How To Use Mirrors To Feng Shui Your Home

Feng shui is the practice of using spatial arrangement and orientation to create synergistic, harmonious surroundings in a room or home. Mirrors of many shapes and sizes are often used to achieve this because they help bring light and movement into space and move energy throughout a room. Here are some tips for placing mirrors in your home!

Add a mirror to your home’s entryway. Adding a mirror in your foyer is recommended by feng shui experts because it’s where energy flows into your home. Make sure to place it on a wall perpendicular to the door as opposed to directly across from it.

Place a mirror in your dining room. Experts recommend placing a mirror in your dining room to invite more wealth and abundance into your home.

Hang mirrors along your hallways, not at the end. If you’re hanging a mirror in your hallway, place it along the length of it. Placing a mirror at the end of a hallway is said to slow or stop the flow of energy throughout that area of your home.

Be careful when placing a mirror facing a window. In most cases, a mirror facing a window is a good practice as it brings nature and light inside. However, if there are any structures like electrical poles, wires, pipes, etc. outside the window, experts say that mirror placement can bring negative energy instead.

Keep mirrors out of the kitchen. In the feng shui practice, kitchens are considered areas of negative energy. By keeping mirrors out of this area, you avoid doubling that negative energy.

5 Harmful Homeowner Habits To Break

Being a homeowner is one of the biggest milestones in your life. You feel excited and proud to take care of your new house and truly turn it into a home for you and your family. To keep your house in the best shape possible, here are five bad homeowner habits to avoid.

Damaging doors. Slamming your doors can have a huge impact in the long run as it can slowly pull your doors out of alignment and potentially create gaps and cracks near your exterior doors, letting air seep in and boosting your utility bill.

Harmful humidity. Showers lasting over 10 to 12 minutes at high water temperatures can increase chances of mildew and mold growing in your bathroom. Over time, this can also cause the paint on your ceiling to bubble and peel from condensation.

Abusing appliances. Clean the lint tray in your dryer after every use, run the oven cleaning cycle at least once a month, and try to wipe down your stovetop and microwave down regularly to avoid grease and residue build up.

Soiling surfaces. After eating a meal, applying makeup, or working and playing outdoors, try to wash your hands before touching walls, cabinets, and doors. Plus, make it a house rule to remove shoes at the door to avoid tracking dirt onto carpets and rugs.

Punishing pipes. Although not the best of topics, a clog in your pipes or main drain can be a huge pain and costly to fix. Regularly clean hair out of your sink and shower drains and avoid flushing cleansing wipes, paper towels, or feminine products down the toilet.

Why You Should Invest In A Rental Property

Investing in real estate can be a great alternative to traditional investments and many owners choose to rent out their property. Here are some of the top benefits for getting into this line of business!

Increase over time. Money being put towards real estate investments has increased substantially over the past few years. This is due to an influx in demand of rental properties and an increase in rental rates. These continue to trend upwards, meaning your property’s value will continue to increase as well.

Security. Unlike investing in stocks, your investment growth is a lot steadier with a very minimal chance that you can lose it all overnight. Generally, experts can predict when the market will start to dip in advance, and you can adjust accordingly.

Create passive income. Investing in a rental property (or four!) can make you money while you sleep and the rent you collect can cover or exceed your mortgage payment and other expenses, allowing you to bring in extra cash flow.

Tax breaks. As a real estate investor, you can take advantage of several tax exemptions. Rental income is not subject to self-employment tax and government provides tax breaks on insurance, repairs, legal fees, and property taxes.

Inflation. Although normally a bad thing, people who own rental properties actually benefit from inflation because, as the cost of living increases, so does your income.

Flexibility to sell. Renting out a home allows the homeowner the opportunity to be selective about when and if they sell while the home is still appreciating. Once the market is in the right place and the lease is up, they can pull the trigger.

Dealing With Scratched Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are highly desirable for most homeowners, but they come with their share of challenges when it comes to cleaning, maintenance, and repairs. After a few months or years of heavy use from kids playing with toys and chairs being shuffled around, it may be time for some DIY fixes.

Hiding scratches: If you’ve got a good eye for matching colors, you can actually use crayons or markers or purchase wax sticks from the hardware store to fill-in scratches. Try to match the stain color on your floors, but don’t worry if it’s a little off. If the color is close, once the scratch is filled, it’ll look like a variation in the wood grain.

Polishing floors: You can make a polish solution for your floors from household ingredients. Mix olive oil and vinegar in equal parts, pour it directly into scratches, and then wipe it off after 24 hours. It may take several applications, but this homemade polish will fill and cover most scratches.

Clever decor: It’s not a long-term solution, but sometimes the most painless way to fix scratches in your floors is to cover them with a rug or furniture arrangement.

Spot sanding: For deeper scratches, you’ll need to spot sand with fine steel wool or sandpaper, use wood filler, and stain and seal the repaired area.

Reconsider These Choices When You’re Designing Your Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the areas of a home that sees the most wear and tear. All the water, heat, and food spills add up quickly, so it’s important to focus on quality and lasting appeal if you’re choosing materials for a kitchen remodel. Here are a few things you should avoid:

Cheap laminate counters: The bottom rung of laminate is extremely susceptible to wear and tear. It can melt if you forget to place a hot pad under a pan that’s fresh off the stove, and the edges can chip off from repeated exposure to moisture and heat.

Flat paint: A flat or matte finish is great in rooms with lower traffic, but it’s a bad idea in the kitchen, where the walls are regularly exposed to splatters and spills. You need paint that can withstand an occasional heavy scrubbing, so opt for gloss or semi-gloss finishes.

Trendy backsplash: If you watch any home remodeling shows, you’ve certainly seen kitchens with expensive, elaborate backsplash designs and materials. Those trends can be pricey to pursue, yet can look dated in a hurry. Subway tile is a cheaper, classic option that you’ll never regret—and you’ll have more room in your budget for quality materials elsewhere.

Cheap flooring: Just like the countertops, your kitchen floor needs to be strong enough to take some abuse. Cheap flooring easily scuffs and peels (especially from moisture). Quality flooring is worth the investment.

From Decorating To Staging

There is a difference between the two and here’s how to get your home ready to sell. Once you’ve decided to put your home on the market you’re looking to sell quickly for the best possible price. One tactic that can help sell your home faster is staging.

At first, staging may seem like a real estate term that doesn’t actually mean anything. Isn’t staging just decorating? Well, not exactly…

APPEAL TO THE MASSES
Your home is likely decorated to your tastes. It could be colorful and eclectic, or rugged and industrial. But when you’re staging your home, rather than appealing to a specific decorating sense, you want to furnish your home in a way that appeals to everyone—and more importantly, doesn’t turn anyone off who just isn’t into your personal style.

TONE DOWN THE PERSONAL FLOURISHES
Buyers want to be able see themselves in a home and imagine how they’d make it their own. Unfortunately, that means less of your own style as you’re preparing for your move. Cut down on family photos, bold artwork, and unusual furniture. Do some major decluttering so the buyer can see all the space and storage opportunities. It may be sad to start removing the items that make your house a home, but it’s an important part of the process.

MASS APPEAL DOESN’T MEAN “BORING”
Your staged home can still be colorful, just stay away from extremes. If you paint, stick to whites, grays, or neutrals. Add flourishes of color with window treatments or accent furniture, but try to choose items that will appeal to both genders.

CALL A PRO
There are likely several staging companies in your area. If you need a recommendation, reach out to your trusted real estate professional.

How To Vet An Offer

Many sellers may be tempted to select the highest offer they receive, but there are several other factors to consider. Here are five areas important to evaluate.

Down payment. The size of the down payment should be heavily considered when comparing offers. It is often tied to the size of the loan the buyer is taking out and a larger one indicates higher financial stability.

Earnest money deposit. The EMD is the sum of cash the buyer is willing to put up when the sales agreement is signed to show their high level of interest in purchasing the home. If they back out of the transaction without a good reason, the seller typical keeps it, and if the sale goes through, it typically goes towards their down payment.

Contingencies. Contingencies are standard for most offers and outline the evaluations and appraisals that need to be completed before the sale is final, such as financing, appraisal, sale of current home, title, and home inspection. The fewer contingencies, the higher the chance of reaching the closing table.

All-cash offer. Not only does putting down an all-cash offer boost the likelihood of loan approval, but the buyer will not need an appraisal or financing contingency, reducing the chance of the sale falling through.

Closing date. Consideration of the closing date differs for each seller. For example, if you have already purchased a new home, you may want to close quickly. But, if you are waiting on the money from the sale to start house hunting, you may be okay with a slower settlement.

Going Green Starts In The Kitchen

Living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle and helping to keep our planet clean isn’t as difficult as you may think. All it takes is a few small tweaks. To start, here are five great tips for going green in your kitchen!

Filter your water. Not only does this allow you to remove contaminants like lead, chloroform, chlorine, etc. from your drinking water at home, but you can save money and reduce waste by avoiding bottled water. Choose between a water-filtering pitcher or faucet-mounted option.

Reduce water usage. It’s a common misconception that running your dishwasher uses a lot of water, when in fact, it generally uses less than hand washing dishes. Just make sure to only run it when full and use the light wash and air dry settings. You can also purchase a low-flow aerator for your kitchen faucet to cut down on water usage.

Avoid unnecessary packaging. When grocery shopping, avoid single-serving products and produce packaged in styrofoam and shrink-wrap to reduce waste. At home, opt for reusable containers, such as jars and Tupperware, instead of foil, plastic wrap, and Ziploc bags.

Switch your cooking appliances out. Instead of using your full-size oven, consider using a toaster oven, microwave, or slow cooker instead. These appliances use between 30 to 50 percent less energy to heat.

Buy local. Shopping at locally-sourced stores or farmers markets does not only allow you to support your neighbors and community but is sustainable for the environment. The food you purchase does not have to travel far to get to you, helping to reduce carbon emissions.

Organize Your Closet Like A Champ

Do you desire a closet that looks like it’s straight out of a magazine? Then we have you covered! Follow the tips below to masterfully organize your closet and give yourself peace of mind.

Group like clothing items together. Group same-length dresses, long-sleeved shirts, blouses, pants, etc. together in your closet to both save space and create an esthetically-pleasing look. Add an extra bar. Need more hanging room? You can find additional closet bars in-store or online for under $20 and installation is fairly quick and easy. Then hang t-shirts, blouses, jackets, and more on the lower bar.

Keep things uniform. Although you may have to spend a little more upfront, purchasing matching hangers, organizers, and storage boxes will give your closet a cleaner look.

Invest in special hangers, dividers, and organizers. Purchase a few items to make closet organization a breeze, such as a space-saving pants organizer, shelf dividers to keep t-shirts, towels, or sweaters in place, or multi-shirt hangers that can fit up to 5 garments on one.

Try color-coding. Feeling magically inspired? Try organizing your closet by color. You can even place the colors in order of the rainbow to help make dressing easier and more fun.

Get creative with shoe storage. Shoes can take up a lot of room and keeping the pile neat and tidy can be difficult. Consider purchasing a shoe organizer that hangs on your closet door or install rails on the wall to hang high heels. You can also purchase cubby shelving or a shoe carousel to be placed on the closet floor.

How Big Of A Home Do You Need?

When buying a new house, it’s easy to get distracted by size and think that bigger is better. However, depending on your situation, the opposite may be true.

So how can you determine if your new home is too small, too big, or “just right?” You’ll want to consider these elements.

What’s Your Long-Term Goal? How many years do you see yourself in this house? Is this the place where you want to raise your kids and retire? If not, then size shouldn’t be as crucial as you think. Consider the fact that you will likely move again, which means that you can upgrade in the future if necessary.

What’s Your Financial Limit? For the most part, you don’t want more home than you can truly afford. While you may be getting that promotion in a couple of months, you can’t buy now expecting to have more money in the bank later. Overextending your financial reach is always a bad move, so it’s best to avoid putting yourself (or your family) in that position.

How Many People are Living Here? In a perfect world, everyone would be able to have their own bedrooms, but when you have kids, that’s not always possible. When thinking about this situation, consider how imperative it is to have sufficient space for everyone, and what it will do to your budget.

Overall, buying a home should be about your current needs and how you plan to grow into space in the future. Don’t buy big for the sake of showing off – in the end, you’ll probably regret it.