Spruce Up your Rental

While of COURSE I am a huge homeownership cheerleader, I know that it’s not always the right time for everyone to buy a place of their own. I know how it feels to live in a rental but desperately want to make it your own. Here are a few tips that can make a huge impact on a rental without breaking the bank or losing your deposit!

Hardware & fixtures: One of the best ways to make a quick impact around your place is lighting and fixtures. As long as you save the originals, you should have no problem easily swapping out drawer pulls, changing out the blah light switch covers, introducing new doorknobs or even installing a trendy ceiling fan or light fixture. You can also consider alternatives like plug-in sconces, swag lighting or big floor lamps. Always get professional help with anything electric and check with your landlord about big projects, but you may even find they love it and want you to leave it when your lease ends!

Mirrors: Dated, giant mirrors in your bathroom can make your space feel impersonal and old school. You can CAREFULLY remove them (make sure to put duct tape in an X over the whole mirror) and install a more chic version. If you have a double vanity, adding two smaller framed mirrors goes leaps and bounds! If you’re not quite ready to take that risk, get a removable frame like this MirrorMate one that snaps into place around your existing mirror.

Walls: At some point, you’ve probably considered painting a wall or two to warm up your space. However, many times that isn’t feasible with requirements to paint it back or restrictions on what shades you can choose. Consider removable wallpaper or a gallery wall to take up maximum space with minimum effort. In the kitchen, employ a solution like TicTac Tiles to temporarily get the Pinterest kitchen of your dreams!

Bathroom: For me, the bathrooms in my rentals weren’t so much a cosmetic problem as a logistical nightmare! I added cute Command Hooks (they make SO many options these days) right by my shower to avoid dripping across the floor to where the DUMB towel bars were installed. If you are lacking a ledge for shaving, this suction-cupped step saved my life! Lastly, a new shower head can make you feel like you’re in a spa in no time. Again, save the original and talk to your landlord, and if that doesn’t fly you can at least give it a good cleaning using this technique to get it running better than ever.

While where you live now might not be your forever home, I hope this inspires you to make a few homey changes!

Thanks to the gals at The DIY Playbook for letting me borrow their image from their swag lighting project. They have tons of their own awesome tips about projects you can do yourself to make your space your own! 

In the Dog House: Buyer Edition

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So, it’s no secret that Dorothy June runs our life and we joke (sorta..) that we bought her a back yard for her birthday. And honestly, with 1/3 of millennials agreeing that they purchased a home for their pup vs. marriage or stability, it kinda feels nice to know we aren’t alone. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, there are important considerations for every member of the family. I’m going to share some of the highlights today to keep in mind when you’re buying:

  1. Research the Community- One of the best things about moving from an apartment is no longer having to answer to a leasing company. However, many homes you’ll see are part of a Homeowner’s Association where you’ll pay dues for them to do a variety of things from maintaining your lawn to planting flowers in the shared spaces to planning the 4th of July BBQ. Many of these associations also have restrictions on whether or not you can fence a home and what styles are allowed. ALWAYS make sure to get a survey of your lot so you can see where the property lines are, and if there are any easements or setbacks that would keep you from fencing in your land. Also make sure to take leash laws, noise ordinances and other restrictions into account from the local government.
  2. Scan for Dangers- This isn’t a dealbreaker by any means, but you should 100% scan your new backyard and take note of anything dangerous for your pup. For instance, I heard a story recently of someone losing two pets in the same day after they ate poisonous mushrooms in their new backyard. Are there plants you don’t recognize? Holes that could belong to snakes? Woods for wildlife like coyotes? All these things are great to run by your agent, the sellers and your vet.
  3. Be Open to Tradeoffs- I sometimes find it’s difficult to satisfy my pet owner clients, because obviously our babies deserve the best. However, sometimes you may end up loving a house with a small yard. Be sure to take a spin around the neighborhood and look for walking routes, parks, and other dogs to play with that could lighten the pressure of having the perfect outdoor space. Also be sure to note things like stairs and hardwood floors that could be challenging for older dogs, or exciting and great exercise for young pups.
  4. Update All Records- Once you land on a new place, update your dog’s microchip information immediately. With all the new sights and smells, there’s a chance that they’d run off and be uncomfortable in their new neighborhood. Also, take some time early on to interview new vets, find new caretakers or dog walkers, and transfer any records and medications to the new doctor.

As silly as it may sound, it helps to find an agent that understands how hard it can be to find the perfect match for your WHOLE family when your dog runs the show. We all know animal lovers are among the most trustworthy and beloved, so never hesitate to ask any questions necessary during the interview process!

Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Homeowner

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Helping a friend plan a wedding can be one of the most selfless, emotional and exciting investments of your 20’s and 30’s. This year alone I will either be in or attending 13 weddings, and y’all, I get it! It’s overwhelming! So many of my friends are delaying homeownership in the interest of helping their friends’ dreams come true but it’s rarely so black and white. Today I’m going to share with you how it’s not only feasible, but actually PRACTICAL to spring for a home in the throes of your bridesmaid duties.

First of all, your organizational skills are at an all-time high. If you’ve never tried to plan a bachelorette party complete with t-shirts, dinners, activities, deposits, and EMOTIONS, then you can’t call yourself a multi-tasker. Let’s all be honest, getting your friends to move in the same direction is like herding cats- vegan, gluten-free, sometimes pregnant, opinionated cats. As a bridesmaid you are constantly meeting deadlines, providing feedback and staying in contact with multiple people. All of these skills are necessary in buying a home and take time to sharpen. Therefore, there’s no reason not to strike while you’re at the top of your game! Plus, if you choose the right Realtor, the pressure will be totally off. They’ll be the ones searching for properties for you, going to bat in negotiations, and even booking appointments with contractors and inspectors.

Next, for every wedding you participate in as a guest or a maid, consider the number of events you’re contributing to. Add up all of the time you spend looking for restaurants with private rooms, begging your apartment complex to extend the time you can have that little room off the lobby, and throwing money at bartenders because your friends drink Prosecco like water. Now, consider a venue that’s free of charge, has no restrictions or time limits, and requires NO Uber for you when you’ve deservingly hit the “Miss-mosa Bar” like a train. That place could be YOUR HOME! You could have the freedom to decorate how you please, avoid hauling decorations or food into someone else’s space, and have free reign to stay as long and be as loud as you’d like. I promise you, when you start to see the dollar signs add up for brunch buffets, gifts and venue deposits, you’ll understand that you could save you and your friends upwards of $1,000 per wedding.

I see you out there with your cute punny hashtags and your t-shirt designs. Girl, you are CREATIVE! Why not apply that creativity to find your home? If you find a flexible, innovative Realtor, you can be open with them about opting for an AirBNB space, garage apartment or in-law suite. Imagine offering a place for your girls to get ready, for local college students to crash or to house family from out of town before a big weekend. Whether you side hustle on Etsy with those “Bride-to-Be” sashes or gain passive income with a short-term rental opportunity, you have options to rake in the dough you need to buy that extra Kitchenaid attachment.

Lastly, if you aren’t capitalizing on the trips you book and the dollars you rack up on your credit card, you are throwing away money. Now, I am by NO MEANS saying to go open up a new line of credit without talking to a mortgage lender or trusted advisor. However, you can upgrade a current account to get flight miles, refer a friend to your preferred card for a bonus, or redeem your accrued points for gift cards and travel perks. You might be bleeding money like no other at this time in your life, but it can pay to spend wisely if you use the right credit card. I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which has allowed me to redeem multiple plane tickets, hotel stays and gift cards to Nordstrom/Lowe’s/Wayfair.

The bottom line is that homeownership sounds intimidating and is one of the easiest things to put on the back burner. Doing so can be doing yourself a major disservice long term! There’s no reason to build equity for your landlord by investing too much in rent when you could potentially be spending less on a mortgage and a space to call your own!