How to Stage a Bedroom

They say all the world’s a stage and when it comes to selling your house, this is especially true. Staging is a crucial aspect to selling and while we’ve covered bathrooms and kitchens, we’re onto another important part of the house: the bedroom.

Some people turn their bedrooms into an elaborate living space, others treat it as a functional place to catch some Zs and nothing more. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, there are plenty of ways to make sure your bedroom will pique buyers’ interest (instead of turning them away).

Organize your closets.

One of the first things interested buyers will look for in a bedroom is the closet. If you were planning on stuffing everything into your closets as a means of organization, think again. Hang everything up, move dirty laundry elsewhere, and organize shoes.

You can also use this as an opportunity to donate clothes. Since moving is on your horizon, cleaning out your closet and making donations means you’ll have less to pack.

Make sure every bedroom follows the same four rules.

Whether it’s a master bedroom, your 10-year-old’s room, or your teenager’s room where they seem to be a permanent fixture, every room should meet the following expectations:

  1. Make the bed
  2. Clear the floor
  3. Dust all surfaces
  4. Organize and tidy everything else

Your child’s room doesn’t have to look like a Pottery Barn ad, and you certainly don’t have to change out their Minecraft-themed bedding to stage properly. Consistency is more important. 

Keeping consistency in every bedroom puts guests at ease — they know what to expect in each bedroom. This is important because one of the most immediate turn-offs for buyers is when something is out of place or comes across as a surprise.

Don’t forget: the nose knows.

Bedrooms are where we sleep, it’s true. They’re also where we pile our dirty laundry and occasionally wake up, mouth wide-open, with drool all over our pillows. Suffice to say, bedrooms can sometimes contain some unsavory scents. Air things out, light some candles or diffuse some oils, and take care of laundry (and wash sheets) regularly. 

Smell is one of our most powerful senses. Just recently, this writer toured a townhouse for a foreclosed home selling as-is. Everything looked decent until I opened the fridge door to find two rotting eggs inside. Anytime I think of that property, that scent (and subsequent scene) is the first thing I think of. You don’t want your bedroom to have that kind of effect on potential buyers.

Stash valuables and nonessentials.

It’s unlikely that someone touring your home will take anything. All the same, it’s good practice to put a lot of your stuff away — clutter is distracting and distracted buyers quickly lose interest.

Jewelry boxes, picture frames, and other tasteful, small decor can stay out. Toiletries, clothing items, handheld game consoles, iPads, etc. should all go out of sight before buyers or photographers come.

Open blinds and curtains.

Natural light is staging’s best friend. It’s helpful for photographers and appealing to potential buyers. Consider adding a lamp if your room doesn’t get a lot of natural lighting — it’s best to keep things as well-lit as possible. 

What if my bedroom is a disaster zone?

First off, we get it. Bedrooms are where we go after a long day of work. Sometimes all we can do is throw our dirty clothes on the floor and collapse on the bed. Things accumulate over time, and getting multiple bedrooms in order might seem like more trouble than it’s worth.

Regardless of whether your house is spotless or you simply don’t have the time or resources to properly stage your bedroom, list with RealtyHive. You can sell fast, easy, and on your terms with RH — no matter the condition your home is in. Learn more about the benefits of selling with a time-limited event and if you decide to tackle bedroom staging, good luck!

Interior Lighting Design Tips to Increase Home Value

Our real estate team recently had a lightbulb moment about a very important aspect to interior design. We’ve featured this topic in blogs about staging or renovation, but it’s time to shed some light on one of the most important parts of your home. 

In case you haven’t guessed yet, we’re talking interior lighting design. Not only does the right lighting improve your quality of life, it also adds value to your home. Find out the importance of light and how you can make some lighting-specific home improvements — we promise you they’ll make a difference.

The Importance of Light

Have you ever worked in a space with fluorescent overhead lights and gotten a headache? How about after staring at a screen for too long? What’s your mood after staying in a dark room for too long?

Light affects everything from our mood to our physical well-being. It’s often the reason (even if subconsciously) why people jump to sell or rent out your property versus why they pass it by. Far too often, we overlook lighting and take it for granted as a convenience instead of a necessity. 

The truth is that lighting is like food. Highly processed food and overexposure to bright lights can both make us feel a bit wonky. Natural light and healthy ingredients have the opposite effect. Trying out a new recipe is usually as exciting as installing a new, modern light fixture. With both lighting and food, we feel our best when we’re intentional with how we use it.

Interior Lighting Design Tips

The lighting changes you can make could be part of a bigger remodel project, or could cost under $30. You can pick and choose which lighting changes will add the most value to your home. It’s like we said: as long as you’re intentional, you will see the benefits from updating your lighting design!

Update your fixtures.

Budget: $$-$$$

While there are definitely some pricey options out there, you can find some beautiful, modern full-room light fixtures for less than $300 — some as low as $50. Hiring a professional to install them will add some costs, but adding a new bathroom or kitchen light fixture isn’t as costly as you might think. Plus, it definitely adds some value.

When people walk into a room and see a cool light fixture, that’s usually one of the first things they comment on. You’ll love the modern look, and it will also help you when you’re ready to sell your home. Potential buyers will immediately notice updated fixtures, which piques their interest in the property as a whole.

Bring in some natural light.

Budget: $-$$$

Natural light doesn’t just look amazing and add massive value to a home, it also saves you money. The less you leave the lights on, your energy bill (and wallet) will thank you. Natural light provides more scenery and vistas and less reliance on the artificial.

Not to mention, we live in a selfie culture. This writer knows a friend in Minneapolis who specifically chose to rent out a place because of its natural light, despite having to pay more. Many millennials and Gen Zers want to show off their home and their life. Adding more natural light is a huge benefit to your home’s overall value (and can attract a wider renting or buying demographic).

But how do you add light? Here are a couple ways that range from cheap fixes to remodel overhauls:

  • Hang mirrors
  • Paint walls a lighter tone, in cool or neutral hues
  • Install larger windows
  • Put in a sliding glass door
  • Install window treatments that allow for light to pass through while maintaining privacy

One thing to keep in mind: it’s also nice to block out natural light when you want (especially if you’re like this writer whose bedroom has east-facing windows). Look into some blackout curtains to make daytime Netflix binges or naps as enjoyable as possible.

Switch out lightbulbs.

Budget: $

Your lightbulbs might be clashing with the room they’re in and you don’t even know it. But when it comes time to sell, you can bet that at least one potential buyer will feel like things are off. 

WIthout having to massively overhaul your space, simply look at the tones in a specific room — are they warm or cool? Whatever the answer, update your bulbs to LED ones that match accordingly. Soft white or warm white are good in warm spaces (such as the living room or bedroom), regular LED bulbs for cool areas (such as the bathroom).

Consider dimmers or colorful lighting.

Budget: $-$$

Both these ideas are a bit more fun, but might add a ton of dimension to your home. Dimmer switches range from $50 to $200 but add a massive convenience to any space they’re in. 

Colorful lighting is a growing trend and, when done right, can be a perfectly subtle way to impact the mood of a room. In fact, some people say that certain light colors can impact not just the mood of a room, but the mood of a person. Cool colors are said to increase productivity; warm colors provide a sense of calm. Who knows — maybe a simple lightbulb switch in your home office could drastically change your at-home job performance!

All of these interior lighting design tips can make an incredible difference in your home. But if your home is currently something resembling a cave or a 17th-century dungeon, maybe it’s time to look for something a little… lighter. Check out our RealtyHive listings to find some gorgeous homes for sale (with amazing lighting interior design to boot)!

Understanding the Basics of Home Mortgages

When you’re starting out in the real estate world, mortgages are one of the first things to learn about. They seem super confusing (after all, why is there a silent “t” in there?!), there are lots of different types, so where should you begin?

Welcome to the Real Estate 101 class where today, we’ll cover the mortgage basics. You don’t need to take notes (unless you want to). Sit back, relax, sip some coffee, and find the answers to frequently asked mortgage questions right here.

What is a mortgage?

Put simply, a mortgage is a loan. The median house price in the US was $226,800 in 2019. Very few people have that kind of cash laying around (and even if they did, their home purchase would have to be a wire transfer, but that’s another story). Most people wouldn’t be able to afford a house outright until their 40s or 50s, which is why mortgages exist.

Just like a car loan, a home mortgage allows you to pay off your house over time. You can reap the benefits of home ownership (such as having your own place and not paying rent to someone else) without having to put hundreds of thousands down upfront.

Do you have to get a mortgage to buy a house?

No, but most people do. Even if you have enough money upfront, no one can buy a house with outright cash. This is a massive transaction, so don’t expect to bring duffel bags full of cash to a homeowner and call it a day. If anything, expect account transfers, wait time, and, as always, lots of paperwork.

You will more than likely need a mortgage to buy a house. This involves having a good credit score, pre-approval from a lender, and final loan approval once the house you’re looking to buy has been appraised (and the house value matches up with what you’re requesting to borrow).

What happens to your mortgage when you sell a property?

How to sell a house with a mortgage

  1. Get a quote from your mortgage lender regarding your current payoff.

    See how much is left on your balance.

  2. Find out if you have a prepayment penalty.

    This sometimes exists if you’re selling your home after owning it for less than 5 years.

  3. Continue your mortgage payments up until closing day.

    You might still have a final payment on closing day.

  4. If you end up owing on your mortgage on closing day, the proceeds of the sale will go towards covering it.

    A new buyer doesn’t “take over” your existing mortgage.

  5. Any additional profits after paying off the mortgage and other seller’s fees are yours to keep.

    This money is usually deposited into your account or goes to your next property if you’re buying and selling at the same time.

How do home equity loans and refinancing affect your mortgage?

Both refinancing and home equity loans offer homeowners the chance to convert their home’s equity into money that they can access.

While your first mortgage is for buying your property, a home equity loan is like a second mortgage. If you owe $200k on your mortgage but your house is worth $250k, you have access to a nice $50k that you can use. When you use that money to renovate or improve your house, you can even claim it on your taxes for a refund.

Cash-out refinancing is when you replace your current mortgage with a bigger one. Instead of taking out a second mortgage (like a home equity loan), you just have one big loan. The difference between your new loan and what you owe on your house is money that goes straight to your pocket (or as a wire transfer). That money can be used for anything.

When considering cash-out refinancing vs. home equity loans, it pays to do your research. And remember, this is money that you’ll still owe. You could risk foreclosure if you don’t continue making timely payments.

This concludes our Real Estate 101 class for the day, but all questions can be posted for our “professors” to review. One thing that we can all take away from today’s lesson: it doesn’t matter if you’re looking to buy a house or are preparing to sell — the more you know about mortgages, the better.

Creating the Best Home Office for Remote Work

Remote work has taken off in recent years as an overall trend. But with the current coronavirus pandemic, tons of people are sent home to work remotely for the foreseeable future.

Even when going to coffee shops and libraries to work is an option, we live at a time where it’s good practice to have a designated home work space. Working from home is cheaper than going to a cafe or driving to a library, and who knows? You’ll likely have a time again in your life (such as staying home during a blizzard or with a sick kid) when it makes sense to work remotely. 

But if you’re looking at your studio apartment or 3-bedroom house with kids’ toys everywhere and are wondering how to make a home office possible, fear not. We’ve got you covered.

If remote work is for 2+ weeks, designate a space for work.

When working remotely is super short-term (2 weeks or less), you probably don’t need to overhaul your home for the sake of an office. But no matter the amount of time you’re working from home, it’s good to set up a designated work space.

How to do this:

Where’s an area of your home that you could take a phone call without disruption? A room with a door that you can close is the best option (particularly if you have kids at home). If that’s not possible, find a quieter area where you can set up a flat surface for working. In a place where you share walls with neighbors, maybe go to the wall where your neighbor is the quietest.

In this designated space, it’s also good to remove distraction as much as you can. Interestingly enough, one of the biggest distractors is if your space is near the fridge. The second you get bored, it’s way too easy to get up and find a snack or beverage and it can be a challenge to refocus after that.

Don’t forget — just as you leave your desk at the end of the work day, leave this space too. Creating distance between your work and your home is essential for your mental health, especially when the two spaces coexist.

Try to be as ergonomic as possible.

As great as working from the couch sounds, your back definitely disagrees. Keeping good posture is sometimes easier at work when you’re forced to be at a desk; being in the comfort of your home is a different story. Considering office ergonomics makes all the difference for your body and overall health.

How to do this:

Ergonomic Ideas That Cost $0

  • Take frequent breaks (at least once an hour) to get up and move away from screens.
  • Follow the 20-20 rule for vision — for every 20 minutes of work, look away from the screen for 20 seconds.
  • Look up yoga poses or stretches that specifically help your back, neck, shoulders, and wrists.
  • Spend 30-45 minutes over lunch taking a walk, stretching, or doing yoga.

Ergonomic Investments

  • Buy a standing desk.
  • Purchase an ergonomic chair.
  • Invest in physical therapy at-home tools (such as foam rollers).
  • Buy a headset so you can walk hands-free while taking a call.

For the things that cost money, you might be able to write them off as tax deductions, or your company may consider reimbursing you. Keep receipts just in case!

Don’t overlook the lighting.

Working in offices with bright overhanging lights can give anyone a headache, but working in a dark, dimly-lit basement isn’t ideal either. Lighting makes a huge difference in our work day, whether we realize it or not. It’s important to create a space with ideal lighting — this impacts everything from our eye strain to our mood!

How to do this:

Download f.lux for free on your laptop — it adjusts your screen to warmer tones — or get blue screen glasses. You can also put a warm lightbulb in a lamp to set an equally warm tone to your workspace. If working near some windows, save on electricity by turning off lights and opening up the blinds for natural lighting.

Create boundaries between work and home.

It is extremely easy to “just keep working” when you work from home. There’s always something more to do, and it’s challenging to separate your work and home when they’re one in the same.

How to do this:

Use an online timer to track how many hours you’re working (if you don’t already have set hours). Even if you have set hours, still use a timer to remind you to take breaks, a lunch, etc. 

Additionally, decide on a time that you’re going to be done for the day and stick to it, as hard as that can be!

Working remote for the long haul? Build an office (or find a home that has one).

If working remotely is going to be a long-term thing, it’s in your best interest to create a permanent home office. It’s not just helpful for you while living and working from home, it also adds value to your home. 

Or if you’re thinking about selling and don’t want to go through the trouble of adding an office this late in the game, keep that in mind before you buy. Look through some of our RH homes that have offices already in them!

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