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7 Smart Tips for Room Dividers

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While humans are social creatures, once in a while, we need our privacy. A wall has its benefits, and if a permanent structure cannot be raised, a room divider can be a valuable addition. 

In case you are one of those individuals who live in an open floor plan home and don’t have a bedroom or living room door, it’s easy to understand how transformative a room divider can get. 

Dividers are ideal for any living condition. No matter if it’s in studio apartments, or 1 and 2 bedroom apartments for rent, people all over the country are seeking such customizations.

Why use a room divider?

Apart from offering privacy and transformation, a room divider can enhance the appearance of your living room and also provide storage. Room dividers are also simple to install and can be an ideal DIY project for renters and homeowners as well. 

Before enhancing your home with a room divider, it is essential to make adjustments to spaces within so they are easily distinguishable. Apart from just offering a touch of design, it separates the areas per task to be conducted.

2021 room divider trends to lookout for

Fewer walls offer many benefits, including light, spaciousness feeling or erase, and informality. There are unlimited ideas you can use to get the best out of a room divider, depending on what you are looking to achieve at the end. 

brown wooden parquet flooring

The following are popular trends you could use to enhance your space.

Sliding panels or sliding doors (pricy but functional)

In case you do not mind a little bit of investment, a sliding door or panel offers a more compelling sense of privacy in an open floor plan or living room. Sliding panels provide both the simplicity of a room divider and the privacy of a door. 

There are several designs you can adopt, with perhaps the most popular being the barn door design. 

A barn door divider is ideal since individuals enjoy the benefits of an actual door, with the versatility of an open living concept they desire. A good thing about sliding panels is they do not take up a lot of space since they do not swing open.

Folding screen room divider 

With a folding screen divider, you can be able to block up to 7 feet. There are several kinds of these folding screen dividers with different designs for variable tastes for privacy, aesthetics, and appeal. 

This type of divider makes it easy to customize the amount of space you wish to divide.

Open and closed shelves (artsy and sophisticated appeal)

Shelves offer much more than a distinguishing factor when it comes to dividing your room. They give you a chance to showcase your art, books, collectibles, and ideas. They also offer storage for items that would otherwise clutter your room. There are several types of shelve ideas you could use, from open to closed shelved designs.

Glass panel screen for lighting and visual separation

In case only one part of your room has a window, and you don’t have a privacy issue, try using a glass panel screen instead. Glass panel screen adds the right amount of visual separation to your living areas while still allowing plenty of light to get in.

Hanging wooden or metal panels

There are several types of panels you could use instead of a wall they are only limited to how creative you can get. Hanging panel dividers are ideal for situations where you don’t wish to block light. 

Ensure you get hanging panels that come with mounting hardware for connection to your ceiling to avoid the extra cost of installation.

Good old curtain fabric design (affordable and effective)

Perhaps the most popular and easily accessible dividers are fabric curtains. Curtains are an affordable method you could use to distinguish your rooms. They also offer flexibility when it comes to customization of length and quality. Curtains are perfect for blocking light, privacy, noise reduction, and insulation from elements.

Floating art panels (Ropes, Wiremesh, Art)

This is a creative concept and can only be limited by imagination. Perhaps the most common types include hanging ropes, wire mesh, hanging records, among others. It is essential to note that this kind of divider specifically works for aesthetic reasons and wouldn’t be ideal for; noise reduction, light blocking, and sometimes privacy.

Wooden or metal slats (ideal for sectioning)

They are ideal for individuals who feel like sectioning off their spaces into two areas while at the same time offering an open effect compared to a solid screen. Slats offer flow and a sense of easy movement from one area to another.

Tips For Room Dividers

Enhance your home for an appealing look

The perfect room setup is having all elements in one area. The following are essential DIY tips you could use to enhance your space, bringing style, décor, and a good feel to your rooms.

Choose the correct type of room divider

Before picking out a type of room divider, consider the desired style that’s most appropriate for your space. Make a final picture in your head to be able to source and get a custom-made feel. 

Also, ensure you get the proper materials that would bring the overall theme of your home to offer a finished look at the end. At this point, you would want to choose whether you wish the finished appearance to be artsy or basic with a touch of class.

Ensure the spaces are distinguishable

Part of the reason anyone gets a divider is to distinguish your space You want to distinguish your living room from your kitchenette. 

brown wooden seat beside white wooden table

Contrasting makes your rooms look organized, giving both you and other individuals in your house the perfect atmosphere and looks for a specific task that would help avoid distractions.

Use other elements to act as a divider

It is essential to note that your room divider may not just be a vertical element within your space, like a wall. You can get creative and use other elements such as bookshelf, bed headrest, ropes, drapes, lighting, among others. 

However, make sure that these are elements you would wish to have in your home. Additionally, try to arrange those elements in a specific way that would create some sort of distinction within your space.

Make maximum use of your room divider

A room divider offers much more than a distinguishing factor. For an added advantage, it can be used as part of a room element. 

For maximum benefit, play with the divider for increased usage value. Make sure it acts as a multi-purpose serving element.

Maximize on the decorative aspect

If possible, do not just use your room divider for utilitarian purposes as you would use a wall. A room divider can be used to add some personality to your rooms. For instance, a divider can be used to add some style and elegance. 

Explore aesthetic ideas that you could pick or, if possible, custom-make your room divider.

Conceal unnecessary elements in your spaces

A home is your sanctuary and perhaps each person’s personal space. But from time to time, other people, including close family and friends, often get limited access to your space for different reasons. 

If you live in a situation where you need a divider to distinguish spaces, you’ll at least want a section of your home not exposed at first sight. You will want to conceal a specific area within your house, just for yourself and a partner. A Room divider can come pretty handily in such situations.

Get an artsy appeal out of your set-up

As stated, a room divider can be used for added advantage in case you can’t invest in a wall. Your spaces reflect your personality. 

While room dividers can offer a distinguishing factor within your house, they can also be used to showcase your ideas, book collections, and art pieces. If cleverly used, they can act as art pieces themselves within your spaces.

Bottom line – before you begin your project

Constructing a wall in a room could cost anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000. However, walling is perhaps the most effective and permanent option when it comes to distinguishing your house. 

Not everyone has a flexible budget (we are thinking of you, renters, and DIY-ers), and especially if you are searching for “interior customization concepts for renovated 1 bedroom apartments near me.” Therefore, whether you are saving up for a natural wall or trying to be creative, a room divider could offer the satisfaction you need.

In case you are not sure what room divider design works for you, and you are not looking to start a DIY project, consult a professional to get the best insights for your living spaces.

How to Create a Summer Ready Bedroom

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As you put away your winter wardrobe, swapping sweaters and boots for sundresses and sandals, you may also want to take a closer look at your bedroom décor. While your cozy bedroom was the perfect place to spend those long winter nights, it may leave you tossing and turning in the warmer weather.

black Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses on beach sand

However, don’t worry, as there are lots of things you can do to get your bedroom summer-ready. From putting away the thick blankets and bedcovers to decorating with cool, calming colors, here are some of our top tips to help you:

Change the Bedding

Changing your bedding is the easiest change you can make to get your bedroom summer-ready. No one wants to be sleeping with a heavy duvet cover when they’re hot and sticky. Instead, choose lightweight layers, as these will help to keep you cool all summer long.

While the thickness of the duvet you choose is extremely important, so are the materials you choose for your bedding. Natural textiles such as cotton and linen are a brilliant option. Not only are they breathable but they can help you to stay cool too. It’s a good idea to avoid woven synthetics as they trap in moisture and heat.

Consider the Colors

The colors you choose to use in your bedroom are also important. If you choose to use dark colors and heavyweight textiles in a room, it’s unlikely to feel cool. Instead, choose colors such as white, beige, taupe, and blush. All of these colors will help your room to look airy and bright instead of heavy and dull. 

Find a Good Mattress

Getting enough sleep at night is important for our health. However, lots of people struggle to get a good night’s sleep, particularly when it’s hot outside. This is where a good mattress can help. A good mattress can elevate stress and make you feel happier, calmer and more relaxed. 

While there are lots of amazing mattresses available to choose from, many of them aren’t great for the summer months. This is because most mattresses absorb body heat. This leads to a buildup of heat in the bed, causing overheating and night sweats. 

If you struggle to sleep during the summer months because of the heat, then it might be a good idea to purchase a “cooling” mattress. These mattresses are created using innovative materials to produce a more breathable sleep surface. You can find out more about the best cooling mattresses for hot sleepers here.  

Bring the Outdoors Inside

Houseplants can make any home feel more inviting. No matter what time of year it is, it’s always a great idea to add plants into your home. However, there’s no better time to add houseplants to your bedroom than during the summer months. Adding plants to a room instantly makes it feel summery. Not only that, but it also helps to connect the room to nature too. And there are several other benefits of adding houseplants into your home, such as they can help you to get a better night’s sleep and can improve the air quality in your home. 

Let the Light Into Your Home

Natural light is amazing. Research has shown that natural light can improve our mood and help us to concentrate. To let natural light into your room during the summer months, consider changing your curtains from blackout blinds to sheer or gauzy options. These options will still give you the privacy you need, but they don’t block out the light. Again, it’s a good idea to choose light colors for that bright and open feel. 

As the weather starts getting warmer, the cozy bedroom that was your sanctuary for the winter months suddenly leaves you tossing and turning at night. However, there are several things you can do to make your bedroom summer-ready. For example, you’ll want to swap out the winter bedding and infuse the room with a light and airy feel. If you want to create a summer-ready bedroom, then follow some of our top tips above.

The Best Type of Fence for a Rural Property

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Choosing the right fence is a very important decision for any homeowner. It will affect things such as privacy and security.

Cost and maintenance is another thing you’ll have to pay special attention to. And, before you get a fence for a rural property, you have to factor in things like esthetics and what kind of weather conditions you’re dealing with. Let’s take a look at some of the best types of fences for rural properties.

Gardening Tools, Old, Used, Worn, Nostalgic, Fence

Vinyl Fences

Vinyl fences tend to be popular in small urban homes where privacy is important, but they work on larger properties as well. What makes vinyl fences so great is that they can handle pretty anything you throw at them. They can survive any climate and don’t require much maintenance either. They’re very easy to clean, durable, and they also look great.

Wood

Wood is usually what people think about when they want to fence farmland. Wood is affordable and has a great natural look to it, which makes it a perfect choice if you want to indicate your property line. However, while wood looks great, it demands a lot of care, so you will need to stain it and paint it regularly if you want to expand its lifespan. When properly treated, a wooden fence can last up to 20 years.

T-Post Fences

These are the best options if you’re looking for something affordable, reliable, and convenient. What makes these so great is how easy they are to install. These can range from 4ft to 8ft. They are usually sold in sets of 5 and you can install and move them yourself. All you need is a sledgehammer and a t-post driver. 

Though they are convenient, they are not the most esthetically pleasing, and if you want something that looks nice, then wood would be a better option. But if your goal is just to mark your property boundaries, then they’re a good option to try.

Welded Wire

Welded wire fences are another very popular choice for many reasons. They come in different mesh opening sizes but are not as strong as woven wire fences. This means that they require a little bit more attention and they’re not quite as durable. They are still a good option if you want to keep livestock that doesn’t lean on the fence. 

Woven Wire Fence

If you need something a little bit sturdier, woven wire fences are a better option. These are great for their durability. They are one of the best options for livestock and are particularly great for goats. It’s also a very versatile type of fence that can handle all kinds of conditions. It’s fairly affordable and doesn’t require much maintenance, which is always a bonus when you have livestock to take care of.

These are some of the best fence types if you want to secure your rural property and land. We suggest that you speak with an expert today, so you can look at your options more in detail. 

interior design tips

8 Interior Design Tips to Increase Your Home’s Resale Value

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Good interior design can not only attract buyers but also boost the value of your property.

Buyers today are very savvy when it comes to their investments, so you need to be smart and knowledgeable when it comes to renovations and improvements. If you want to sell your home fast and reach a price that’s satisfying for everyone, here are a few interior design tips to keep in mind. 

Increase space

black wooden coffee table near white couch

While the size of your property definitely affects the value, the way your home feels also counts. The key to maximizing your visual space lies in natural lighting, mirrors, tidiness and furniture. Start by reimagining your window treatment, adding a few larger mirrors to the space, minimizing clutter and floating your furniture (especially storage pieces). This will make your rooms look bright and airy and open up a lot of floor space. 

Also, a modern buyer can never have too much storage, so it’s important to improve your storage space and adapt it to different uses. If you can, impress your buyers with practical under-the-stairs storage and built-in shelving. 

Repaint 

Pain is one of the most cost-effective home improvements, so don’t hesitate to repaint your entire interior.

A new coat of paint will make the rooms look fresh, attractive and modern and that will bring a lot of value to your property. Just remember to keep the color scheme neutral and modern, so that it attracts a large number of people. 

Give the kitchen and bathroom a makeover

Brown and White Wooden Kitchen Island

Every single upgrade to your kitchen will bring a hefty ROI. No matter if your target audience is into cooking or not, you need to make this space lux, practical and well-lit. The kitchen is used for food prep, eating, drinking and storage, so people spend a lot of time in it—it needs to be as attractive as possible. 

Besides the kitchen updates, bathroom makeovers also bring a great return on investment. And, since they are often very small, relatively cheap improvements go a long way.

If you don’t want to tackle tiles and larger fixtures, you can repaint the space, refinish surfaces, modernize lighting and update hardware and still achieve a big effect that will boost the value of your home. 

Replace soft flooring

Nothing will turn off buyers faster than shabby soft floors. If you have work out or stained carpets, area rugs and runners, make sure to replace them as soon as possible. A new, clean and modern rug will be inviting for people and encourage them to feel warm and at home in your property. So, make sure to opt for something high-quality and exclusive, especially if you go for wool or some other natural fibre.

New Zealand has amazing flooring solutions and if you search for quality rugs in NZ online you’ll find a variety of quality products that will make your home look attractive for all types of buyers. Adding just one quality rug will compensate in case you don’t have a choice but to leave the rest of your floors bare, as it can provide a whole new perspective for a potential buyer.  

Improve the master bedroom

Buyers want to see a large, comfortable and functional bedroom. So what you can do is build a spacious walk-in closet—this addition will boost the value of any home. It’s a luxury you can afford, especially if you find an affordable solution, and no buyer will be able to ignore it.

Additionally, add interest to the room with an attractive bed. If you want to add drama to the space, check out luxurious upholstered beds which will leave a big impression with their aesthetic appeal and boost the value of your property. A good focal point like a lux bed will bring a great ROI. 

Be energy-efficient

two black suede armchairs during daytime

If you want to attract well-paying Millennial buyers, you need to pay attention to eco-friendliness. While you can improve insulation and add water-saving landscaping, an easier path is to work on your energy-efficiency.

Replacing regular bulbs with LEDs, investing in a few Energy Star appliances and installing solar panels can be a very cost-effective move that will boost the value of your property and attract energy-savvy buyers. 

Improve natural lighting

Plenty of natural light will make your interior look larger, reduce energy usage and improve the mood of potential buyers, so make sure to maximize sunlight.

Custom glass windows and doors will open up space in a very effective yet non-invasive way. Investing in larger windows (especially if they offer a beautiful nature view) and better doors can be the right move for all sellers looking to raise the value of their property. However, this is not a cheap improvement, so keep that in mind. 

While not all home improvements can be recouped when it comes the time to sell, these aforementioned ones give you the best chance to achieve a good ROI and end up with a satisfying value of your property. Smart interior design will catch the eye of well-paying buyers and give you an opportunity to raise the price of your home.

tech for home sales

4 Types of Real Estate Tech Tools That Help Sell Homes Faster

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Embracing real estate technology has really boosted the industry, a perfect example of the benefits of quality tech in an industry. In fact, real estate is one of the fields that saw an increase in tech tools, which can improve and streamline entire processes. The pandemic pushed us toward mass digitalization even faster.

Now, using real estate technology tools during the process of selling a home can help you create better rapport with your client by inspiring trust and encouraging engagement.

Innovation happens all the time. But, in order to properly utilize the tech tools available to you, you must be knowledgeable about what you use. For instance, avoid utilizing every new app or feature that makes enticing promises. Rather, research the most efficient real estate technology tools and incorporate them seamlessly into your process. To get you started, here are four tools that work well together to help you sell a home faster. 

Online Platforms for Real Estate Technology

The most important step in completing a transaction is the buyer’s ability to find and access your product in the first place. Nowadays, if your home isn’t listed online, it will probably take longer to find a buyer. Listing your property online saves time and extends your reach, while also increasing your credibility as a seller.

Therefore, it’s essential to find a trustworthy online platform that offers benefits to both you and your potential buyer. 

Virtual Tours

person holding gray video camera near green leaf plant during daytime

Real estate technology in the form of virtual tours has been beneficial to both industry professionals and their clients during the quarantine.

Plus, as social distancing remains critically important, offering a virtual tour can enable the client to see the home much better than pictures alone. Virtual tours also allow for mobility and freedom of movement, thereby allowing the potential buyer to view it anytime and anywhere. 

Especially if your client is moving from another state, virtual tours can also reduce the need to meet in person and, therefore, cut down on costs and time associated with transportation. This type of tour, in particular, has been especially useful for the rental side of real estate.

For instance, someone looking to relocate from Wisconsin to Minnesota can browse Minneapolis apartments and find a perfect fit without any commute. This works for selling homes, too, as clients can check out Minneapolis homes for sale from wherever they are. As a result, buyers are able to significantly reduce the time they spend attending open houses to narrow down their options.  

In addition to virtual tours, you might consider adding floor plans that will help your clients understand the flow of the property in a single glance. This revolutionary floor plan software is easy to use and it generates a professional 2D floor plan with less than 5 minutes of work. Just to be precise, by work we mean that you’ll have to scan the property with your mobile’s camera – simple as that.  Hence, you’ll not only capture higher quality leads but will create a memorable experience for your clients, all thanks to the virtual tours and floor plans.
Digital flyer real estate text message marketing is another great option for letting prospective buyers virtually view a listing. It texts property information to them when they request it and also notifies the listing agent by text and email they have a lead.

3D Staging

beige couch and armchair

Virtually staging as a real estate technology tool your home is a great option because it’s much less expensive than actually renting furniture and creating the display. Furthermore, the flexibility that comes with 3D staging is also worth noting because when you’re selling a house, you’re also selling a potential lifestyle. Therefore, you need tools to help you personalize the home and create different stories. 

Similar to real-life staging, you can even work with a company that specializes in 3D staging to help you paint the perfect picture for your potential customers. Plus, tools like this can assist you in highlighting the best features of the home and exploring different scenarios. Best of all, you don’t have to pay anyone to help you move the rented furniture or hire a cleaning company to clean up after you remove the furniture. Clearly, 3D staging is a more efficient and profitable tool all around.

Digital Paperwork 

person using MacBook Pro

One aspect that can truly make a difference is offering your clients the option to complete paperwork digitally, and a secure real estate platform or portal can make this possible. Especially in recent months when contact and exposure were reduced, companies and sellers working with digital paperwork have had an advantage. 

However, this option is ideal outside of the context of the pandemic, as well, because it reduces costs for both sides, it makes the entire process more efficient and faster, and it reduces waste. As long as you’re using a secure platform, there’s no reason not to implement digital paperwork — at least in the earlier stages of the process. 

These innovations and tools are truly only the beginning. The implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) will also change the industry and these processes. However, the relationship between sellers and buyers or agents and renters remains at the core of the process.

It is a business for and about people. As such, the goal should be to instill trust and show your open-mindedness and acceptance of innovation — and technology can do just that. 

First Time Homebuyer Basics in 2020

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Buying a home can be nerve-racking, no matter where you live. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer in Maryland where there’s no county with an average list price under $100,000, or a contract for deed buyer in Minnesota, this is expensive too as a first-timer.

While going through the home buying and mortgage process, you’ll encounter both big price tags and unfamiliar situations. 

Cities all across the country have tight and complicated real estate market which may seem impossible for a first timer to succeed on their own. However, there’s more to buying a home than picking your favorite listing and moving in. It’s important to understand all the steps of completing a real estate purchase in any city, as well as what to look for when buying, what questions to ask, understand the hidden costs, and how to close on it.

white and brown house during daytime

Too often, people rush into homeownership because it’s seen as a sign of adulthood and financial responsibility. They fail to realize the commitment and responsibilities that come along with owning a home. They fail to realize that homeownership is not a guaranteed good investment. Take it or not, people are currently in the business yet their finances are not the best. 

Now, what are the things you should consider when buying your first home?

Personal Finances

Being able to purchase a home means you know what you can afford. You can determine this based on your finances. Always try to keep track of your credit score and work towards improving it as much as you can. The greater the score you get, the faster you’ll be approved for a loan. You as well need to consider how much you need for a down payment. Homebuyers are expected to put up between 5 and 20 percent of the price of a property as a down payment. As a potential homeowner, saving for a down payment should be your top priority.

Study your Mortgage and Down Payment Options

You can always find different mortgage options out there. Each comes with different combinations of pros and cons. As a first-time homebuyer struggling to get the best down payment, you should understand that the amount you put down will have an impact on your monthly mortgage and interest rates. If you are interested in the smallest rates possible, you can go for a 30- years fixed mortgage program. You can also go for a 20 or 15-year fixed loan if you can afford larger monthly payments. Try playing with various mortgage calculators online to see what fits you.

Find an Experienced Real Estate Agent

With your list of priorities and pre-approval information in hand, speak to a real estate agent who can help you find a home. As a first-time homebuyer, you need someone experienced by your side to guide you through the process. An agent can facilitate negotiations between buyers and sellers and show you properties that fit your budget and meet your needs.

Go shopping for your first home

After avoiding every possibility of financial disaster by understanding every available mortgage and down payment option, you can now go for house hunting, your real estate agent can be very helpful at this stage. Searching for a home at this time will be the perfect move as you already know what you can afford from your credit report. Your credit report is needed by a lender to determine what type of property you can afford.

Save for Closing Cost

You will work with your lender and your real estate agent to ensure that all of the relevant paperwork for your purchase is in order. Along with your down payment, you’ll be required to pay for closing costs. You must be wondering what this is for and how much it is maybe? Closing costs generally vary within 3-4% of the property purchase price.

black Android smartphone

These fees pay for important steps in the home-buying process, including:

  • Appraisal
  • Home inspection
  • Credit report
  • Attorney
  • Homeowner’s insurance

person sitting on chair holding iPad

So, no matter when you plan on purchasing your first time, be sure that you’re well aware of all of the extra costs and what you’ll really be spending. For more info, please contact us whenever you’re in need of homebuying advice.

real estate virtual tours

Selling Homes During Coronavirus: 7 Tips for Virtual Tours

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It’s no secret that the nation’s housing market has ground to halt. Sellers are wary of letting strangers into their homes, and buyers are afraid to venture out. In fact, many sellers have simply removed their homes from the market as they are waiting for things to improve before relisting; or they’ve opened up to the idea of real estate virtual tours.

That said, mortgage rates, however, are at historic lows, and buyers with safe jobs and excellent credit scores are in a great position to acquire the property. If you do need to sell your home during this unprecedented time, this is an excellent target market, and by using virtual tour real estate technology, you can move your property. We’ve compiled seven tips that will help you go virtual, so let’s take a look:

Facetime

The time for real estate virtual tours is now. Anyone that is interested in buying your home will have a cell phone, and the easiest way to do a virtual tour real estate showing is by utilizing Facetime. The prospective buyer can not only have an up-close and personal look at your property, but any questions that arise can be instantly answered. And, since no Internet connection is required—although Wi-Fi calling may make for a more seamless presentation—Facetime has been shown to be a great—and free—resource.

two men in suit sitting on sofa

Skype

Facetime is great for real estate virtual tours, but what else? Think of Skype as enhanced Facetime. You do need to download the app, but you can have multiple parties on the phone, and they can be located anywhere. While facetime is very easy to use, first-time Skype users are encouraged to view a short explanatory video.

man and woman siting on sofa chair inside room

Facebook Live

Facebook is continuously trying to monetize its platform (great for real estate virtual tours), and for many years the company has been striving to create a useful home sellers’ marketplace. Prospective buyers have been able to use private messaging to contact real estate agents regarding showings, and now sellers’ agents can put together a nice video that does a great job of showing a home.

person holding gray video camera near green leaf plant during daytime

Facebook Live also allows Realtors to save their virtual tour real estate videos, and these can be shown on their company websites and distributed on social media networks. Some agents are also using these videos to help qualify prospective buyers.

YouTube

YouTube has come a long way form the platform that enabled silly home videos. YouTube is now the second-largest search engine in the world with over three billion monthly searches, and in addition to allowing buyers to find properties for sale by search, savvy Realtors craft great videos that showcase homes for sale. Buyers are then emailed or texted a link that puts the property for sale right in front of them instantly.

Youtube in smartphone

Periscope

This is another virtual streaming app like YouTube, but video creators sometimes take this a step further and add local neighborhood points of interest that can give the prospective buyer an intimate feel for the surrounding area even though they may be thousands of miles away.

shallow focus photography of man holding video camera

Don’t Forget the Landscaping

Curb appeal is still very important, and even more so if would-be buyers are looking at your property virtually. Why? Because they can still do a drive-by:

  • Without putting themselves at risk,
  • without even getting out of the car,
  • and without you even knowing it.

You don’t want to have spent time, effort and dollars to make a great interior video and have your work negated by a scraggly weed-filled lawn accompanied by overgrown foundation plantings. Therefore, take some time to work on the landscaping, and if you can’t do it yourself, search online and find a company that is still doing outside work. You can pay with a credit card and you don’t have to meet anyone in person.

black pruning shears beside green gloves

Do Some Research

Finally, before blindly picking a virtual tour option, do some work and find out what methods have worked best for sellers that have unloaded a home during the coronavirus pandemic. What worked for them could work for you, so again, get into it and do some research!

Again, this is a crazy time, but it doesn’t mean that homes will not sell. Buyers are out there looking for bargains and mortgage rates are at historic lows. Do everything you can to make sure that anyone that is looking to buy a house is aware that your property could be a great option.

mortgage after bankruptcy

How Will Filing Bankruptcy Affect My Mortgage?

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You are overwhelmed with debt and you have a mortgage to pay. 

What do you do?

The next step you take to resolve your financial difficulties (yes, you still have a life after bankruptcy) largely depends upon the type of debt you have, your income, and what you want to do and can do with your secured collateral.  

Remember, your mortgage is a secured debt, meaning that it is secured by your real property and that if you default on the mortgage, the mortgage lender can seize the property through a foreclosure action. Further, the mortgage lender can sue you for the account deficiency following the sale of the property at sheriff’s auction.

Here are five common scenarios that feature different treatment of your mortgage depending upon the rest of your financial situation. 

You have fallen behind on your mortgage and you do not have enough income to make your monthly mortgage payments, much less repay the mortgage arrears.

In this case, you have the option to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a 4-6 month liquidation process by which you disclose your income, expenses, assets, and debts. The court determines that you are unable to repay your unsecured debt (like credit card or medical debt) and you receive a discharge of that debt – meaning, you are no longer personally liable for that debt.

When you file a bankruptcy case under Chapter 7, you have two options regarding your mortgage and your home:

You can Enroll in Your State’s Mortgage Modification Program

Most states offer Chapter 7 debtors the opportunity to request a mortgage modification through their bankruptcy filing. This brings the mortgage lender to the table in that the lender is required to participate. Be advised however that no lender is required to give you a modification if a feasible modification just cannot be reached, considering your past-due mortgage debt and your current income.

You Can Surrender Your Real Property

If you know that no matter what mortgage modification is offered you will be unable to afford to pay your monthly mortgage payment, you can “surrender” your property in your Chapter 7 filing and have the underlying debt, the mortgage, discharged as unsecured debt. 

“Surrendering” your property means you walk away free and clear, owing nothing. It also means that any foreclosure proceedings or scheduled sheriff’s sales are “stayed” or stopped by the bankruptcy filing’s “automatic stay,”, giving you a few months to live in the house without paying the mortgage and to save money for whatever future housing arrangements you are considering.

You have fallen behind on your mortgage but you have enough income to pay the monthly mortgage payment if your unsecured debts are discharged

In this case you might consider filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. Chapter 13 is a repayment plan over 3 or 5 years, and will allow you to repay your mortgage arrears over time as long as you can start making the monthly mortgage payment in full and on time as well.

At the end of your Chapter 13 plan you will be current on your mortgage and you will receive a discharge of any unsecured debt, like credit card debt and medical debt. Some past due income tax can also be discharged, under certain conditions.

You are current on your mortgage but have overwhelming credit card or medical debt, and do not have much equity in your home.

In this case, Chapter 7 will really help you.  If the equity in your home is less than the state or federal exemption (meaning, the Trustee cannot seize your home and sell it for the benefit of your creditors), then filing Chapter 7 will not affect your mortgage at all – simply keep making the monthly mortgage payment in full and on time throughout your Chapter 7 case.

What Chapter 7 can do for you is get that unsecured debt discharged, as long as you income-qualify to file Chapter 7. If you make too much income to qualify to file Chapter 7, you can file a Chapter 13 case and repay a small amount of unsecured debt to your creditors, and have the remainder discharged at the completion of your plan.

You are current on your mortgage, have overwhelming unsecured debt, and have a lot of equity in your home.

If you have equity in your home that exceeds the applicable exemptions, things get tricky. If you have overwhelming unsecured debt, the bankruptcy court will consider that equity the means by which you can repay your unsecured creditors. 

Considering this, how can bankruptcy help? You can still file a Chapter 13 case, and a calculation is made of the unexempt amount of equity in your property. That amount must be paid, proportionately, to your unsecured creditors, as the amount they would have gotten had you filed Chapter 7 and the Trustee seized and sold your home for the benefit of your creditors. 

The amount of nonexempt equity in your property will be divided by 36 or 60 months (your 3- or 5-year Chapter 13 plan), and with the addition of the Trustee fee, you will pay that amount to the Trustee every month and the Trustee will make proportional distributions to your unsecured creditors.

This way your home is protected, and you just pay your monthly Trustee payment and continue to pay your monthly mortgage payment in full and on time throughout your Chapter 13 case.

You are current on your first mortgage, have a second mortgage, and have some unsecured debt you are struggling to pay.

If your first mortgage is greater than the current market value of your home, then you can “strip off” that second mortgage as unsecured and have it discharged in a Chapter 13 case.

Yes, you read right.  Here is an example:

John and Mary own a home currently worth $225,000. They took out a second mortgage many years ago when the home was worth $280,000, but property values have fallen since then.  Their first mortgage balance is $212,000 and the second mortgage balance is $38,000.

John and Mary are “underwater” on their first mortgage in the amount of $13,000. For this reason, they can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition and strip off their second mortgage as unsecured and have it discharged. As a bonus, they can also have their credit card and medical debt totaling $22,000 discharged. Filing Chapter 13 saved John and Mary $60,000!

Wrapping It Up

In conclusion, what happens to your mortgage after bankruptcy depends upon which Chapter you file under as well as your income and your goals in filing the case.

Speak with a bankruptcy attorney about the facts of your particular situation so that you can decide for yourself the best course of action.

first time homeowner checklist

An Essential Checklist for New Homeowners

1000 500 Sam Radbil

You are in! You have managed your finances; you have jumped through the hoops – and now you are living in your first home

It is exciting, maybe even daunting.

Here we take you through the essentials for your new home – what you will need versus what you desire. 

It doesn’t matter who you are, what age you’re making your first purchase, what your financial situation looks like, or anything else … this checklist can be helpful as a first-time owner.

Whoever you are, here is the list of essentials you should collect.

The Cleaning Collection

As dull as it sounds, before you move to your new place, you will need cleaning products and equipment. If this is one stress too many, you could always order the following items online and have them delivered to your new home on the day you move in.

First, you will need a vacuum cleaner – preferably a high-powered device.  Before you start to place your furniture in the home, you will want to make sure you have vacuumed everywhere. Your moving team will have tracked in dirt, and you will want to make sure you start your time in your home with it looking its best. There are some great deals on CraigsList and other online sites. If you have hard floors, you might want to get a broom and dustpan instead. You will undoubtedly need a mop and bucket.

Then, you will need a variety of sponge cloths, rags and squeegees.  You will want to wash down the counters and clean the bathroom. You will struggle to keep your mirrors; shower doors and windows clean without the right tool for the job.

Finally, pick up a range of cleaning fluids and sprays for the different parts of your home. You will need bleach, oven cleaner, washing up liquid, washing powder and many more. Check out the aisle at the supermarket to get a full idea of your cleaning needs.

Furniture Items

Rented accommodation often comes with some basic furniture. However, you will want to start adding to this furniture to help you make the place your own. 

Although you will have a bed, sofa, table and chairs and other such essentials, you may be missing some of the more comfortable and stylish items that will help you feel at home. You should add to these pieces over time and not think you need to interior design the whole space from the start. Once you have the essentials and a few pieces that make the home yours, the rest can come over time.

Small beginning points could be a lovely rug, or a favorite chair – maybe even a bookcase with some of your favorite books.

If you are moving into your bought home for the first time, these little luxuries may need to wait while you acquire the essentials such as a bed and a sofa.

Bathroom Details

Like your cleaning products for the house, some bathroom items will need to be available from the moment you move in. You will be embarrassed if you are caught short without loo roll – for instance. You also need to think about small things like a shower curtain, a bathmat, a storage rack for your toilet rolls – along with a toilet roll dispenser.  

You should also remember your towels and your soap and soap dish – you will be glad of these after a dirty day moving furniture. You will eventually want to stock up and have about three towels per person – along with a few extras for your guests.

The Electrics

You will need items you didn’t even realize you needed before. The most common problem facing new home movers is a lack of extension cables, lightbulbs and cables for TVs – such as your HDMI cable. The small things that magically appeared in your parents’ home that helped you charge your phone and your laptop – are now yours to buy.

Something small like a cord organizer could be a lifesaver when you are moving in. Neatly setting up your cables from the start will save you a lot of untangling.

Finally, and when you come to relax you will be glad we mentioned it, stock up on packs of AA and AAA batteries for the remote control for your TV and satellite box.

Overall, there are a ton of things you’ll have to do when you finally get into your first home. But this is a checklist that can set you on the path to enjoyment as soon as possible in your new digs!

Homeowners Guide to Using & Installing a Central Vacuum System

1000 500 Sam Radbil

Are you a homeowner thinking to purchase the best central vacuum? If you’re looking to upgrade the cleaning of dirt and debris in your home, this is for you.

Well, after this decision you need to dive into this guide for selecting the right central vacuum for your place.

You need to realize that there are several sorts of models and each of them owns different features for fulfilling a particular need thus you need to decide according to your requirement. This article covers some of the important information which is vital for you to take in before heading right away for the purchase. 

Getting the Right Installer

Many first time homeowners just focus on finding the correct central vacuum system and in that race, they always tend to ignore the right installer. There can be a high probability that you are confused about the type of installer which will fit your need, in that case never shy away and ask your family and friends. You need to ask around with your friends who already own the right installer.

In short, never ignore the potential of referral and their recommendations in a purchase decision. There can be a high probability that you are ignoring longevity but consider this factor when purchasing the central vacuum.

There can also be the case that the referral method just never works for you. Well, in that case, you need to dig deep into the local search and find the installer online. Read several reviews before making up your mind or settling for the perfect fit. 

Home Needs

You can not purchase a central vacuum without understanding the need for your house. You need to choose a perfect installer and after that ask the company to visit your place. You need to get the assessment from the company and ask that that which installer will be perfect for your house. 

System Fit

Certain things need to get considered before getting the actual central vacuum. You, along with the installer, must be able to figure out a method of hiding the tubings. The other locations which need your attention are inlet valves and dust canister. 

System Size

The next important and vital thing is the match. Your house together with the system must have perfect coordination. Bear in mind that your installer should take the size of your house, the floors and the number of rooms in the account as one needs to ensure that the central vacuum could work at an optimal level and reach every small space. The suction also needs to get determined according to the type of house you have. You might be aware that flooring also plays a huge role in the determination of the right central vacuum as there are different ones for carpet and different ones for tiles. 

Maintenance

If you are questioning the maintenance cost of a central vacuum cleaner then rest assured that it is much cheaper than alternatives, as you will have to get only certain parts replaced and that too once in about ten years. Make sure you do your research when looking at this method for your newly purchased home.