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Affordable Makeover Ideas to Refresh Your Home

Budget-friendly makeover ideas to breathe new life into your home

 by MIKE HALL, Owner/Agent/Broker

Trendy Bathroom

Are you looking to spruce up your living space without breaking the bank? Here are some budget-friendly makeover ideas that can breathe new life into your home. 

  1. Fresh Coat of Paint: One of the simplest and most effective ways to transform any room is with a fresh coat of paint. Choose light, neutral colors to make rooms feel larger and brighter. Accent walls with a pop of color can also add depth and character.
  2. Update Hardware: Swapping out old, worn-out hardware on cabinets, drawers, and doors can instantly modernize your kitchen and bathrooms. Opt for sleek handles or knobs in trendy finishes like matte black for a contemporary look.
  3. Enhance Lighting: Replace outdated light fixtures with more stylish options. Consider adding task lighting under cabinets in the kitchen or installing pendant lights over the dining table to create a cozy atmosphere.
  4. Revitalize Floors: If replacing flooring isn't an option, consider inexpensive alternatives like peel-and-stick vinyl tiles for a quick refresh. Area rugs can also cover worn spots and add warmth and texture to a room.
  5. Decorative Mirrors:...

Growing Old Comfortably and Safely

Redesigning a home for your parents as they age.

by MIKE HALL, Owner/Agent/Broker

Elderly Woman washing carrots

With Mother’s and Father’s Day coming up, let’s talk about parents. Many families face the decision of the best place to care for mom and dad as they get older or their health takes a turn.

If you decide to make space in your home to care for an aging parent, let’s talk about ways you can ready your home.

If constructing an in-law suite or accessory dwelling unit is not in the budget, consider these renovations to make your home more accommodating.

  • Widen doorways and hallways. This may need to be done in case of wheelchair access or medical personal accessibility.
  • Install grab bars, handrails, and ramps. To prevent falls and provide accessibility, consider adding these safety items. If you have stairs, you may consider adding a stair lift or home elevator.
  • Renovating your kitchen and/or bath. Install toilets that are higher and easier to get up and down from. Change counter heights and add pull-down shelving for easier access. Replace slick floors with non-slip flooring. Update lighting to make it easier to see. Replace handles with D-shaped ones and levers. Install...

Knowledge is Power

Walk into your home buying or selling experience with confidence.

by MIKE HALL, Owner/Agent/Broker

Scrabble Feed Your Head

When looking to buy or sell your home, you’ll be met with a lots of terms. Walk in prepared with knowledge on your side. Let’s look at some common terms related to the finance side of real estate.

Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) or variable-rate mortgage – mortgage loan with an interest rate that can fluctuate with market changes over the life of the loan.

Alienation clause – clause in the loan that requires the borrower to pay the balance of the loan in a single payment if the property is sold or transferred.

Amortization – spreading out a loan into a series of fixed payments.

Appraisal – value of the property as determined by an appraiser.

Appraisal gap coverage – difference between the purchase price and appraised value.

Assessed value – value that a taxing agency uses to determine property tax rate.

Balloon payment – loan payment that is at least double of previous payments.

Capitalization rate (cap rate) – shows the potential rate of return on real...

Maximize your homeowner tax deductions and credits

Should you itemize?

by MIKE HALL, Owner/Agent/Broker

Tax forms

Most individuals take the standard deduction on their federal taxes. The standard deduction for the 2023 tax year is $13,850 for single or married filing separately, $27,700 for married filing jointly, and $20,800 for heads of household.[1] However, if you decide to itemize, what expenses can you deduct on your annual taxes?

Qualified expenses that you can deduct include:[2]

There are also expenses...

Look into the Crystal Ball

2024 housing market predictions.

by MIKE HALL, Owner/Agent/Broker

While the experts can’t definitively tell us what the future holds, they can provide a prediction based on past and current market trends. Will changes in inventory or supply, mortgages rates, and home prices make housing more affordable in 2024? Unfortunately, unaffordability persists as the biggest issue for homebuyers.[1]

Let’s look at these factors.

 

Inventory

Inventory of existing homes for sale will continue to remain low. Current homeowners are unswayed to sell given their current low mortgage rates; thus sellers will maintain an advantage.[2] New housing starts have picked up slightly and will influence inventory, however, just not enough to make a large dent.[3] 

 

Mortgage rates

Mortgage rates have steadily declined since their peak of 7.79% in 2023.[4] Despite the decline, rates are still high compared to pre- and early pandemic years, so supply will remain low. These high rates are still dissuading buyers.[5]

 

Home prices

Home prices are likely to remain higher than pre-pandemic prices, despite cooling slightly from 2022 highs. Prices will also rise with appreciation and lack of inventory, making homebuying...

New Year, New You, New Home

Work on your credit to qualify for homebuying

by MIKE HALL, Owner/Agent/Broker

Credit Card

Every year, millions of people make a New Year’s resolution. Some want to lose weight. Some want to kick a bad habit. Others want to find a better job. Is yours to buy a home?

Home buying relies on getting approved for a mortgage using your credit score or FICOâ score. Your FICOâ score determines how much you can borrow, and if you would be approved at all. What can you do to make sure you have a high FICOâ score?

The first step to improve your credit score is to get a copy of your credit report from the three reporting companies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. For information on requesting a free copy of your credit reports, go to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Check for outstanding debt, payment history, debt in collections, and any inaccuracies.

What information is in your credit report?

  • Personal information; including name, birthdate, social security number, address, and phone number
  • Employment history
  • Consumer statements, such as statements...

How To Find the Right Agent When Buying or Selling

by MIKE HALL, Owner/Agent/Broker

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

So, you’ve decided to buy or sell a home. You may have a friend or family member who’s an agent. But do you know if they’re the right agent for you?

What’s the difference between a real estate agent, broker, and realtor?

Real Estate Agent: All real estate agents must be licensed in the state where they work and must abide by state and national laws.

Real Estate Broker: A broker has additional training beyond what an agent receives and has a broker license. Brokers must complete state-required courses and pass an exam and can oversee other agents.

Realtor: Realtors are licensed agents or brokers who are members of the National Association of Realtors and abide by the association’s standards and code of ethics.

How do you find the best?

1. Compare agents.

  • Look at online reviews, including...

Keep the Griswolds’ Decorating to the Movies

Less is more for holiday décor when selling your home

by MIKE HALL, Owner/Agent/Broker

Christmas Tree

Photo by Frames For Your Heart on Unsplash

November and December are a time for family and friends. Many holidays during these months welcome friends and family into our homes. We also decorate our homes to celebrate the season with pumpkins, a Christmas tree, menorah and family photos and mementos.

But how should you decorate when wanting to sell? Here are some simple tips to decorating your home during the holidays when your house is on the market.

  1. Clean and stage your home. Clear the clutter and cobwebs before you decorate. Add a fresh coat of paint on the walls and fix any to-do list projects.
  2. Create a cozy vibe. Less is more when it comes to holiday decorations. Use white lights instead of colored and keep them simple. A wreath on the door instead of a yard full of lawn décor. Your kids may love the giant inflatable...

Is Bigger Always Better?

For those who think so, Louisville ranks top 5 for largest yards.

by MIKE HALL, Owner/Agent/Broker

Do you watch those HGTV shows where they makeover someone’s backyard into a beautiful oasis? Do you want a big yard for entertaining or kids to play or space for a garden? Well, living in Louisville gives you more of an opportunity to have those wishes come true.

According to StorageCafe, Louisville is one of the top 3 cities with large lot sizes among the 50 largest cities in the U.S.; Nashville, Tenn., topping the list.[1] With a median lot size over 10,000 sq. ft., Louisville is among the top five cities with the largest yards.

So what are the pros and cons of having a large yard?

The pros:

You have the space to create an entertainment area, whether that’s creating an outdoor kitchen and living space or setting up safe place for kids to play. A large backyard can provide your dog ample running and playing room, or you can nurture your green thumb skills with a garden. The great outdoors also provides some health benefits, such as stress reduction. Having a backyard also adds value to your home, especially when it’s a functional space and landscaped.

The cons:

...

Should I Buy a Home in Louisville?

Avoid these common mistakes when purchasing your home

by MIKE HALL, Owner/Agent/Broker

wooden house and change

In late August, mortgage rates hit a 22-year high with a 30-year fixed rate home loan averaging 7.23%.[1] With these rates, lower inventory, and inflated prices, some may delay purchasing a home.

But if you are in the market, don’t let your anxiety and fear keep you from buying. Avoid these common mistakes when purchasing your home.[2]

  1. Trying to time the market. Just like stocks, the housing market ebbs and flows. Don’t try to figure out the perfect time to buy because conditions will always change.
  2. Worrying only about mortgage payments. The mortgage is just one part of purchasing a home. Buyers need to include homeowners’ insurance, PMI, taxes, and maintenance costs into their budget.
  3. Neglecting your credit score. While a credit score is not indicative of your ability to pay a mortgage, it does impact your ability to get a loan and the rate of the loan. Work on paying down other debt to increase your score.
  4. Buying a home too fast. Take the time to shop around and look at homes. Don’t rush...
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