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 Guest Contributing Author- Julian Lane

If You Love Tiny Homes, You’re Going to Need These Small Space Storage Hacks 

Do you love your home but not quite in love with the lack of space? Living in a smaller home means finding ways to get more creative with storage. So, how can you create this organizing magic in your home smaller home? By using these simple small space storage hacks.

 Add Some Shelves or Storage to Your Walls

 If you live in a smaller home, you don’t need a lot of clutter on your floors. In fact, clutter can present a fall hazard in your home. You can use a few decorativebaskets to corral that clutter in a more presentable fashion, but if you are running out of room for baskets and bins, it may be time to take your organizing efforts to new heights. More specifically, you can think about adding vertical storage around your home. Walls are an often-overlooked space when it comes to small home organization, but they can offer so many stylish options for storing, displaying, and organizing your household goods. You can try to DIY adding shelves or cabinets to your walls, but you could also end up causing damage to your home in the process. Instead, think about hiring local handyman services to get the job done safely. In Colorado Springs, handyman services tend to cost between $139 and $536, so you don’t have to spend a small fortune to make sure your shelving is just as sturdy as it is stylish.

 Find Decor That Was Made for Smaller Homes 

Living in a smaller home shouldn’t make you feel limited in your storage options. In fact, more and more Americans are choosing to live simpler lives inmuch smaller spaces. Tiny homes are popping up everywhere and making life a little easier for the people who live in them. What does the tiny home trend have to do with your organizing efforts? With more people living in less space, retailers are beginning to see value in creating stylishdecorand furniture that helps you make the most of minimal square footage. You can find nesting tables that give you entertaining and working space when you need it, and compact storage when you don’t. If closet space is stressing you out, clear out some room for your clothes by finding a shoe cabinet or organizerthat blends seamlessly with your decorating style. Most of these cabinets can pull double duty as decor, while others can be stowed away under your bed or other spaces.

 Look Outside Your Home for More Storage Space 

Even with a few new shelves and some smart decor, you may still be lacking space inside your home for all of your things. So, instead of stressing out over creating more storage inside, start thinking about taking your ideas outside. If you have some garage space, you can install shelves and cabinets there to help organize your belongings. Be sure to add a few brackets and hooks to get your bikes and tools off of the floor so you’ll have more room to move around.

Do you have some extra room out in your backyard? Well, instead of stashing items in your garage, you could think about building acustom shed. Those handyman services you looked up earlier will come in handy for this project too, and you can build a shed that really expresses your unique tastes. Just make sure your shed includes some shelves and cabinets to help organize the items you store inside. Finally, if you simply have no room and can’t part with any of your stuff, you could just get a storage unit. Self-storage is especially useful for seasonal items, such as holiday decor and ski equipment that you only need for part of the year. Just keep in mind that these tend to run between $50 to $85 per month in large markets.

 Making the move to a smaller home can be the right move for you. However, to keep your sanity, be sure to keep the organizing tips above in mind to make the most of every square foot of space inside your home. You’ll feel much calmer — and your home will look calmer as well.

 

DEALING WITH SCRATCHED HARDWOOD FLOORS

Scratched Hardwoods Can Be Challenging if…

 

Dealing with scratched 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.

Check out our Flooring Providers for more information  

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 and with fine steel wool or sandpaper, use wood filler, and stain and seal the repaired area.

 

 

5 CRITERIA FOR PRICING A HOME

 How do you price your home to sell?

When you put your home up for sale, one of the best ways to determine the asking price is to look at comparable sales. There’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area. Here are five criteria to look for in a sales comparison.

  1. Location: Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better.
  2. Date of sale: It varies by location, but housing markets can see a ton of fluctuation in a short time period. It‘s best to use the most recent sales data available.
  3. Home build: Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics.
  4. Features and upgrades: Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price, and so can less flashy upgrades like a new roof or HVAC system. Be sure to look for similar bells and whistles.
  5. Sale types: Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons.

Ready to List Your Home?


 

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Buyers Make a Plan to Buy a Home

This information will open your eyes to begin the loan process before you start looking for a home. Enjoy and comment below!

7 must-do’s before buying a home

Apartment building exterior

 Mario Gutiérrez/Getty Images

“Wanting” to buy a home and “being ready” to buy a home are two completely different things.

A  Bank of the West study found that 56 percent of Millennials believe owning a home is more important than paying off debt or retiring comfortably. They may want to buy a home but they might not be ready for it.

Even as many are still hoping to achieve their American dream of buying a home, that doesn’t mean everyone is financially prepared.

How to buy a house?

  1. Pull your credit report and check your score
  2. Review your budget
  3. Get pre approved
  4. Beef up your down payment
  5. Get an agent
  6. Don’t skimp on an inspection
  7. Make a plan B (and C)

1. Pull your credit report and check your score

 Your credit report and corresponding score are your golden tickets to buying a home. They showcase your credit responsibility and worthiness. Your credit score can seriously impact your mortgage rate. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate will be. This means you’ll end up owing a lot less money over the life of the loan.

Your credit score is broken down by:

  • Payment history: 35 percent
  • Credit utilization: 30 percent
  • Length of history: 15 percent
  • Types of credit: 10 percent
  • New credit: 10 percent

You can pull your credit report for free from Bankrate to go over your credit history. Cleaning up your credit report is one of your first steps to pre-buying a home. If there are errors, call one of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to have them removed.

If you’re noticing a high credit utilization, start chunking away at your debt. See if you can consolidate your debt, refinance for lower interest payments, or transfer a big credit card balanceto another card with friendlier repayment terms. Keep your utilization below 30 percent of your total limit.

Avoid getting new credit within a year of buying a home since it can cause a temporary dip in your score. The length of your credit history matters, too. The longer your credit history, the more credit-responsible you look.

2. Review your budget

If you’re working on a clean bill of credit health, give your budget a hard assessment. Use the 28-36 rule to see where your money is going. This is when your maximum household expenses shouldn’t exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income. Your debt, like credit cards and loans, shouldn’t exceed 36 percent.

Your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, is important to lenders for determining how much home buying power you can afford and if you’re a good candidate to receive a mortgage. You might discover you need to make some adjustments, like spending less on travel and clothing, for example, to make room for a mortgage payment.

Fine-tuning your budget pre-homebuying will allow you to put the extra cash towards a down payment, closing costs, or potentially higher home costs than you’re paying right now.

3. Get preapproved

With a stellar credit score and a solid down payment built up, you might feel confident in buying the house of your dreams. But until you get preapproved, that house will stay in your dreams.

Getting prequalified is nice, but it’s not the same thing. A prequalification is only based on information you give a lender. A preapproval is completing a mortgage application that pulls all your financial records.

Lenders base how much money they’re willing to give you based on your entire financial existence: your income, debt, and credit history all play a crucial role. But it’s also there to show you how much home buying power you can afford. If you know you can only get a $200,000 loan, you won’t waste your time looking at half a million-dollar homes.

It’s important to remember that you don’t need to settle on the first lender you find.  Browse through different banks, online lenders, and credit unions to see which ones offer the best terms. Compare interest rates, fees, and the terms for paying back your loan. Consider working with a mortgage broker to help you weed through your options.

4. Beef up your down payment

Down payments for homes and cars are very similar: the higher the down payment, the less each monthly payment will be. But homes are much more expensive, which means the more you can put towards your down payment, the better off you’ll be every month.

It can be difficult to keep stashing money away for a down payment when you’re trying to afford basic necessities right now. Try cutting back on things you can manage, like dining out, grocery spending, unnecessary purchases, and travel.

Your debt might be holding you back as well. Try making larger debt payments every month until it’s completely paid off. Then the money you were putting towards your debt can now go to your down payment fund.

5. Get an agent

Whether you’re looking for a home 300 miles away or three, it’s a good idea to find someone who knows the neighborhoods better than you.

A real estate agent is on the hunt for your best interest because they want you to find the right home and buy it.  Agents get their commission after a home is sold, so you don’t have to worry about costs up front.

Not all realtors do the same great job. So if you’re on the hunt for a great one,  do your research. Look for one with top-notch credentials that have a proven track record. It’s similar to interviewing someone for a job, so talking to a potential agent’s former clients through may help you determine if they’re the right fit for you.

6. Don’t skimp on an inspection

You might think getting a home inspection is unnecessary. After all, you toured the home yourself and you would’ve seen major issues. True, maybe you can spot the big problems, but what about the small ones?

Home inspections go over every single detail of your home, from walls and appliances to the roof and drainage. Getting an inspection is a major part of buying a home because if there is, say, a water leak, you can take this issue back to the seller for negotiation. Either they fix the problem before you buy it or they lower their asking price of the home to accommodate the new cost of fixing the leak.

7. Make a plan B (and C)

As you’ve diligently prepared for your future home, you might not have considered what might happen if it doesn’t work out. What if your down payment is a little low? What if you don’t get the lender with the best terms? What if your dream home has an old roof?

Regardless of the setback, build the “just in case” options into your plan. If your down payment is too low, maybe you get an FHA loan instead of a conventional one. If you don’t get the lender with the best terms, maybe you get the second-best terms. That old roof may save you a lot if you talk the seller down, but you’ll need to make sure you can afford to replace after you close on the home.

Throughout the entire home-buying process, you will face different options for every single step you make. It’s important to remember how your choices are impacted along the way.

 

 

deer

Pretty Creatures

deer

Deer are amazing creatures to look at but if you are not careful your flower beds will become a wasted effort. Deer love flowers of almost any kind.

The deer in Colorado can be found almost anywhere in the area. Most of them are closer to the foothills which are on the west side of the city and the I-25.  There are a few that do find a crossover to “other” side but most are on the west side of the area.

What do you do if a deer approaches you? Stand hill and look it in the eye. It will sniff you for food like a dog does but will eventually walk away.You might even wake up to see one staring in your kitchen window. Don’t be alarmed, just watch. Your pets will go bonkers if a deer gets close to home but the deer will only stare and then run off.  Be sure to keep your pets safe from the deer. 

Other Creatures of the Land

There is a wide variety of wildlife near people but you cannot always see them. Racoons are notorious for hiding and waiting for the lights to go out. They are sneaky creatures. They like to collect many things that might be sitting around your porch or patio for their entertainment. 

Rabbits and squirrels are very visible little buggers. They just want to eat and be cute. Try not to run over them as you are driving home. 

Bear and mountain lions are the scariest. They are big and dangerous and have the ability to kill smaller animals and humans too. If you see one or more, scream and holler. That should be a great deterrent until you can escape. Try to never be alone in a wooded area where one might be living. Just be careful! 

Hiking

If you like to be outdoors, remember… you may not be alone. There are animals and even a few snakes out there that could cause you harm. Be safe and never alone! 

While the trails in Colorado are breathtaking, they can also be dangerous. Always be cautious of four-legged and even two-legged creatures. 

Enjoy your neighborhood and be safe at all times.