Mike O'Keefe's Blog
Having a small living room gives you a great chance to cozy up and feel snug. It’s not such a disadvantage to have a small living space. If you buy the right furniture and place it accordingly, your small space can have big personality. For example, buying a larger sofa takes up more room than a love seat, yet you may be able to fit a love seat and two chairs in the same space. This gives you the ability to seat more people. Pro tip: Armless chairs are great for small living rooms.
If you’re short on space in your home, you can use the corners of the room for other purposes. Tuck a desk with your computer in a part of the living space to help you make the most of the area that you do have. This helps to give the room multi-functional purposes with style.
Use Focal Points
Like every room of any home, you need a focal point. Does your small living room have a fireplace? Hang some art above the fireplace, in order to help both pieces stand out. Using that area of the room as a focal point gives the appearance of a larger room. Keep away from over-stuffing a room with furniture and decor, as it will appear smaller.
Bring Out The Height Of A Room
You can make a small room feel bigger if you bring out the height of the room. Hang paintings a bit further up the wall than normal. You don’t want to make the space look awkward, but think outside the box to use the upward space of a small room. You may even consider placing molding type materials between one foot to a foot and a half from the top of the ceiling.
Stacking Furniture Helps
No, we don’t mean for you to stack your furniture pieces on top of each other. You could place a cabinet behind the back of a sofa that’s facing in the opposite direction. This can help to save space and create a feeling of divide in between rooms. This could also be a handy way for you to place tables next to chairs- directly against them- in order for guests to have a handy place to put drinks or appetizer plates.
How To Make An Entrance
Many times, the living room is also the entrance to the home. Your living space can also serve as the home office or a dual dining space. For these purposes, keep everything smooth. If you make a color transition from room to room, be sure that it’s subtle and well thought out. The overall color palette should be similar.
Even though most of the details of selling your home are usually handled by other people -- hopefully competent professionals -- it still can be a stressful experience.
Major life changes are a "mixed bag" when it comes to the effect they have on your mental equilibrium. On one hand, change can open up new doors of opportunity and give you a fresh lease on life. On the other hand, it forces you to step out of your comfort zone and deal with the element of unpredictability.
While every situation is different and there's no panacea for the stress that accompanies life transitions, here are a few strategies that will help make the road less bumpy.
- Choose an experienced real estate agent or Realtor who will provide the guidance, day-to-day support, and expertise you need to avoid many of the pitfalls and frustrations of selling a house. If you know you're in good hands, you'll have less of a tendency to worry about how things are going. The ideal real estate agent will instill confidence in you, provide you with regular progress reports, and do everything they can to make sure the sales process and other logistics keep moving forward and staying on track. They'll also provide you with good advice on how to effectively stage your home to improve its marketability.
- Go with the flow. Accept the fact that you'll need to keep your home immaculately clean, every day, to make the best possible impression on prospective buyers. There are also plenty of other tasks and challenges you'll have to deal with along the way. Sometimes it helps to remind yourself of the famous serenity prayer written by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr back in the 1930's: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
- Get enough sleep every night: Nothing undermines one's coping ability, patience, and resourcefulness more than struggling against a sleep deficit. Getting enough sleep, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of eight hours a night, is more crucial to one's physical and mental well-being than many people realize. When you prioritize getting a full night's sleep, you'll generally be able to think more clearly, keep setbacks in their proper perspective, and do a better job of rolling with the changes.
With rent prices soaring in many areas of the U.S., renters are starting to consider whether now is the right time to start saving for a down payment on a home.
Depending on where you live and what your timeline is for buying a house, you might be wondering the same thing.
So, in today’s post, we’re going to talk about how to break down your rental costs to determine whether it makes more sense to buy a home rather than continue renting.
Add up your rental costs
There are any number of costs associated with renting depending on your lease agreement. Some renters are required to pay their own heating and utilities, while others have several bonuses thrown into the cost of their rent, such as internet, gym memberships and more.
So, take a minute to write down each of your rental expenses. To get you started, here’s a list of some of the most common costs for renters:
Now that you know how much you put toward renting each month, it’s time to take a look at what it could cost you to own a home.
The key thing to remember about buying a home is that your costs can vary widely based on the size of your home, where it’s located, and a number of other factors. However, you can often find area averages online.
If you’re considering a starter home (which you should!), then you’ll want to look at houses in your area that are on the lower end of the market.
To get an idea of what your mortgage payments and monthly interest will be, you can use a free tool like Bankrate.
Now, let’s make a list of your homeowner expenses:
Heating and AC costs (plan for higher costs than renting due to more space)
Property taxes (divided by 12)
Mortgage insurance (if you don’t have a 20% down payment saved)
Cost-benefit analysis of owning a home vs renting
Now that you know the general costs, you’re getting close to knowing whether it would be cheaper or more expensive to buy a home than rent.
However, that isn’t the full picture. When you own a home, you’re responsible for maintenance and upkeep. That means you should budget around $250 per month toward maintenance. Even if you don’t use that amount each month, there’s a good chance you’ll have to make a repair or upgrade, or even hire a professional to come and fix something on your home.
The final piece of the picture involves home equity. When you own a home, most of the money you pay each month to your lender will come back to you in the form of equity. As a renter, your money goes to your landlord and will never be seen or heard from again.
So, if you’ve added up your lists, accounted for maintenance costs, and still have enough left over to live comfortably each month by buying a home, you can most likely bet on buying as being a better option.
If not, it might pay off to rent for another year or two while you save up for a down payment so you can get the lowest interest rate and avoid PMI.
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- Rain gutters on your house can help divert water away from your foundation, which is one factor in preventing basement leaks and excess moisture. When rain gutters are not working properly, it's usually the result of one or two things: 1) clogs caused by leaves and other debris, and 2) downspouts which fail to direct water far enough from the house. Diverting water away from your home can also help protect your foundation from premature cracking of crumbling. Although rain gutters need to be cleaned once or twice a year, there are low maintenance products available which let the rain water in, but keep the leaves out.
- Sump pumps: An essential device for wet basements is a sump pump -- preferably the kind that work during extreme weather conditions and power outages. Those are the conditions under which homeowners need a working sump pump the most!
- Basement waterproofing solutions: Depending on the extent of your water seepage problem, you may want to consult a basement waterproofing service. Since prices, warranties, and services may vary quite a bit from one company to the next, it would be wise to get a few estimates. Basement waterproofing companies may recommend several options, such as exterior excavation, the installation of new drainage tiles and French drains, and the application of a waterproof membrane on the outside of foundation walls. Interior work may involve the creation of a drainage trench around the perimeter of the basement and the installation of drainage tiles or piping to channel excess water to a sump pump. So as you can imagine, basement waterproofing can be quite expensive. That's why the best strategy is usually a preventative one.
- Damage control: One way to help prevent or minimize damage to your home from leaking water pipes or malfunctioning appliances is to have an automatic shutoff mechanism installed in your plumbing system. By detecting and responding to reductions in water pressure, it can turn off water flow at specific locations to keep flooding and property damage to an absolute minimum.