Claire Rainville, Broker Associate, REMAX


There are plenty of ways to make your home more organized. Whether you have a large house or some problems with cramped spaces, your home has plenty of room to give. The key is that you just need to know how to use it. Read on for some tips on how to make the most of the space your home has to offer. 


Make Everything Easy To Find


The more accessible the things in your home are, the easier it will be to stay organized. If you have kids, this accessibility will be even more critical. Make sure that the items everyone uses daily have a place. Toy boxes, dressers for clothes, and places for coats and shoes are crucial for smooth organization. 


Find The Right Storage Container


You need to make sure that you have the right containers for the right things. Without these tools, organization becomes increasingly difficult. Shop around and do some research before you decide on exactly what you want to use to store things in. 


Organization Doesn’t Have To Be Ugly


It’s much easier to stay organized if you don’t mind looking at your home. The whole reason you want to stay organized is that the less chaos there is, the less stressed you feel. Organizers don’t need to be cold and regimented. Make sure that any organizing units match your color scheme and themes. 


Electronics Get In The Way


All of the gadgets we have these days can overtake our homes. Cords, phones, chargers, video game systems, and more can really take up space in a home. Anything that you frequently use should be in open top containers, so everything can be easily spotted. Anything that you use less often can be hidden behind closed doors or in a drawer. 


Think By Function


The easiest way to organize anything is to think about the functionality of items. If you make coffee every morning, for example, you may want to keep a coffee corner. You can keep coffee in the cabinet along with sugar or other essentials. In the drawer below where the coffee pot is placed on the counter, you can keep filters, stirrers, and more coffee essentials. If things are functional and flowing in your home, you’re getting close to organization nirvana!  


Declutter Often


If you have a daily routine to put things back where they came from, clutter will never overtake you! Simple things can help you to stay ahead of a big mess. Some idea for your routine can include:


Straightening furniture

Clearing countertops

Throwing away junk mail

Putting away shoes


All of these quick tasks can make a big difference on a daily basis over time! 


If you intend to find your dream house, it helps to establish a homebuying strategy. That way, you can enter the real estate market with a plan in place to accomplish your desired goals.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft an effective homebuying strategy.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

If you know where you want to reside, you can narrow your house search. As a result, you may be better equipped than other buyers to accelerate the homebuying journey.

Creating a list of home must-haves and wants usually is a great starting point for homebuyers. This list typically forces homebuyers to think about what separates an ordinary residence from a dream house. And once a homebuyer crafts a list of home must-haves and wants, this buyer can search for residences that meet his or her expectations.

2. Budget for a Home

In most instances, homebuyers lack the necessary financing to buy a house. Luckily, lenders are available that can help a homebuyer assess mortgage options and get pre-approved for home financing.

Budgeting for a home is a major part of the homebuying process. Because if you know exactly how much you can spend on a residence, you could speed up your house search.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. Then, when you find the right mortgage, you can enter the real estate market with a budget at your disposal.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

There is no requirement to hire a real estate agent before you pursue your dream house. Yet the advantages of hiring a real estate agent can be significant, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

For homebuyers, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of finding the right house at the right price. A real estate agent also collaborates with a homebuyer and will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure a buyer can achieve the optimal results.

If you want to purchase a house as quickly as possible, it may be a good idea to hire a real estate agent sooner rather than later. Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying aspirations. He or she next will work with you to craft a homebuying strategy and launch a successful house search.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is a housing market expert who will help you overcome any potential homebuying hurdles. A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with purchasing a house and will help you identify and address such issues before they escalate. And if you ever have concerns or questions as you search for your ideal residence, a real estate agent will respond to them.

Enter the real estate market with a plan in hand – take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can create an effective strategy to streamline your search for your dream residence.


Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

The last step of any home sale is the closing. This is the time when the buyer and seller sign all the documents surrounding the sale, including the documents for the buyer’s mortgage. This is when money changes hands and, in most cases, the buyer gets the keys to the home. If you’ve never attended a closing before, or it’s been a while, here’s what you can expect.

Before the Closing

Before the closing takes place, the buyer and seller will meet at the property for a final walkthrough. This gives the buyer the chance to inspect the home to make sure nothing changed in its condition between the inspection and the closing date. Buyers will look for damage to the property or items that aren’t working properly.

Who Attends the Closing

The closing is the next step. Both the buyer and seller with their respective real estate agents will be there. If anyone used a real estate attorney, that attorney will attend. A closing agent will conduct the meeting, and the lender may send a representative. Finally, someone from the title company will be in attendance.

Presenting & Signing the Documents

The main task that takes place at closing is the signing of documents. The buyers will go through about 50 to 100 pages of documents, many of which require a signature. Many of the documents are related to the buyer’s mortgage. The buyer will need to show proof of insurance, pay the closing costs, which are typically 2 to 5 percent of the home’s value, and fund the escrow, unless the seller offered to cover closing costs. Some of the documents relating to the mortgage that the buyer will need to sign include:

  • Final loan application

  • Mortgage agreement

  • Mortgage note

  • Loan estimate and closing disclosure

  • In addition to the mortgage documents, both the seller and buyer will need to sign several things, including:

  • The property’s deed

  • Bill of sale

  • Transfer tax declarations

  • At this point, any necessary payments are made, and the closing agent will write checks for the real estate agents' commissions. As long as there are no delays for funding, the keys change hands and the buyer becomes the home’s new owner.

    Potential Problems at Closing

    Most closings happen without any issues, but there are some problems that can arise on that day. It’s on the closing day that the final approval of the mortgage takes place. If the lender finds something surprising, like a change in employment or credit history, they could deny the loan. Also, title problems can pop up at closing that went undetected during negotiations. Finally, problems found during the final walkthrough could lead to delays at closing.

    Being well prepared for closing can help both buyers and sellers avoid these types of problems. With the right knowledge ahead of time, you can walk into closing confidently, knowing your real estate transaction will be completed in just a few hours.


    Houseplants are a great way to make your home feel more comfortable, colorful, and--in the winter--to bring a bit of living nature back into your life until spring arrives.

    There are houseplants that will thrive in just about any location of your home. Plus, you can find houseplants that are low-maintenance or ones that are a bit more rewarding as you care for them and watch them grow.

    In today’s post, I’m going to list the best houseplants for each room of your home. I’ll cover “impossible to kill” low-maintenance plants and some that require a bit more work. I’ll also cover large and small plants, as the size will often depend on the available space in the rooms of your home.

    Read on for the list of the best houseplants for each room of your home.

    Bedroom

    The bedroom is a place for rest and relaxation. You don’t want anything too high maintenance or too big and bright. Lavender gives off a calming scent that is perfect for your cozy sleeping space.

    Lavender is relatively low-maintenance, just be sure to water sparsely in the winter time, and only when the soil has dried out completely to avoid root rot.

    Lavender works in other rooms as well, such as on a kitchen windowsill where it can be used for cooking.

    Bathroom

    The bathroom tends to be a humid place without much spare room. A single aloe vera plant near a light source can be a great accent.

    Extremely low maintenance and useful after a day out in the sun, the bathroom is a perfect home for aloe vera. Simply snap off a leaf and use the gel inside for your burn.

    Office

    There are a few choice places for plants in the home office. A large snake plant in the corner of the room is a great way to add some life and color. Similarly, a money tree is easy to care for and fun to watch grow as you braid its stem (and what’s a more fitting place for a money tree than the place where you make your money!?).

    For the desk, a small cactus or succulent will do the trick, as you don’t want it to take up too much room.

    Living room

    For the living room, we can finally start talking about some of the bigger houseplants on the list. A Norfolk Island Pine looks like a small pine tree (though it technically isn’t one) and it can grow several feet high indoors. This is a great choice for homeowners in colder climates who don’t want to fill their house with unfitting tropical looking plants.

    Palm and Yucca, on the other hand, are perfect for homes in warmer climates. They can grow several feet high and fill up empty spaces in a large living room with ease. There’s a reason these are used in so many hotel and office building lobbies--they’re easy to care for and can grow large enough to fill the void in a big building.

    Windowless rooms

    Most plants will need at least indirect sunlight to stay healthy through the year. But, if you have a windowless room in your home that you want to brighten up with a houseplant you have options.

    Dracaena, snake plants, and creeping fig all grow well in little to no light and are easy to take care of.  


    Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

    When you’re looking into buying a new home, one of the decision you’ll need to make is if you want to live in an HOA community or not. Homeowners association (HOA) communities offer certain advantages and disadvantages compared to non-HOA communities. Knowing more about these pros and cons can help you make the right decision on where to look for your new home. 

    Pros of HOA Communities

    Being part of an HOA community means that you’re less likely to have to deal with unkempt properties or unusual yard decor around you. HOAs generally have a set of rules that homeowners must follow, or they face being fined. The goal is to ensure that the community maintains a tidy, visually appealing appearance. You might also have access to community amenities as part of your HOA membership, such as a pool or clubhouse. 

    Cons of HOA Communities

    Living in an HOA community means that you’ll be expected to follow the association’s rules and restrictions. Your experience with this will depend on the HOA’s specific rules and restrictions, which can vary widely from one association to the next. Some HOAs have strict rules or a long list of restrictions, while others are more relaxed. For example, you might only be allowed to use specific colors for your home’s exterior. You might also have to check with the HOA and get approval for any changes you plan on making to your home’s exterior or your yard. 

    Pros of Non-HOA Communities

    When you choose to live in a non-HOA community, you are free to style your house and yard to meet your preferences and lifestyle. This provides you with more freedom to remodel your home exterior or make changes such as planting certain trees or installing a swimming pool or trampoline. When you’re not part of an HOA community, you only have to worry about following local property laws. You don’t have to keep track of HOA rules and restrictions or worry about being fined for breaking them. 

    Cons of Non-HOA Communities 

    While having more freedom to do what you want with your property might seem better, it’s important to consider the disadvantages of non-HOA communities. When you’re in one of these communities, you might have unsightly properties nearby that affect your home value and curb appeal. You might also have neighbors with an overgrown yard near you, which can raise your risk of having pest problems on your own property. HOA communities have rules in place to prevent these problems from happening.