Skip to main content

Archives: December 2020

4 Bright Ideas for Staging Your Home with Lighting

Key Points:

  • When it comes to selling your home, staging is the easiest way to make a great first impression both online and during an in-person tour.
  • Focusing on the smaller touches can really impress buyers—and lighting is an important detail you should never overlook.
  • Looking for more easy tips to transform your home and get top dollar in no time? Drop us a line for even more staging advice!

Staging Before You Sell? Don’t Overlook Your Home’s Lighting!

You’ve probably heard that staging is an essential step to drawing in buyers. Most real estate agents will tell you to stick with neutral decor and depersonalize as much as possible before your home hits the market. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a few subtler changes, too.

Looking for an easy way to accentuate your home’s best features? Try framing them in the right light—literally. Bright, ample lighting will give your space a glow buyers will love, and it can even make your house seem larger and more open. Here are some easy ways to ensure your home is perfectly lit before your next showing.

Choose the right bulbs

Screwing in a light bulb

The quickest way to boost your home’s brightness is to swap out low wattage incandescents in favor of LED (light-emitting diode) or CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs. They’re slightly more expensive, but the payoff is worth it—your rooms will feel much more spacious, and they can last for up to 50,000 hours.  

Nowadays, LEDs and CFLs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. If you’re looking to add a warm glow or make a room feel cozy, try going for a soft white bulb. Cooler bulbs create an energizing atmosphere better suited for task lighting, bathrooms, and kitchens.

Swap out old fixtures

Pendant lights in a kitchen

Take a look at the light fixtures throughout your home—are they looking a little dated? You may not mind that old ceiling fan light or tarnished wall sconce, but buyers will likely notice them. While you don’t have to replace every fixture in the house, updating the ones in your main living areas will make your space appear more on-trend.

You want to keep your lighting neutral, and incorporate matching finishes wherever possible. If you’re not sure where to start, consider replacing your kitchen lights with stylish pendants. Swapping out an old chandelier for a lantern or orb-style fixture can breathe new life into your dining room. And when it comes to the bathroom, try to choose sconces with clean, simple lines.

Layer your lighting

Grey living room with lamps

Layering your lighting is just like arranging furniture; if done correctly, it can enhance the size and feel of an entire space. You should aim for three different types of lighting in each room: ambient (overhead), task (reading or desk lights), and accent (table or floor lamps). This forms a cohesive level of light throughout your home.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your lights. You can add both form and function with some under-counter lighting or by installing a dimmer switch on an overhead fixture for more customization. The possibilities really are endless—if you’re in need of some ideas, just ask your agent! 

Amp up the natural light

Window with natural light

Today’s buyers want homes filled with natural light. So if you have a room that gets a lot of sun, throw back the drapes and open the blinds before a showing.

Looking for additional ways to create a sun-bathed glow? Think about painting your walls in lighter colors—like white, grey, or beige—or using a higher gloss finish. You can also accessorize with mirrors or shiny decor to reflect light throughout a space.  

Looking for More Home Staging Tips?

Staging your home doesn’t have to be hard when you have the help of a top-rated agent! Contact us today for even more exclusive selling tips—we’d love to get your property market-ready and maximize your potential profits. And if it’s been a while since you checked up on your home’s current value, feel free to ask us for a complimentary equity assessment.

Mortgages Made Easy: How to Choose the Right Home Loan

Key Takeaways:

  • As mortgage rates continue hovering near historic lows, many potential buyers are eager to make a move—but it can be hard to know which type of loan is best.
  • There are dozens of different mortgage options available today, and some even have low down payment or credit score requirements. This can help a variety of buyers finally achieve their real estate goals. 
  • Need help finding a lender or choosing the right mortgage for your needs? We’d be more than happy to offer a few recommendations.

Home Financing 101: The Most Common Types of Mortgages

Let’s face it—understanding mortgages can be the most complicated part of buying a home. Even experienced buyers sometimes have trouble deciding between lenders or shopping around for the best interest rate. And because there are so many options, it can be difficult to track down the mortgage that best meets your needs.

There are a variety of factors you should consider before committing to a loan, such as your income, debt, financial history, and how long you plan on staying in your new home. But if you play your cards right, you could end up scoring a great deal. Here are some of the most popular types of mortgages, as well as their pros and cons.

Fixed-rate mortgage

Mortgage scrabble tiles

A fixed-rate mortgage is the most basic and reliable type of home loan you can get. Your interest rate and monthly payment will stay the same for the entire duration of the mortgage, and you’ll likely have to put at least 20% down and have an established financial history to get approved.

Typically, fixed-rate mortgages are broken down into 15- or 30-year terms. If you want predictability and don’t plan on moving for a while, this is probably the best option for you.

Adjustable-rate mortgage

house, coin stacks, and clock

Unlike their fixed-rate counterparts, adjustable-rate mortgages offer the initial benefit of a lower rate and down payment. However, ARMs fluctuate with the market, which means your interest rate and monthly payments could increase or decrease over time.

While there is more risk involved with an adjustable-rate mortgage, it can be worth it if you plan on living in your home for a shorter period of time. Generally, ARMs have a capped introductory interest rate for the first few years, which can save you quite a bit of money compared to a fixed-rate loan.

VA loans

Member of the military

If you or your spouse are an active, retired, or veteran member of the military, you could be eligible for a VA loan. Backed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, this unique type of mortgage lets you buy a home with little to no down payment or mortgage insurance.

Because VA loans are guaranteed (but not financed) by the government, they do have stricter requirements than other mortgages. The loan can only be used towards a primary residence, and the house you intend to buy has to meet minimum property requirements. This means you’ll have to undergo additional inspections and appraisals. 

FHA loans

Couple moving in

Backed by the Federal Housing Administration, the FHA loan is designed for first-time or lower-income buyers. While most mortgages typically require a down payment of 20% or more, the FHA loan allows buyers to put down as little as 3.5%; that equals out to around $9,000 for a $250,000 house.

FHA loans come with a fixed interest rate and can offer a path to homeownership for buyers who don’t have enough saved for a traditional loan. However, you will be required to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI) every month, which typically costs around 1% of your total loan amount. It’s also important to remember that the government does not issue your loan—you’ll still have to shop around for the right FHA-approved lender.

USDA loans

Farmland

The USDA loan is a government-sponsored mortgage program that targets buyers in more rural areas. While the USDA does have stricter credit and income requirements than the FHA, they’ll fund up to 100% of the purchase price for an eligible home. That means you won’t have to put any money down, and you may even enjoy a lower-than-average interest rate. 

Additionally, USDA loans require mortgage insurance, and you won’t be approved if your debt-to-income ratio exceeds 41%. Before applying, you should also check the USDA’s eligibility map to see if your area qualifies for the program. 

Other loans

House on a calculator

This is hardly an exhaustive list of all the mortgages used by today’s home buyers! Depending on your financial situation, you could qualify for a more niche loan, such as a balloon mortgage, bridge loan, or jumbo loan. Many banks, lenders, and state governments also have their own programs or incentives that are worth exploring. You can even combine different types of loans to create a financing plan that’s tailored to your needs.

If you don’t have time to research all of your options, it might be beneficial to work with a mortgage broker or ask your agent for recommendations. They’ll have the knowledge to guide you in the right direction!

Want to Learn More About Mortgages?

If you’re in the market for a new home, we’d love to discuss your financing options or recommend some top-rated lenders. Contact us today to learn the ins and outs of the home buying process, from finding a loan to finally getting the keys to your new place. We look forward to helping you start your next chapter!

Let’s Get Started

By giving us your phone number and email address, you are giving Susan & Alicia Feil permission to contact you via email or phone.