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!

House Hunters – Bathroom Retreat

Bathroom’s are always something to marvel over, they’re second best to the kitchen when it comes to a top-selling point for a house.  Well for B and I the kitchen and bathroom’s could both use a good overall.  Although I don’t see the bathroom being for awhile, as it’s a big space and functional, all the upgrades found be purely for our own reasons, not because anything is broken, which I guess isn’t necessarily a bad thing. *smiles*

We have a ‘claw foot’ tub (without the claw feet) and I love it, however I am thinking if we ever remodel our bathroom, we would ditch the claw foot and do a stand-up shower. We would gain so much more space for a vanity. But then people argue, that the resale value on the house is lower because people want bathtubs (especially families)… I feel like it’s a lose-lose regardless, just do what we want, right?

Here is the wishlist:

  • White subway tiles
  • Double vanity or an extended counter
  • Larger mirror
  • Accents of color with flooring or tile work
  • Lots of shower heads
  • Chandelier light fixture
  • Stand-up shower and claw-foot tub

Some inspiration…

I think our kitchen remodel will come first before the bathroom, but you never know! We might just go crazy and tackle everything at once one of these days. This bathroom certainly won’t be a DIY project… maybe parts but not all. Until then I will be looking at lots of pretty pictures building and dreaming of our future bathroom.

House Hunters – Sun room

Since the weather is finally starting to perk up, there has been one room in the house that has been completely neglected – our sun room. This room is strictly a 2-season use room (for now) since it’s all windows and horribly insulated, thank you 100-year old home. So knowing this; I don’t want to put too much time or money into it, but I still want it to be a warm, inviting space that will be used on weekend mornings, rainy nights or afternoons.

Here’s the space we’re working with;

It’s basically a square with windows on three-walls and a door with two smaller walls from the camera perspective. First things first; it will need a coat of paint (the only room in the house that hasn’t been painted) – that dull yellow is going to turn into a crisp white. The ceiling and floors are a dark color, I am considering painting the ceiling white and maybe doing some antique texturing. A new area rug is also needed to add that cozy feel.


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These pieces might be a little big for this space, but I like the idea of it just being a room with a couch so all you can do is relax and enjoy the weather without actually being outside. We plan to go furniture shopping soon for our living room, so maybe we will throw in a piece or two for the sun room! First thing’s first; PAINT!

House Hunters – Patio Season

Happy First Day of Spring!

As warmer days and longer nights are upon us, patio season is right around the corner!  I am so excited that we have our own patio space to enjoy this year.

Our front porch is the next space that needs to be furnished for warm weather enjoyment, and of course there are so many possibilities. Before we buy any furniture we’ll need to assess the space we have first, it’s not the biggest front porch but it’s big enough to accommodate a nice seating area. That’s why looking for compact pieces (like the chair set below) – is key, multifunctional pieces allow for items to be stored away when not being used for optimal space. Bright colors and neutrals are a must for my outdoor space, I am sure a few DIY projects will pop up once we get into it to pull those elements in.

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We will also be landscaping our front, so when everything gets done it will really pull together nicely.  I am so excited to get flowers and planters along with the furnishings, to create our own outdoor space, with greens used for privacy. Morning coffee on the weekends will be that much warmer when we have this space complete!

House Hunters – Living Room Digs

Even though we have moved into the house and are pretty settled, we still have future decorating plans (that’s a given, right?) and one that is going to make a huge impact is our living room. I feel like there are so many ways to go with our furniture and style.  Also not being a designer; I have a hard time describing my style. So if anyone out there wants to help this girl out, I would love that!

Ideally, I would love to start with neutral bases for our big furniture pieces – whites and beige’s or grey’s.  Then from there start bringing in the color with an area rug, ottoman, pillows, and light fixtures. Something like this;

Pulled from How to Decorate via Pinterest – Site linked to picture.

How to make this my own:

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This is still a work in progress – but a starting point. I have really struggled with my living room, I feel like there are so many possibilities, I am just focusing on staying patient and when I see it I’ll know! How do you help decide on your designs?

House Hunters – Bye Apartment

Moving this weekend ends an era at 12505 along the lake. This was B and I’s first place together and honestly… I love our space. But I didn’t love all things that came along with it… especially over time.

Things I won’t miss;

  • Slamming doors in the hallways
  • Cigarette smoke coming up from the opened windows
  • Close neighbors
  • The barking French bull dogs underneath us
  • Our parking lot
  • Cat lady leaving cat litter in the halls

Things I will miss;

  • Our massive closets
  • Being super close to work/downtown
  • Prime running location
  • Our fireplace
  • Our cozy bungalow
  • The Pontiac couple’s fights across the street

We’ve had laughs, we’ve had cries, yelling, and parties. We’ve hung pictures and decorated for the different holidays. This was our home for 2-years and now we will start all of this in our new home. I will miss our little bungalow on the lake, as I have liked to call it. It was a cozy, warm and inviting space that will always have a special place in my heart. I knew as soon as we saw this space that it was going to be ours, and I think B had the same feeling when he walked into our house, we just had to do some convincing to each other in both respects.

House Hunters – Office Space

After two full weekends of house work, and keeping Lowe’s in business, the anticipation of moving into our house has been building… I just want to decorate and organize!!

Again, I blame pinterest for all of my design aspirations, including our future office. I want our office space to be chic and elegant but also sporty, we have some sports memorabilia that I’d like to be able to include in the same vein. So I feel like (once again) the contrast between dark navy blues with whites and greys is a good balance – but I know I can’t use this color pallet for every room… right? Another reason I love this color pallet so much is that it’s still sophisticated without being too girly, because frankly I would love to do something like this… But I wouldn’t do that to B. *smiles*

My inspiration:
MadeByGirl: Anya Kucheryavenko, small office defined by navy wall behind shelves, darling

Pulled from “Made By Girl” Blog via pinterest – Site linked to picture.

How to make this my own:

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In the next week or two, we should finally be moving into the house. All of the work we have been wanting to get done is nearly under wraps! Then the before and after pictures will start coming… so get ready!

Until next time…

House Hunters – Bedroom Retreat

T-minus one week and 2-days until we get our house keys! Our dining room is slowly coming to life… the rug and chairs have arrived, plus we are having a custom table built that will end up being 8’x4′ – I can’t wait to see the finished product.

One of the other rooms that I have high hopes for…thanks to pinterest…. is our master bedroom.  We plan to turn our attic into our master retreat, which will have some logistical set backs (ie: heating and cooling) but the space is monstrous and has so many possibilities! Not to mention… two walk-in closets. I really want to go with a classic look with lots of neutrals and pops of color, the navy and white/grey color scheme is really catching my eye, it’s so timeless.

We will also have room for a seating area, that means fun chairs are a must! I love the chair below (04), plus they’re available in other colors. The pops of color will come into play with pillows, because let’s face it you can never have too many pillows, and other decorative accents throughout.  I also like the idea of having an upholstered headboard, it just gives a homey feeling… below is just a mess of ideas I’ve pulled together, definitely still a work in progress!

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Happy decorating!

House Hunters – Dining Room Design

Well it has been nearly 3-months since we began our house hunt, and we are happy to report that we got a house!  We probably also have the most lucky and unique story when it comes to our house. To give you the cliff notes version; we saw this house our second day looking at houses, B loved it – I was stuck on a house we lost. The house had an offer placed on the house, so we went back to look at the house and ended up placing an offer – we freaked out and pulled our offer. The house was gone – contingent with the other offer. A week or two later, the house was back on the market. Two weeks after that we went and looked at it again. Two weeks after that, we went back again with my contractor uncle and did a more technical walk-through (so in case your counting, we saw the same house 4x).  After that, we made a real offer, and after a bit of negotiations our offer was accepted!!

Now the fun part begins -decorating! Here are our plans for the dining room; I want a mix of patterns, modern and a classic look to tie into the bones of the house, (which will be 100 years in 2015)!  I am obsessed with the floral chairs (05) – I think these would look good  for the heads of the table. We are also looking into having our table made, so that is it a little more affordable – more details to come on that.

Dining Room Design
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While we wait to close on the house I have been doing plenty of on-line shopping and deal hunting – any suggestions for hidden online (or places) treasure troves for a great deal? I am always game for a good DIY project!