Bedroom Necessities Part Four: Mirror Ideas

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Whenever you get ready to start your day, there is one thing you always do: look in the mirror. You look in the mirror when you’re getting ready, brushing your teeth, and deciding what hairstyle to go with for the day. But your mirrors are more than just a way to look at what you’re wearing. Mirrors accentuate the rooms of your home and give lots of style to your bedroom, so here are some mirror ideas you can add to your room that will give it a whole new look and feel.

Mirror Ideas

Bedroom Mirror

Whether it is the doors of your closet, or a full-length-standing mirror, you need a mirror in your room. A mirror as tall, or taller than you, is great because it helps you know what you look like every morning before you go about the things you have to do throughout the day. A full-length mirror will also make your room feel spacious. And if you cannot see your entire outfit every morning, you may not notice a huge stain on your pants before you leave!

Mirror Ideas

Multiple Mirror Designs

Placing round mirrors alongside each other on your wall looks interesting and artistic. These mirrors go great with round paintings or pictures as well.

Mirror Ideas

You can add small mirrors next to picture frames of your friends and family. Whenever you look at your family photos, you will get a glimpse of yourself in the mirror to remind you where you came from.

Many mirrors form a picture or give off an avant-garde reflection that is intended to mesmerize or even confuse you as you gaze into it.

Mirror Placement

A standing mirror can be placed against a corner wall. You can even add fabric around it to give it an elegant and delicate look. Standing mirrors are great if you are big into fashion and want to look over your outfits to make sure they look great!

Mirror Ideas

Hanging mirrors behind your bed is also a great way to reflect light from an adjacent window. If you don’t mind the sun in your room when you wake up, this is an amazing way to start your day!

Mirror Ideas

If you have a couch or loveseat in your bedroom, placing a mirror behind it makes your bedroom look bigger and even more symmetrical.

Mirror Ideas

Shapes and Styles of Mirrors

You should always choose a mirror style that compliments your bedroom. The styles range from color, size, shape, and design; it all matters as to what type of theme you already have in your bedroom.

A mirror’s design can make a room feel serious, loving, artistic, modern, classical, or lighthearted depending upon its shape and feel. So it is best that you pick a mirror that has a design that matches the type of theme you’re going for in your bedroom.

Mirror Ideas

So whether or not you already have a mirror in your bedroom, you can think about all the ways that your mirror adds to your bedroom. If you believe it does not add anything interesting to your room, you can always get a new mirror. Or, you can try hanging some fabric around it, moving it to a different location, or placing it next to furniture that helps accentuate it. If you decide to get a new mirror, just be sure that it reflects exactly who you—and we don’t just mean your reflection!

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2015 2nd Quarter Market Report: Buyer & Seller Activity Continues to Grow

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2015 continues to be an impressive seller’s market. What’s even more impressive, however, is that the high competition amongst buyers has not scared them out the market. This housing market quarterly report, we saw more buyers and sellers enter the market to move inventory at higher prices and in record speed.

This data comes from a survey of HouseHunt agents with exclusive territories across America. This grassroots approach to studying the housing market gives us a thorough look at where the real estate market will continue to go in 2015.

Activity-Continues-to-Grow-2015-2nd-Quarter-Market-Report-housing market quarterly

Buyer & Seller Activity

Last quarter, we presented a seller’s market. There were considerably more buyers than sellers on the market, and conditions responded accordingly. This quarter, that stark contrast has carried over into the Spring. 64% of HouseHunt agents surveyed report having more buyers than sellers. This is an even greater difference than last quarter, when everyone first started claiming 2015 as a seller’s market.

Buyers continue to disproportionately dominate the market, giving seller’s a clear edge. What’s fascinating, however – and also a huge relief to industry professionals – is that the term “seller’s market” doesn’t seem to be scaring away buyers.

Even though buyer’s are at a disadvantage in this lopsided market, 83% of HouseHunt agents surveyed report an increase in buyer activity over last quarter. And no, this isn’t a standard second quarter jump. Last year, the second quarter only brought extra buyer activity for 71% of our agents.

Seller activity is also growing. 57% of agents saw an increase in seller activity. As both markets continue to grow rapidly year over year and quarter over quarter, it’s clear the housing market is finally back in full swing.

Two years ago, only 17% of HouseHunt agents reported having more sellers than buyers. While the percentage of each market has stayed roughly the same, the actual quantity of people in the market has increased greatly.  But how has that affected the price of homes and their duration on the MLS?

Home Inventory

A seller’s market equates to a strong economy. 91% of HouseHunt agents saw their listings sell for more this quarter than this time last year. This is about average: last quarter saw 87% report an increase, and this time last year saw 93% report an increase. What really makes the second quarter of 2015 stand out is how much that increase actually was. 32% of agents saw listings sell for over 10% more than last year. This rapid price point increase is in line with Inman reports about this being the highest prices for homes in the last seven years.

Only 4% of agents across the nation say their listings are selling for less. That’s the lowest depreciation rate since before the burst of the housing bubble!

Besides sale price, we also need to take a look at how long active listings sit on the market. As you can imagine, such competition amongst buyers has caused listings to fly off the market faster than ever. A whopping 70% of our agents say their listings sat on the market for an average of less than 60 days. That’s the highest percentage we’ve seen since the recession.

So listings are selling for more and they’re selling faster. Does this mean more contentment with people selling their homes? Not necessarily. It’s important for sellers to keep their expectations realistic. They are clearly being inundated with all this good news about the market, and they immediately think they can overprice their homes. 26% of our agent’s clients saw their listings close with less than 95% of their original asking price. Compare this to this time last year, when only 9% of sellers were walking away with less than 95% of their original price.

Foreclosures

One thing we’re hearing a lot about in the news is a major decline in foreclosures. According to a recent Inman report, 12 out of 20 major metros saw a decline in foreclosures. This is great news, and there’s no reason to believe it might not be accurate. However, when you bring in our exclusive territories from all over the nation – not just the major cities – we saw that foreclosure rates are actually pretty consistent with where they’ve been for the last couple years.

This quarter, 84% of our agents said foreclosures made up less than 15% of their local market. While this is nothing particularly exciting, we can hope that the changes evident in major cities as reported by Inman start to trickle out into smaller cities and suburbs, as well. The third quarter of 2014 actually saw a small spike in foreclosures, but perhaps this summer will go in the other direction.

In Conclusion…

It can’t be overstated that the continued rise of the seller’s market is not just good for the housing market, but for the economy overall. To see home prices continue to rise and the market continue to grow simply wasn’t conceivable a few years ago.

Add to those market conditions the factors that indicate a promising summer for real estate, and there’s clearly a lot to be excited about. In the next quarter, we can expect a drop in foreclosures to sweep the nation. We can also expect the number of buyers and sellers to continue to grow as summer is traditionally the industry’s busiest time of year.

HouseHunt’s Quarterly Comparison Chart For the U.S. | 2nd Quarter 2015 Results in Red

2013 2014 2015
Quarter 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 1st 2nd
Buyer-Seller Ratio
More Buyers 76% 67% 57% 51% 61% 54% 39% 50% 61% 64%
More Sellers 10% 17% 26% 21% 19% 24% 37% 26% 15% 20%
About Even 14% 16% 17% 28% 20% 22% 24% 24% 24% 18%
Average Days On Market
0-60 Days 46% 65% 65% 57% 60% 63% 63% 56% 55% 70%
Sold in 60 Days Plus 54% 35% 35% 43% 40% 37% 37% 44% 45% 30%
Unsold Inventory
Good Supply 29% 24% 26% 32% 24% 28% 39% 44% 26% 26%
Tight Supply 71% 76% 74% 68% 76% 72% 61% 56% 74% 74%
Annual Price Appreciation
Up 0-5% 33% 21% 18% 29% 24% 27% 26% 26% 25% 26%
Up 5-10% 21% 24% 17% 31% 26% 29% 38% 27% 35% 33%
Up 10% Plus 29% 43% 54% 31% 42% 37% 25% 36% 27% 32%
Unchanged 7% 6% 5% 3% 3% 3% 4% 3% 6% 5%
Negative Appreciation 10% 6% 6% 6% 5% 4% 7% 8% 7% 4%
Buyer Activity
Repeat / Move UP / Investors 74% 81% 85% 78% 79% 77% 84% 76% 82% 75%
First-time Buyers 26% 19% 15% 22% 21% 23% 16% 24% 18% 25%
Ask vs. Sale Price
Less Than 95% 31% 30% 23% 30% 23% 9% 22% 28% 29% 26%
More Than 95% 69% 70% 77% 70% 77% 91% 78% 72% 71% 74%
Multiple Offers?
Yes 87% 88% 91% 87% 83% 86% 83% 76% 84% 88%
No 13% 12% 9% 13% 17% 14% 17% 24% 16% 12%
Short Sales / Foreclosures
Less than 15% of the market no data no data 77% 80% 83% 79% 87% 85% 86% 84%
More than 15% of the market no data no data 23% 20% 17% 21% 13% 15% 14% 16%

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Landscaping Do’s and Don’ts [Infographic]

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Here are all the basic landscaping do’s and don’ts to help you plan and maintain your home lawn and gardens. We even take a look at how landscaping plays a role in real estate.

Landscaping-Do's-and-Don'ts-

Garden Planning

  • DO Research – Make sure the plants you want to grow complement each other and can share soil. Map out your dream yard and plant accordingly.
  • DO Plan for Long Term – As trees grow, they could cause damage to your property. They should be at least 20 feet from the house itself. Various plans will require that kind of foresight.
  • DO Think Curb Appeal – Curb appeal can boost the value of your home 5-10%, so it’s important to be mindful of curb appeal even if you’re not yet thinking of selling your house.
  • DON’T Think in Ones – You may be tempted to squeeze as many different colorful varieties of flowers into your yard, but that won’t come together as well as organized groups.
  • DO Think Low-Maintenance – There’s no point in the beautiful landscaping if you won’t have the time or energy to keep it up. Think practically!

Maintenance & Upkeep

  • DON’T Let Weeds Creep Up – Weeds aren’t just ugly and annoying; they cause damage to surrounding plants. Even a cute, little dandelion can mean the start of havoc on your lawn.
  • DON’T Stake Trees – There’s just no point. There’s no evidence that this does anything beneficial for the plant itself, and is a pet peeve of many landscaping enthusiasts.
  • DO Fertilize Grass in Fall – Grass reacts differently to fertilizer than larger plants. If you want to maintain a green lawn all winter, use fertilizer just before the coldest months.
  • DON’T Fertilize Trees in Summer – Fertilizer encourages new growth. If you fertilize before the cooler months, you will damage young plants. Use fertilizer for landscaping in the springtime.
  • DON’T Walk Through Garden Beds – You don’t need soil to be really loose, as many believe. But it is also not condusive to plant growth to pack soil unnecessarily by frequently stomping through.

Real Estate Statistics

  • Landscaping has a 100% return on investment upon resale
  • One well-placed tree reduces heating and cooling costs 10%
  • One fast growing forest tree can absorb up to 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year
  • A home with landscaping sells 15% faster and increases sale price by 4-5%

Sources

Esta Brooks Online

HGTV Gardens

Daily Infographic

HouseHunt  

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How to Save for a Down Payment While Still Renting

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If you live in an apartment, condo, or rental home, you know that saving for a down payment can be difficult when constantly paying rent every month. However, there are lots of ways that you can save. The first thing you need to do is change your mindset. You can save for a down payment!

Save for a Down Payment

Negotiate Your Rent

Ask your landlord if—at all possible—you can negotiate the cost of your rent. The best time to negotiate the cost of rent is during the lease renewal—your landlord knows that it is easier to keep you, so they will most likely lower the rent. If, however, they are unwilling to lower the monthly cost of living, you may consider moving to a different location. Often times, rent is higher simply because you live in a metropolitan or highly populated area. If you can find a similar-sized place to live in a different location for less rent, you should consider moving to it if you want to use the money you can save monthly for a down payment.

Save for a Down Payment

State and Local Home-Buying Programs

There are lots of state and local home-buying programs that will help you buy a home. If you ask a local real estate agent, or look online, you will find there are lots of programs that will help you save for a down payment or find a home that you can afford.

Alternative Sources of Income

If you can do it, look for part-time work. A second job will allow you to have more income, which you can then use to save for a down payment. 100% of what you earned from a part-time job can be put into your savings for the down payment.

Save for a Down Payment

If you do not have time for a second job, there are lots of new ways people make money on the side while not having to devote an extra 20 hours a week working. There are freelance websites that hire professionals and individuals to do projects for pay. You can also try the many ride-share services with your vehicle to help supplement your income. This way, you can make your own hours and make as much extra money as you need to!

Sell Your Car

If you are paying expensive monthly payments for that car you cannot afford, sell it, and use the money you made from the sale to buy a less-expensive car. This will allow you to eliminate a monthly expense that is completely unnecessary! Plus, cars depreciate in value the second you drive them off the lot—homes do not.

Throw a Garage Sale

Even if you can only generate a few hundred dollars from a garage sale, that is still money that can be used for saving up for a down payment. What is that old pair of skis sitting in the garage really doing for you and your family? Throw a garage sale and save everything you earn from it for the down payment of your next home.

Save for a Down Payment

Monitor Your Spending

This is huge. If you’re constantly buying new clothes or expensive items, you’re spending too much money that can be put into your savings for a down payment. Do your best to limit what you spend and budget your money at home if you’re serious about putting money towards a down payment.

Save for a Down Payment

By doing just one or more of these ideas for saving for a down payment, you will be able to gain some revenue that you can put into your savings account. Remember to save at least 20% of the home’s worth for a down payment. This allows you to get around the many fees that come with paying less than 20%. Once you’re able to save enough for a down payment, you will be able to start the process of purchasing that beautiful home you’ve always wanted!

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Bedroom Necessities Part Three: Nightstand Ideas

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Every morning you wake up to a buzzing alarm sitting on top of your nightstand. Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! You turn off your alarm and start your day. But do you actually have anything you use inside of your nightstand? Is there anything in it or on top of it that you can use late at night in the event of an emergency? If not, here are some great uses for your nightstand and the items you should put in it.

Nightstand Ideas

Decorate Your Nightstand

A nightstand is a great place you can add to the theme of your bedroom. Some decoration ideas you can add to your nightstand are:

Pictures of you, your family, and friends

Decorative lamps

Small art pieces

Art Piece

Candles or air fresheners

Vintage alarm clocks

Nightstand Ideas

Plants/Flowers

Necessities to Have Inside Nightstands

You should always have things you may need in your nightstand. Some great things to keep in the drawers are medications, a book or magazine you enjoy, sleeping pills, an emergency flashlight, a phone charger, a sleep mask, and even a journal—in case you want to record your dreams! If there are other items you know you may need late at night, be sure to make room in your nightstand for those necessary items as well.

Nightstand Ideas

You can always buy some very beautiful nightstands from department stores and home décor shops. But, there are some alternatives to the norm. You can make, paint, and even design your own nightstands.

Nightstand Ideas

Some great nightstand ideas are treasure chests turned on their side, small tables, wooden crates, wooden chairs, suitcases, ladders, file cabinets and even toolboxes.

Nightstand Alternations and Alternatives

An awesome alteration you can make to a nightstand is adding a small bookshelf. You can take out the bottom drawer, place a thin sheet of wood at the bottom . . . and voila: you have a bookshelf where you can place all your favorite reads!

Nightstand Ideas

If you’re good with power tools, you can even hang a nightstand. A wooden box or shelves hung close to your bed will make a great nightstand where you can place everything on top of and inside of it to act as a makeshift nightstand.

A desk also makes a great nightstand. If you have to work very late at night, this will allow you to fall asleep in your bed once you’ve exhausted your mind completely!

Nightstand Ideas

Nightstands are not just a nice piece of furniture to have in your bedroom. They serve their purpose by providing storage and even as a decorative piece that helps accent your room. With the nightstand ideas listed above, you can be sure to upgrade your current nightstand into something you enjoy and use even more that will help add to the theme of your bedroom.

Nightstand Ideas

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