Make the Most of The Buying Season

How to Make the Most of the Homebuying Season
From Credit.com 6/28/14

Spring and summer are great seasons to take a trip, enjoy the outdoors and try new things. Turns out the months between April and July are also the highest season for homebuying. In fact, usually more than 40% of annual housing transactions happen during these four months and forecasters expect the percentage to be even higher this year. The favorable weather makes moving more appealing and renovations or repairs more easily accomplished. While this year should see increased inventory, be sure you are prepared to make homebuying and financial decisions. Follow these tips to position yourself best this homebuying season.
Get Pre-Approved

In addition to determining how much house you can afford, there are further steps to make sure you are ready to purchase your dream home when you find it. Having pre-approval from a lender before you begin the search will make the mortgage application process smoother as you have already gathered the necessary documentation and spoken to a mortgage broker. It can also help if there are multiple people interested in buying the same home. Having a recent, up-to-date pre-approval letter can be a distinct advantage over other eligible buyers. Every 30 days your approval must be updated, so be sure to stay on top of the process if your search takes a while.

Work With a Buyer’s Agent

Your level of confidence and comfort with the homebuying process usually help determine if you need an agent. An agent with an extensive network, industry trend knowledge and strong work ethic can be an asset. These professionals will help you navigate the paperwork, inspections and all transactions involved with buying a home. These services are often free to you as a buyer as they receive a share of the real estate agent’s commission, which is usually paid by the seller.

Negotiate Wisely

When you are ready to make an offer, your initial bid makes a big impression so be sure to enter the negotiation well prepared. If you are competing against other offers, ensure that you stand out as the right buyer. Even if your offer is not the highest, an “all-cash” payment is hard to top. Of course for many of us this isn’t an option. Instead, consider what you can offer the seller — whether it’s an appreciation for the architecture or work that they’ve done on the home. Also you can make the transaction as easy as possible for the seller — by not putting too many demands on them with repairs or multiple showings.

Check Your Credit Ahead of Time

No matter what time of year you decide to buy, it’s important to plan ahead and give yourself time to get your credit in the best shape possible before you apply for a mortgage. That means not taking out any new credit or loans, and checking your credit reports and credit scores to identify any problem areas that need your attention. You can get your free annual credit reports from each of the three credit reporting agencies, and you can check your credit scores for free using tools on Credit.com. If you see that you need to correct any errors on your credit reports, for example, you’ll have time to make those changes. And of course, if you’re familiar with your credit reports and scores ahead of time, you’re less likely to encounter unwelcome surprises when you apply for your home loan.

Being ready to move fast, but knowing when to walk away are also important for would-be homeowners. Don’t get pressured into buying a subpar home or paying a price you do not consider fair. While it is important to choose wisely, being available at the seller’s most convenient time can make you an ideal candidate for purchase. In this high season of home selling and buying, know your priorities, be educated on the sale’s circumstances, and make yourself stand out.

House Flipping Reminders

The 5 Things You Will Probably Forget When Rehabbing a House Flip
by MICHAEL LACAVA on JUNE 22, 2014 · 4 COMMENTS
inShare62
When rehabbing, we often hear about what we should do and what we shouldn’t do…but rarely do people talk about the things we are likely to forget.

Admittedly, one of the most difficult part of house flipping is rehabbing.

Every house you come across is different since there are so many variables to consider. As a matter of fact you can lose track of the whole purpose of rehabbing, which is making the house a whole lot more appealing to potential buyers.

The 5 Things You Don’t Want To Forget When Flipping Houses
I have five things that many flippers tend to forget when they go about the rehab process. If you read through, you’ll probably realize that you might have overlooked one of them.

1. Protecting Your Property Against Vandals
Rehabbing property is not a one day job; it can take several months to finish. An empty piece of property is vulnerable to vandalism. Most vandals can do anything to an empty abandoned house from spray painting it, stealing to punching holes in walls just for the sake of it.

Related: Copper Theft: How to Protect Your Property from Vandalism

Insurance will cover vandalism only during the first month that your property is unoccupied, after that you are on your own. So here are a few ways you can protect your house from vandalism:

Cover windows with sheets or drapes
Request the police for extra patrol and also explain to them that you are rehabbing
Barricade all windows and doors that do not lock
Change the locks
Keep the lights on throughout
2. Forgetting To Light Up The House
If you were a buyer, would you buy a house that is full of shadows and dullness or one that is adequately lit and looks like it has some life in it? A well lit house looks less depressing and livelier.

Yellow lights are a no no. You can easily establish an upbeat mood with a bright set of lights so it’s a good idea to go for those. Another thing that you should never forget to replace is flickering lights. I associate flickering lights with horror films with gory murder scenes.

Overall, proper lighting is a cheap way of showing off what you have done with the property.

3. Forgetting To Conform Your House
If you are going to install new fixtures in the house at least ensure that they match. For starters, door knobs and hinges should match and so should shower heads, faucets and towel racks.

If you are going to purchase new appliances ensure they are all from the same brand or at least have the same style. It’s also a bad idea to install an expensive kitchen counter only to cheap out on the dishwasher.

4. Forgetting To Put On A “For sale Sign” Only When The Rehab Is Almost Done
Curb appeal is one way of attracting potential buyers but if a buyer sees a “for sale” sign outside a house that looks like it survived a storm, they might make a mental note never to return.

Another mistake that people make is to list a house with a picture before the renovating the front of the house. If the front of the house is dilapidated, that is what buyers will see on the picture. If you want to sell your house as soon as possible, this would be a less than ideal way to begin.

Related: House Won’t Sell? Here Are 19 Unique Remodeling Ideas GUARANTEED to Get Your House Noticed

The exterior of the house is normally the last part of rehabbing so it isn’t going to be as appealing before the rehab is almost done. I always advice house flippers to list the property only when they are almost done with the rehab rather than when they are beginning.

5. Forgetting To Buy A New Mailbox
What’s the first thing you notice when you pull up to a house that you are interested in buying? Most people notice the mailbox.

An old rusty mailbox tells you that the inside of the house is probably just as rusty. After all, if you didn’t bother to take care of it, what other thing did you also forget to take care of inside the house?

Mailboxes are not that expensive. You can get custom mailboxes from any of the local shops in your area for a few dollars.

What other things do you think house flippers forget when doing their rehabs?

S and P/Case-Shiller: Metro home prices up 1.1%

From CNBC 6/24/14

U.S. single-family home prices rose less than expected in April, a closely watched survey said on Tuesday.

The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 0.2 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis. A Reuters poll of economists forecast a gain of 0.8 percent following gains of 1.2 percent in March.
Robert Shiller, co-founder of the Case-Shiller index and a professor of economics at Yale University, said on “Squawk on the Street” that he remains bullish on the housing recovery.

“The housing market is actually better than public perception,” he said. “There has been a lot of momentum, upward momentum, and I’m not sure that that’s gone.”

He added: “The market is going up faster than people perceive it. It’s actually a better market than people think and expectations are not really very high yet for home price increases.”

Non-seasonally adjusted prices rose 1.1 percent in the 20 cities, compared to an expectation of a 0.8 percent rise.

“Near term economic factors favor further gains in housing,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a statement. “However, housing is not back to normal: prices are being supported by cash sales, low inventories and declining foreclosure and REO (Real Estate Owned) sales. First time home buyers are not back in force and qualifying for a mortgage remains challenging.”

Prices in the 20 cities rose 10.8 percent year over year, shy of expectations for 11.6 percent.

The seasonally adjusted 10-city gauge was unchanged in April versus a 1.2 percent gain in March, while the non-adjusted 10-city index rose 1.0 percent in April compared to a 0.8 percent gain in March.

Year-over-year, the 10 city gauge also rose 10.8 percent.

Prof. Shiller told CNBC he felt prices “went up way too high in 2006 and they came down like 50 percent, and now they’re going up. They look about right and you know, I hope people just don’t get so worked up about them.”

first time home buyer

Homebuying Truths for Millennials in the Market

From AOL Real Estate 6/24/14
​Homeownership might not have the same status to millennials that it had to earlier generations, but there are still many who want to buy.

In previous generations, many people bought “starter” homes while in their 20s or 30s. The world moved at a much slower pace then. People tended to stay put in the cities where they grew up. They wanted ‘roots’ and the status that homeownership afforded. But times have definitely changed. In the next generation of real estate, we’re a much more mobile society. Millennials, Generations X and Y don’t necessarily want to be tied down by roots. They want the freedom to travel, or to take that new job, whether it’s in Chicago, Los Angeles, or Dubai. Keep in mind that in some markets, renting is as expensive as buying.
Homeownership doesn’t have the same status to them that it had to earlier generations. And, they’ve heard the horror stories of homeownership from those who bought during the market high only to see their home values plummet during the recession. But there are still many who want to be homeowners. And, the approach is different now than it may have been a generation ago. If you’re in your 20s or 30s today and considering buying a home vs. renting, here are some things to consider.

Don’t assume you can’t afford to buy. So many young people come out of college with student debt and very little savings. Even after a few years out of college, they assume they either don’t have the 20 percent down payment or don’t have the income to afford a purchase

That doesn’t mean that if you’re in your 20s, you can’t afford to buy a home. Around the country, mortgage brokers, bankers and direct lenders are lending more than ever. Loan options such as those from the FHA (Federal Housing Authority) enable qualifying first-time buyers to purchase with as little as 5 percent down.

Is it wise to put down less than 20 percent? Not always. But if you’re credit-worthy and responsible with money, you can take advantage of the record low interest rates and loan options that exist today.

Keep in mind that in some markets, renting is as expensive as buying. If you do your homework, you may understand that a home purchase is within your reach.

Don’t go it alone: With today’s easy access to online listings, most people old and young believe you don’t need a real estate agent. People assume that the role of the agent, pre-Internet, was primarily providing access to the “keys.” In reality, agents have always played such a bigger role, one that many people don’t realize until they’ve gone through a transaction. A good local agent has years of intellectual capital inside his or her head.

Agents know the market like no one else because they’ve been inside hundreds of homes, have relationships with many of the agents and have done many deals. They know exactly what to do when a red flag arises. Additionally, the home purchase is both personal and emotional. Through the years, buyers have acknowledged how they’ve let their emotions get the best of them to kill an opportunity. But having a solid resource beside them at all times — the agent — has helped keep them in check.

Ask your parents for advice: Your parents likely bought real estate in a different market, when interest rates were north of 12 percent and they were without access to the Web and online listings. But they have that home buying experience. They have been through the market before and can add value to your home search. They may be out of touch with social media and the technology available to help in the home buying process, but they likely have a solid financial opinion or helpful feedback. Plus, your parents simply have more grey hair and life experiences that have informed them about home buying and finances.

Take your time: Buying a home is not like buying a new smart phone, computer or flat-screen TV. It’s not only a lot more expensive, it’s much more personal and emotional and not something to take lightly.

Even though the flow of information is quick today with texting, email and the Internet, a home purchase takes lots and lots of time, research and due diligence. It should never be rushed, ever. The home purchase evolves over time. Don’t feel compelled to rush into it or leap to a decision on a home. Don’t feel pressured by a “hot” market or competitive bidders. Slowly learn the market, do your research online and go to some open houses.

Over time, you’ll get more comfortable with the market, and with luck, you’ll get pre-approved for a loan and hooked up with a good, local real estate agent. You may make an offer or two or three or four before you find the best home at the best price. Let the process work itself out over time. You’ll avoid buyer’s remorse.

Don’t be overwhelmed by data: When your parents bought a home, there was probably little to no data available to them. They worked with a real estate agent who showed them homes, but they didn’t have access to so much historic data or access to the technology and information we have today.

Even so, access to all this information isn’t always a positive force. Sometimes, it can stall a buyer or make them question whether or not they want to be a buyer. If you have a down payment saved up, can afford the monthly payment and plan to commit to the home for at least 5-7 years, then go for it.

Chances are, if any of the above doesn’t add up, you may not quite ready to buy — which means you might be better off renting for the time being.

Harp 2.0

Do you need some help with getting your home refinanced and are unable to qualify due to property value being less than what you owe?

The HARP program has been extended to December 2015 to help out homeowners like your self. The following information take directly from the http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov website so feel free to go there and navigate the site to see if you qualify.

Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)

If you’re not behind on your mortgage payments but have been unable to get traditional refinancing because the value of your home has declined, you may be eligible to refinance through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). HARP is designed to help you get a new, more affordable, more stable mortgage. HARP refinance loans require a loan application and underwriting process, and refinance fees will apply.

+ Eligibility

You may be eligible for HARP if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
  • The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009.
  • The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March-May, 2009.
  • The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80%.
  • The borrower must be current on the mortgage at the time of the refinance, with a good payment history in the past 12 months.

If your loan is owned by Freddie Mac, you may check your potential eligibility for HARP here.

If your loan is owned by Fannie Mae, you may check your potential eligibility for HARP here.

*Eligibility criteria are for guidance only. Contact your mortgage servicer to see if you are eligible for HARP.

+ Program Availability

Ask your mortgage servicer (the company to which you make your mortgage payments) if they participate in HARP. Not all mortgage servicers do. Contact Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac for help in determining if you may be eligible for HARP.

Program ends December 31, 2015.

+ Steps to HARP Refinance
  • Determine whether your mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac by visiting their respective Loan Lookup Tools.
  • Contact your current mortgage servicer or another that is approved by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to inquire about HARP.
  • Compare rates and costs with additional mortgage companies to ensure best refinance terms.
+ For More Information
  • Visit Fannie Mae at KnowYourOptions.com or call (800)7Fannie.
  • Visit FreddieMac.com, call (800)Freddie.
  • If you have additional questions about getting mortgage help, contact one of our housing experts at 888-995-HOPE (4673). These HUD-approved housing counselors will help you understand your options, design a plan to suit your individual situation and prepare your application. Research shows that homeowners who work with housing experts like these are more successful and have better long-term outcomes. There is no cost to you for this valuable, around-the-clock service. Help is available in more than 160 languages.

New to the market? 10 tips for first-time homebuyers

From OCregister.com 3/16/14

Statistics show that number of first-time buyers is falling. A California Association of Realtors survey showed, for example, that about half as many first-timers bought houses in 2013 as in 2009.

DataQuick reported that FHA loans, which first-timers rely on, fell to 1 in 10 mortgages in Orange County last month, less than half the rate of three years ago.

With the spring homebuying season now in full swing (March through June are the year’s four busiest months), here are 10 tips for first-time homebuyers:

1. Determine what you can afford

The first step is to meet with a lender, review your finances and find out how much you can afford to spend on a home and how much you have for your down payment.

“If they only qualify for a $300,000 house, they shouldn’t be wasting their time looking at a $500,000 house,” said Maritza Reyna, education manager for the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Orange County.

Experts warn also not to shop for the most expensive home you qualify for, unless you truly can live with the payment that comes with it.

“Banks stretch,” said Robert Ortola, an agent with Keller Williams Newport Estates and a speaker in an eight-hour Homebuyer Education course offered by the CCCS.

“It doesn’t matter how much the banker will tell you you can afford,” Ortola said. “Are you comfortable with those mortgage payments? Are you going to be house-rich and life-poor?”

2. Take a class, read a book

One of the most common mistakes novices make, according to former loan processor and author Carolyn Warren, is to blab to an agent that this is their first time and that they really need his or her guidance. It’s like wearing a sign: “Charge me more.”

“You’re saying to them upfront, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m uneducated,” said Warren, author of “Homebuyer Beware” and another book on mortgage rip-offs.

It’s better to do your research first, she said.

“Read a good book or two,” she said.

The CCCS and NeighborWorks Orange County, for example, provide courses each month covering how to shop for a home, getting a mortgage and how to close the deal.

Chapman University will host a Homeownership Day from noon to 5 p.m. March 29, with 30 sessions covering mortgages, the homebuying process and investing.

3. Shop for a mortgage

Don’t use whatever lender your agent recommends without doing some independent shopping.

Another classic mistake: calling 10 lenders and asking for their interest rates. A lender can’t be held to those quotes, so “it’s just going to lead you to the smoothest talking liar,” Warren said.

It’s better to look up mortgage rates online, then call three or four lenders and mortgage brokers and ask them for a written list showing their fees.

“The lowest rate is no good if you’re paying too much in fees,” Warren said.

4. Check for down-payment assistance

Before you shop, check to see if you qualify for one of the down-payment assistance programs.

In Orange County, a family of four can qualify for state and federal assistance even with an income as high as $108,350, said Karla Lopez del Rio of NeighborWorks Orange County, a HUD-approved housing assistance agency.

“Don’t assume your income is too high,” Lopez del Rio said. “These special programs, no one’s going to tell you about it if you don’t seek it out.”

5. Get pre-approved

Getting a lender to pre-approve a loan before you shop can make your offers more attractive, while avoiding deals falling apart because loans don’t get approved during escrow.

Get all the documentation you’ll need for the loan process –W2s, tax returns, pay stubs, bank account statements. Find out from your lender exactly what you’ll need.

And go to AnnualCreditReport.com to get your free credit reports from all three major credit agencies. Experts recommend you contact TransUnion, Equifax or Experian and pay $8 to $10 to get your credit score as well. (You don’t have to subscribe to their monthly monitoring or other services.)

Follow the steps for correcting errors or repairing your credit.

“Show the seller, ‘We’ve already done the research. We can afford the house,’” said Ortola, who is one of the speakers at the eight-hour Homebuyer Education course offered by the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Orange County.

When shopping for a home, don’t make big purchases of items like a new car; don’t get new credit cards or otherwise open up new lines of credit. Keep your credit card balances below 30 percent of your credit limit. Big purchases, new credit lines and high balances can affect your ability to get a loan.

6. Pick an agent who’s right for you

Get referrals for agents from friends and family, then talk to each one. Look for someone with whom you can communicate.

“Interview them a few times,” Ortola said. “You have to see how they communicate and how knowledgeable they are.”

“Keep in mind that they work for you,” added Reyna, the education manager for the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. “If you’re not happy with that Realtor, you can fire them.”

Jay O’Brien, part owner of a new Re/Max Prestige office in Costa Mesa, warns buyers against letting a home’s listing agent also represent them. That “double ending,” though legal, raises the question of how well the agent can represent the buyer’s and seller’s competing interests, he said.

“The agent’s interest in those instances is to close the deal,” said O’Brien, who will speak at Chapman’s Homeownership Day. “It’s very difficult to be in somebody’s corner and really represent their best interests and negotiate on their behalf when technically you have the exact same fiduciary responsibility for the other party.”

Another thing to remember: Commissions are negotiable. Sometimes agents are willing to lower their commission to help make a deal happen.

7. Find a home you can afford

Real estate columnist Ilyce Glink suggests making a wish list of where you want to live and what you want to have in your home.

But don’t fall so in love with a particular home that you don’t see its flaws, experts say. Move on if the asking price is unrealistic or the seller is unreasonable. Or if the bidding rises beyond your budget.

Also, don’t be deceived by real estate listing euphemisms like “cozy,” “historic” and “needs TLC.”

“It’s not cozy. It’s small,” Lopez del Rio said. “It’s not historic. It’s old.”

8. Scope out the neighborhood

Your agent likely can provide local school ratings and area demographics. You can get crime reports from local police departments and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department or their websites. OCRegister.com, for example, has maps showing incident reports on its city pages.

Then, walk and drive the neighborhood, returning at different times of the day and different days of the week. Visit local supermarkets to see who goes there.

And talk to the neighbors. That’s the only way to learn about the neighbor from hell, the incessantly barking dog or whether trains blow their whistles nearby.

9. Make a realistic offer

Ortola advises first-time buyers to find out what comparable homes sold for, learn the true value of the property and make a realistic offer. A good agent will be diplomatic but honest if your offer is too low.

“In a seller’s market, the buyer doesn’t have negotiating power,” Ortola said. “There still are cash offers out there. You might have to make 10 offers before you buy a house.”

If the home is priced right, bid the asking price – or a little over, Ortola said.

However, you might run into trouble getting a loan if your offer is higher than the lender’s appraised value of the home. Lenders won’t approve the loan if the appraisal is less than the loan amount.

10. Find a good home inspector

Talk to two or three inspectors rather than blindly accepting one your agent recommends. Get referrals from family and trusted friends to make sure you find someone working for your best interest and who isn’t trying to help his or her friend, the agent, close the deal.

“A bad inspector can turn into a $15,000 plumbing problem,” Lopez del Rio said.

Be aware of deadlines during escrow. And respond in a timely manner to the home and termite inspections, seller disclosures and the preliminary title report so you don’t miss your chance to opt out if a problem arises.

Read your loan documents or get someone you trust to help you understand what’s in them. The two most important things to look for in your loan packet, Warren said, are the settlement statement (listing all the costs and fees of the loan) and the note (the actual loan contract).

Above all, be skeptical, Lopez del Rio said. Continually evaluate what your agent and other advisers tell you.

“They can make you think (a property) is your dream,” she said. “Don’t get pushed into something you can’t afford. It’s better to have a dream where you don’t wake up and find out it’s a nightmare.”

 

14 Sneaky Mistakes that Can Decrease Your Home’s Value

From House Beautiful Magazine 6/19/14

Thinking of selling your home…even one day? Real estate experts weigh in on the unexpected little details that could cost you big time in the long run.

1. Choosing a crazy exterior color
“Curb appeal is huge, don’t pick a paint color that isn’t common in your neighborhood or doesn’t fit the style of your home.” -Pam Baldwin Foarde of Al Filippone Associates/William Raveis

2. Landscaping without a plan
“Planting trees too close to the house or driveway – without considering how big they’re going to get – creates major problems later. Roots can cause breaks in the pavement that might raise your homeowners insurance or make it hard for you get a policy until the problem is fixed. Before you plant anything, think about how it will look in twenty years.” -Chris Winn of Kellar Williams/Advantage Group

3. Ignoring your entryway
“Having a front door lock that doesn’t work properly or hardware that looks old and pitted makes buyers uneasy and puts them on high alert for what else has been let go in the house.” -Donna Marie Baldwin
of Coldwell Banker

4. Assuming you’ll recoup every investment
“People spend a lot of money putting in a pool and want to recoup the value when they go to sell their home. Unfortunately, putting in a pool never gets you back the value or cost of the pool.” -Chris Winn of Kellar Williams/Advantage Group

5. Fussing with the fireplace
“Be cautious if you’re thinking about updating the fireplace, especially if you want to paint over exposed brick. Depending on what the trend is at the time it could lower the value. People tend to like the aesthetic of exposed brick”” -Chris Winn

6. Skimping on an AC system
“Always pay for the next system up for your home’s size. Paying more initially will bring down your power bill while you live there and will up the value when you sell.” -Chris Winn

7. Getting too complicated with paint
“It might be trendy to paint the trim a contrasting color, but it distracts the eye. Keep it the same color as the wall to maximize the space.” -Davida Hogan, home stager at Edited Style

8. Keeping old appliances
“Pay attention to the brand and quality of your major kitchen appliances. If something is classic and well maintained that’s always a positive. But if you can’t get something clean it needs to be replaced. People don’t want to move in and have to replace all of the appliances.” -Pam Baldwin Foarde

9. Neglecting the small stuff
“Buyers have their eye on details you might forget. Keep up with cleaning and maintaining windows, making sure light switches work, or making sure the garbage disposal runs properly – it all shows that the house has been cared for.” -Davida Hogan

10. Not doing a deep clean
“Even the tiniest details matter when it comes to cleaning. The tracks of windows, sinks, grout, ovens, and appliances are all looked at by buyers.” -Donna Marie Baldwin

11. Being too trend obsessed
“Buyers aren’t attracted to trendy – they are looking for kitchens or bathrooms in classic, neutral colors. If you want to add color and personality to your home use bright accessories (that are easy to change) to bring in fun details.” -Pam Baldwin Foarde

12. Choosing hard to clean surfaces
“Make sure you spend money on the correct cleaners for your countertops. Permanent stains on kitchen and bathroom counters mean that the whole piece will need to be replaced.” -Pam Baldwin Foarde

13. Thinking too small in small spaces
“Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. That being said, you always want to make a small space feel as big as possible. Don’t re-tile a small bathroom with small tiles; they only make the space feel smaller. Use bigger tiles; they’ll open the space up.” -Davida Hogan

14. Neglecting your wood floors
“I recently refinished the floors in my own home and found out that you shouldn’t clean them with water and vinegar because it dulls them over time. Also, instead of a complete overhaul you can have your floors buffed every few years.” -Pam Baldwin Foarde