person holding mug filled with snow

Forget Snow Birds, Snow Babies are the Newest Trend in Real Estate

For better or worse, real estate is an industry ruled by trends. Whether you’re considering moving from the cities to the Leave It to Beaver suburbs (1950s) or from your McMansion(1990s) to a tiny home (2010s), it’s possible that you’re part of the current real estate trend.

As we near the end of a decade, a decade of gallery walls, Moroccan Poufs, reclaimed wood, and gray interior walls we’re seeing a new trend in real estate: a northern migration.

While people of a certain age (and those who don’t like the cold) have been long partaking in what is known as “Snowbird” behavior, spending the summer months in the northern states and the winter months in southern states, we’re beginning to see this trend reverse. Rather than chase a life of 70 degree days throughout the year, some adventurous and hearty souls are enjoying the most extreme weather the United States has to offer by spending the winters in the northern states.

The Great Northern Migration

Why would someone choose to live in a land aptly named “The Frozen Tundra”? In addition to the great people and healthy cheesy, delicious foods there are some real advantages to making the northern migration!

snow covered cars
1. Plenty of Exercise

When those who don’t regularly get weather below 32F think of winter, they mostly think of being cooped up indoors because it’s just too cold to do anything else. Northerners? 32 degrees sounds like a great day! But while you won’t see many runners or other typical “exercises” going on, living in an area with large volumes of snow means each morning can be an impromptu workout! As any hardened snow bunny will tell you, there are many kinds of snow. Looking for a light workout? Hope for small flurries with light, fluffy snow. Need to train for your Crossfit competition? Fingers-crossed for some dense, wet snow. Want to drive your car? Grab a shovel! Want to open your door? Grab a shovel! After one session of shoveling you’ll realize how much of a total-body workout you can really get!

snowy road

2. Adrenaline Junkies Unite

Have you ever driven to work and thought, “Wow! That was really boring!” or “Man, I wish there was something strong than coffee to get me going today!” Northerners have found the perfect solution to this issue–winter driving! Whether the roads look perfectly clear (usually black ice) or terribly sloppy (good ol’ fashioned snow) you’re sure to have an adventure! Pair this with the fact that most northern states have an extremely difficult time keeping up with road work–those seasons are tough on pavement!–and you’ve got yourself a fun little obstacle course of potholes and bumps!

snow house

3. Low Maintenance Yards

While the residents of some states have year-round accessibility and use of their yards, the Northerners get a break from October to April. Sure, it would be great to grill out on the patio, but you’d also have to cut the grass, clean the pool, or otherwise make your yard presentable. Northerners put yard work out of sight, out of mind, and buried under a foot of snow–at least for part of the year. The exception to this rule may be Green Bay, Wisconsin where locals will shovel and plow the yards of their home for parking, proving there’s no maintenance like snow-maintenance for a Packer fan!

Want to get in on this burgeoning trend? Ready to make the northern migration? Find your perfect snow baby palace here!

baseball field from above home plate

Home Field Advantage: The Best MLB Cities in the US

America’s favorite pastime officially kicks off the 2018 season today with all 30 teams playing on the same day–for the first time in 50 years! While other major league sports have relatively short seasons, basketball and hockey each have 82 games in the regular season. While the NFL has a paltry 16 per team, baseball takes it to another level with a seven-month, 162-game regular season. Each year, baseball fans can expect to see their favorite team play approximately 81 games in their home field, making these cities the perfect place for superfans to call home.

If you’re a fan of the sport, but not a particular team, there are many cities where you’ll find your own home field advantage. Looking for a great deal? Try Detroit. Want to cheer for the most-winningest team in MLB history? You’ll be headed to the Bronx, New York to cheer on the New York Yankees. Want to enjoy great weather from spring training to Game 7? Cheering on the Padres in San Diego is right up your alley. Here’s where you can find the right home base to cheer on a major league baseball team!

Looking for a home team where you can afford a home? Check out these teams!
 

above view of oriole park stadium

 

Team City Median Home Price
Detroit Tigers Detroit, Michigan $44,500
Cleveland Indians Cleveland, Ohio $71,396
Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee, Wisconsin $114,900
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis, Missouri $129,990
Baltimore Orioles Baltimore, Maryland $135,000

 

Is price no object when it comes to root, root, rooting for the home team? What about one of these great cities?
 

 san francisco baseball field

 

Team City Median Home Price
San Francisco Giants San Francisco, California $1,195,000
Toronto Blue Jays Toronto, Canada $825,000
Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles, California $750,000
Boston Red Sox Boston, Massachusetts $749,000
New York Mets Flushing, New York $720,000

 
Want to cheer on the home team with a large crowd? You’re sure to find other fans in these major league-sized cities.
 

packed baseball field

 

Team City City Population
New York Mets Flushing, New York 8,175,133
Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles, California 3,971,883
Chicago White Sox &
Chicago Cubs
Chicago, Illinois 2,720,546
Toronto Blue Jays Toronto, Canada 2,600,000
Houston Astros Houston, Texas 2,296,224

 
Wanting to streamline your roster? These are the smallest cities with MLB teams.
 

pittsburgh baseball field

 

Team City City Population
Tampa Bay Rays Tampa Bay, Florida 257,083
Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati, Ohio 296,943
Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 304,391
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis, Missouri 315,685
Los Angeles Angels
of Anaheim
Anaheim, California 350,742

 

atlanta braves baseball field

 
If baseball is a way of life for you and your crew, these are the cities with the right weather to keep the games rolling all year long.

Team City Average Temp Opening Day Average Temp Last Day Regular Season
Kansas City Royals Kansas City, Missouri 58 72
Washington Nationals Washington D.C. 58 73
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis, Missouri 59 74
San Francisco Giants San Francisco, California 62 71
Oakland Athletics Oakland, California 63 73

 
Love baseball, but want your off-season weather make you long for spring training? Check out one of these cold weather teams.
 

little boy cleveland baseball uniform

 

Team City Average Temp Opening Day Average Temp Last Day Regular Season
Cleveland Indians Cleveland, Ohio 45 66
Toronto Blue Jays Toronto, Canada 42 61
Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee, Wisconsin 44 63
Chicago White Sox
Chicago Cubs
Chicago, Illinois 47 66
Boston Red Sox
Detroit Tigers
Boston, Massachusetts
Detroit, Michigan
48 66

 
If what you’re really after, though is a city with history of being world series champs, these are the most winningest teams and cities.
 

yankees alex rodriguez

 

Team City Number of World Series Winds
New York Yankees Bronx, New York 27
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis, Missouri 11
Oakland Athletics Oakland, California 9
Boston Red Sox
San Francisco Giants
Boston, Massachusetts
San Francisco, California
8
Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles, California 6

 
However, if you’re a fan of underdog victories and long shots, you might just find your Cinderella story in one of these cities. None of these teams has ever won a World Series Championship.
 

empty seats in baseball field

 

Team City
Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Colorado Rockies Denver, Colorado
Washington Nationals Washington D.C.
Texas Rangers Arlington, Texas
Seattle Mariners Seattle, Washington
Tampa Bay Rays St. Petersburg, Florida
San Diego Padres San Diego, California

 

Ready to play ball and purchase your own home-field advantage? Check out some of the great homes available here.

snowy cabin in the woods

How to Sell Your Home in a Land Far, Far Away

Once upon a time in a land far, far away a lovely family owned a lovely piece of land in the lovely woods. The family built themselves a small cottage where they enjoyed spending their weekends and summers, and although there was no lake for swimming or indoor plumbing, it was their cottage and they loved it.

Over the span of years, the visits grew fewer and farther between. The cottage the family once loved and cherished for the privacy of the surrounding woods now became a hassle that they had to remember to maintain. So the family talked it over and decided the best thing to do would be to sell their beloved cottage, to pass it on to another family to love and make memories. They stuck a “For Sale” sign in the yard of their cottage and waited for a call.

And waited.

And waited.

And as it turned out, the privacy and solitude that made their cottage such a wonderful place to escape to is the same thing that made it nearly impossible to sell. With so little traffic near their cottage, the home just sat and sat and sat.

If this sounds less like a fairytale and more like trying to sell your deep-in-the-sticks, backwoods property, there are a few things you should try.

One of the real estate rules of thumb is that everything will sell eventually or at a low enough price, but that’s not really an appealing thing to hear when it’s your property and your money. So how can you sell your out-of-the-way home?

man standing on porch of remote cabin

Consider Using an Agent
Using a real estate agent could be your best bet for a number of reasons, especially if you don’t live nearby. Working with an agent who specializes in selling real estate in the area means that you won’t have to travel to meet with potential buyers to show them the property. It also means that you may be able to get more money for your property as agents have access to information that helps them price homes and land properly. An agent will also save you the headache (and potential heartache) that can come with a complicated real estate deal.

remote cabin in the woods

Post on Social Media Groups
These days there’s a group for just about everything on Facebook. If you’ve got a nice piece of vacant land, there’s probably a hunter’s group with members who would be interested. Have a cabin on a lake? Try adding it to a resale group for towns within a two hour radius. Have a heap-o-junk property that fell into your lap? See if an investor’s group is looking for their next deal. Social media has made the world much smaller and it’s easier than ever to connect with those who might be interested in what you’ve got!

kids at a laptop

Try Something New
The age of the Internet has had incredible power. If you’d rather not work with an agent or aren’t into the idea of posting on social media, there are a variety of real estate-specific websites that will show your property for little to no cost. Some of these websites are designed to just work as a commercial, blasting out property information to anyone who is looking, while others will help you through the sales process and others will offer to buy your home right then and there. If you’re looking for the biggest impact-for-money, consider a reserve auction. This type of auction allows sellers to retain control, only parting with the property if an acceptable bid is placed meaning you can choose to sell or hold, depending on the situation. To learn more about how real estate auctions work, click here.

sold home

New Home, New Friends: Tips for moving with elementary aged kids

For adults moving to a new home can come with a lot of emotion, but for kids, it can be an absolutely earth-rattler. Kids crave consistency and structure and moving to a new home tends to turn everything they’re used to upside down. The positive to this is that kids are also very resilient and enjoy novelty so with the right plan and frame of mind, moving can be a grand new adventure. Here are some of best ways to make your family’s move a success!

    kid sitting in front of books
     

  1. Prepare them on their level
  2. Get some age-appropriate books or movies that explain moving and set a positive tone for the move. Since this is probably the first experience your children have with the concept of moving, setting a good example is important. Books like Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move by Judith Viorst or Little Critter: We Are Moving by Mercer Mayer are both classics and can help kids understand what’s coming.
     
    mom boy looking at map
     

  3. Take Their Concerns Seriously
  4. While it may be hard to not laugh when your five year old asks how you’re going to fit their bed in your car, it may be just as hard not to cry when your eight year old tells you they’re afraid they won’t make new friends. Every child handles a move differently and it’s up to you as the parent to let them know that you understand their concerns, you take them seriously, and that you will help them make it through.
     
    baby playing in sand
     

  5. Time it Right
  6. The timing of your move may be out of your control, but if you can arrange it, try to avoid interfering with routines or milestones if possible. Summer tends to be the easiest time for kids to move to a new home as they’re already out of the school-year routine, they’ll be able to adjust to their new home before school starts, and the nice weather may make it easier for them to meet others in your new neighborhood.
     
    child's hand coloring
     

  7. Pack Up Smart
  8. A great tip for keeping kids occupied while packing is to have them decorate the boxes that will be moved into their new room. They’ll feel like they’re contributing and you’ll know exactly which box goes where. Additionally, you may want to think about VERY specifically labeling what is in each box, lest you have to search through three boxes of clothes to find the single pair of red socks your child is willing to put on.
     
    child reading holiday themed book
     

  9. Keep the traditions alive
  10. Whether it’s Sunday morning chocolate chip pancakes or dying eggs for Easter, kids love the traditions you create with them. Sure, it might be a hassle to set up your holiday decorations if you move mid-December, but having that consistency in a time of confusion and uncertainty can really help smooth the transition.
     
    girl looking at her back yard
     

  11. Embrace the New-ness
  12. Whether you’ve moved across the country or across the street, there will be many differences between your new home and old. Embrace them! Maybe you now have a big yard for your kids to play in or perhaps there’s a view of the river from their new bedroom. Does your new living room have a reading nook that would be perfect to snuggle up in with your child’s favorite book? Finding even small things to celebrate about the ways your new home is great will help your child get excited as well.
     
    boy riding in kid car in park
     

  13. Take Your Time
  14. Many people will agree that the second worst part about moving is packing. Unpacking is the first. While the thought of unpacked boxes might drive you crazy, take your time helping your children unpack. If you try to get everything done in a day you’ll just end up worn out and crabby. Instead do it little by little and take breaks to play, explore the neighborhood, and do fun activities together.

woman writing a listing description

Get it Write: How to create the perfect listing description

Whether it’s a single-family home that completely neglects to mention what’s on the second floor or a land listing that mentions nothing of the property and only talks about the nearby community, we’ve all seen listings that you wonder what the agent was thinking. Real estate agents tend to be excellent talkers and networking champs which makes them great salespeople in face to face interactions, but with so much of life moving into the digital realm, is it possible translate your natural charisma into your online listings? Here’s an easy formula to write a winning listing description.

biting pencil

Use the Right Words
Many sites like Zillow can be searched by keyword meaning that if a home has a pool, loft, Jack-and-Jill bathroom, or any other special feature and you don’t have it called out in your listing description, you’re missing an opportunity to be found! Having pictures of these features will definitely help boost interest once someone is actually viewing your listing, but the keywords is how you get them there.

As important as it is to have keywords, it’s important to keep in mind what the right keywords are. Is it a wardrobe or a closet? A butler’s pantry or a larder? One of the biggest ways this can trip up even the most experienced agents is when brands become almost synonymous with their product ie. a Jacuzzi® is a type of jetted bath or hot tub.

small home in grass


Focus on Reality

Sure, there might be potential for a shed or you could add in some fruit trees or any number of a million other possibilities, but a listing description should focus on what is there currently (or is planned, in development properties), not what could be. If the yard isn’t landscaped or the basement is unfinished, you can mention that it’s got “tons of potential” but throwing out ideas is essentially wasting your (text) breath.

red pen with edits

Cut the Fluff
While text that promotes imagery is evocative and interesting when reading fiction, your listing descriptions should be based in fact. By focusing on the “crystal clear turquoise waters lapping at the shore just feet from the expansive deck while you watch the blazing sunset” you’ve used up valuable character space (and attention) that could have been used to differentiate this property from the three next to it that offer the exact same features.

less is more

Less is More
Please use all the text you need to talk about the features and amenities a property has but don’t use any more than that. Attention spans are short and good pictures will have more impact than any description ever will. After you write your description, reread and edit it. If you’ve already said the home is built for entertaining you don’t need to reiterate that the deck is perfect for entertaining guest.

girl on phone

#Adulting: Get your house together in 10 minutes or less

Most of us also remember as kids how we used to laugh and roll our eyes at our mom when she suddenly became a hurricane flurry of sweeping and mopping because “We have COMPANY COMING!” as if the Queen herself was about to show up at our door or our guests would really notice the last time the ceiling fan was dusted.

While we’ve definitely gotten more relaxed as a culture (when was the last time you wore pearls and heels to have dinner at a friend’s house?), there are definitely a few standards that should be upheld. Sometimes kids, pets, or Netflix win and your home looks a little more like a Frat house than an adult home, and somehow this ALWAYS happens right before you find out guests are on their way.

Thankfully, you don’t need to dust the valances or sweep behind the refrigerator (looking at you, Mom!) to make your house presentable for these drop-in guests. Here’s the # adulting way to get your house in order before the doorbell rings!
 
messy room with lots of stuff
 
Focus on the Important Rooms
People gather in the kitchen, sometimes hang out in the living room, and will often use the bathroom. Whether your home is 600 square feet or 6,000 this holds true. If you’re expecting to have guests over, you’ll have to plan to prepare more of your home, but if they’re just dropping by tackle these rooms and don’t worry about dealing with the rest. If your kitchen is part of your main problem, pull out some refreshments so you can be prepared to meet your guests in whichever room you feel is best.
 
no peeking buddah
 

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

The easiest way to clean up is to pull a page from the teenager’s playbook and not actually put your stuff away, but rather just stash it. If you live in a Studio apartment, you might be limited on how much of your stuff you can put out of sight, but if you have a bedroom or another room you know your guests won’t go in, just put everything in a laundry basket or box and deal with it later. Is this the most mature and responsible way to deal with housekeeping? Absolutely not. Will it do the trick for the time being? Definitely.
 
jars of candles
 
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Our senses shape our perceptions so if your house smells clean, guests will automatically think it is cleaner than it is. Lighting some candles or using an aromatherapy diffuser is a great way to trick the mind into believing a home is clean and welcoming. Citrus smells work the best for this (hello, lemony-fresh!), but this will work whether you’re into expensive boutique candles or some good ol’ Nag Champa.
 
daylight room
 
Use Mood Lighting
If you were going to be showing your house to a potential buyer, you’d want to turn all the lights on (and actually clean the place!), but since you’re just trying to pull your house together to look like an adult turn it down low. Using lamps instead of overhead lighting or natural light instead of artificial will help to cut the chance that anyone will even see the dust bunny colonies you’ve got started.
 
two women sitting on a patio
 
When All Else Fails
Outdoor entertaining spaces were made for entertaining pop-in guests. Whether it’s a deck, patio, porch, or something else these outdoor spaces tend to not acquire the amount of clutter as in other areas. The best part? No one will judge you for having sun-faded lawn chairs or a water spotted patio table because that’s what’s expected. Of course you can’t use outdoor spaces in every day in every climate, but if you’ve got the option, this can be your perfect solution.

 
Now sit back, relax, and enjoy spending time with your guests in your well-kept, #adult home!

Shenanigans Galore! Where to have the best St. Patrick’s Day EVER!

Only 11% of US residents claim Irish ancestry (the second highest motherland after Germany), but on St. Patrick’s Day everyone’s Irish! Whether you’re planning to celebrate with some corned beef and cabbage or a pint of Guinness, there are plenty of ways sham-rock this St. Paddy’s Day! Looking for the best place to find a little slice of the Emerald Isle right here in the US? We’ve got the 5 P’s to find the perfect Paddy’s Day party spot!
 

People
 
st patrick's day party person
 
More than 30.5 million people in the United States claim Irish ancestry–that’s more than 6 times the current population of Ireland. If you’re hoping to spot a leprechaun, these may be the best US states to look!
 
States with Most Irish Descendents (as percentage of the population)

Massachusetts 22.5%
New Hampshire 19.5%
Rhode Island 18.4%
Connecticut & Delaware 16.6%
Vermont 16.5%
Pennsylvania 16.1%
New Jersey 15.9%
Maine 15.1%
Montana 14.9%
 

States with Most Irish Descendants (total number of people)

California 2.62 million
New York 2.45 million
Pennsylvania 1.98 million
Florida 1.65 million
Illinois & Texas 1.51 million
Ohio 1.45 million
Massachusetts 1.43 million
New Jersey 1.34 million
Michigan 1.07 million

 

Potatoes
 
french fries with greens
 
While Ireland is famous for potatoes, thanks to the Great Potato Famine, it isn’t the home of the potato (that would be Peru) nor is it a top global producer. If spuds are your St. Patrick’s Day food of choice, there are 30 US states that grow potatoes. Idaho is the largest producer by far followed by Washington, Wisconsin, and Ohio.

Countries with Highest Potato Yields (2016) (in hectogramme/hectare)
United States 490203
New Zealand 489883
Germany 444210
Denmark 424786
Netherlands 419961
Australia 404096
Jordan 400507
Ireland 391111
France 390052
United Kingdom 386547

 
Provisions
 
pints of beer for st pat's day
 
What would St Patrick’s Day be without a bit of beer or whiskey? While the Irish may cringe at the American custom of green beer, they will definitely “sláinte“ over a pint of Guinness or a pour of Jameson. On average, an Irish person will consume 25.76 gallons (97.5 liters) of beer per year.
 
Average Gallons of Beer Consumed per Person per Year
North Dakota 43.3
New Hampshire 42.2
Montana 40.5
South Dakota: 38.1
Vermont 35.9
Wisconsin 35.8
Nevada 34.9
Maine 34.8
Nebraska 34.2
Iowa 33.2
 
Parties
 
girls dressed for st patrick's day party
 
Planning to go “out on the lash” for St. Patty’s Day? These cities have some of the best festivities around to celebrate, but make sure you get there early–these events are sure to be jammers!

NYC: World’s largest St Patrick’s Day celebration– more than 2 million people come to watch the parade which lasts about 6 hours! This parade has no floats or cars, but about 150,000-250,000 people participate as bands, bagpipes, and dancers. This parade dates back to 1762 making the parade older than the US!

Chicago: The Windy City gets in on the St. Patty’s Day action by dyeing the Chicago River green! It only takes about 45 pounds of environmentally safe vegetable dye to turn the otherwise murky river a vibrate shade of green. After the dye ceremony, a parade kicks off at noon for about 400,000 spectators.

Savannah, GA: With a crowd of more than 300,000 people, Savannah gets into the Irish spirit with a parade featuring horses and a variety of floats. Other attractions for the day include a celebration on River Street with vendors, music, storytellers, and more!
 

Parks
 
green space and field in park
 
Ireland is known for having tons of beautiful green landscapes. Since most Americans live in the city, some of the best places to recreate that fresh field feeling is in public green spaces. If your idea of a great St. Patrick’s Day celebration is a little less “pubs” and a little more “parks” here are the US cities with the most parks per capita.
 
Minneapolis, Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota
San Francisco, California
Washington D.C.
Portland, Oregon
Arlington, Virginia
Irvine, California
New York, New York
Madison, Wisconsin
Cincinnati, Ohio

flipping houses fixer upper

Flipping Crazy: What to know before getting into property flipping

From Fixer-Upper to Flip or Flop reality television is filled with shows that make real estate investment look like a breeze. You just find a sad looking home, swing a hammer a couple times, have an open house and Viola!– a nice profit appears and you’re ready to start the process again. Unfortunately, in real life there are a couple more steps and a lot more dirty hands that go into flipping a home, but it can be a lucrative business if you’re willing to put in the hard work. Here’s what you need to consider before getting into investment property renovation aka house flipping.
 
suitcase full of cash
 
Money Talks
To flip a house you need to have a house and in a tight housing market, this could be your biggest challenge. Ideally, you’ll have enough cash to outright buy the home you’re planning to flip, but for most people this isn’t realistic, especially in their first endeavor. Traditional mortgages and loans typically don’t work in this scenario either, at least not with current market conditions, as these require inspections and often contingencies that investors with cash in hand don’t.

If you’re serious about getting into property investing before you have the funds necessary to buy a home with cash, there are a few ways around this. While you should always consult with a professional to find the solution that will work best for you, there are options including revolving credit lines, hard money loans, or even private lenders.

It may seem strange to worry about the finance side of things before you even look for a house, but trust that this is the cornerstone of everything else to come.
 
people talking together in a group
 
Keep an eye–and ear– out
If funding the purchase seems like the hardest part of flipping a home, wait until it comes time to find the home. The real estate market is ON FIRE in certain parts of the United States right now. In some places it’s hard to even find a small starter home for less than $1 million, while in others everything under $200,000 is flying off the shelves. So how can you find your first project home?

One of the best options is to consider your personal network. Has Granny decided to move to Florida for good or have your neighbors mentioned they’re planning to sell their two story Victorian for a ranch where they can age more comfortably? Knowing about these deals before an agent or your competition does will be vital to your success.

If you go through your contacts and still don’t have any leads, it’s also a good idea to check online auction sites and postings for a Sheriff’s Sale. Most of these auctions sell these properties as-is, where-is so you won’t get the luxury of really understanding the scope of work to be done, but they may be your best chance to score a deal.
 
bent nails from fixer upper project
 
Be Realistic
The magic of television makes it easy to think that with just a few coats of fresh paint and a couple of new fixtures you can have a nice $100,000 profit on your hands. Unfortunately, that’s not quite how things work. When devising your budget for renovating a home, you’ll have to consider what needs to be done, who will do it, and what it will cost.
If you’re very handy, you may be able to tackle a lot of the project yourself,although keep in mind that your time also has a dollar value attached to it, so add that to your financial plan accordingly! If you’re planning to hire a contractor to do the work for you, make sure that is budgeted in your plan as well and in either case, budget for at least 15% more than you think you’ll need because things tend to run slow or over cost.
 
interior maintenance fixer upper home
 
Stay Focused
When you’re tackling a house flipping project, time is money. Every day that you have the property is a day that you’re losing money. Taxes will have to be paid, as will utilities, and potentially HOA fees. The faster you can complete your renovations and sell your property, the more money you’ll be able to keep. Staying focused is also very important while making decisions during the renovation. Keep in mind that while you might love the look of intricate hand-stamped walls, the future buyer might just be thinking of how they can cover it up. Don’t spend time or money on things that don’t add value or up the selling price.
 
business handshake
 
Find a Mentor
Above all, one of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to enlist a mentor. If you can find someone in your area who is already into property rehab, they will be your biggest source of knowledge and information. They’ll be able to key you in to what kind of margins you can expect, connect you to the right contacts to sell your property, and allow you to learn from their (usually costly) mistakes before you make them on your own.

girl holding cleaning products clean

#Adulting: The stuff you’re not cleaning (but totally should!)

Congrats! You’ve joined the exclusive group of Millennial homeowners!

Now what?

While owning your own home is great— you can have the pets you want, decorate as you wish, and you probably have more space than you did as a renter–it can be a little overwhelming. Instead of just calling a landlord to fix things that are broken or not having to think about things like air filters (yes, that’s a thing, and yes, hopefully your building manager was up on that!), it’s now all on you. You know you need to do the dishes, cut the lawn, and fix anything that’s not working (…or not, it’s your house!), but how can you prevent problems in the first place?

Easy: Do a little preventative maintenance– it’s much less expensive to be proactive than reactive and taking care of your investment is part of #adulting

The easiest way is to keep up on these tasks is to associate them with roughly 6 month interval. You can use a holiday, a season, or something else, but we suggest doing these tasks during daylight savings times. You already have to remember to change your clocks so that might help you remember to do your other homeownerly duties.

There are a bunch of things that should be done outside your home, but because of the range of climates and geographic-based home needs, we’re not getting into that now. What needs to be done outside on a house in March in Phoenix is completely different than a home in Wisconsin, but there are a variety of interior tasks that are the same across the board.

This checklist is by no means comprehensive. Some of this stuff should be done more often, but adulting can be hard and housework isn’t as much fun as brunch and SundayFundays (#sorrynotsorry) so take this as a beginner’s guide to homeownership, not a master class.
 
cleaning supplies broom mop dust bin
 
Systems and Stuff
Heating/Cooling System: Change the air filter
Smoke/Carbon Monoxide: Test alarms and check batteries (if they have batteries–some won’t)
Garage door auto-reverse: Make sure door will reverse if closed on something or if something is detected by the photo-electric sensors (please use a 2×4 or something, not your foot or body!)
Water Softener: Check your salt levels.
Water Filter: Check and replace if needed.
Hot Water Heater: Flush it. Read a how-to article based on whether you have a gas or electric heater. Being dumb can lead to a mess or scalding burns. Don’t be dumb.
Dryer Vent: Check dryer vent and remove all the lint you can. Test it by starting up your dryer and making sure there’s good airflow wherever the exhaust comes out. Replace dryer hose or have it professionally cleaned if you’re having issues.
 
clean kitchen
 
Kitchen
Garbage Disposal: Clean it by freezing white vinegar in ice cube trays. Grind them up. Done. Boom!
Dishwasher: Pull the racks out. Pull the sprayer part out. Pull the mat out. Pull it all out. If you’ve never done this before, be prepared to be grossed out!
Range Hood Filter: Take it off and give it a good scrub. If this is the first time or first in a long time, this is also going to be gross. Use an automotive degreaser. Alternatively, new ones are typically less than $20. Maybe just buy one.
Refrigerator Coils: Vacuum refrigerator coils. Yes, it’s a pain to move the fridge, but is so worth it to keep it working and cut energy costs. This is super important if you have high-shedding pets!
 
clean bathroom
 
Bathrooms
Faucets and Fixtures: Soak shower heads and faucets to remove buildup. Put vinegar or another cleaner in a plastic bag. Submerge the shower head/faucet and rubberband in place. Soak until it’s clean-able.
Bathroom Vent Fan: Cut the power at the breaker. Pull it apart. Use a vacuum with a brush. Put it back together and be amazed at how much better it works.
Drains: Use a hair clog tool to remove any large chunks and then finish with chemicals or vinegar and baking soda, depending on your preferences.
 
clean bedroom
 
Bedrooms
Vacuum Mattresses: Remove all bedding and use an attachment to make it easier.
Closets: Organize closets and donate whatever you don’t need/want/use

man and woman packing boxes

5 Tips for a Less Stressful Long Haul Move

Maybe you’ve recently taken a job in a new state or perhaps you’ve grown tired of the cold northern winters and are looking to make a change to warmer weather. Perhaps you’re thinking of moving back to your hometown or to a place you’ve never been. In any event, moving your home base can be difficult when you’re just transferring a couple miles, but what about when it’s hundreds or even thousands of miles? How can you prepare to make your move a success?

Figure out what to do with your stuff
Essentially there are three ways to handle a move when it comes to personal belongings. You can either plan to have a moving sale wherein you sell as much of your personal property as possible, you can plan to move everything (in which case you’ll inevitably have more than you know what to do with), or you can do a hybrid of both.

A moving sale is a great option if you’re looking to have money on hand in your new location, if you don’t have a lot of sentimental connection to your possessions, or if you have a lot of location-specific items ie snowblowers or surfboards. If you can’t bear the idea of giving up the place settings you got for your wedding or the sofa you’ve had since college, this is probably not the route for you and it may be a good idea to look into professional moving options, especially if you have a lot of stuff. If you choose to do a little bit of both, that keeps some items while parting with others, you may be able to orchestrate a successful self-move.
 
semi moving down the highway
 
From A to B
Once you determine exactly what, or perhaps how much, you’re wanting to take with you, you can develop a plan of action. Are you planning to pack up your car? Rent a moving vehicle? Enlist the help of a professional moving company with a semi-trailer? Your budget will certainly play a role here and enlisting the help of friends and family can help you make the call if you’re on the fence, but make sure to stay realistic with time, space, and budget restraints. After all, no matter how great your support system is, it’s just not feasible to pack an Italian leather sectional into a Prius.

Home is Where the Heart Is
If you have the opportunity to visit your future city before you move, take it. While moving sight-unseen is not unheard of (and increasingly more common is this tight housing market!), it will put your mind at ease to have an understanding of where you’ll be calling home. Depending on whether you’re planning to buy or rent and where you’re moving there’s a variety of challenges that can be more easily faced with boot on the ground.
If visiting isn’t possible, you’ll have to make a plan of how handle your new living situation. Contacting a local real estate agent can be one of the best ways to find your future home whether you’re interested in buying or renting, although there are many areas of the US, especially in the rural areas and the Midwest where agents may not have the scoop on the local rental options. In these cases the internet will be your best tool to look for a new place to call home.
 
man and woman packing boxes
 
Pack It Up
There is no such thing as being too organized for a long-haul move. After a long day of traveling, the last thing you’re going to want to do is try to find where your important, everyday items have disappeared to. Whether you’re planning to spend a travel day in a hotel or a few days/weeks in a extended stay inn, the last thing you’ll want to do is unpack everything just to find a toothbrush. Packing items by how often they’re used, as well as by what room they came from, will help keep you sane.

Just Keep Swimming

Moving is stressful. There will be times when you wonder why you chose to do this to yourself or your family. You’ll wonder if you made a mistake or if it’s too late to take it back. This is completely normal. Take a step back, think about why you chose to move, how excited you are for the new opportunities in your new home, and how this will benefit you in the long run. Your transition will be much smoother with an open mind and positive attitude. Have fun learning about your new home, embrace the experience, and think of all the great memories you’ll create in this new space!
 
little boy walking towards a home