10 Tips for (future) Homeowners

As the snow starts to melt (for good), and the birdies chirp a little more, and the blooms start to bud, the “for sale” signs start popping up more and more. As a kid growing up I loved looking at houses online (especially the really expensive ones) and then as B and I started our house search in the summer of 2014, it was definitely an experience that is probably different for most, making it hard to prepare for until you’ve actually done it.  So here is my advice for any of you who are on the house hunt to hopefully help you prepare for this potential roller coaster of a ride.

10 tips for future homeowners - the bee life

1. Love your realtor. We liked our realtor, but there were definite moments we did not like our realtor (like the time we wanted to make an offer on our house, and she told us she felt uncomfortable writing the price we wanted to go in at, and refused). You’ll be spending some nights and even some weekends with this person, in hopes they find you your dream home within a price point you’re content with. Try and find a family friend or referral and make sure they’re a good fit for your area and you! Do a few “phone interviews” before you truly commit.

2. Take notes and pictures. Don’t be shy, it is a bit awkward (especially the first few times)  having someone watch you look around your potential future home, but this is a serious decision so take your time, take notes, ask questions and take pictures! This is especially helpful if you’re looking at a few houses in one day, trust me after a few days or weekends you won’t be able to tell them apart – looking back at notes/photos helps you compare and eliminate as you go.

3. Go with your gut. Love at first sight? Or it’s an immediate no? Then cut the visit short, no need to waste the time of your realtor or yourself. On the flip side if you know it’s the one, go for it even if your fear (of a major commitment) starts setting in!

4. Be ready to act fast.  In our market, houses we would look at would literally be listed contingent the next day. So we learned quickly that if we saw a house we liked, we needed to be ready to act fast, because we lost a few good ones, even before we could look at them!

5. Hold your ground. When it comes to price, whether it’s going in low or going in at a price that’s comfortable for you, even if it comes down to negotiating, know what your bottom line is. Is it getting the closing costs covered? Or a lower sale price? We ended up coming up in price in order for the closing costs to get covered, because over the span of our mortgage it was not a big deal as opposed to having to pay more out right.

6. Compromise.  Wallpaper? Paint color? Carpet? Gross curtains? Don’t like the kitchen cabinet colors? All easy fixes- don’t let the little things affect your decision or turn you off from a house.  I’m honestly amazed at what a little (or a lot) of paint can do to improve the house without breaking the bank.

7. Be prepared for extra costs. When you’ve made the decision and are moving forward be prepared to have a little extra cash on hand for closing costs, the inspection and any other incidentals. These creeped up on us and can be scary if you’re not expecting them! We even had a few extra costs after we received the keys, like the refrigerator breaking that was an extra $700 dollars or so that we weren’t expecting to pay.

8. Push back your move-in date. (If you can) Yay! You have the keys! Let the fun begin! If there are projects big or small, try and get them done BEFORE you move in, you’ll be so much happier after the fact. Especially painting, it’s much easier to paint and tape and make a mess when you’re not worried about furniture.

9. Be ready, to notice a lot of random imperfections… once you move in and start cleaning! New house or old, your going to notice little things about the molding or floor or a crack in the wall you hadn’t noticed before and it’s ok! You’ll also learn the kinks that come with the house, good or bad, what I like to remind myself and B is, that it’s character!

10. Remember to relax. If you’re like us, with a century home there are plenty of projects big and small to do nonstop. Since we’ve lived in our house for over a year we have done A LOT! So remember to relax and take breaks in between the projects especially so you don’t get in a hole financially because random expenses will pop up!

This will be stressful, but it also will be fun! So enjoy the most of it, because once you find the house and can call it home, it’s all worth it. I love the fact that we have something we can call and make our own!  Good luck!

Wednesday Reminders – Growing Up

I’ve been recently reminded that I can still figure out what I want to do with my life.  At a young age and verging legal adulthood we’re pressured to decide what we want to do with THE REST OF OUR LIVES,  what we want to study at college and where we want to go. It’s scary and intimidating! And from college we’re challenged with figuring it out once the 4-years (or more) are nearly over and… actually do it.

I was lucky. I knew the general field I wanted to study, which was good and when I did any tweaking it wasn’t major, I didn’t need to start over, like some people do, let alone go back to school after you’ve graduated. That always sounded like a nightmare, and had a stigma of a failure.

But now I am realizing that we can still figure out what we want to do with our lives, even after college, even after we’ve been in the ‘real world’ for a brief or long period of time.  We can still go back to school and learn something new, pursue a passion and make it more than just a hobby.  It’s OK to change paths if it’s something that makes sense for you and makes you happy. it takes courageto grow up and become whoyou really are.I often joke with my bestie, that it sucks being a grown-up, having student loans to pay, a full time job, a mortgage/rent, car payment, insurance… shall I continue? All those things we don’t like, but have to do.  We then joke and say; “And we wanted all of this?!” – a lot of it is inevitable, but we can at least be happy while we’re grown-ups and if that means pursuing a different path or figuring out what we want to do with our lives, it’s OK.

I believe being happy in all aspects of your life (as much as possible) is important to your success. I think that if we’re not happy or still figuring out what we want to do in our lives its OK to take time each week and focus and figure out what that is and the steps you need to take to reach your goals.

Wednesday Reminders – Comfort

Being comfortable comes with a lot of positives and negatives.  Do you agree?

On the positive side, it takes us as human beings (some, not all) a while to get comfortable with a new school, new job, new friend or significant other, etc. It can take years! And finally once we are comfortable, what a relief and ease of potential stress or tension. With comfort your sense of being open and honest, and even trusting can grow and become stronger, which allows relationships and opportunities to grow and heightens your ability to learn. The only thing to fear is change in that comfort.

On the negative side, it’s some of those same positives that can get us into trouble.
In the workplace: The ability to be open and honest can sometimes get blurred on the edge of professional and personal, leading to an uncomfortable situation. We also might be more likely to over look a negative situation because finding a new job and going to the “first day” again is nerve racking and stressful, a pep talk to suck it up often does the trick. In a relationship: Even in a relationship being too honest with no filter can lead to hurt feelings, without intention – the same could go with not speaking up about certain things, sweeping things under the rug because it’s easier.  Or being too comfortable to the part where our self-image is overlooked also hurts too.  Falling into a pattern of not working out or motivating each other simply because your partner doesn’t, this will only cause tension in the long run.

I had a great opportunity last week to listen to the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer speak about her experiences and career, and a comment she made struck a cord – I think because I know it to be true. She mentioned that a lot of the opportunities she had came at risk, whether it was joining Google when it was a start-up or leaving Google after 13-years to start a new venture… when we as humans are comfortable, we don’t always like taking a risk or we can’t afford too. But we can.  She also said that the ability to learn, opened her up to the idea of change and that change can be good. This really got me thinking about how change and being uncomfortable might be the best thing for us sometimes, even though it is something we often resist.

How will you push your boundaries of comfort today?

Front Door Dilemma

Ever since I realized I was able to paint our beautiful original front door … I say realize because the inside is still original but for whatever reason the previous homeowners decided to paint the outside facing 100-year old door! And because of that, I now have had the ongoing dilemma on what color to paint this door.  We have a neutral colored house (tan with off white trim), so I feel like we have a pretty wide range of options… which also makes the decision much harder.

So beyond going on Pinterest for inspiration, I used the Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap app to look at a range of colors that I’ve been gravitating too. Finding the right shade of whatever color we end up choosing is important, and ColorSnap allows an ease of browsing along with saving the color swatch right on my phone!

I have looked at a few fun colors too, like a bright orange, or even a deep purple.  But I think going with something more practical.  But just when I think I am leaning towards one color over the other I change my mind.  I think I am just going to have to go for it!

Help! Any suggestions? Advice?

Thanks in advance,

Ten Things

Here are ten senseless distractions; and a quick read to get to know a little more about me!  I saw this idea in another blog I like to read; Centsational Girl and loved this idea and thought it would be the perfect distraction for my afternoon. It was hard just picking one answer for each, but I tried my best.

1. If money was no object, what’s something you’d buy right now.  My own personal gym.

2. Spring vs. Fall ? Fall – clam bakes, sweaters, pumpkins, coffee, jeans, scarfs, cool runs… shall I continue?
3. What’s on your nightstand? 
Pictures of me and B and my glasses.

4. What’s your favorite room in your house?  Our sunroom! 5. If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be?  Too many choices…. it’s a toss up between Derek Jeter and Katy Perry

6. Name one thing on your bucket list.  Sky dive with B

7. What’s the best vacation you’ve taken?  Jackson Hole w/ B and my parents! The company makes all the difference.
8. Congratulations, you just won an all expenses paid trip to
Ireland and Germany!

9. Backyard BBQ or Formal Dinner?  Formal dinner – I love getting dressed up, and sitting around the table sharing stories, good laughs and a bottle of wine.
10. What advice would you give your teen self?  
There is a much bigger world out there; explore it as much as possible, and even if you break away – there is still a bigger world beyond that.

Wednesday Reminders – Life

My daily quote box in my office inspired me once again:

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Sometimes our goals are life related but often times they’re work, or school related; which can lead to hard and negative situations that can so easily get us down or set us back, it’s only human nature.  It’s true at times that negatives/set backs can push us forward and make us work harder. But I think more importantly than the negative; we as humans often forget about the positive (guilty) which I think at times so much harder to be cognizant of.  As the quote above reminds us that life needs to be enjoyed before our goals can truly be rewarded.  To put the icing on the cake, I read another perfectly fitting and great reminder scrolling through my instagram feed last night, @alexajeanfitness posted;

“It’s easy to fall into the trap of replaying negative situations from the day that you wish you’d handled differently. Regardless of how badly the day went, the best thing to do is avoid that pessimistic spiral of negative self-talk because it will only create more stress. Remember to take some time to reflect on the positive moments of the day and celebrate the successes, even if they were few and far between.”

Yes! I did this all day yesterday, replayed a conversation that I wish hadn’t happened, and I wish I’d responded differently towards – and I read this and realized that the entire day I was grumpy and miserable and stressed because all I focused on was the negative. We need to remember to reflect and talk about the positives; and not in a coincidental way (my mom did that yesterday.)

So this morning I finally got a good laugh to snap me out of my grumpy funk, all at B’s expense but it was so needed, so thank you B ❤

I am owning situations, I am owning my actions and I am going to start talking about the positives and start enjoying life beyond my goals. Happy Wednesday!

MOH Duties

Last night, I literally dreamed my entire MOH speech for my best friend’s wedding… that by the way, isn’t until 2016. We have been texting and pinterest-ing wedding ideas back and forth since she asked me to be her MOH a few weeks ago. All of this wedding talk has got me thinking of all my other MOH duties.  Being that this is my first time as an appointed MOH, I decided to google and find out what exactly is expected of me, according to social standards. Luckily, based on The Knot’s detailed MOH description, nothing was really a surprise to me… but I can’t think it includes everything… does it?

Main Duties:

  • Lead the Bridesmaid Entourage
  • Dress Shopping!
  • Attend all Pre-Wedding parties
  • Plan Bachelorette party
  • Host/Co-Host Bridal Shower

On top of all the standard MOH duties, Katie lives back home in upstate NY, so I hope the distance won’t affect too much.  I’ve already made the decision that I’ll be traveling a little bit more on the weekends, especially as things start to pick up. Not to mention I need to get there within the next month, so we can officially celebrate the engagement and the MOH duties, since she asked me over FaceTime!

To all my fellow MOH’s out there, what are some tips you’ve learned after going through your MOH duties?

Thanks in advance!

Wednesday Reminders.

Life seems to be one big race to the next vacation, the next meeting, the next holiday, the next weekend… shall I go on?  It’s little reminders like this; that help put life in perspective, let you take a step back, breathe in a deep breath, and realize all in good time.  I know more great things are headed my way, but it’s hard not to be eager and impatient, our society is all about knowing things… Right. Now.

In light of all that, today marks a big anniversary for B and I, and also marks a new anniversary and the start of our next adventure together… our house! I’m thankful and reflective today of all the great things in my life and all the great things yet to come. #happywednesday