Michelle Gillespie - Keller Williams Realty



Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 12/9/2018

Whether youíre a first-time homebuyer or youíre upgrading to a larger house to fit your familyís needs, itís vital to understand just how much house you can afford before you start shopping for homes.

When planning for your future home, there are two main things you need to figure out.

  • What is a smart amount to spend on a home for your budget

  • What are the key features in a home that will give you the most benefits for the cost

These two questions may seem simple, but there are quite a few factors that should go into determining each one.

So, in todayís post, Iím going to walk you through the process of determining what kind of house you can afford so you can make the best home buying decision for you and your family.

A smart home buying budget

To create an effective budget, youíll need to gather some information and possibly create a spreadsheet with Excel (or a free alternative like Google Sheets).

On your spreadsheet, youíll first want to add up all sources of income that your family has. This is the easy part for most people who only have one or two sources of income based on a salaried job.

Next, is the hard part--expenses. We canít just use your current expenses to determine the new budget because we have to account for changes in several areas.

If you arenít sure of the cost of living for the area you hope to move to, try plugging it into this cost of living comparison tool to see get a better idea of the cost of things like transportation, childcare, groceries, and more.

Likewise, itís also a good idea to assume youíll be paying more in utilities if youíre hoping to move into a home that is larger than your current home. Keep in mind, however, that different houses have different levels of energy-efficiency, so itís a good idea to also ask the seller of the homes youíre interested in to determine what your costs might be.

Now, subtract your expenses from your income. The amount remaining should easily cover whatever mortgage payment you receive along with, ideally, 20% of your income going toward savings.

Deciding what you need in a home

The second part of determining how much house you can afford is to find out exactly what youíre looking for in a home. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, location, the size of the backyard; all of these are questions that have a monetary value.

So, to really answer this question youíll need a strong understanding of what you and your familyís goals are for at least the next 5-7 years, if not longer.

Once you have your long-term goals and a good understanding of your budget, you can start safely shopping for homes with a clearer idea of the type of home youíre looking for and just how much home you can afford.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 12/2/2018

Planning to sell your house in the next few weeks or months? If so, you likely will want to declutter to improve your house's appearance and make it easy for potential homebuyers to envision what life might be like if they purchase your residence.

Ultimately, donating items may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for those who want to declutter and move in the near future.

By donating items that you no longer need, you can quickly and easily remove clutter from your residence. Plus, you may be able to secure a tax credit for your charitable contributions.

Before you donate your items, however, you should take a close look at your personal belongings and decide which things to keep and which to give to charity.

Now, let's take a look at three items that you can donate to charity:

1. Clothing

If you intend to move from Florida to Alaska Ė or vice-versa Ė there may be a wide range of clothing that you can donate before you move.

Ensure that any clothing that you plan to donate is clean. If necessary, wash any dresses, t-shirts and other apparel that you intend to donate.

Also, it is always better to err on the side of caution when you donate clothing. And if you have clothes that are faded or torn, you should dispose of these items.

2. Electronics

For those who plan to downsize, donating electronics is ideal. That way, you can get rid of electronics that won't fit into your new home and do a good deed at the same time.

Evaluate your electronics and make sure they work correctly before you donate them. In addition, it often pays to tape any electronics cords, wires and accessories to the items themselves.

Check out a charity's electronics donations policies prior to scheduling a donation pick-up too. By doing so, you can guarantee that a charity can pick up and use your excess electronics.

3. Appliances

In many instances, an individual may move into a new address that comes equipped with a new refrigerator, washer, dryer and other appliances. If this happens, you may want to contact local charities to see if they can pick up your current appliances.

Reach out to a local charity to find out whether it can pick up your current appliances Ė you'll be glad you did. If the answer is "Yes," you may be able to avoid having to move big, heavy appliances on your own.

As the aforementioned list shows, there are lots of great items that you can donate to charity. Conduct an in-depth search of charities in your city or town, and you can work with a local charity that can use your excess items.

Lastly, if you ever have questions about which charities in your area will accept donations, don't hesitate to reach out to these organizations directly. And if you're looking for extra assistance as you declutter your residence and prepare to list your home, it certainly helps to contact an expert real estate agent as well.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 11/25/2018

Technology is getting smarter. Nowadays it seems everything has AI built-in. And why not? It makes your home have a clever assistant in every room of your home without the expense of paying hourly wages. Hereís how to have a smarter kitchen, because letís be honest this is the room where we can always use an extra set of hands.

The Mr.Coffee coffee pot can start from your phone. Letís be honest the alarm feature most pots boast are greatÖ but not everyone has the same schedule every day. This pot allows you to create a custom schedule that matches your own. Have a fresh, hot cup waiting for you right when you get out of bed when you wake up at 5 am on a Monday and 7 on a Wednesday.

Want more control of your appliances from your phone? Crock-pot now has a slow cooker you can adjust settings with from your phone. Control temperature and cook times from anywhere so if youíre running late getting home it wonít be too an overcooked meal.

Both the Mr.Coffee and Crock Pot devices run off of Wemo technology. While both of these devices have built-in tech that doesn't mean the fun has to end there. Wemo offers devices you can plug into any outlet so you can control any appliance from your phone. With the Wemo app set lights to turn on for your family to come home to a well lit welcoming home even on a Winter night.

You can also use Google Assistant, Alexis or Siri (with the necessary extender) to control these devices and even set timers and reminders. Ask your smart speaker to set a timer for dinner, add an item to your grocery list or that you want to use that hamburger in the freezer by Friday. You can even ask for help with ingredient conversions. If you like to listen to music while cooking you donít need to worry about touching controls if you want to skip a song, turn the music down or up. Just ask your assistant to do it for you, and it will happily oblige.

Have fun with your pooch from anywhere with the Furbo camera. With camera, access make sure your dog isnít up to no good while youíre away. Use the microphone to remind them the rules still apply while you are away. The best part, however, is that you can reward them for being well-behaved, or cute, with the built-in treat dispenser.

Keep your home safe with the Nest Protect system, a smart smoke, and carbon monoxide alarm. This alarm alerts your phone as soon as it detects signs of danger. It also warns you with a human-like voice when the alarm is about to go off so you arenít startled by the typical high pitched screaming of alarms.




Tags: kitchen   home technology   tech  
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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 11/18/2018

If your home has hardwood floors, youíre going to want to put carpets in and around the home. This helps to warm the space up both visually and physically. How do you know what size area rug to choose or what colors to choose? Itís quite simple. There are a few rules of thumb that you should know in order to help you choose the right rug for each room of the home. 


First, youíll need to measure the seating area. Youíll select the rug thatís the closest size up from those measurements. Choose the next size up from that so all of your furniture can rest on the rug. Alternatively, you can set the room up so that no furniture rests on the rugs and the carpet simply sits in front of the furniture. This is all a matter of taste.  


Fill The Room With A Rug


You can fill an entire room with a rug as well. Just measure the room and subtract a 2-foot perimeter around the room for floor space. 


Layer Your Rugs For A Great Visual Effect


You can create more definition in your room by layering rugs. You can put a smaller rug on top of a larger rug for something a bit visually interesting in the room. Smaller rugs help to define a seating area, so you would layer those rugs on top of a larger rug.


Furniture Movers


Placing movers or sliders under furniture is more than just for rearranging a room. These little disks help to protect both your hardwood floors and your carpets. Youíll have floors free from scratches, tears, and scuffs. If you think that furniture canít ruin carpets, think again!  


Dining And Kitchen        


For rugs in your dining area, the carpet should surround your table. The rug needs to extend out a bit beyond the focal point of the room. Measure about two feet beyond your table as a good rule of thumb. 


In the kitchen, make sure that your rugs are slip resistant. Put rugs near the places that you tend to stand the most like the sink and oven. You could put several area rugs in the kitchen to create a warmer feel in the room without making it hard to clean. 


Bedroom


In your bedroom, one of the most important purposes for a rug is having a soft, warm place for your feet in the morning. An area rug should extend out at least two feet beyond the bed itself, which is the focal point of the room. If youíre using smaller rugs, place them strategically so that your feet are warm yet the bed is still the main visual focus in the room. 


Color Choice


Remember that your rug should be an accent to a room. Your walls are the dominant color and your rug will only add to the beauty. Pick a color that blends well with the rest of the scheme of the room.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 11/11/2018

Let's face it Ė no one wants to deal with a long, arduous homebuying process. Fortunately, we're here to help you simplify the process of acquiring your dream residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can enjoy a hassle-free home shopping experience.

1. Consider What You Want from Your Dream House

What separates an ordinary house from a dream residence? The answer to this question varies depending on the homebuyer, and how you answer the question may dictate your homebuying success.

If you enter the housing market with a list of home must-haves, you'll be better equipped than other property buyers to streamline the homebuying process. Thus, you should think about your home must-haves and wants closely.

Differentiate home must-haves from wants Ė you'll be glad you did. For example, if you have kids, you may need to find a house that's located near top schools. On the other hand, you may want to own a home with a swimming pool. But if you find a top-notch house that offers plenty of great features but lacks a swimming pool, you might not shy away from submitting an offer on this residence.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

If you enter the real estate market with a mortgage in hand, you should have no trouble finding a house that won't force you to break your budget.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with local banks and credit unions. These lenders can outline the mortgage approval process and provide you with a variety of mortgage options.

Furthermore, if you have mortgage questions, banks and credit unions are available to provide expert responses. These lenders employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage professionals who can help you make an informed mortgage decision.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to buying a house, it pays to receive comprehensive assistance. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you acquire your dream house in no time at all.

A real estate agent understands the challenges commonly associated with buying a home. However, this housing market professional also knows exactly what it takes to overcome myriad homebuying challenges.

For instance, a real estate agent will negotiate with a seller's agent throughout the homebuying cycle. By doing so, a real estate agent can help a buyer get the best price on a residence without the hassle of a stressful negotiation.

Let's not forget about the extensive homebuying expertise that a real estate agent possesses, either. A real estate agent understands all stages of the homebuying process and is happy to share his or her insights with a property buyer. Therefore, if you ever have homebuying questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

There is no need to deal with an anxiety-ridden homebuying process. Take advantage of the aforementioned homebuying tips, and you can keep things simple as you go from homebuyer to homeowner.




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