Brian O'Neil - RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Brian O’Neil on 11/29/2020

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Most everyone would love to gain some extra room, especially those in small homes with limited space options. Here are three home interior DIY projects to help you maximize your space.

1. Transform a Closet into Workspace

If you’re lacking the room for a home office, transform one of your closets into a mini-office. This is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to give yourself a dedicated workspace.

  • Remove the door and hinges.
  • Empty the closet and give it a good wipe down.
  • Disassemble hanging rods.
  • Touch up or repaint the closet’s interior.
  • Add two to three shelves—a deep one to serve as your desktop and additional ones for storage.

If you prefer a traditional desk and your closet is wide enough, slide one in and eliminate the need for a deep shelf.

2. Mount Your TV

Modern styles are all about minimalism and entertainment centers don’t exactly fit this look. Besides, media consoles take up a ton of floor space. An easy way to reclaim this useful space is to mount your TV to the wall or above a fireplace.

  • Choose a mount for your TV—this will be a tilting mount, low-profile mount or full-motion mount.
  • Select a location and determine the best viewing height—be sure you have sufficient outlets and access to cable connections you need.
  • Cut out a piece of TV-sized cardboard or poster board and tape it to the wall to get a “visual” of your TV’s position.
  • Locate a stud and mark it. (If mounting to a fireplace use masonry anchors.)
  • Before you drill, use a level to ensure the wall mount is even.
  • Drill holes, attach your mount and secure it so it doesn’t collapse.
  • Add a cord cover to hide unsightly wiring.

Media consoles were useful before flat-screen TVs became the norm, but most people today can easily get by with a wall-mount and a shelf to hold cable boxes, media players or game consoles. If you need additional storage, add a small table with cabinet space.

3. Build Window Seats

Adding window seats to any room eliminates the need for extra seating on the floor, gives a cozy look and offers additional storage space.

  • Buy two wall cabinets about 30 inches wide by 15 inches high. You can purchase new or, to scale back costs, check secondhand stores, such as Habitat for Humanity’s Restore, for used cabinetry.
  • Use plywood (2x4 or 2x6) to serve as a perimeter base, nailing these pieces of wood into the floor to create a toekick. Be sure your outline’s depth is large enough to hold your cabinets, and leave a little extra room to pull your cabinets away a few inches from the wall beneath the window to save space for your seat.
  • Place cabinets on top of the toekick and clamp the two cabinets together. Be sure your screws are strong enough to hold the units together.
  • Clamp and screw cabinets to the toekick.
  • Place hardwood plywood on top of the cabinets to widen your seating area. (Sand and paint, if necessary.)
  • Add cushions and pillows.

Tip: Be sure to avoid positioning your seat over an HVAC vent or baseboard because you don’t block out your heat or A/C.

If you’re working with some tight spaces, you can better utilize it by transforming your existing space.




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Posted by Brian O’Neil on 11/22/2020

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels

Thinking of buying a home in the near future? You're going to need a preapproval. This tells real estate agents that you're serious about the home-buying process, and it alerts sellers that you're a solid, low-risk candidate. Preapprovals aren't always easy to score, however. And if you're someone who's had a few credit issues in the past, you may need to improve your credit score before your dream of home-ownership becomes reality. 

Here's a checklist of best practices for prepping your credit to gain a preapproval:

Check Your Credit Reports

Before you ever approach a lender for a home loan preapproval, make sure you know what's on your credit reports. You're entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three different reporting agencies:

Order credit reports for yourself and for anyone who will be a co-applicant on your home loan, and then scour your reports for inaccuracies. 

File Immediate Disputes Over Inaccuracies

Any discrepancies you find should be reported immediately. It's an easy process of reporting the issue to the credit bureau and waiting while they go back to the creditor to verify what you've claimed. In most instances, the inaccuracy will be removed within a week or two, though you may have to produce receipts as proof of payment. 

Contact Creditors to Offer Settlements

Make a list of old, unpaid debts that are valid and set aside the funds to pay them off, one by one. If you have cash-in-hand, call creditors and ask them to settle for a portion of the balance in cash. Some may be willing to work with you, others may not. But it never hurts to ask. 

Pay Current Bills On Time

Stay current on existing accounts. Make sure everything is paid on time, from credit cards to car payments, to ensure you don't lose points on your overall score while you're working toward credit restoration. 

Pay Down Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio is an indicator of how responsibly you use your credit. The lower your ratio, the easier it will be to obtain a preapproval. Pay down big balances. The more credit you're able to free up, the more attractive you'll look to potential lenders. Prepping your credit to gain a preapproval is surprisingly easy, but it requires the funds necessary to pay off outstanding debts and to pay down current balances. 

Start early if you suspect there are items on your credit report that require fixing, and be patient as things circle back around. Credit repair is not an overnight fix, but with steady progress, it won't be long until you have a preapproval for your new dream home.




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Posted by Brian O’Neil on 11/15/2020

Photo by Free-Photos via Pixabay

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.

 




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Posted by Brian O’Neil on 11/8/2020

Many hopeful homebuyers seek to save money by buying a fixer-upper and doing most of the renovations themselves. This is a proven method for those who have a knack for home improvement and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

However, estimating the cost of a remodel can be difficult. There are many costs you may not be aware of, and others that are easy to go over budget on.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the cost of an average remodel, and some lesser-known costs that you might be forgetting to factor into your budget.

Average remodeling costs

As you might guess, the cost of a remodel can vary greatly. Things like the size of the home, the number of rooms you’re remodeling, and the type of repairs you’ll be making all factor into the equation.

Some repairs can be quite costly. Septic system replacements can cost several thousands of dollars depending on the type of system you need. And, if you’re buying an old home, you’ll need to look out for expensive fixes like asbestos removal and foundation damage.

According to one report, most Americans spent between $17,000 and $61,000 on their remodel, with the average renovation cost being around $37,000.

If you’re hiring a contractor for the bulk of your remodel, expect them to charge between 10% and 15% of the total cost.

Lesser known costs of a home renovation

Remodeling a home isn’t as simple as looking up a contractor and telling them to give you the bill once it’s finished, and that’s probably a good thing because odds are you would be shocked by the cost.

First, you’ll pay a contractor to do a walkthrough and estimate costs. Next, you’ll need to get any permits that are required for your renovations.

If you plan on doing the renovations yourself, there are a few costs you’ll need to consider. First, understand that you likely won’t be able to take advantage of all of the discounts that contractors can, meaning your building materials may be more expensive than expected. Similarly, the cost of tools for the project adds up quickly. And, when you make mistakes--we all do, we’re only human--you’ll be paying for it out of pocket.

Knowing your long term goals

An important consideration for a remodel is to look toward the future. Do you want to sell your home within the next few years? If so, you might consider going with less expensive materials--such as generic kitchen cabinets rather than custom-built--to save money while still increasing the value of the home.

However, if you plan on being in this home for decades or more, it may be worth the extra money now to make sure you are happy with your home for years to come.

Remodeling a home can be a memorable and rewarding endeavor. You get the chance to take a house that you see potential in and make it truly your own. Now that you know the costs, you’ll be better prepared for planning your home renovation.




Tags: budget   Remodel   renovations  
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Posted by Brian O’Neil on 11/1/2020

If you've always dreamed of owning a house, there is no need to wait to enter the real estate market. In fact, there are many reasons to kick off a house search today, and these include:

1. You can upgrade from your current residence.

If you live with family members or friends or rent an apartment, buying a home may represent an upgrade. Because when you purchase a residence, you can reap the benefits of having your very own living space.

There is no shortage of high-quality houses available in cities and towns nationwide. Regardless of whether you prefer the comfort of small town living or the hustle and bustle of city life, you can check out a broad range of houses at your convenience. Then, you can discover your dream residence, submit an offer to purchase it and move one step closer to making your homeownership dream come true.

2. Many home financing options are available.

One of the biggest issues that often prevents people from pursuing homes is a lack of financing. Fortunately, banks and credit unions offer a variety of mortgage options designed for individuals of all incomes.

Whether it's a fixed- or adjustable-rate mortgage, you're sure to find a mortgage option that complements your finances perfectly. Plus, banks and credit unions are ready to teach you everything you need to know about different types of mortgages. And if you are unsure about how a mortgage works or which mortgage option to choose, friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists are available to assist you.

3. You can receive plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey.

Let's face it – buying a home can be a daunting task, particularly for an individual who is entering the real estate market for the first time. The sheer volume of top-notch houses sometimes makes it tough to differentiate a good home from a great one. Meanwhile, navigating the homebuying process can be stressful, and challenges may arise that make it difficult for a homebuyer to achieve his or her desired results.

If you enter the housing market today, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner. This housing market professional will offer expert insights into all aspects of the homebuying journey. In addition, he or she will go the extra mile to ensure that you can quickly and effortlessly acquire your dream home at a price that matches your budget.

Of course, a real estate agent will help you map out a successful homebuying strategy too. He or she will meet with you, learn about your homebuying goals and help you plan accordingly. And if you have concerns or questions at any point during the property buying journey, a real estate agent can respond to them.

Launch a home search today – you'll be glad you did. If you pursue your dream home with help from a real estate agent, you can seamlessly navigate the property buying journey.




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