Gainesville FL Real Estate Blog

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Small Ways to Save Money At Home

August 2nd, 2017 · No Comments

Just because your home doesn’t have any major issues such as a leaky basement or a floor that is about to cave in doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot of little ways you are losing cash each month.  Below are a few small tips to help you save money at home that may eventually add up big.

  1.  If you have yet to change your lights over to energy efficient ones you should do that right away.   This is an easy way to save a little bit each month that doesn’t take long at all to accomplish.  LED lights are going to cost you a bit more than regular light bulbs but in the long run they will be a big help to your budget.
  2. Big ticket items such as air conditioning systems can cost you and your family a lot each year if you don’t do your part to make sure they work to the best of their ability.  Make sure to change your air filters on a regular basis and clean all the vents as well.  This type of maintenance should be done before the heat of the summer begins so that all will work correctly when it is needed most.
  3. Another small way to save money at home  is to make sure you eat what you put in your refrigerator.  Wasting food is a big money pit that affects many Americans today.   If you buy a lot of produce and other perishables you need to be sure to put them at eye level so that they don’t get lost in your fridge only to have to be thrown out later.  If you have a small family you might want to purchase smaller amounts of foods that don’t have a long shelf live to avoid wasting each week.
  4. If you haven’t already done so, get rid of your landline phone.  Most everyone these days has a cell phone and the need for a landline phone has almost become obsolete.  Save that $40 per month and put it towards something of better use.  You may be surprised at just how quickly $40 each month can add up.
  5. Before you decide to bring a furry family member into your home, realize that they are quite expensive.   If you are trying your best to save money perhaps buying a pet might need to go on the back burner for a while.

These are just a few ways in which your pocketbook can get a bit of rest  on a regular basis.  Use the ideas you like and see what a difference they can make.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home ownership · Money matters · Seller Info

Fung Shui Ideas for Your New Home

July 12th, 2017 · No Comments

Decorating a new home is a fun process.  Whether or not you are an experienced decorator,  you can look and feel like a pro with the aid of some fung shui.  Below are a few ideas on how to make it work for your new home.

  1.  Many folks like to hang mirrors at their entrance way to make the space look larger and more inviting as well.  Be sure to place your mirror on a side wall as you walk in instead of directly across from the door.  This will help with the flow of things as guests enter your house.  They will be able to see themselves and feel welcomed as they arrive as opposed to feeling like they are being pushed out with their own reflection.
  2. Another way to make fung shui work for you  is to keep clutter to a minimum.  This is especially true in the bedroom because a bedroom is a place of rest.  If there is a lot of junk all around the room those who spend time there will likely feel a bit disheveled.  If you feel as if you don’t know enough about this topic to do the job right, you can always higher an expert to help get you started in the right direction.
  3. Make sure that if you want to have live plants in your home that you place them in areas where folks will be hanging out and spending quality time together.  Try not  to place live plants in areas where sleep takes place such as the bedroom because you need items that give off restfulness.
  4. Leaving the toilet lid closed is a great, easy little trick that will help to make everyone who enters your bathroom feel good about the space.
  5. Keeping the flooring all one type in the home helps the energy to flow freely.  Try not to use two different types of flooring butted up against one another if you can help it as this will weaken the energy of the home.
  6. Be sure to place your bed across from the door to the bedroom or at least at a spot where the door can be easily seen.  This will enhance the comfort level of the room as opposed to putting the bed on the same wall as the door.

Fung Shui is fun and interesting and it really does work to help the energy of the home   feel comfortable and welcoming.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home improvement · home ownership

The Pros and Cons of Building Vs Buying a Home

July 5th, 2017 · No Comments

If you are in the market for a new home, you may have already begun to ponder whether you should build your new home or buy your new home.  There are many good reasons to go either way.  Below is a list of pros and cons of building vs. buying a home for your consideration.

  1.  One pro of building a home instead of buying is that you can customize the home to be exactly what you are looking for.  There will be no need to go in and change things once you move in because the home will already be build to your liking.  A con of building a home to get everything you wish for is that the price may be out of your comfort zone.
  2. A con to building your home instead of buying your home   is that picking every little thing out can quickly become a daunting task.  When you build your own home you will be picking out things you never thought much about such as door knobs and ceiling fans.  If you like to pick things out and you don’t mind spending time doing so then this may not be a problem for you.
  3. If you want things done quickly and you like instant gratification then buying a home may be better for you than building one.  Typically when you set out to build a home you have a time frame you plan to finish it in that doesn’t work out quite like you planned.  If you are an impatient person you may want to just buy a home and fix it to your liking or better yet just buy a home that is everything you’re looking for.
  4. A con to buying a home can sometimes be location.  If you love the home but you don’t like the neighborhood then buying may not be right for you.  When you build you will be able to build on land that you purchase and love.

These are a few pros and cons to building vs. buying a home that can get you starting thinking a little bit deeper about what you want to do.   Buying or building  a home is a big decision no matter which you choose, so be sure to think about every possibility before you begin.

 

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: North Central Florida Real Estate

Tips for Creating a Perfect Kitchen Pantry

June 21st, 2017 · No Comments

The typical household kitchen pantry is full of items that are needed and some items that may have been in there way too long that are no longer needed or good for that matter.  Perhaps you have tried in the past to clean out your pantry to make it more efficient to no avail.  Below are a few tips for a perfect kitchen pantry that may help you clean and organize yours once and for all.

  1.  The best way to start organizing your pantry is to clean everything out of it and start from the beginning.  It may make a mess at first when you begin taking all of the items out of your pantry but sometimes you have to make a mess in order to get rid of a mess.   Be sure to look through all of your items throwing out anything that is outdated or spoiled.
  2.  Another tip for a creating a perfect kitchen pantry is to install shelving that makes it more efficient.  You can purchase shelving for your pantry at most local hardware stores or you can build them yourself out of wood, whichever works best for you.   You can make the shelves stationary or you can choose to make them where they will pull out so that you can get things out a bit easier.
  3. Putting all your staples such as flower and sugar into air tight containers then labeling them is a great way to organize your pantry and make it more user friendly.  Once you get all of your staple items into containers you can then more easily organize them.
  4. Another good tip for creating a perfect kitchen pantry is to use one shelf for each type of food.  For example you can put cereals together all on one shelf,  spices on one shelf and  items that you use daily on a shelf that is eye level.
  5. If your pantry is dull and dreary, you can always paint it a light color to brighten it up after you organize it all.

Once you get your kitchen pantry all organized exactly like you want it you will likely want to spend more time in the kitchen creating fantastic meals for your friends and family.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home improvement · home ownership · Seller Info

3 Mistakes First-Time Buyers Make (and How to Avoid Them)

June 14th, 2017 · No Comments

There are a few mistakes that many first-time home buyers make. Here are three of the most common mistakes and how you can avoid them when purchasing your first home.

Mistake #1: Assuming your credit is good.

The information in your credit report determines whether you can get a loan — and how much interest you will have to pay – so it pays to be certain your credit reports are accurate.

Check your credit reports for free from all three credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to make sure everything is correct. If you find errors, contact both the credit reporting company and the information provider (the person, company or organization that provided information about you to a credit reporting company) involved in the errors and ask them to fix the credit report errors.

Mistake #2: Getting pre-qualified, not pre-approved, for a loan.

It’s far better to be pre-approved for a loan than to be pre-qualified. Here’s why…

With pre-qualification, your lender does a preliminary evaluation of your ability to pay for a home and gives an estimate of the mortgage amount they’ll give you. The lender does not verify the information you provide.

Mistake #3: Allowing emotions to influence your decisions.

Buying a home is an investment. It needs to be treated as any other investment. You don’t buy stocks because they are pretty and you shouldn’t pick your home that way either. Make sure the home you buy fits your needs and allows you room to grow over the next few years. As with any sound investment, time is the key to a good return.

If you are a first-time home buyer, I would be happy to help you find (and get the best price for) your first home.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home ownership

Selecting Plants and Flowers for Your Home Garden

June 7th, 2017 · No Comments

Many of us select plants for the garden at our Gainesville FL home based on their visual effect—color, height, size of blooms, etc. And so we should, as the sight of our plantings should be pleasing to our sense of sight. As we plan our garden, however, we should also be aware of the other four senses—and include plants which appeal to each of them.

SMELL: Aromatherapy is a powerful practice. With nothing more than a simple scent, the brain can be triggered to remember long forgotten memories, emotions, and feelings. With that being said, it is important to carefully select the flowers you want in the garden of your Gainesville FL home. With a few simple choices, you can create your own “memory lane’ or relaxing oasis. In terms of fragrance, it’s hard to beat roses or lavender. Wisteria and jasmine are scented climbers which can really enhance the sensory pleasure of a garden, and amaryllis belladonna and spirea both add pleasant scents.

SOUND: Few of us associate the sense of sound with our garden, but the rustling of long grasses and the chirping of birds add a much-appreciated dimension. To attract songbirds, use fruit-bearing understory trees like dogwoods and service berries and shrubs such as viburnums and hollies and introduce low growing perennials and dwarf shrubs like creeping juniper and cotoneaster. You can also plant vines, ground covers, and sunflowers to increase chirping and tweeting.

TOUCH: Texture in garden design refers to the surface quality of the plant. Plant textures range from delicate and fine to coarse and bold. The feel of the foliage in your Gainesville FL home’s garden is not the only element of texture, however, as the texture can change with the play of light and shadow and even with viewing distance. Plants with thread-like leaves call out to be touched, so consider adding cosmos, baby’s breath, asters, and grasses. In addition, iris and lamb’s ear will each provide softer tactile experiences.

TASTE: The world of herbs is nearly without limits. Think about basil, chives, rosemary, chamomile, cilantro, mint, and parsley, to name just a few tasty garden additions. Consider, too low bush blueberries or ligonberries. Lesser known, but equally valuable as salad additions are the flowers of the hibiscus shrub, columbine, and daylilies.

Some of the plants you have selected for your garden will serve more than one purpose and will appeal to more than one sense, so be sure to sniff, feel, taste, listen to, and view each of them!

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home improvement · home ownership · Seller Info

Fun Rainy Day Things to Do Inside Your Home

May 24th, 2017 · No Comments

If you have small children you know all too well how easily they can get bored when they are stuck inside due to bad weather. Below is a list of a few rainy day things you can do inside your home so that you and your family don’t get bored being stuck inside.  Get them and read this list together to get started on some fun!

  1.  One fun indoor activity you can do with your small children is to have an indoor scavenger hunt.  Write down some clues to where you have hidden items in your house and set your children out on an indoor hunt to find them!  This can be fun for you as well as you watch your kids trying their best to find what you have hidden.
  1. Another fun rainy day thing to-do inside your home  with your family is to go camping inside!  Get your tent out and set it up right in the middle of your family room.  You and your family can sleep in the tent together all night long!  If everyone doesn’t fit you can use sleeping bags to make it a full fledge family event.  A super fun way to make your indoor camping event even more real is to make smores in the microwave!
  1. Yet another fun rainy day thing to do inside is to gather all of your board games and get the entire family involved in playing them together!  If you don’t have any board games you can likely find some type of game for all to play online.
  1. If you don’t want to have to create something fun to do with your family, why not bake some cookies together!  It is always fun to get your little ones together in the kitchen to bake.  Have each child create their own cookie with the ingredients you have available, then let the rest of the family be judges to give the best cookie award!

These are a few fun rainy day things you can do inside your home that is sure to make everyone have an enjoyable time even if they can’t go outside!

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home ownership · Just For Fun · Seller Info · Things To Do

Now Is The Time For You To Buy A Piece of Real Estate

May 17th, 2017 · No Comments

So your life circumstances indicate that now is the time for you to buy real estate. Perhaps this will be your first home or you need a larger space to accommodate a growing family. You may be in search of a better school district or be forced to move because of your job. Whatever the reason for your housing search, there are four basic areas you need to investigate and specific questions you should ask before making a final decision on any house.

WISH LIST:

Before you actually tour any homes, you should determine exactly what you are looking for by asking yourself (and your family members) questions such as “What type of house do I want”? How much space will I need? What type of community and amenities are important to me? How much can I realistically afford to pay?

LOCATION:

Once you have narrowed down your neighborhood choices, do further exploration of these locations by asking about zoning, since apartments and commercial/industrial buildings lower the real estate value of homes. Is the appearance of the community appealing? Does the school district have a good reputation/rating? What about noise? Consider nuisance factors such as traffic sounds, barking dogs, railroad tracks, etc.–anything that will disturb or annoy you on a recurring basis. Ask, too, about property easements, commuting time to and from work, and demographics. Will you be the only family with young children or the sole 50+ resident in the neighborhood?

CONDITION OF Home:

In order to determine and structural or maintenance issues, ask about the age of the house, roof, and appliances. What kind of foundation and insulation does the home have? If you’re looking at an older property, ask if the plumbing and electrical systems have been updated. Has the house been inspected or appraised recently, and, if so, were any problems documented? Will the exterior of the residence require annual maintenance?

COST:

Asking the right questions in this area is extremely helpful in determining your offer on the Gainesville real estate. Inquiring about neighboring comps, what the seller paid, and how much he owes will give you an idea of the rise/fall of nearby prices and alert you to possible short sale or foreclosure status. Ask how long the house has been on the market and if there have been any offers; perhaps the seller will be willing to negotiate price or offer incentives. Addition inquiries should be made re: the cost of insurance and property taxes on the property and the amount of any homeowners’ association fees.

Arming yourself with answers to questions such as these should help you make an educated decision as to whether or not a particular piece real estate is for you.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home ownership

How to Go Green This Spring

May 3rd, 2017 · No Comments

These days it seems everyone is all about going green.  Have you ever given any thought on taking part in going green?  If so you have come to the right place.  Below are a few tips on how you and your family can go green this spring!   Why not add going green to your spring cleaning list!

  1.  One way that you and your family can go green this spring is to simply take your shoes off before you enter your house!  You read that right; you can go green by simply taking off your shoes. 40% of all indoor contaminants actually come from the bottom of our shoes so do your part to keep this from happening to you and your family by taking those shoes off!
  2. Learn what ingredients are considered to be green so that when you go to the store to purchase all of your new green cleaners you can be confident that you are actually doing some good for the environment.  Some companies that claim to be green actually have some ingredients that are not green once they are mixed together.   Just read up on what ingredients are green and what ingredients are not and are typically passed off as green and you should be heading in the right direction on what to buy and what not to buy.
  3. Don’t forget the outside of your home when you are going green.  Many grasses are able to grow and thrive without the help of any type of pesticides and /or fertilizers.  The best way to start going green with the outside of your home is to replace the grass you currently have with native grasses to your particular area.  One perk of this switch is that you may find that you have a lot less upkeep of your lawn once you do this!  Who wouldn’t enjoy having more time with their family and less time doing yard work on a weekly basis!

These are just a few ways in which you can help to make your home a bit more green this spring.  Once you get started going green it is likely that you will find more and more ways in which to do so.  It can become addicting once you make the decision to go green in and around your home!

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home improvement · home ownership · Seller Info

How to Clean Your Grill

April 26th, 2017 · No Comments

Spring is here and that means that summer is right around the corner!  Summertime brings with it many things but one of the awesome things about summer is that it means many meal prep times will move from inside of the kitchen to outside on the grill!  Yum!  You will have to do your part to get your grill ready for all the outdoor cooking that is about to begin!  Below are a few ideas on how best to clean your grill for the upcoming season!

  1.  The first place to start when beginning to clean your grill is to clean the grates.  These can get quite dirty during the outdoor cooking season.  If you were smart when the last season ended you cleaned them and wiped them down with cooking oil, however if you didn’t, there is still hope. One good and easy way to clean your dirty grill grates is to place them into your self-cleaning oven and let it do the work for you.  Another way to get your grill grates clean is to simply put them in the dishwasher.
  1. Clean the burner tubes by simply brushing them and wiping them clean.   Be sure not to use any metal brushes as these have been deemed unsafe if the metal pieces come off and get into your food.
  1. Clean the grease collection tray by scrubbing it with a clean damp cloth.
  1. If you happen to have a charcoal grill, your cleaning process will be a bit simpler than with a gas grill.  Scrub the grill with a nylon brush and then clean the grates and that is it!  If you have old charcoal simply throw it out and buy some new for the season.

These are just a few ideas on how to clean your grill to get it ready for the upcoming outdoor cooking season.  The best way to clean your grill is honestly just to clean as you go. If you do your part to clean up after yourself after each and every meal you will have a much easier time when it comes time to get the grill out again for the next season.  If you don’t do your part to clean as you go, at least now you have a few ideas on how to get rid of the grit and grime easily.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home improvement · home ownership · Seller Info