Michelle Gillespie - Keller Williams Realty



Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 8/12/2018

Window shutters are a very old form of home improvement. Since there have been windows or openings in the walls of houses, shutters have been around. While they donít serve much of a practical purpose in the present day, they once were very important to homeowners.  Early shutters were meant to protect the interior of a home from things like intruders, weather, and animals. 


Ornamentation


Present day shutters are often used as the finishing touch for a home. Many homes just wouldnít look complete without them on the outside of the house. So, how do you find the shutters that are right for your home?


The Size And Placement Of The Shutters


You need room on your house for shutters to work on it. You shouldnít consider putting shutters on your home if the pieces will come too close to the corner or stick out beyond the trim of your home. Your windows also shouldnít be too close together. The space between windows and shutters should be about half of the width of one shutter. If you donít have the appropriate space, you shouldnít put shutters up. Even though youíre not actually using the shutters for practical purposes, you want them to look authentic, as if they could actually be closed. Keep in mind too that a small window may only need one shutter to make it work.


The Hardware 


Even though you wonít actually be using the shutters for your home, they should always be hung with the proper hardware. This allows the shutters to be attached appropriately and give the authentic look thatís needed to make them look true to form. If the shutters are hung any other way, they run the risk of looking cheap and fake. Even though youíre not actually going to use the shutters, the right hardware makes them function as they would if you really needed them.  


The Materials


As far as materials go, real wood shutters are unmatched in their authentic look. The problem with real wood shutters is that they can become weathered quickly. If you go with wood shutters, they will require frequent painting and replacement, which can become a tedious task as a homeowner.  


Vinyl shutters will last longer but choose them carefully. You still want a high quality shutter even though this material will be able to withstand the weather longer. The better the quality of your shutter, the more genuine they will look on your home. 


Color Choice


Typically, the color scheme on the outside of a home includes 2-3 different colors. Your shutters should be the accent color of the home. This means that they should match some other color thatís present on the outside of the house whether itís your front door or your window trim, the shutters should always be a different color than the siding of a home.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 8/5/2018

If your house is currently on the market or you're preparing to put it up for sale, the secret of success lies in the lyrics of an old popular song called "Accentuate The Positive." Although it was originally published in 1944, the song has been resurfacing for years on television, in movies, and music recordings.

"Accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative" may seem like basic, old-fashioned advice, but when homeowners follow it, they increase their chances of selling their home faster and for the highest possible price.

Although your real estate agent will provide a ton of helpful advice on how to present your house in its best light, there are dozens of things you can start doing now to improve its marketability, curb appeal, and the positive response you get from real estate agents and buyers.

  • Avoid or minimize any aspect of your home and property that gives the impression of neglect. That could include anything from peeling paint and cracked windows to overgrown bushes and weedy yards. Weeds growing out of cracks in walkways, driveways, and concrete flooring often looks the worst -- but weeds, in general, always detract from the appearance of a home for sale.
  • Reduce or eliminate anything that might create a feeling of "unpleasantness" in the minds of prospects. In other words, if there's anything about your home that might cause buyers to cringe, frown, gasp, crinkle their nose (in displeasure) or shake their heads, then you probably need to take corrective action -- and fast! A prime example would be pet odors, stains, and loose fur, which can be major turnoffs for many people -- especially if they have allergies!
  • If little or no interior painting has been done over the past five or ten years, there's a strong chance that your walls are faded, marred, and looking worse for the wear. A couple coats of neutral-colored paint can often infuse a more vibrant, updated appearance to those tired-looking rooms. Subtle, light colors -- although, not necessarily stark white -- are often advisable. The objective is to appeal to as many people as possible, without taking any decorating risks that might alienate anyone.
  • Speaking of "harsh versus eye-pleasing," your home's lighting is another important thing to scrutinize when looking for cost-effective ways to increase the attractiveness, appeal, and marketability of your home.
As you're searching for ways to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, try to view your home from the perspective of someone who's just seeing it for the first time. In all probability, your real estate agent will be enormously helpful in that respect, and immediately begin looking for ways to effectively stage your home. If they've been showing homes in your area for a number of years, they will have a good sense of what attracts and repels today's home buyer. Your agent can provide a professional opinion on everything from flooring and counter tops to wall colors and curb appeal.





Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 7/29/2018

There are a number of steps involved in buying a home. One of the many important things you should do before closing on a new home is to get the house properly inspected.

Buyers sometimes avoid getting a professional inspection for a number of reasons. Some are on a tight budget and want to save a few dollars. Others have time constraints and want to close as soon as possible. And, many buyers believe that omitting an inspection is a way to show trust in the previous owner.

In this article, weíll talk about why getting a home inspection is such an important part before closing on a real estate deal.

Inspection costs

Closing on a home comes with a number of expenses. Application fees, origination fees, underwriting feesÖ the list goes on. If youíre buying a home, you might be tempted to opt out of getting the property inspected to save money.

The cost of an inspection ranges anywhere from $200 for smaller homes, to $400 or more for large homes. However, the cost of not getting your home inspected can be much greater. Even if youíre knowledgeable when it comes to houses, there are a number of things that only the experts can diagnose.

Having a professional inspect the home is the only way to ensure that there arenít any issues that will come back to haunt you (and your wallet) in the months and years to come.

Saving time

Many buyers are eager to close the deal and begin moving into their new home as soon as possible. Sometimes buyers need to vacate their old home before a certain date, others try to time their move around holidays or school vacations.

There are other ways, however, to make sure you get the house inspected in time. First, make sure youíve included a home inspection in your purchase agreement. This will avoid wasted times debating whether or not you are entitled to inspect the home.

Next, call multiple inspectors in your area for quotes and availability. Delaying this step can make you lose time, and inspectors might charge you more if they have to squeeze you into their schedule.

The best time to schedule an inspection is as soon as your offer is accepted.

Maintaining a good relationship with the seller

It may seem like an act of diplomacy to waive a home inspection. In reality, however, nearly all sellers will understand that you are simply doing due diligence to make sure the process runs smoothly for both of you.

Sellers might sometimes offer you the findings of a previous inspection that they had done. In this case, itís still important to have your own inspection done so that you can walk through the home with the inspector and listen to their feedback. You canít be sure of the accuracy of any old reports, and the previous inspector is only accountable to the seller.


Having a home professionally inspected is almost always a good idea. It can save you time and money in repairs that could have been avoided.





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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 7/22/2018

If you believe you are coming close to the time to buy your first home, you'll want to be informed. Itís never too early to begin preparing for a home purchase. The more organized you are, and the better you have your financial situation in order the better off youíll be when it comes to the home search. Where should you start? Below, youíll find some key things that you can do to maximize your chances of finding and securing your first home.


Check Your Credit


Your credit score is one of the most critical pieces of your financial picture. A FICO score ranges from 300 to 850. The higher the number, the better off you are. When youíre getting a mortgage, you want to have good credit. If your credit score is above 740, youíll be eligible for the best interest rates. If your credit score needs help, a higher score will get you the best interest rates available. Once you get your credit score, (Itís free to get through a variety of services.) aim to improve your score. Pay your bills on time. Use less of your available credit (target to use 30 percent or less of your total available credit.) The bottom line is that a low-interest rate will save you a significant amount of money over the life of your loan. 


Refrain From Opening New Accounts


If youíre in the market to buy a home, itís probably best for you to stay away from opening new accounts. Every store has their credit card and offers deals to open an account in store. While it could save you some money on your purchase, opening new accounts has a negative impact on your credit score in the short term. A car loan, for example, will also affect your credit score because it brings your debt-to-income ratio up, which can put a damper on your chances of getting a mortgage for a low-interest rate.


Save, Save, Save


If you want to buy a home soon, youíll need to save up a significant amount of money. These savings will go towards a downpayment, closing costs, and furnishing your new place. Every chance you get, you should be putting money away. Include gifts, bonuses, and any other income thatís outside of your average take-home pay. 


Itís also a good idea to set up a second bank account dedicated to saving for the home. Set up an automatic transfer each month that will go into that account from your primary earnings. You can d this based on how your employer pays you.


Look For A Real Estate Agent


Your real estate agent will be a crucial part of your home search. They will help in everything from finding the property of your dreams to negotiating the deal to sitting by your side at closing. You should do a bit of research to help you find a real estate agent who can assist you in finding the right property for you. 


Ask family and friends for recommendations of agents. You can search for the real estate agentís name online and see what kind of reviews the agent has and contact different agents. From there. You can make a decision.          


Now, good luck with your home search! 





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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 7/15/2018

One recurring problem all parents deal with -- especially on weekends and school breaks -- is keeping their children entertained and engaged. (Sound familiar?)

While you can sometimes take your kids and their friends bowling, to the movies, or roller skating, those type of activities are only short-term fixes. Once you've expended all the possibilities, you're back to square one! The ideal scenario is to be able to fill in some of those gaps with fun, recreational activities at home.

If you have a finished basement or are talking about renovating an unfinished area, then that part of the house can provide the space for a dedicated rec room. The cost of finishing a basement can be expensive -- with estimates ranging from $10,000 to around $35,000. The final cost would depend on factors like the square footage of your basement, contractor pricing, materials used, and whether you're willing or able to do any of the work yourself. For growing families with active children, remodeling a basement or buying a house that already has a finished basement could prove to be a priceless resource for years to come!

Setting Up a Game Room

Outfitting a rec room with items like game tables is an additional expense that could have an impact on your budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep a lid on those costs. One idea would be to spread out those purchases over a period of time. For example, one year you could buy a billiards table; the next year, you could add a ping-pong table, air hockey game, or a foosball table to the room. Many of these items also make excellent birthday or holiday gifts for the kids, so you can potentially include those purchases in your gift-buying budget. With a little online price comparison, you'll also discover that you don't have to pay top dollar for any of those game tables. It's rarely necessary to get the "deluxe" version of a pool table, air hockey game, or foosball table, and there's a wide range of sizes and prices available -- both online and off. You may also stumble upon opportunities to buy used versions of those popular rec room games, and save a lot of money in the process.

Two inexpensive ways to expand the range of activities available in your recreation room (and keep your kids happy) is to stock up on board games and age-appropriate craft supplies. A television with a DVD player, popular channels, and video games is also sure to provide hours of entertainment on rainy days, school holidays, and unstructured weekends. Finished basements can also be a great place to host children's birthday parties, sleepovers, and club meetings. A TV in the basement can also help maintain family harmony. When the grownups want to watch one program and the kids want to watch something entirely different, you don't have to draw straws or pull rank!







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