. Instead of arguing with your significant other about these things, turn to your Realtor for advice.

Having a Realtor by your side when the disagreements within your relationship start to heat up can be a great asset for navigating through these decisions. Don't always expect your Realtor to take your side, but do expect them to give an honest, educated answer.

4. Remember that you're in this together

Throughout the home buying process, you might have disagreements, you might have arguments and you might even feel like you will never find the perfect home. No matter what, always remember that you are in this together. In order to find the home that best fits your needs, you will need to communicate, ask each other questions, comprise when necessary and have a trusted Realtor by your side. Talk, listen and turn this into an experience that will allow you to grow together.

Looking for more advice during the buying/selling process? Visit for more real estate tips and tricks!


Owning a home for the very first time is an exciting accomplishment, but it's also a learning experience. Yo've just moved in, and now you need to figure out how to actually maintain the integrity of your home. As the seasons change, so will your maintenance needs. Keep reading to learn about the five common home maintenance fails you might be making throughout your first year of homeownership.

1. Letting the grass get too long

If you like in a community with an HOA, there are probably strict rules about keeping your grass short. If you don't keep your yard well-maintained, you could face possible fines, which should motivate you to get the mower out. However, for those of you who don't have to follow the rules of HOA, it can be easy to let your grass get a little too wild.

Aside from the eyesore overgrown grass creates, it also makes for the perfect hiding places for ordents and other critters. this might not be a big deal to some people, but once a family of mice gets comfortable in your lawn, their next vacation getaway is in your living room when the cold hits. So do yourself a favor and don't "wait until next week" to cut the grass.

2. Forgetting to clean the gutters

As a new homeowner, cleaning the gutters might be the last thing on your mind. I know you have so many other home maintenance chores to complete, but gutters clogged with leaves, sticks and other debris can be a nightmare in the cooler months.

If your gutters cannot provide proper drainage for melting snow or increased rainfall, the water can end up leaking into your ome instead. If you're comfortable with using a ladder, cleaning your gutters can easily be done yourself. You can also call a professional to get the job done if heights aren't really your thing.

3. Not trimming back trees

Was the tree planted too close to the home, or was the home built too close to the tree? At this point, I'm not really sure it matters. What does matter is that you are keeping the tree trimmed back and healthy.

Limbs and branches close to or touching your house can cause some serious damage, and the phone call to your insurance company will not be fun after a storm rolls through. Trim back any branches or limbs so they are at least 6 feet away from your home, and if the tree seems to be dying, you should consider getting it removed all together.

4. Ignoring the moss growing on the house

Moss = Moisture. Frankly, neither is good for your home. If you see any moss growing on your roof or siding, you'll want to remvoe it as soon as possible. The longer you let the moss grow, the more moisture it will retain, causing mold and water damage.

5. Leaving the leaves

When I was younger, I never understood why we have to rake up all of the pretty leaves just to send them away in trash bags designed like jack-o-lanterns. It jsut seemed to be a lot of work for no reason.

Well, as I got older, I also got wiser(ish). As most functioning adults should know by now, if you don't remove the leaves it will suffocate your grass. Although the grass is already on its deathbed for the fall season, the roots underground are still alove and well. If you want your beautiful lawn to grow back in the spring, you'll need to get rid of the leaves first.

Looking for more advice about managing your home? Visit for more real estate tips and tricks!


How much you can afford for a mortgage depends on many factors including how much money you have to put down, what type of loan you can get, how much your closing costs are and consideration of other expenses you need to cover.

Here's a few quick ways to estimate...

  • How much can you borrow? Most lenders want your housing expenses (mortgage, plus taxes and insurance) to remain under 28% of your gross income. Calculate 28% of your gross monthly income to see what amount you have each month for this.
  • How much cash do you have for a down payment? Wit ha conventional mortgage a buyer typically pays 20% of the purchase price up front. Most lenders will also let you put 10% down if you pay private mortgage insurance. Other types of loan programs may be available that allow for reduced down payment percentages. FHA loans can get down payments below 3%.
  • How much cost do you have for closing? You will need cash at closing (unless you have negotiated with the seller to pay your fees.) The cash you will need at closing is typically 2-3% of the total purchase price.

Money for Taxes and Insurance. It is also important to factor in how much taxes and insurance will cost for a given property. Typically your lender will add these amounts into your monthly payment.

Money for Additional Expenses. Keep in mind that you may need to reserve some money for repairs, remodeling, decorating, moving expenses, or life's emergency fund.


Traditionally, the real estate market tends to slow down during the winter months. As we all know though, 2020 is far from a traditional year and it looks like the housing market will continue to thrive through the season!

Mortgage rates and housing inventory are both considerably low, which creates a competitive seller's market with pent up buyer's demand. This combination makes for a fast-paced market no matter what season it is. Keep reading to find out how to prep your home to sell this winter.

 Make your home move-in ready

Houses are being snatched off the market quickly, and your home might not sell as fast as the others will if it is not move-in ready. A potential buyer does not want to think about having to make renovations or remodeling in the middle of winter. Completing certain renovations yourself will still generate a return on investment and get your home sold fast.

Create a cozy atmosphere

Prepare for home showings by lighting your fireplace, having fresh baked goods on display, playing some soft music in the background and serving hot cocoa or cider to your guests. Creating a warm, cozy feeling in your home will make potential buyers feel thankful for stepping out of the winter tundra and into their dream home.

 Less is more with holiday decor

I think it is safe to say that if you are planning to sell your home this winter, maybe skip out on the over-the-top light display and do not set up the entire winter village that takes up your entire dining room. You can still decorate for the season, but keep it simple and clean. The goal is to create a space that buyers can envision being their own.

Lighting is everything

Dark winters can make a home feel drab and depressing, but if you have adequate lighting, it can change the entire mood. If you are showing your home in the daytime, make sure to pull back the curtains and let the natural light shine in your home. With your days getting shorter, it is crucial to take advantage of the natural light while we still can. If you are showing your home in the evening, make sure that your interior and exterior lights are bright and working properly.

 Seasonal listing photos

Listing photos can make or break a home that is on the market. Potential buyers will look at your listing photos before deciding if your home is even worth going to look at in-person. Unfortunately, photos of your home in the winter might not be appealing. Homes buried in snow or homes with a brown lawn do not stick out to a buyer. If you are able to, add some high quality photos of your home's exterior in the summer or spring to your listing. This allows buyers to see what they have to look forward to in the warmer months and can attract more attention to your listing.

Looking for more advice during the buying/selling process? Visit for more real estate tips and tricks!


Not to be a dramatic, but winter is coming. We've had a relatively warm fall so far in the South, but it's time to winterize your home before the first frost sets in.

1. Check doors and windows for leaks

When the cool breeze starts to make its way through the cracks in your home, it can cause moisture to build up and can do some serious damage. It is always a good idea to seal any cracks or leaks that you may have on your window frames, door frames, trim and siding. .Your heat bill will also thank you for doing this!

2. Clean the fireplace and chimney

Ensuring that your fireplace and chimney are clear of any unwanted debris and creosote build up is the best way to prevent a potential house fire. You can always clean a chimney yourself if you are comfortable with doing so, but it is suggested to hire a professional if it hasn't been cleaned in a couple of years.

3. Check your furnace

Is there anything worse than waking up to a freezing cold home in December because your furnace decided to kick the bucket in the middle of the night? I didn't think so.

In hopes of preventing this from happening, you should change your furnace filter and vacuum up any dust and debris around the furnace. It can't hurt to also have an HVAC professional come do a "tune-up" to check the fan belts, pulleys and furnace bearings.

4. Clear out the gutters

Gutters clogged with leaves, sticks and other debris can be a nightmare in the cooler months. If your gutters cannot provide proper drainage for melting snow or increased rainfall, the water can end up leaking into your home instead.

If you're comfortable with using a ladder, cleaning your gutters can easily be done yourself. You can also call a professional to get the job done if heights aren't really your thing.

5. Remove and drain garden hoses

This is a simple task, but can be easily forgotten. Disconnecting your garden hoses for winter will prevent any remaining water from backing up into your home and freezing. When that water freezes, it will expand and. can cause your pipes to crack. Some homeowners will even turn off any valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets.

6. Drain irrigation system

Similar to the situation with your hoses, draining your sprinkler system can prevent damage caused by freezing pipes. If you can, turn off the water to the system from your main valve and open the values to remove any remaining water. If you are unable to do so yourself, you can also hire an irrigation experts to clear the system with compressed air.

7. Switch your ceiling fans to "reverse"

How long did it take you to learn that you can actually change the direction that your ceiling fan spins? Flipping that strange little switch on the side of t he fan will make it spin the opposite way. Because heat rises, reversing the direction of your ceiling fan can actually help circulate the warm air back into the lower living space.

Looking for more advice about managing your home? Visit for more real estate tips and tricks!

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