Upsizing Your Home: Read this first


Before taking the plunge to go bigger, take a moment to ask yourself these important questions.

  • First of all, why are you considering an upsize?
    • What is it that your current home isn’t fulfilling for you? Know what this is, so that you can weigh the option of updating your current property or if it’s time to move on. Also look into the bigger picture, like the kind of community you want to live in, the school district, commute to work, and your lifestyle.
  • Think realistically: What are you future goals?
    • How long do you plan to stay in the home? How might your needs change?
      • Will your family size change? Do you dream of having a certain animals? etc.
      • Buy a home that fits with your lifestyle and goals. As your local Lake Norman Realtor®, I can help you find a home that’s as unique as you are. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me to talk about your goals, plans, and expectations.
  • What can you afford, what do you WANT to afford?
    • There is a difference in what you CAN afford (are qualified for) and what you WANT to afford (the lifestyle you want to live).
      • Take a moment to reflect on your current lifestyle and budget. Buying a bigger home, could mean more financial responsibility. (maintenance costs, mortgage, insurance, etc.)
      • Do you have hobbies, vacations, charities, or other things you enjoy doing that you may have to push aside if your home costs increase? If so, is it worth it? After all, life is about making memories and having life experiences. (in my opinion)
    • Know that you can afford to move up and still maintain your lifestyle. 🙂
  • How will you use the extra space?
    • Don’t let your money go to waste. Yes, that home may have more square footage than your current home. But does that mean it’s usable space for your needs?
      • Do you really need more bedrooms? What will you do with them? Do you have a vision for the “bonus room,” or will it end up as empty space? When you think of a bigger home/yard, envision what that means for you and how you’ll use the space.
  • Should you buy first, or sell first?
    • I recommend you sell your home before purchasing a new one. However, in some situations it may make sense for you to buy before you sell. If this is the case, do your best to:
      • Know what your home will likely sell for, think realistically and count on the low end of the range to be safe.
      • Get a 90 day closing on your home purchase to allow you more time to sell and avoid the stress of being in a time crunch.
      • List your home as soon as the due diligence is over for your new home purchase.
  • Know your options, should you choose to sell your home before you buy a new one:
    • I’m sure you’ve heard, it’s a HOT seller’s market right now. This means that sellers have the upper hand. Here are some options to keep in mind allowing you time to find a new home:
      • Request a seller lease-back from the buyer. It’s important you discuss this with the buyer(s) before accepting an offer. You and the buyers can negotiate the terms of the lease back (amount of time, compensation, utilities, etc.) This allows you as the seller more time to procure a new home.
      • You may also ask for a longer closing period to give you more time to get into a new home. I would suggest waiting until due diligence is over to make an offer on another home. The reason for this is:
        • 1. It allows you to give a stronger offer (showing you have a serious offer on your home, past the due diligence period and highly likely to close).
        • 2. Gives you more peace of mind that the buyer has done their due diligence and are moving forward with the purchase. Of course, in certain circumstances the buyer can still back out of the contract after due diligence, but this doesn’t usually happen. If it does, the buyer would likely be forfeiting their earnest money deposit.

In conclusion

Know your why, your motivation for a bigger home. Is it necessary to move to fulfill your desire? Know what lifestyle you want to live, can you afford (preapproved from your lender) the upsize and maintain this lifestyle? Envision yourself in this bigger home, do you have a vision for the extra space? Or do you simply just “feel” like more space would be better? Knowing your why, will help you envision how you want your home to be. If you’ve decided that it’s time to upsize, make a game plan. Are you going to sell first, or buy first?

Reach out to me to discuss your goals, strategies, and options to get you where you want to be. 🙂 You can schedule time on my calendar here. Or feel free to call, text, or email me at anytime.

(704)951-4017 or Maranda.Christensen@exprealty.com

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HAPPIER HARDWOOD FLOORS

Tips for cleaning your beautiful hardwood floors and keeping them looking great.

Hardwood floors make for a beautiful, stunning addition to your home. However, they can bring new cleaning and maintenance challenges that aren’t present with carpet. Here are some tips for simple, efficient, and thorough hardwood floor cleaning.

Make the job easier
Place mats on either side of your exterior doors and always remove your shoes before entering your home—and make sure your guests do the same. Protect the floors by placing felt (or similar) protectors on the feet of your furniture, and use area rugs to designate play areas for the kids. This will reduce extra dirt, dust, and floor scratches.

Weekly cleaning
Sweeping with a standard broom will remove some dirt and dust, but not as much as a mop, wipe, or broom that’s been treated with a dusting agent such as a Swiffer. You could also invest in a vacuum that is designed for hardwood floors. Just be sure that the vacuum won’t leave scratches!

Deeper cleaning
Regular sweeping will remove most dirt and dust, but occasionally you’ll need to give the floors a deeper cleaning to remove the dirt and grime that builds up in your floors’ seams. Use a wood-cleaning soap to thoroughly mop your floors, but make sure the mop isn’t sopping wet—you don’t want to leave standing water.

Spots and scuffs
Most of the marks that occasionally show up on your floors, such as scuffs from rubber soles on boots and shoes—can be wiped away with a rag or very fine steel wool.


Looking for a professional to help get those hardwoods refinished and looking new? Reach out to me, I’ve got a couple of great connections on standby. Text or call me at 704-951-4017 or schedule a time to talk below. 🙂

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A LITTLE EXTRA PREPARATION AND INGENUITY GOES A LONG WAY TOWARD A BETTER PAINT JOB

Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to give your home a makeover. Whether it’s updating an old bathroom paint scheme or adding a bold accent wall, painting can totally transform a room. But painting can be a big hassle and come with tons of prep work and clean up. Here are a few of Breakthrough Broker’s top tips to make your painting experience more enjoyable and lead to a more professional finish.

Prep beyond tape and drop cloths
A drop cloth will protect your floors, but a thick and durable drop cloth is also a little clumsy to maneuver. For smaller, awkward items that are in danger of paint splatter, use plastic wrap. It’ll make it much less frustrating to protect a toilet or bathroom sink.

Be ready for spills and splatters
At the very least, a few drops of paint are going to end up where you don’t want them. Have a rag and some Q-Tips ready for the inevitable paint splatter, so that you can quickly wipe them off before they dry and set on your frames, countertops, or hardwood floor.

Use heat to remove tape Patience is key when removing painter’s tape, but it can still tear and leave splotchy edges no matter how careful you are. Hold a heat gun or hair dryer a few inches away from the tape as your remove it little by little. The heat will break down the adhesive and make removing the tape a much less frustrating task.

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NEW HOMEOWNER? AVOID THESE LAWN CARE MISTAKES


It’s easy to take a few missteps when it comes to lawn care, especially if you’re a new homeowner and it’s your first time being solely responsible for your yard and landscaping. Here are a few tips that will help you avoid lawn-related frustrations.


Cutting the grass short. Lowering the height of your mower blades may give you a few extra days between each mowing, but it’s bad for your grass in the long run. Don’t go any shorter than 2.5 inches, or your grass could be starved for sunlight.

Watch where your dog urinates. Finally out of an apartment and ready to let the dog into the back yard when it’s time to go? You might regret it. Your pets’ urine can kill your plants and grass. Try to train your dog to go in one spot, preferably in stone or gravel.

Be careful with fertilizer. Fertilizing your lawn isn’t as simple as picking up any bag at a local store. Choosing the wrong fertilizer, using too much, or ignoring the instructions is a recipe for disaster. Do plenty of research or ask a professional if you need help choosing.

Give your plants room to breathe. The nutrients in soil are a finite resource, and your plants and shrubs also need their fair share of water and sunlight. If you plant your shrubs, trees, and flowers too close together, they’ll have to compete for those resources and may become malnourished. Pay attention to the planting recommendations for each plant to make sure that they have the proper space to thrive.

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WHAT TO PACK IN A NATURAL DISASTER

In the event of a natural disaster, you have to be ready to flee at a moment’s notice, leaving you very little time to decide what to take. To help you prepare for an evacuation situation from a wildfire, tornado, hurricane, and more, here are 5 things to consider packing.

Special Mementos. Is there a locket handed down from generation to generation that you keep in your jewelry box? Or a sweet note from a loved one tucked away in the closet? Although you can’t take every special keepsake with you, make sure you grab the ones closest to your heart.

Important Documents. Bring identification documents for each member of your family, such as passports, birth certificates, social security cards, etc. You should also pack a copy of health insurance for each person.

Cash. Although it is rare for most people to carry cash on them these days, in the event of a natural disaster it is necessary. In most cases, there is likely to be a power outage in the area, rendering ATM machines and most registers unusable.

First Aid Kit and Medications. Create a first aid kit consisting of band aids, pain killers, gauze, cleansing towelettes, and gloves. Also, don’t forget to grab any medication your family members are required to take and the prescription script if available in case you need refills.

* Food and Water.*Pack non-perishable food items like granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit. Make sure to stock enough water for everyone in your family to at least have 1 gallon a day.

CREATE A MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK


Many homeowners would love to invest in making their property more energy-efficient. Going green can save you a lot of money over time and is great for the environment, but the up-front costs can be significant. Fortunately, there are some energy-efficient changes you can make to your home without draining too much of your bank account.


Seal air leaks: As much as 20 percent of the energy used to regulate temperature in a home can be lost to air leaks. You can seal doors and windows with weather stripping and the project will usually cost less than $200. If you’re in search of a professional quote, let me know. I’ve got a book of professionals on standby and ready to help! Contact me here or simply call/text 704-951-4017.

Smart thermostats: Older thermostats are usually inefficient because they only have a few settings. A smart thermostat like Nest can be programmed to reduce heating/cooling when you’re not at home or during the hours when you’re asleep. The energy savings you will see usually equal the cost of the thermostat after a year or two.

Change your light bulbs: LED light bulbs are expensive, but require just a small percentage of the energy incandescent bulbs require. A cheap incandescent bulb uses about $15 of electricity a year (if it lasts that long). An LED bulb costs $25, but uses less than $5 worth of electricity per year and will last up to 11 years.


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STYLE YOUR SHE SHED


She sheds allow the women of the household a tranquil sanctuary where they can step away from the hustle and bustle of their home lives. Here are some must-haves for your she shed!


Décor

The options for decorating your space are endless. Whether you go modern, rustic, or cozy, the choice is all yours. Some items to consider are framed photos of family, friends, and pets, a letter board for fun sayings, colorful paintings, mirrors, and plush or colorful rugs.

Plants

Whether you have a green thumb or not, adding real or fake plants into the mix can help create a Zen, calming space. Some easy-to-maintain plants include succulents, snake plants, air plants, and parlor palms. Freshly cut flowers can also liven up the room.

Lights

Selecting the right lighting can really affect the ambiance of your she shed. Some options to consider include string lights, unique floor or table lamps, chandeliers, candles, and light diffusers.

Seating

Some of the most popular seating choices for a she shed are lounge chairs or chaises, however don’t rule out a big comfy couch, recliners, or floor pillows if those are more your style.

Activities

What are your favorite activities to do alone or with your girlfriends? Whether you love to craft, sew, journal, read, play an instrument, watch TV, or workout, make sure you stock all the items needed for your favorite hobbies in your space. Refreshments Whether you’re a wino, dirty martini connoisseur, or mocktail master, a designated bar area is a common addition to a she shed. Don’t forget your favorite treats to complement your favorite drink.


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WHICH FEATURES ARE YOUNG BUYERS LOOKING FOR IN A HOME?


Millennials are the second-largest segment of home buyers, ranking behind only baby boomers, according to the National Association of Realtors. Here are five features that tend to entice millennials who are looking to buy.


Updated Kitchen

An up-to-date kitchen and bath
Younger buyers often have limited funds for renovations, so it’s important that they have functional and inviting bathroom and kitchen spaces from the very start.

An open floor plan
Having a formal dining room isn’t of particular importance to millennials, in fact, many prefer open spaces with no separation between kitchen, living room, and dining room. An open concept makes it easier to entertain everyone at once.

An office
More and more jobs are offering work-from-home options, and there are also plenty of freelancers and telecommuters among millennials. A dedicated space for getting some work done can be a key attraction.

Friendly location
With gas prices rising, many millennials prefer walking, biking, or public transit for their commutes. A great location is key.

Energy savings
Millennials are often more conscious of energy conservation and efficiency. Energy-efficient appliances, energy-efficient windows, and quality insulation can make a huge difference.


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TAKE 5: BACKYARD DIY PROJECTS


Summertime is here and it’s bringing the heat! It’s always an option to blast the air conditioner all summer long, but there are ways to keep your home cool that are better for the environment and won’t double your energy bill.


  • Ceiling Fans: Ceiling fans may be an overlooked method to keep your home cool, but that’s because they are often used incorrectly. During the summer months a ceiling fan should be rotating counterclockwise to send cool air down otherwise you will be recirculating the heat in your home.
  • Blinds: If your home has windows that face the west or north, make sure to keep them covered with blinds to prevent the sun from heating up your home.
  • Mind the Gaps: Cover or repair all gaps and cracks near doors and windows to ensure your cool air stays in during the day. This paired with your home’s insulation will also prevent heat from seeping in on hot days.
  • Evening Chill: When the sun goes down and the temperature is cooler, open up your windows and doors to bring that cool air in. Just make sure to get them closed before the sun returns.
  • Box Fans: If your home has multiple windows on opposite sides of the room, you can create a cooling effect with two box fans on each side. One should be facing inward and the other outward. This will keep a constant airflow bringing in fresh air and removing the hot air.

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HOW TO SAVE MONEY WHILE LANDSCAPING


Revamping your landscaping can be a huge undertaking. It takes a lot of time, effort, and money. So how can you give the exterior of your home a facelift without breaking the bank or taking out a second mortgage. There a many ways to cut costs on landscaping, including some of Breakthrough Broker’s favorite tips below!


Select perennial plants. Choosing perennial plants over annuals can help reduce both cost and time. These plants continue to bloom year over year with less upkeep so you won’t have to set aside more money for new plants and spend time replanting in the coming years.

Shop at the end of the season. Shop for plants, accessories, mulch, containers, and more towards the end of fall for the best savings. Most garden centers and nurseries are looking to clear out plants and tools before winter so you may be able to save up to 50 percent.

Creatively source materials. Often extra materials can be found at construction sites or other landscapers may be giving them away for discounted prices or even free on Craigslist or Facebook Markplace. Make sure you look around before paying full price for rocks, wood, gravel, and more.

Use a mix of materials. Building surfaces like pathways or patios can often carry a large price tag for both materials and installation. To reduce costs, consider mixing materials, such as gravel with pavers or concrete with cut stone, to create a unique surface for less.

Keep up maintenance. Taking care of your yard throughout the year can save you from high-cost repairs in the future. Make sure to weed regularly, reduce standing water, keep patios and pathways clean, and paint peeling fences.


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