Deb Evans ABR,CSG - ERA Key Realty Services



Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 5/21/2019

Buying a new home is an exciting experience. Who doesn’t love new things—and a new home at that? But a new home is also challenging and intimidating. If you have left a home that you adored then this new home has high expectations. And if it’s your first home then such an investment is a big step and can be intimidating for that reason. But one thing that can be agreed upon is the need for this house to feel like your home. Let’s look at a few simple tips for making your new house truly feel like your home.

Family Heirlooms: Have a family heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation? These types of keepsakes could range from an afghan that a great-grandparent or grandparent had knit, various antiques, clocks, diaries and recipes. You can display recipes on a kitchen counter or you can even get creative and design custom wallpaper from the recipe cards. Grandfather clocks fit the atmosphere of home offices and formal living rooms. There are tasteful ways to add each one of these into your home and preserve the memory of these keepsakes.

Photos & Artwork: What better way to bring personality and familiarity into a home than photos of family and friends or artwork from a favorite artist or of your favorite place. A popular approach is a grid-like arrangement created on large, open walls. This is one way to display many beloved photos without creating clutter on tables or other pieces of furniture. A long wall along a hallway would be a great place to display larger photos or artwork that would run horizontally. This is especially nice for sequenced pieces such as change of season photos.

DIY projects: Add your personality to your home with DIY projects. Mason jars, glass vases, and wine bottles can be turned into beautiful home décor with only a few materials and a couple hours. Items like rope, artificial flowers, ribbon, and glitter are just a couple examples of supplies that can be used to turn those simple items into a homemade masterpiece.

Memories: Last, but certainly not least, create memories.This is the easiest and quickest way to make a house feel like a home. Things as simple as cooking dinner with your loved ones and as extravagant as starting a family are amazing memories to make. And the first time you remember something special happening in your home will be an amazing feeling. You’ll truly feel like you’ve left your mark and turned four walls into something extraordinary.

It’s crucial that you add your personal touches to your home, especially if it’s going to be your forever home. It’s the place you will spend most of your time, besides work. The tips above are just a couple examples of ways to help add your personality in the home. Be creative and most of all be genuine and your home will feel like it’s been yours forever.  




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Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 8/28/2018

Pets are part of the family. They look to us for food, protection, and a daily routine. In return, we get the joys of having a tiny, furry best friend (or in my case a huge, slobbering goofball of a dog). When you want to go away on vacation, however, pets become an added layer of planning that makes the process much more stressful and complicated. The good news is you have options. Depending on your pet, your destination, and your financial situation, some options may be better than others for you. In this article, we'll go over pet planning for when you go away on vacation so you can rest assured knowing your pet will be safe so that you can do what vacations are meant for: relax.

Where are you going?

Depending on your destination and the type of pet you have, it might be possible to bring your animal friend along. Pet friendly hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and rental homes are all ways that allow you to keep you and your pet together during vacation. If you don't have the money to spend on expensive hotels, you could try out campgrounds or staying with a friend or relative in the area. There are also websites designed for couch-surfing that sometimes allow pets.

What's your pet's personality?

We hold pets to a pretty high social standard. If someone scooped you up and took you to a strange place away from your family for a week you might be a little nervous, right? Your pet is no different. Depending on your pet's comfort level, boarding could be an option. However, it's a good idea to test this out for just a night before going away on a long vacation. Similarly, you could try having your pet stay at a friend or relative's house for a sleepover to gauge their reaction. Training and conditioning could be all it takes to help your pet feel comfortable away from you or your home while you're on vacation.

Calling in a sitter

A less expensive option to boarding your pet is to have a pet sitter stay at your home while you're away. Odds are you might have a teenager or college aged relative who wouldn't mind having your home to themselves for a week to get away from their parents and siblings. If you aren't lucky enough to have a relative who's up to the job, you can almost definitely find someone on pet sitter websites or on Craigslist. People who work from home, or college students are often happy to stay at your place and watch your pets for a small fee. They get free TV and WiFi for a week, and you get the assurance that your pet and home is being taken care of; everyone wins. If you're worried about leaving your pet with a stranger, don't worry--we understand. Fortunately, most sites come with references and testimonials and you can always meet your pet sitter in person before handing them the keys to your home.




Tags: dogs   pets   home   house   vacation   cats   pet sitting  
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Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 5/1/2018

 

Two thirds of American homeowners are somewhere in the process of paying off a mortgage. It may seem like common sense that everyone should try to pay off their mortgage sooner rather than later. However, there are circumstances when it benefits a homeowner more to hold onto their mortgage longer.


In this article, we’ll offer some tips on paying off your mortgage, when you should refinance, and offer some tools that will help you along the long road to debt-free homeownership. If you’re a homeowner and find yourself asking these questions, read on.

I can afford to pay more each month on my mortgage, but should I?

In many cases, paying off your home as quickly as possible saves you money in the long run. A shorter loan term means less interest applied to your loan which could save you thousands of dollars in accrued interest.


What many people don’t think about is whether that money could be better spent elsewhere. If your mortgage interest rate isn’t too high, you might be better off allocating that extra income toward investments or retirement funds where they could earn you more in the long run.


This technique is typically most beneficial for younger homeowners. In your 20s and 30s you stand the most to gain from long-term investments, especially tax-benefitted retirement funds. Ultimately you’ll have to do the math, which is tricky because circumstances change; markets vary, our income goes up and down, etc. However, a good starting place is to determine whether you could earn more in retirement and investments than you could by paying off your mortgage sooner and therefore saving on interest. 

I’ve owned my home for a few years now, should I refinance?

Refinancing is a term that has become ubiquitous for homeowners. There are a few important things to understand about refinancing. First, lowering your monthly payments is not always ideal if it means you’ll end up paying more interest in the long run. Ideally, refinancing your mortgage will help you pay the least amount in total.

One way this can be accomplished is by refinancing to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage which often darry slightly lower interest rates. This option is designed for people who have improved their credit and increased their income since signing their first mortgage.

Math isn’t my strong suit. How can I figure out my finances?

If all of the numbers and percentages associated with mortgages and refinancing seems overwhelming--you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are mortgage and refinancing calculators that will give you a good idea of where you stand if you decide to increase your payments or to attempt to refinance your loan. Here are some great tools:
  • Use this mortgage calculator for determining how much you would save by making extra payments.

  • This refinance calculator will help you understand the potential benefits of refinancing your mortgage.

  • To determine how much you could earn through investments (rather than paying more toward your mortgage) use this helpful tool.

  • You might be able to increase your savings by creating a better budget for yourself. This website will help you make a detailed budget and hold yourself accountable each month.






Tags: home   Mortgage   refinancing   finance  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 5/2/2017

What in the world is home automation?  Almost everyone knows what a timer on an outside lamp post is for, you can program your outside lights to turn on when the sun goes down and back off in the morning.  There are lots of ways to setup lighting to prevent waste and still maximize the benefit.  So what if you whole house could be managed and from one place or even when you aren't at home?  The kids left some lights on when they left for school, and you can turn them off from your phone, with some systems. A product known as X10 has been around for quite some time now, now there are other options.  Home depot has their own products and even Google is making contributions these days.  The whole idea is convince, for example there are products that work with the X10 system that allow you to change the lighting in your home from an iPhone or Android device, you can use this from anywhere you phone works. Setting up a system like this can start to prove costly.  The more devices you want to control, the more expensive the project ends up, naturally.  You should also be aware some products require a moderate level of know-how in the electrical sense.  One of the most useful products is a replacement switch; changing one should always be done with care and proper precautions of course. Spend some time and figure out what your goals are with your project, it can be as simple as putting a few outdoor lights on timers to being able to control and monitor everything in your house no matter where you are.  It's a fun idea at the very least.





Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 11/1/2016

If you're selling a home, having high quality photos is one of the most important things you can do to catch the eye of prospective buyers. Taking great photos, however, is something that requires a combination of frequent practice and knowledge of how your camera works. Sure, these days you can take a decent photo with an iPhone camera and be done with it. While that method is a good start, if you want to progress with your photography you'll eventually have to make the leap to a DSLR where you have more freedom to change exposure settings. I know what you're thinking. High quality photos means spending a ton of money on camera equipment, right? Fortunately, entry level DSLR cameras have become more affordable in recent years. To start taking great photos you'll only need four things: your DSLR camera, a tripod, a wide angle lens, and a place to practice your photography.

Step 1: Setting up

You'll want to set up the room with the right balance of furniture, decorations and natural light. Avoid decorations that are too personal (like family photos) or eccentric (no stuffed animals, preferably). Set up your tripod against one of the walls of the room. Ideally, you'll have the target of your photo illuminated by natural light coming through windows, so you'll likely be standing in front of or next to the windows. However, before you take any photos use your best judgment to determine the room's best angles. The amount of and the placement of furniture will play a large role in how spacious the room looks, but equally important is the camera angle from which you take your photos.

Step 2: Learn your camera settings

You won't learn all of the settings in a DSLR overnight, but it is important to get an understanding of the basics. In spite of the many technical improvements that have been made, the basic concept of a camera hasn't changed much over the years. The two main components that determine what your picture looks like are aperture and shutter speed. Aperture (or "f-stop") is what is used to determine how much light enters the camera. Much like your pupils dilate in the dark to let in as much light as possible, having a wide aperture will allow you to take brighter photos. Shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter on your camera is open. A slower shutter speed allows more light into the camera, creating a brighter exposure. However, due to our inability to hold a camera entirely still having a slower shutter speed creates more opportunity for your photo to become blurred from camera shake. A third important setting is the ISO. This setting is unique to digital photography because it controls the sensitivity of the camera's image sensor. The higher the number, the more sensitive. Why not just crank it up all the way then to get the best quality? Because if you set it too high the photos become grainy or "noisy."

Step 3: Practice

Now that you know the basics, start taking photos in your home using various camera settings. Play around with taking photos with different light sources on, with your camera flash on and off, and at different times of day. You'll find that there are endless possibilities when it comes to taking photos of your home.  




Tags: Real Estate   home  
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