Coldwell Banker Murray Real Estate, Inc



Posted by Coldwell Banker Murray Real Estate, Inc on 2/13/2018

If you ride through the suburbs of America, you’ll likely notice that the houses just seem to get bigger and bigger. Like our taste for large trucks and SUVs, Americans tend towards the idea that bigger is better.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are people who feel quite the opposite. From this minimalist mindset has emerged the “tiny house.” What exactly is a tiny house?

There is no exact definition. However, most tiny houses are built on wheels--to adhere to local building code--and typically don’t exceed 500 square feet in size.

You might be thinking that’s a bit extreme. And you wouldn’t be alone--Americans have taken advantage of small homes in the form of modular homes, and cottage-style houses for decades.

With the cost of heating and powering a home rising year after year, it’s beginning to make sense to downsize.

So, in this article we’ll talk about what it means to live in a smaller home to help you decide whether it’s a good choice for you.

Barriers to building small houses

If it’s your dream to someday build a small house on a hilltop in your hometown, you might have to face-off with the local zoning committee first. Some of the biggest barriers to building smaller houses are local regulations involving minimum house sizes.

This isn’t a new problem, with towns struggling with the idea of minimum square footage as far back as the 1970s. In spite of this barrier, small house and tiny house proponents have been finding loopholes.

One such workaround involves simply building your house on wheels. However, that isn’t easy to do and it doesn’t always look great either.

Living simply

Depending on your hobbies and philosophy, living in a small house can be a good or a bad thing. Those who seek to become more minimal in their belongings often find that small houses help them achieve this.

The more things we own the more we have to worry about storing and maintaining them. However, if you value experiences more than objects, living in a small house could save you money and therefore leave you with more funds for traveling and other experiences.

Family is another thing to consider when living in a small house. If you have a large family or pets, living in a small house can be difficult. However, there is something to be said about growing up in a small house (it makes it harder for kids to avoid their parents by playing video games in their room or the basement!).

How to decide if you can manage living in a small house

If you’re downsizing from a larger home it can be scary to lose all of that extra space you were used to. There are a few ways to see if you can adapt to a smaller home, however.

You could rent a small apartment while you search for a new home. This will allow you to acclimate yourself to living in a smaller environment.

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of signing a lease, there’s always renting a small property through AirBnB or a camping cottage for a few weeks. Then you’ll have time to notice what you like and dislike about the smaller space and will be able to plan for how to want to deal with those changes if you decide to move into a smaller house.




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Posted by Coldwell Banker Murray Real Estate, Inc on 2/6/2018

There are many benefits to living in a simple and minimal environment. Lack of clutter helps us focus and boosts our mood. Have you ever sat down at your desk at work or in your home office and felt like you just couldn't get any work done and started tidying up instead? It might be a good idea to listen to that impulse and make your work environment a more productive place. In this article we're going to give you some tips for making your home office a distraction-free, minimal sanctuary. At the same time, these tips will be low cost--minimalism and frugality go hand in hand after all.

Why minimalism?

If you're the type of person who lives in a "well-organized mess" and is able to function highly in this environment, maybe you don't need to strip things down. Or, if you feel the most comfortable in a busy room and are able to get more work done this way, maybe the busy and cozy office environment works for you. However, the majority of people don't fit that description. We tend to do our best work when we have only the necessities at had. Having a minimal home office has numerous benefits. Aside from helping you focus and adding a spacious, pleasant atmosphere to the room, minimalism can help your room look more updated and modern (increasing the value of your home), and can help you save money once you start making only the most useful purchases for your home office.

Your office as a workshop

If you work on cars in your garage and nothing else, you'll probably only want to fill your garage with the right tools for the job. This is also true for your home office. We have a tendency of putting old and extra furniture and decorations from our house into the less frequented rooms, like a home office. Look around your office. Has it become a storage room for old pillows, lamps, or furniture? If so, this is your chance to get rid of some items to clear up the room. Unlike your garage, the tools for the job needed in your home office have been extremely cut down thanks to technology. Among the items that laptops and smartphones have made obsolete:
  • filing cabinets--Google Drive and Dropbox can securely store all your documents
  • calculators--your phone and laptop have these
  • staplers
  • hole punches
  • landline telephones
  • bulletin boards
  • desktop calendars and planners
This list goes on and on. If you have the equivalent or a replacement on your laptop, there's no need to clutter your room with it.

Minimal decorating

Since simple living and minimalism are current trends there are a range of resources available to you when looking to revamp your home office. Some decorating tips to help you along the way:
  • Shop modular. Modular furniture from stores like IKEA and VITSOE are great space savers.
  • Keep your surfaces clear. Avoid the urge to cover your desk with items. That goes for tables, floors, walls, and ceilings as well.
  • Think about color. Using bright colors for your walls and ceiling will make your room feel more spacious and minimal.
  • Nature is your friend. Natural light and one or two plants will compliment any minimal space.





Posted by Coldwell Banker Murray Real Estate, Inc on 1/30/2018

Investing in a multifamily home could be a smart choice for you. The rental market is always in demand in areas all across the country. Even in a buyer’s market, there's plenty of people who still need to rent for one reason or another. 


Homeowners Associations Can Save You A Lot


There’s a lot less maintenance involved on your part if you buy a property that’s a part of an association. There will be less landlord responsibilities on your part since everything outside of the walls is considered a common area. The dues that you pay each month, known as HOA fees, are what helps to take care of all these maintenance issues. 

Before you invest, you’ll need to take into account the monthly fees along with your financial plan. On the downside, if your association has some issues that can’t be worked out, you’ll end up having a special assessment charged to you. You may want to do some research before you sign up with an association. 


You’ll Save On Taxes


Buying a duplex is a pretty good deal. As far as taxes go, it counts as one building, yet, you’re getting monthly rent from tenants. Alternatively, you may choose to live on one side of the property, and rent out the other side. Either way, you’re saving on both taxes and insurance because both of these fees are blanketed under one building.


You Can Bring In Some Revenue With Multifamily Units


The rent-to-purchase price ratio is generally better with multifamily units. The amount of money that you’ll bring in each month with rent will almost always be more than the amount that needs to be paid for the mortgage. Keep in mind that some money must be set aside for maintenance costs and other emergencies. This is where the phrase “income property” comes from.  


You’ll Be In A Prime Location With Multifamily Homes


When you’re planning to rent out properties, you want to own a building where people want to be. These types of units are often seen near colleges, universities and urban areas. You’ll always have a lot of people who are looking to rent, which means properties won’t be left vacant for long.


A Rental Can Be Great Retirement Income


Whether you’re an empty nester with plenty of rooms in your home available to rent, or just someone who would like to build up some equity, using a property as a rental is a great way to make some additional revenue. If you choose to rent out part of your home, make sure that you have a lease with well-defined terms and a set of house rules. You may need to define things like what food will be shared, set up a laundry schedule and state how utilities will be paid and when.





Posted by Coldwell Banker Murray Real Estate, Inc on 1/23/2018

Your credit score can play a major role in your ability to get the financing that you need to buy a house. As such, you'll want to do everything possible to improve your credit score before you enter the real estate market.

Now, let's take a look at three quick, easy ways to boost your credit score.

1. Pay Off Debt As Quickly As Possible

Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report annually from each credit reporting bureau, and you should take advantage of this perk so that you can learn about your outstanding debt.

If you have lots of outstanding debt, you'll want to start paying this off as quickly as possible. Because the less debt that you have, the more likely it becomes that you can get a favorable mortgage from a credit union or bank.

Don't wait to begin paying off outstanding debt. If you pay off even a small portion of your outstanding debt regularly, you can move closer to getting the financing that you need to acquire a terrific house.

2. Avoid New Credit Cards

A low credit score can be worrisome, and it may cause you to consider a variety of options to manage outstanding debt. However, if your credit score is low, there is no need to take out additional credit cards.

New credit cards may seem like viable short-term options to help you cover various expenses while you pay off assorted outstanding debt. But these cards are unlikely to help you resolve the biggest problem – paying off your outstanding debt to bolster your credit score.

Instead of signing up for new credit cards, it often helps to cut back on non-essential bills. For instance, if you don't need cable, you may be able to eliminate this expense and use the money that you save to pay off outstanding debt. Or, if you have first-rate items that you don't need, you may want to sell these items and use the profits to pay off myriad bills.

3. Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low

Once you have paid off your outstanding debt, you'll want to keep your credit card balances low.

It often helps to have one credit card that you can use in emergencies. If you keep one credit card and get rid of any others, you may be better equipped than ever before to maintain a high credit score.

Lastly, if you require additional assistance as you prepare to kick off a home search, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you narrow your home search to residences that fall within a specific price range. That way, you can avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire a house.

Increase your credit score – use the aforementioned tips, and you can raise your credit score before you launch a home search.





Posted by Coldwell Banker Murray Real Estate, Inc on 1/16/2018

Once you’re ready to sell your home, you want to be sure that your home is smelling fresh. There’s a few sneaky odors that can creep into your home for various reasons. The consequences of horrible smells when you’re selling your home are really not good. Read on to prevent funky odors from turning off buyers from your home. 


Food That’s Past Fresh


Whether your garbage disposal is a bit clogged and could use a cleaning or your fridge hasn’t been purged in awhile, these things could be causing a stink. Make sure you stay on top of leftovers and take care of anything that may be in the refrigerator for too long. 


Clean your garbage disposal often. It’s simple to make a “volcano” by throwing some baking soda down there and then pouring vinegar over it, allowing everything in the disposal to bubble up. You can even put a lemon or lemon juice in the disposal in order keep a good smell going.


That Wet Dog Smell


Any kind of animal will leave some sort of odor in your home. Whether you have a dog, a hamster, birds, or cats, you’re going to need to freshen up your space. Keep the litter box changed and add some baking soda for a bit of freshness. Make sure to remove any stains on your carpets or floors as well. If a piece of furniture or a carpet is to blame for the strong odors, you may need to remove that piece from your home completely to get the stench out. 


Your Air Conditioning Smells Bad


Since water can build up inside of your air conditioning unit, sometimes, a bit of maintenance is necessary. AC units must be cleaned regularly in order to keep strange smells away. 


Something Smells Musty


A musty smell usually spells a water leak. Whether it’s in your basement or under your sink, you need to correct leaks in order to get to the root cause of musty smells.


Clean A Carpet With Vodka


You can put some cheap vodka in a spray bottle in order to clean a carpet. This technique can be used for more troublesome areas of the rug. As the alcohol evaporates, so won’t the odors that are filling your home. 


The Air In Your Home Is Stagnant

When the air in your home smells kind of stale, you’ll need to get the air circulation back in the house again. This can be easily remedied just by opening the windows. Even if it’s cold outside, it’s good to get the air circulating in your house again. This simple action effectively changes the air in your home without any fancy chemicals or techniques.







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