Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 9/13/2020

Buying a home is a process that can seem daunting and even a little scary to most first-time buyers. After all, being a homeowner is a huge financial and personal responsibility.

To make this lengthy process a bit more approachable, we’re going to break it down into five steps. While these five steps may be somewhat different for each person, depending on their own unique situation, they do comprise most home buyer’s experience.

If you’re interested in learning the steps you’ll need to take before owning your first home, read on.

Step 1: Know your long-term goals

Before you buy a home, you’ll want to have a clear understanding of what you, your spouse, and your family want from the next five or more years. You’ll want to make sure the area you’re moving to can provide things like career advancement and opportunity, good schools for your children, and so on.

These questions may seem obvious, but it’s an important conversation to have before making the long-term commitment of owning a home.

Step 2: Your budget and your needs

It might be tempting to hop online and start shopping for houses, but first you should get a clear idea of the size and cost of the house you’re looking for. This involves determining your budget, thinking about your credit and planning for your down payment.

Step 3: Mortgage pre-approval

Getting preapproved for a mortgage can be a great way to gauge the interest late and loan amount you’ll be approved for. You’ll need to gather paperwork, including income information (pay stubs), tax returns, and W-2 forms.

Be aware that lenders will run a detailed credit report. Since credit reports count as an inquiry, they can temporarily lower your credit score by a few points.

Applying to several lenders within a short period of time can make a significant impact on your score. However, it will start to rise again within a few months if you don’t open any new credit accounts or take out other loans.

Step 4: Get an agent

Real estate agents know the ins and outs of the home buying process better than anyone else. They’ll be able to guide you through the process and provide you with information that you can’t get anywhere else.

Step 5: Pick the right home for you

Now it’s time to start home shopping. However, before you begin, remember that getting approved for a loan doesn’t mean you must or should seek to spend the full amount on a home.

Plan for your needs, and keep the future in mind. Someday you might decide to upgrade, but in the meantime you can be building your credit and building equity in a smaller or more frugal home.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 9/6/2020

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

The short answer to our question of the day is...

We all know what we like when we see it. 

New flooring can greatly increase your home's beauty in the eye of the beholder, yet it's impossible to know what kind of flooring will attract your home's next buyer. That said, here are the top selling points of three popular options. 

Kudos for Carpeting

Carpet, especially if your home will be shown in the winter, is a popular way to add a comfortable look and feel to a home. Most often chosen for bedrooms, carpet can also hide a multitude of flaws beautifully and without a big dent in your savings. To spruce up a home for sale quickly, carpeting can be a great choice.

Now, for the possible drawbacks. Carpeting can cause issues for people with chemical sensitivities or allergies. It doesn't last forever, and it usually won't be as stylish in five years as it is when first installed. 

Tip: Going with one flooring choice throughout your main living spaces can produce an expansive, well put-together look.

Hoorahs for Hardwood

Hardwood flooring is a classic choice. Walk into a home with hardwood floor, and you get a sense of elegance, comfort and beauty. Over time, the essential oils of the wood offer a subtly aromatherapeutic and natural appeal. A well-maintained wood floor lasts for decades.

Yes, a lot of moisture can impact its look, and the kids and pets can scratch it. And refinishing is a big job involving chemical abrasion, although fans of the DIY method point out to us that there are wood and laminate refinishing kits on the market for under $100.  

Tip: A great, cost-effective alternative is engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood comes prefinished, can be easily installed without a subfloor. 

A Toast to Tile

Tile is as practical as it is handsome. Well-chosen tile will last the home's lifetime. The richer the hues, and the narrower the space left for grout to show, the easier tile is to clean.

In kitchens, either tile or laminate styled as tile works well. Expanses of tile are especially desirable in homes and condos throughout Florida and other warm states.

If you have tile, talk it up! Note its ease of cleaning, especially to potential owners with pets.

Tip: You can buy tile or laminate that looks like hardwood and have the hardwood look—without the refinishing needs.

Sellers Can Offer Options

If you're selling, and your flooring could use updating, considering offering to trim a little off your sale price, encouraging potential buyers to install their own choice of new flooring as desired. That offer itself might just make a deal happen.




Categories: home improvement  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 8/30/2020

If possible, it helps to maintain a flexible deadline as you navigate the homebuying journey. Because if you have a tight deadline in place, you risk making a rash homebuying decision. And as a result, you may pay too much to acquire a home. Perhaps even worse, you risk purchasing a house that fails to match your expectations.

As you prepare to kick off your homebuying quest, it helps to plan ahead. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to streamline your home search and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate the homebuying journey.

1. Prepare Homebuying Criteria

If you know you want to buy a home, you should put together property buying criteria. That way, you can enter the housing market with a plan in hand to acquire your dream residence.

To establish homebuying criteria, think about where you want to reside. For instance, if you want a home close to parks and other family-friendly attractions, you should hone your house search accordingly. On the other hand, if you need a house that offers quick, easy access to family members, you should search for a home near these relatives.

Consider the features you want to find in your dream home, too. If you make a list of home must-haves, you can focus exclusively on houses that have the features you require.

2. Establish a Budget

Usually, it is beneficial to begin a home search with a mortgage at your disposal. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know how much you can spend on a house. Then, you can search for houses that won't force you to exceed your budget.

To obtain a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about home financing. Plus, they can help you make an informed mortgage selection.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble performing a successful home search.

A real estate agent is devoted to homebuyers' success, and as such, will do what it takes to help you achieve your desired results. For instance, if you want to buy an affordable house in a small town, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to do just that. Or, if you want to purchase a home near your office in the city, a real estate agent will craft a custom homebuying plan so you can accomplish your goal.

Furthermore, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of buying a house. If you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent will respond to them – without exception.

Want to enjoy a fast, stress-free homebuying experience? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you may be better equipped than ever before to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 8/23/2020

If you recently bought or sold a house and need to move in the near future, there is no reason to put off packing. However, procrastination sometimes can get the best of people and lead individuals to wait until the final possible moment to pack.

Packing items at the last minute can be stressful. As such, it is important to do everything possible to avoid the risk of packing procrastination.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you prep for your upcoming move and ensure all of your belongings are packed and ready to go for moving day.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that you can use to overcome packing procrastination.

1. Plan Ahead As Much As Possible

Although it may be several weeks or months before you need to leave your current address, it never hurts to start planning for moving day early. That way, you can identify any potential moving day hurdles and eliminate these obstacles as quickly as possible.

To plan ahead for moving day, take a close look at your belongings and determine which items you intend to keep. If you have excess belongings, you should sell, donate or dispose of these items as soon as you can.

In addition, you may want to reach out to local moving companies. If you hire a moving company today, you'll be able to receive expert support when you finally transport your belongings to your new address.

2. Eliminate Distractions

Let's face it – life is busy, particularly for those who are moving to a new city or town in the foreseeable future. Therefore, it pays to eliminate distractions that may hinder your packing efforts.

For example, if you spend several hours each day browsing the web, you may want to use some of this time for packing. You can even reward yourself with a few minutes of exploring the web for every hour that you pack.

Remember, you need to pack your belongings to ensure you can vacate your current address by a specific date. If you remove distractions along the way, you can increase the likelihood of packing all of your belongings in time for moving day.

3. Reach Out to Family Members and Friends for Assistance

Contact family members and friends for assistance as you prep for moving day – you'll be glad you did. These loved ones may be able to lend a helping hand with packing. Plus, family members and friends likely will hold you accountable for your actions and ensure you can stay on track with your packing goals.

Lastly, if you require additional help with your upcoming move, you may want to reach out to a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the best moving companies in your area to help you streamline the moving process.

Remove the risk of packing procrastination – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble preparing for moving day.




Tags: packing   packing to move  
Categories: packing   packing to move  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 8/16/2020

Photo by Sidekix Media on Unsplash

Textiles are one of the most important aspects of interior design—a true decorating fundamental that interior designers use to pull a room together. These things are often overlooked in favor of stylish trim, on-trend paint shades, and well-chosen furniture, however. Those are all necessary parts of the design equation, but without the right fabrics and wallpapers to unite the room, the design might fall flat.

Past trends featured monochromatic shades, lots of clean lines, and an overall sleek look. These days, trends are shifting, and prints are coming back in style. So how do you introduce patterns into a room? It can be a little tricky to do it right without making the look feel too busy or overwhelming. But there are lots of places to place your favorite prints—curtains, rugs, upholstery, wallpaper, wall art—the list goes on. Here are three ways interior designers use prints and patterns to create a cohesive look!

Match Your Patterns

If you’re thinking about going bold with lots of patterning in a given room, then the best way to do it is to choose matching patterns. They don’t necessarily need to be identical to each other, but they should be similarly themed. If you choose geometric patterns, for instance, make sure that all the patterns within the space feature a geometric style. Introduce geometrics with throw pillows, rugs, framed art, curtains or other elements. Three elements are typically enough to give the look unity without making it too overwhelming.

Make Colors Match

Maybe you’d rather avoid matching patterns because you’d like to mix tulle upholstery with floral curtains and a wallpaper border along the ceiling in a third pattern. How to go about harmonizing this type of look? Do it through the colors. Choose a shade in common between each of your patterns—orange, green or some other shade. Make sure each pattern within the room contains this shade so that the room looks polished and well-thought rather than haphazard.

Make A Statement With A Single Bold Pattern

Sometimes just a single pattern is enough to make a statement—especially if you’re going for a more elegant look that doesn’t mix a lot of colors or patterns. This is the time to focus on a single bold pattern for the room. There are several ways to do this.

  • Use a patterned rug as a bold focal point to draw attention to the center of the room.
  • Flooring can also be patterned. Try checkered tile, parquet floors or some other design to ground the room.
  • Save patterns for the curtains while keeping the rest of the room simple.
  • Add a sense of height and drama with patterned ceilings. Ceilings can be coffered, textured or covered with wallpaper.
  • Hang a large piece of art to create a bold focal point.

Wherever you choose to introduce this single statement piece, keep in mind that against plainer surroundings, this is the piece that will draw the eye. Choose placement carefully to create a focal point exactly where you want it.

When you know all the tricks that designers use, it’s easy to give your space a high-end look with carefully chosen patterns. While you can introduce them through architectural elements like flooring and ceilings, fabrics and other textiles are one of the best ways to get the look. That’s because they’re easily interchangeable as tastes and trends change.




Categories: Decor