Patricia Lima's Blog
Making your home a little more green won’t take much time or effort, but the results will pay off for years to come. You’ll consume fewer products, be exposed to fewer chemicals and even spend less money every month. Incorporate one or more of these easy green ideas into your home routine to see just how easy it is to live in an eco-friendly way.
- Buy local: When it comes to food, items that are in season or produced near your home not only cost less, they don’t have to be trucked a long way to get to you. Less gasoline is consumed and your food is fresher, too, when you buy local produce, eggs and meat.
- Swap out light bulbs: Swapping your conventional light bulbs for LED or smart bulbs can cut your energy consumption and the amount of bulbs you use. You don’t have to do this all at once, simply replace bulbs with more energy efficient models as they burn out.
- Check for leaks: Faucets, outdoor hoses and toilets that run or leak are wasting water, and probably generating higher bills each month. Track down and repair leaks to conserve water and save.
- Lower your water temperature: Lower the temperature on your water heater and you’ll save money. You’ll also make your home safer for kids or elderly family members, since overly hot water can lead to burns.
- Green Clean: You can buy home cleaners that are made with fewer chemicals – or even make your own. Switch out over time, as you run out of conventional cleaners, and you’ll end up with a greener, healthier home.
- Choose cloth over paper: It’s not always feasible, but using cloth napkins and towels in place of paper ones will cut your consumption. Save the disposable ones for bad spills and messes, and use cloth for everything else. You’ll use much less paper and see a dip in your spending, too.
Any of these ideas can help you go green at home, without much effort or expense. Choose one to start with and incorporate it into your routine – even small steps make a difference when you are opting for a greener lifestyle and home.
It's time to find the perfect place of your own but becoming a property investor has one significant roadblock: a down payment. It’s something that can stop potential home buyers in their tracks.
While winning the lottery or inheriting a windfall would be fabulous, you don’t need those luxuries before you can buy a home. What you do need is a budget that gives you a strategy for saving while still attending to daily expenses. The challenge is that once you create the budget, you must protect it from the temptation to stray from it while you work toward homeownership.
Here are some proven savings tips AND the budget-busters to avoid along the way:
Strategies for Saving
Detached account. While it seems obvious, many people lack even one savings account. If you already have an account, open a separate one specifically for your down payment. Make sure that it is detached from your other accounts. Having a savings account designated specifically for your down payment may get you to think before dipping into it whenever other expenses arise.
Different bank. You can open an account at the same institution where you have a checking account but doing so makes it easy to move money back into your spending account. Open an account at a credit union or savings bank to which you'd have to make a special trip to remove funds.
Direct deposit. Have the down payment part of your paycheck deposited directly to your savings account. You'll avoid having immediate access to it. If you don't see it in your checking account, you are less likely to spend it.
Establish a Budget
Now that you have established a place to save funds, you need to create a budget to handle your remaining income. Many online programs will help you to create a budget and keep track of your spending. They are often free or low fee to use, and some give you access to a financial planner at a small cost. Here are some to get you started:
Many people resist living by a budget because it feels too restrictive. The notion that your budget monitors your spending keeps many from reaching even first-level financial goals. Money is a tool to help you get what you truly desire. If you wish to own a home, eliminate these budget-busters that will keep you from getting there:
Overpriced drinks. If your caffeine habit racks up more than $10 every day, consider cutting that expense in half. If you saved five dollars each day, you could add $1825 to your down payment account by year’s end.
Eating out. Just like a daily coffee break, restaurants and fast food meals can easily break a budget. Studies show the average American spends over $250 each month eating out. If that sounds like you, eat out half as often and bank another $125 each month. Over 12 months, that’s $1500 more towards your down payment.
Clothes. Many offices allow casual dress so spending on clothes for work might not be necessary. If you work in an environment that requires professional attire, purchase a few high-quality pieces that you can style in different ways with lower-cost items.
Expensive vacations. The travel bug bites in every season. Even a cheap flight with a hotel and rental car can result in a fairly large expense. Instead, you may opt for a getaway that is within driving distance while you’re working through your savings plan.
These budget-busters could add up to $6000 or more annually. That could be enough to qualify for a down payment when using an FHA loan. Add to that a portion of any extra money you receive throughout the months for bonuses, birthdays, holidays, rebates, and tax refunds, and your down payment account can grow significantly in just one year.
Ready to pack your clothing for moving day? Ultimately, packing apparel and accessories can be a hassle, particularly for those who have only a limited amount of time to prepare for a move. Lucky for you, we're here to help streamline the process of getting your clothing ready for moving day.
Now, let's take a look at three tips for packing clothing before moving day arrives.
1. Sort Through Your Clothing
Take a look inside your closet and sort through your apparel and accessories – you'll be glad you did. If you organize your clothing today, you may be able to save time down the line.
Determine which clothing you plan to keep and which no longer suits your style. Then, you can eliminate assorted apparel and accessories from your wardrobe.
With excess clothes that are in good condition, you may be able to sell or donate these items. Before you do so, however, you should make sure that all of your clothing is clean.
If you find clothes that are ripped or torn, there is no need to bring them to your new address. Instead, dispose of any damaged clothes, and you can avoid the hassle of transporting these items from Point A to Point B.
2. Group Your Clothing
Group your clothing, and you can organize your apparel and accessories and speed up the process of unpacking your clothing once you reach your new address.
There are many ways that you can group apparel and accessories. Some people choose to group clothing by season. Or, you may want to group your clothing by material or purpose.
Regardless of how you group your clothes, you'll want to label moving boxes that contain clothing accordingly. This will ensure that you can instantly locate your clothing after your move and start unpacking your apparel and accessories right away.
3. Consider What You'll Wear on Moving Day
Although you'll want to pack as much as possible prior to moving day, you should put aside clothing that you intend to wear on moving day.
It often pays to pack clothing as close to moving day as you can. That way, you can keep a close eye on the weather forecast and ensure you can put aside appropriate apparel and accessories for moving day.
Furthermore, if you're moving in summertime, you may want to set aside a pair of sunglasses and hat for maximum sun protection. On the other hand, you may want to keep a pair of winter gloves and other seasonal accessories on hand if you're preparing for a winter move.
If you need extra help getting ready for moving day, you may want to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer honest, unbiased recommendations to help you prepare your clothing and other belongings for your upcoming move.
Use the aforementioned moving tips, and you should have no trouble packing all of your clothing prior to moving day.
Do the walls of your home ever feel bland and uninviting? What you need for your home is to add depth to the walls. Everything from the colors of the walls to what you place on them helps to give your rooms a feeling of sophisticated complexity.
Try Using Contrast On Your Walls
If you choose a dark color for your walls, you can use bright colors as a contrast to bring out the prominent features of the room.
Use Texture On Your Walls
You don’t have to rely on paint to color your walls. It’s a good idea for you to use some tapestry or cloth and hang it on the walls to help add texture and depth to a room.
Reflect On The Room
Using mirrors can help to make any room appear bigger. Mirrors are deceiving in a way, but when placed strategically, they can really add a lot to a room. Allowing for reflections in the room also adds depth and a larger feeling to the space,
Don‘t Make A Space Too Busy
Avoid using a lot of colors in a room. While contrasting colors add something special to a space, bright, mismatched colors will only make you dizzy.
Make Use Of Tile
Particularly in kitchens and bathrooms, tile can help to add some depth to the space. Your kitchen can be painted a lovely color and finding tiles to match for a backsplash can really help the room to stand out. Even the color grout that you use can help add complexity to a room. If you have brick, wood, or any kind of stone present in a room, be sure to help those features stand out. The best way to approach design sometimes is to take what you see in nature and bring it into your space. From earth tones to highlighting the natural features in your home, you can really make your home feel well-rounded from the inside out.
Try Painting The Walls Different Colors
There’s no rule that says you need to paint a room all one color. Often, you can add a lot to a room just by having that one accent wall. Putting the piece of furniture that will be the focal point of the room on the accent wall can really bring out the features of the room. If your color scheme is leaning towards blues and whites, for example, paint each wall white except for one. Choose an alluring shade of blue for the accent wall. Be sure that your furniture matches with whatever wall color scheme that you choose as well.
Whether you’re recreating a room completely, or simply re-purposing what you have, it’s easy to make your design work for you and provide complexity and depth.
If you're getting ready to sell your home, you're likely looking for relatively affordable upgrades that will give your home the most pizzazz. Taking the time to spruce up your property is a smart idea, but it really pays to be strategic. Because while buyers should be able to recognize a home with good bones, it's all too easy to gravitate towards a property that successfully highlight its strengths. We'll give you a few tips to get the best returns on each investment.
While it may be tempting to paint the walls a vibrant purple or install funky door knobs throughout the home, experts caution restraint. Theoretically, these tactics can help your home stand out in the minds of exhausted home buyers, but they can also alienate them.
If you're going to paint, choose a neutral, warm color that will inspire potential homeowners to picture themselves using and enjoying each room. If you're staging the home, choose one decor style and try to incorporate small touches throughout. For example, if you want a modern look, opt for sleek fixtures that catch the light. If you're going for French Country, look for crafts that will add color to a corner. You can express your personality and attract multiple bids on your home at the same time.
Learn the Ropes
There are subtle patterns that govern how buyers search for homes in different neighborhoods. Whether your area is full of millennials with young families or retired couples with a pension, sellers should have a good idea of what's important to the prospective homeowner.
So if you know that laundry rooms are in high demand, you can make an effort to make yours look as welcoming as possible. Or if you have plenty of garage space, now is a good time to show how it can fit everything from boxes to sporting equipment. If you're working on a limited budget, this is the best way to prioritize each upgrade so you get the most out of it.
Talking to a real estate agent can usually give you a better idea of how you can tweak your home without jeopardizing your profit margins. The only time it's ever recommended for sellers to splurge is if their home has experienced dramatic growth. If property values have risen a lot over the past few years, you can consider larger renovations that will attract affluent buyers who are desperate to make an offer.