Karen Lawley's Blog
Building a custom new home allows you to create a home that’s well-suited to your needs and lifestyle. Floor plans, color choices and fixture options are just some of the ways that you can adjust a home to your liking. Here are five other major ways to make a custom home truly yours.
Make the Basement Bigger With a Deep-Pour Basement
A deep-pour basement increases your basement’s height by digging the foundation down deeper. Depending on how deep you want it, the increase in depth may just be 1 foot or it might be several feet.The purpose of a deep-pour basement isn’t so much to increase storage space beneath your home, but rather to make your basement more comfortable to use. The increased height can be helpful if you eventually want a finished basement with overhead lighting fixtures.
Add Space to Rooms With Elevated Ceilings
Elevated ceilings increase the height of first- or second-floor rooms, usually for an aesthetic effect. Higher ceilings can make rooms look larger without increasing square footage, and higher ceilings can let in more natural light if oversized or additional windows are installed.
Depending on a home’s design, slightly elevated ceilings might be used throughout an entire floor. Alternatively, a single room might have an elevated ceiling that looks up to the second floor.
Create Storage With Built-In Bookshelves
A home can never have enough storage, and you can increase your new home’s storage by adding built-in bookshelves. While you always have the option to buy standard bookshelves from a furniture store, they won’t be quite as nice as custom ones that are installed when the home is built. You can design every aspect of the shelves both so they look the way you want and accommodate your oversized books or personal touches.
Upgrade to an Expanded Garage
Upgrade your garage from a standard one- or two-car garage so that it’ll better accommodate your future (or present) storage and vehicle needs. Even if you don’t expect to need another parking space, you might still extend the length of your garage so that it can provide more room for large tools and gear.
Go for a Jacuzzi
A jacuzzi tub is a pleasant luxury anytime you feel sore, are cold or just want to relax. It’s also a fairly easy upgrade to put in when building out a master bathroom. Go for a jacuzzi in your master bath, and you’ll reap the rewards every time you relax in the tub. You might also get a better selling price when you eventually move out, as master bath upgrades have some of the highest returns on home sale prices.
Make Your New Home Truly Yours
If any of these upgrades or customizations sound like something you’d appreciate, talk with your home builder about putting them in. A few customizations like these can make a big difference in how much you enjoy your new house.
You want to buy a house, but you know that you need to save as much money as possible for a down payment. Although you've tried to save money in the past, your best efforts have failed to help you collect the funds that you'll need to make a down payment on your dream residence.
Let's face it – saving for a home can be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to offer creative ways to help you get the money that you'll need to make your homeownership dream come true.
Now, let's take a look at three creative ways to save for a down payment on a house.
1. Start a Friendly Competition
Competition often brings out the best in homebuyers. Much in the same vein, you and your friends may be able to compete against one another to see who can save the most money for a down payment on a home.
If you and your friends intend to buy a home together or separately, a friendly competition can make a world of difference in getting the required funds for a down payment. In fact, you can even award the winner of this competition with an "Ultimate Saver" trophy or other fun prizes.
Ultimately, a friendly competition is a great way to have fun with friends and save money for a down payment on a house at the same time. Regardless of who wins the competition, you'll notice that your down payment savings will increase, moving you one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.
2. Use a Rewards System
Saving for a down payment on a home may seem like a long, arduous process. However, if you build rewards into your day-to-day savings efforts, you can earn incentives as you reach various milestones.
For instance, you may want to reward yourself with a special dinner every time that you reach a savings milestone. Or, you can always celebrate hitting a savings milestone with a trip to the dog park with your puppy.
3. Trim the Fat from Your Budget
It sometimes can be tough to remove cable TV, takeout meals and other excess items from your budget. But if you consider the long-term benefits of these short-term sacrifices, you may be better equipped than ever before to save significant funds for a down payment on a home.
Look closely at your daily, weekly and monthly budgets. Then, you can determine which budget items are essential and which are not and trim the fat from your budget accordingly. This will allow you to speed up the process of saving for a down payment on a house and ensure that you can achieve your homeownership dream faster than ever before.
Lastly, as you prepare to explore available homes, don't hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent for extra help. By hiring a real estate agent, you can get the assistance that you need to discover a great house that falls within your price range.
Appliances have a certain lifespan of use, and then, unfortunately, they tend to break down one way or another. Depending on the age of the appliance and the amount of the repair cost, you should make an informed decision as to what will be a good for your finances and your home.
So, when the fridge stops producing cold or the dryer stops drying things, you may go into panic mode and try to either buy a new appliance or call a repair person. Before you make a snap judgment, you should take a step back. It’s important to ask the question:
Is it worth getting this repaired?
If you are able to get an estimate of how much the repairs will cost, this will give you a good place to start. This is the fastest way for you to get the answers that you need. If the life of the appliance is going to only be a few years, you may be better off investing your money in a new appliance. The cost of a repair can run somewhere around 20-30 percent of the cost of replacing the appliance completely.
Understand The Life Expectancy Of Each Appliance
Some appliances are meant to last for a decade, others will last for a shorter period of time. As a general rule of thumb, if your appliance is over 7 years old and breaks down, you should probably replace it rather than repair it. It will be a better investment in the long run. Some typical lifespans for appliances are:
- Dishwasher 9 years
- Freezer 13 years
- Range 15 years
- Dryer 13 years
- Washing Machine 10 years
Before you replace your broken appliance, there are a few things you should understand. First, sometimes, it really isn’t broken. A plug could be loose or a circuit could have tripped. You would hate to spend the money on a new appliance rather than deal with a simple problem. Troubleshoot the problem yourself by taking a peek at the owner’s manual first.
Once you have repair estimates, you should find out how much it will be to replace your appliance completely with a similar model. Make sure that you factor in things like the removal of the old appliance, the taxes, and the installation. By running the numbers, you’ll know if you can afford a new appliance or not compared to the repair costs.
If you have been dreaming of a refrigerator with an ice maker, it may be a good decision for you to spring for a new model. If you love the features you have, you’ll want to either price similar units or do the repairs. Really, your budget and needs very much dictate your decision for new appliances. Consider the options and make the repair or replacement call based on your needs.
If you're searching for a simple home upgrade that is cost effective and will boost your resale value and your mood, we have the solution. Consider adding a garden window to your new or existing home. Garden windows are designed to help houseplants flourish by bringing in more natural light, but they provide multiple benefits.
What Is a Garden Window?
A garden window is similar in appearance to a bay window, but smaller. Typically, homeowners install garden windows over their kitchen sink, but there are no hard and fast rules that regulate where you can add this affordable home upgrade. Whichever room boasts the addition of a garden window will benefit, both from the additional natural light it provides and from any houseplants you place there. This type of window features a flat bottom that protrudes outward. This allows you to use it as a sort of mini greenhouse to bring green living things into any space in your home.
As an added perk, your garden window can open on both sides to allow a fresh summer breeze to infiltrate closed up spaces.
How Can a Garden Window Benefit Me?
Your new garden window offers advantages beyond boosting your home's appearance. These include:
Energy Efficiency: New garden windows are built using welded, vinyl frames, insulated glass and sealed side vents. This makes them highly energy-efficient.
Access to Natural Light: More natural light in your life means you'll feel happier, sleep better and process vitamin D more easily. You may even be more productive.
Ability to Grow Indoor Plants: Houseplants add oxygen, aroma and beauty to your indoor spaces. A garden window lets you grow plants that typically would not thrive indoors.
Increased Resale Value: Buyers love replacement windows that are both energy-efficient and attractive. They also appreciate rooms with lots of natural light exposure./p>
When you install a luxurious garden window in a room that's seriously lacking in light and life, it's more than a facelift. It's transforming. As a result, you may find this room quickly becomes your favorite space.
Is a Garden Window a Cost-Effective Upgrade?
The average cost to install a garden window is $2,500, according to HomeAdvisor. However, if you're replacing an old, leaky window, you'll begin recouping that expense right away, just in the amount of money it costs to heat and cool your home annually. Each year, homeowners lose hundreds of dollars through leaky doors and windows or through windows made with single-pane glass. By installing a new energy-efficient window in place of an aging window or door you'll help better insulate your home. Accordingly, your HVAC unit won't have to work as hard year-round. You space will also feel more comfortable because the humidity in the room is better controlled.
Why Invest in a Garden Window?
When it comes to improving your new or existing home, there are so many simple projects that add value and function. However, when you spend a lot of time inside, there's no better pick-me-up than a room filled with live plants and swathed in natural light. In all kinds of weather a garden window will lift your mood and brighten your day. For a small and affordable home-improvement project it makes a huge difference.
Ready to negotiate the purchase of a new home? Ultimately, employing a real estate agent may help you avoid the stress and anxiety that is commonly associated with a homebuying negotiation.
There are many reasons to hire a real estate agent to handle a homebuying negotiation, including:
1. A real estate agent understands the art of negotiation.
A negotiation is a high-pressure situation, one that may be difficult to navigate on your own. Fortunately, a real estate agent understands what it takes to help a homebuyer get the best price for a house – without exception.
With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive support from an experienced negotiator.
A real estate agent possesses extensive skills and know-how, particularly when it comes to homebuying negotiations. This housing market expert will be able to negotiate with a home seller and ensure all parties are satisfied with the end results.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will dedicate the necessary time and resources to complete a successful homebuying negotiation. He or she will go the extra mile to negotiate with a home seller to help you acquire a home that matches or exceeds your expectations.
2. A real estate agent will keep you up to date at all times.
If you employ a real estate agent, it is important to know that this housing market professional will keep you informed throughout a homebuying negotiation. Lucky for you, a real estate agent will provide updates as you try to acquire your dream residence at a price that matches your budget.
A real estate agent acts as a liaison between you and a home seller. He or she will keep you up to date at each stage of a homebuying negotiation and will require your approval on any homebuying decisions.
Also, a real estate agent will provide suggestions during a homebuying negotiation. As a homebuyer, you always have the option to accept or reject this housing market professional's suggestions.
3. A real estate agent is unafraid to be honest with you.
Although a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you streamline a homebuying negotiation, he or she will provide honest, unbiased recommendations as well.
For example, if you want a home seller to drastically lower the price of a home after a property inspection, a real estate agent will handle your request. And if a home seller rejects your proposal, this housing market professional will provide you with feedback and help you map out your next step accordingly.
A real estate agent will be able to respond to any concerns or questions that you have during a homebuying negotiation too. As such, he or she can provide a valuable resource and offer homebuying insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
Don't let the complexities of a homebuying negotiation overwhelm you. Instead, collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can speed up the process of purchasing your ideal residence.