WANTING TO SELL YOUR HOME BUT NOT QUITE READY TO MOVE?

You know that you need to move, and the market is right to sell, but you’re not quite ready to pack up everything. After all, you still have to live in your home until it sells. So how do you get ready to sell without entirely disrupting your life?

Start by getting organized. Move from room to room in your home and take stock of the items you use regularly and the items you haven’t touched in years. In each room, create five piles for sorting. Some organizers advocate putting sell and give in the same pile, or using large containers or boxes instead of piles, but this doesn’t work well for large items such as furniture.

The five areas should be:

  • TRASH: These items are broken and not reparable, or used up or no longer useful to anyone. Of these items, take a moment to sort what needs to be recycled or requires special disposal like batteries or electronics.
  • SELL: These items have value on the market but you no longer use them in your household. Items to consider for this category are collectables, large or small appliances, electronics, designer clothing, shoes and handbags, furniture, and expensive games and toys.
  • GIVE: These items are gently used and have more value as a tax write-off if given to charity than if sold. This includes most clothing and many household goods.
  • STORE: Items for storage include seasonal clothing, holiday decorations, important papers and other documents, family keepsakes and heirlooms that you do not use or display, extra furniture and other items that you plan to use in the future.
  • KEEP: In this pile place all the items and clothing that you use currently, and that you will need to keep your household operating smoothly while your home is on the market.

Take care of the TRASH first. Get it out of your house and arrange to have special disposal items picked up. Deliver dead electronics to a charity or business that disposes of them or call your local waste management provider for options.

Next, collect all of the GIVE items; divide them up by charity, hand-me-downs to family and friends, etc. Call friends, family and charities to schedule a pickup, or make plans to deliver these to their new owners all in one day.

Now, you have three groups left. Consider the SELL items and divide them into categories such as collectables, electronics, designer goods, furniture and the like. Take pictures of each item. If you have the time or inclination, you can sell these yourself on Internet listing sites such aseBay, Craigs List or Tradesy or you can find a service to do it for you.

So, what you have left to organize are the items you need to STORE for future use, and the things you use regularly. You may already have a storage unit, or a large attic, but to make things easier for your upcoming move, consider using portable storage. Made popular by PODSand Got Junk, now dozens of companies offer portable storage solutions. Ideally, the company delivers a portable storage container to your doorstep for easy loading. Once you’ve filled it with the items you need to store, the company removes the container and stores it off-site for a monthly fee. When you are ready to move, simply have the container returned to your doorstep, load your remaining items and have it delivered to your new home.

Lastly, take a couple of days to organize your remaining items from the KEEP pile. When your professional real estate agent asks to show your home, getting it ready will be a snap! So, call your real estate agent today to get things rolling.

THE FIRST THANKSGIVING IN YOUR NEW HOME

You’ve invited everyone to celebrate Thanksgiving with you in your new home … a joy-filled day with family and friends, good company, great food, celebrating old traditions and creating new ones!  The first holiday gathering in your new home celebrates more than the season, it celebrates the start of special memories in a new place.

To mark your first Thanksgiving in your new home, consider these ideas:

The Decor

Most likely, you’ve spent your decorating budget on long-term furnishings for your new place.

  • To add a little holiday panache, create a centerpiece of beeswax candles, gourds, mini pumpkins and dried leaves.
  • Or place some bare branches in a vase. Have everyone write something they’re thankful for on a paper leaf and tie it to the tree. As you gather for the meal, let everyone choose a leaf to read.
  • A floral basket with late blooms from you new backyard blend nicely with branches of dried berries and white pumpkins.

For more simple and beautiful centerpiece ideas, check out these great options or search on “thanksgiving decorations” on Pinterest to see what others are doing.

Realize, too, that your new home may be décor enough since many friends and family will be seeing it for the first time.

The Feast

Whether your plans include an elaborate spread or simpler fare, everyone loves to get involved. So, let Great Aunt Lydia bring her famous fruit salad, and let the kids make the green bean casserole. Part of the fun is in the doing and the best memories include both the old traditions and the new.

Speaking of new … try a simple new recipe like Sweet and White Mashed Potato Swirl, or an easy make-ahead fresh cranberry Jello salad or a cranberry mimosa. Simplify the day by making some of your meal in a slow-cooker. If you’re adventuresome, try a Cajun-style deep-fried turkey.

If your new home is smaller, consider serving buffet-style. If you live in a warmer clime, perhaps adding a portable outdoor heater can extend your dining area to the patio.

The best advice?

Enjoy the time with family and friends. Don’t make your menu so complex that all your attention is on the meal preparations instead of your guests. If there are ways to minimize the mess — foil pans, paper plates, etc. — and simplify the cleanup, so much the better. You don’t want to miss out on family tag football in your new backyard because you had dishes to do and pots to scrub.

Need a new home for the next holiday?

If you’re not yet in your new home, we can help you find one for the next holiday. Give us a call … we might even help you find a Black Friday special over the holiday weekend and get you well on your way to celebrating next Thanksgiving in your new place.

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CAN YOU SELL YOUR HOUSE WITH UNPERMITTED CHANGES?

Often, homeowners make changes and upgrades to their home without securing permit. In some cases, permits are not required, but in many cases they are. When you attempt to sell your home, investigations by the buyer’s real estate agent, inspector or legal representation may discover undocumented changes that could hinder the sale. The degree to which this causes difficulties greatly depends on the types of changes made to the original structure, and whether your buyer’s lender will give a loan on property with unpermitted changes.

Sometimes, the changes occurred even before you purchased the home. Since laws may have changed in your municipality over the course of your ownership, changes that did not matter when you bought your home may be questioned when you try to sell it.

If you believe your home has unpermitted construction, there are things you need to know about it:

  • What was constructed? A patio? A second bathroom? A sunroom?
  • When was it constructed? Before you bought the home? After?
  • Was a permit required and is a permit in place that you are not aware of?

Grandfathering

A “grandfather clause” is an exception to a requirement, covenant or restriction that allows those already doing or having something to legally continue to so even if the new restriction would not allow them to do or have it. With regard to an unpermitted home upgrade, if the upgrade was added prior to the change in the law and the law does not require retroactive compliance, then the exception typically is allowed to remain. An obvious exception to this would be a change that posed a danger to anyone living in the home or on the property.

Retroactive permits

If you discover upgrades, retrofits, additions or renovations in your home you should check city records to see if a permit was required for that type of work in the year(s) you believe it was completed. Then, search municipality records to see if permits were in place. If a permit was required, but you do not find one in place, you can either request a retroactive permit, or sell your home “as is” (see below). Many municipalities have a method in place to obtain retroactive permits. Check to see what the total cost of the permitting process will be. You may have to pay for permits, fines, inspections and other fees. The total cost of obtaining retroactive permits may be greater than the return on your investment.

Selling “As Is”

If you do choose to sell your home “as is,” you do not need to disclose to the city building department that you believe you have unpermitted construction. Therefore, until you are certain that you want to file a request for a retroactive permit, take care in your research not to disclose information when you communicate with municipal offices that might trigger an inspection.

On the other hand, in the selling process, fully disclose to your real estate agent items that you know about for certain—that is, upgrades or additions you initiated during your ownership. You do not want a sale delayed or to fall through because a lender requires a permit, and you want to make sure that an appropriate “as is” clause is written into the sales contract.

We can help you determine which items need permitting, which need disclosure and which are fine as they are.

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HOW TO MAKE YOUR LIVING ROOM FLOW

One of the first decisions you make in your new house is where to place your furniture. In the living areas, furniture placement can make or break your home’s “flow” or ease of movement. A sofa placed just two feet one way or the other, a side table too far out of reach or a rug that catches in the doorway can make a magazine worthy design a frustrating living experience.

Know your limitations

Beautiful magazine designs inspire us to try to work the same magic in our own space. Sometimes, however, achieving that beautiful look results in awkward movement and less than ideal daily use. Remember that the camera angle hides parts of that lovely layout meaning that it might not work the way you want in your space.

Note your room’s dimensions, and the location and orientation of windows, doors and doorways, fireplaces and other immovable architectural details. Draw a rough sketch of your room’s layout. Using a scale of one inch to one foot, or for larger rooms a half-inch to one foot makes your layout simpler. If you use metric measures then use a scale in multiples of 10 for simplicity.

Now, imagine the most efficient ways to enter and leave the room, reach switches, outlets and windows, or view the fireplace. Shade in a pathway to those places with at least 24 inches of walk space. If you end up with too much shaded area, you’ll have to decide which pathways are most important.

Take measurements of your furniture. Be sure to use the longest and widest parts. Create cutouts for them that you can move around on your sketch to find possible locations. Make note of all the options that might work. This simple activity saves on back pain and stressing out those friends that offered to help you move.

If sketching isn’t your forté, try this living room layout infographic for help.

Note these considerations

As you try various arrangements, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I see the television from the most comfortable seating?
  • Does the height of this piece block the windows or switches?
  • Can I reach a side table or coffee table from each seat?
  • Do my lamps and other lights offer correct light to each space?
  • Can I enter and leave the room without having to move more than 90 degrees around furniture?
  • Is my seating too near/far from the fireplace/air conditioning/radiator?

Try it on for size

Choose the layout that appears to satisfy the most possibilities for keeping your room flowing in a natural way. Move your larger pieces of furniture into place and try sitting in them, walking around them and moving in and out of the room and surrounding areas. Adjust these pieces until you’re satisfied before moving in all of the smaller pieces. If you have to change or replace an item to make it fit your new space, you want it to be the smaller or lesser expensive pieces.

We can help

If you have specific furnishings that need to fit in your new home, let us know ahead of time. We’ll show you homes that will fit your furnishings.

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ARE THERE HOLES IN YOUR HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE?

You bought your new house, put in new carpet and just had your custom-made sofa delivered when you find the drainage pipes have backed up. Your in-laws will be here tomorrow, so you call your homeowner’s insurance agent only to find out your policy does not cover sewer.

Say what?

Many homeowners are surprised to learn that their insurance does not cover everything. In fact, it may not cover several things that you assume it does.

Flooding

Your home can experience flooding from several sources. Flooding from heavy rains, tropical storms, or hurricanes is not covered by most policies, but in 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that offers coverage to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the program. Community participation means that the municipality adopts and enforces ordinances aimed at reducing flooding and that meet or exceed FEMA requirements.

NFIP does not cover flooding from sewer backup, seepage, or hydrostatic pressure (water pressure from saturated soil) unless caused by a federally defined flood.

Mold

Hiding behind drywall and ceilings, or lurking under floorboards, mold comes in over a thousand varieties and poses health risks. Even policies that cover mold only cover mold from specific sources, and typically have $10,000 limits. The cost to remove and repair damage from mold can easily top that amount.

Sewer Backup

Aging sewer systems and backed-up storm drains can allow sewerage to backup into your home. Unless you have an extra endorsement that specifically covers sewer backup, you are on your own for the cleanup and repairs.

Sinkholes and Earthquakes

A sinkhole is when water erodes the rock underground allowing the surface to collapse into the hole. If the sinkhole happens under your home, the damage to your home is major. In most states, sinkhole damage is considered the same as other earth movement (earthquakes) and is excluded from most insurance policies. Earthquake or ground-movement policies are additional.

Termites

Over time, termites destroy support beams, walls, and other wooden parts of your home. Nationwide, damage from termites amounts to more than $5 billion in damage to homes and other structures. Homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover termite damage.

Pets

Many insurance companies will not cover certain breeds in the standard coverage. While some may charge higher premiums for them, others may not cover them at all. If you pet bites or injures a guest (or stranger) on your property, you may be on the hook for medical bills and liability in case of a lawsuit.

Toys

The high accident risk from trampolines means many insurance companies will not cover injuries of a family member or guest. Some companies will not insure you at all if you have a trampoline on your property.

War

Most insurance policies exclude acts of war.

Nuclear Plant Accidents

While your homeowners insurance will not cover a nuclear plant accident, a 1957 law compensates people in the United States from damage or injuries after an accident at a nuclear plant. But the coverage does not pay your mortgage while your home is unlivable.

Take time to discuss all of your insurance needs with your insurance agent. Make sure you fully understand the coverages and exclusions and carefully determine the extra coverage you may need in your situation. Begin immediately to set aside an emergency fund to cover incidents—like backed-up sewer lines—that your homeowners policy excludes.

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DO I WANT TO BUY WITH CASH?

According to Market Watch, 43% of homebuyers in 2014 so far have purchased with all cash. While some analysts believe that the cash-buying frenzy will not last, there is always more room for negotiation when the buyer brings cash to the table. When it comes to buying a home in a hot real estate market, sometimes cash can net you a lower price than a mortgage. So, if you’ve just sold your home and are looking to buy a new one with cash or are otherwise planning your estate, here are some things to remember.

Reasons to buy with cash:

As an empty nester or retiree looking to downsize, you often have cash from the sale of your larger home to purchase a new home. This allows you to choose a smaller home, pay cash, and possibly have money left over. Or, you can buy into a better community for retiring. So while you may end up with a smaller home, the amenities more than make up the difference.

Sometimes, you want to gift a home to your children as a wedding gift, or as part of your estate planning. After all, homeownership is part of the American dream. However, gifting only a down payment may pressure your loved ones to purchase a home when they are not ready to be homeowners. A better option for them would be to purchase a home for them with all cash. The home is paid-for and their obligation would extend only to yearly taxes and insurance, but not the heavy burden of a mortgage. A paid-for starter house protects them from the ups and downs of the market as well, and gives them a basis for a mortgage when the time is right for them.

Investment property that is completely paid for can be a “cash cow” for your retirement. The ongoing income from a rental that does not have a mortgage can make your retirement a little more comfortable, and is less problematic in probate than properties with mortgages would be.

Reasons to have a mortgage:

If you have a financial instrument that might give you a higher rate of return than the mortgage will cost you, it might make more sense for you to invest your cash in the higher return and to take out a low cost mortgage on the property.

If you need to improve your credit report, it might be better for you to take a mortgage. This type of “good debt” can improve your credit score and make it easier to borrow money for other reasons.

Additionally, there are tax benefits from holding a mortgage that, depending on your financial situation, may be more beneficial than owning the home free and clear. Of course, before you make this decision you should check with your tax accountant or financial advisor.

Negotiating with cash:

When you find the perfect house and you’re ready to make an offer, don’t start with the “all cash” offer. If the sellers know that you are able to pay cash for their asking price, they will be less willing to negotiate with you. Let your professional real estate agent help you determine the best time to reveal your cards. We know the right time to offer cash to get the seller to agree to your offer.  Call us today and we can get started finding the perfect home for you and negotiating the best offer for your needs.

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WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR FHA MORTGAGE INSURANCE

An FHA mortgage is a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, insures loans so that lenders will offer appealing rates to less qualified borrowers at a lower down payment. Typically, an FHA loan requires a down payment of just 3.5 percent and allows sellers and lenders to offer special incentives. In return, FHA-approved lenders may charge a higher interest rate, so borrowers should shop for the best rate among FHA-approved lenders. Your payment includes a premium amount to pay for the mortgage insurance the FHA provides.

Result of Premium Hikes

Many of the mortgage defaulted on during the housing collapse were FHA insured homes. In response, the FHA began raising premium rates and fees in 2010. Now at their highest to date, premium rates and fees were raised at least five times since then, resulting in borrowers paying roughly $100 more per month in out-of-pocket expenses for home ownership on a $150,000 home. Upfront premiums are higher too. According to Robert Freedman at the National Association of Realtors, the result is a reduction by 90 percent in mortgage originations among borrowers in the 620 to 680 credit score range among moderate-income households simply because they cannot afford the additional $1200 in annual payments.

Is an FHA Loan Still a Good Deal?

If you dream of homeownership but cannot quite save up the 20 percent needed for a conventional loan, an FHA loan may still work for you. Just know that your payments will be higher than in the past. Qualifying is more stringent too, since lenders my baulk at credit scoreslower than 620 even though the FHA only requires a score of 580 to meet its 3.5-percent down payment option. As a potential aid to borrowers, the upfront premium may be rolled into the loan, spreading that cost out over time.

Ways to Reduce Payments

The annual premium varies according to the size of down payment, or if you are refinancing, by the amount of equity you have in your home. If your down payment is at least five percent, you may qualify for a lower premium. Additionally, utilizing a graduated payment loan or adjustable rate loan may result in lower initial payments. The best way to reduce payments, however, is by making a larger down payment. The FHA allows portions of the down payment to come from family gifts as well as from personal savings, so if your family is on board, you could get a lower rate.

Qualify for a Better Loan

More than anything else, borrowers should consider avoiding these mistakes when looking to qualify for an FHA loan. Do not make large purchases on credit before applying for your loan. Your debt-to-income ratio weighs heavily in your ability to qualify for a loan. Work on your credit score. The higher your credit score, the better your chances. Be careful and deliberate in how you use credit, make payments and pay down existing loans. Avoid overbuying. Your first home does not have to be your dream home. Consider it a starting point on a lifelong journey to the right home at the right time.

We specialize in helping you find the right home for your situation. Call us today to get started.

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EXPAND YOUR SUMMER LIVING SPACE

As the temperatures heat up and barbeque season is in full swing, the outdoors beckons. Early morning coffee on the back deck as the sunrises and late evening gatherings to watch the stars come out do not require shade, but to fully utilize your outdoor area, consider these tips to expand your living space with outdoor style.

Make a patio

If you do not already have a patio, DIY one in a couple weekends with one of these easy ideas:

  • Laid Pavers: Most DIY stores have pavers available in their outdoor area. Pavers come in standard shapes like rectangles, squares, octagons, and circles, or in abstract shapes that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Some are brick-like and others are stone-like. No matter which ones you choose, make sure to prepare the patio foundation before laying your pavers. You will find dozens of instructions and online videos like this one to help you on your way.
  • Inset Pavers: For a quick alternative, set large pavers into your existing turf to create a useful patio area. Set your stones on your lawn in the pattern you like. Use a sharp blade to cut around the stone deep into the turf. Move the stone and remove the turf, leveling the soil. Pour playground sand over the soil, and set your paver into the space and level it. Continue until all stones are where you want them. Grass will grow between your stones, giving your patio an old-fashioned look. Pavers set this way shift over time due and may need resetting periodically.
  • Use grass and turf pavers. Popular in Europe, grass and turf pavers have a honeycomb design that allows water to permeate and grass to grow through. The effect is a verdant lawn appearance with the usefulness of a patio. An added advantage is that the earth and grass in the pavers keep your patio area cooler than a concrete or solid paver patio.

Provide shade

No matter where your home is, sometimes you need shade in order to enjoy your outdoor space. Of course, long-term options include planting trees or creating an arbor with vines to provide a natural sun-cover, but for quicker options try one of these:

  • Canopies and Gazebos: Available at outdoor stores, DIY centers, discount retail stores, and even closeout chains, covered gazeboes offer beauty, shade and versatility. Some have mosquito net curtains for an added benefit. You can set them over lawn, an existing patio, or even a driveway for a temporary space. They require some assembly and winter weather may damage the fabric coverings to plan to disassemble and store them after summer and fall.
  • Add shade to an existing porch with outdoor shades. Simple roll-up shades are easily installed and available from most discount and DIY retailers. Custom shades with sturdier hardware (and even motorized roll-up options) that retract into protective covers are the most durable option.
  • Retractable awnings mount on the exterior of your home and extend out over your patio area. Available in both manual and motorized versions, an advantage of retractable awnings is ease of storage in inclement weather.
  • Most simple of all is to set up a patio umbrella. Easy to find and easy to store, patio umbrellas offer a movable shade option. Be sure to set the umbrella in a solid base (metal or water-filled plastic). Adjustable umbrellas offer a tilt option to extend shade time. Protect your umbrella by lowering it at night so moisture runs off, and by storing it during inclement weather. WARNING: an open umbrella during a storm is dangerous both to your property and to your neighbors’ property. If your umbrella comes loose, it can damage power lines and windows, or blow into roadways. If you live in a windy area, opt for a wind-resistant umbrella like these to protect your investment.

 

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FROM HI-TECH RACE CAR TO HI-TECH HOME

Necessity drives innovation. Last week, quadriplegic former Indy 500 driver, Sam Schmidt drove a modified Corvette around the Indianapolis Speedway by moving his head and biting down with his teeth. Arrow Electronics, a medical and consumer electronics company used existing technology in novel ways to develop thisSemi-Autonomous Motorcar (SAM).

It’s not just racecars getting hi-tech treatment. A couple weeks ago, the Nod Gesture Control Ringentered the market. Nod is a hi-tech gadget geared to make your life easier. The ring—designed for wearing on the index finger—allows for continuous control of all your smart devices including phones and tablets, watches, Google Glass, televisions and computers, and even your home’s appliances with a wave of your hand through the air. It comes in 12 ring sizes and works for both right- and left-handed users.

But Wait, There’s More…

Less esoteric devices for home use hit stores earlier this year. These include a sensor to adjust your watering schedule like the Skydrop Sprinkler Controller, that senses fluctuations in moisture and precipitation, and adjusts when and how long your sprinklers run. On the other hand, consider a device that feeds and waters your pets from your smartphone, like the Petnet; no more worrying about overfeeding, and the device sends updates and reminders to your phone too.

You may not want Big Brother looking over your shoulder, but maybe you need Sense Mother to keep you on track. Sense Mother’s “Cookies” sensors attach to almost anything in your home and learn your family’s habits and behaviors. You can train the devices to remind you to drink enough water, or if you leave the refrigerator door open too long. It will tell you if your kids need to brush their teeth longer and let you know you forgot to water the plants.

Home Intelligence Devices

Belkin’s WeMo devices work with your home electronics and even your outlets, sockets and switches. Connecting through IFTTT (if this then that) Web technology, WeMo controls turning lights on and off, and measures and monitors energy consumption. It adjusts for the weather, responds to sports scores, and reacts to pretty much any other scenario you can create for it. It interfaces with Google Calendar, Evernote, Facebook, Twitter, and your home’s smart security system so if someone enters your home, WeMo can tweet you. You no longer have to pay for a cook, just let WeMo turn your oven or slow cooker on and offer your family perfectly cooked meals. Use its motion technology to warm (or cool) rooms as you enter them. The WeMo App, for your smartphone or tablet, works over Wi-Fi and 3G/4G.

Tech Just for the Kitchen

More narrowly focused devices make life in the kitchen easier. Consider the Egg Minder if you worry about salmonella, or the Prep Pad to keep your macronutrient levels just right. The GE Brillion app for your Android or iPhone works with several GE Profile wall ovens to enable remote cooking from turn-on and preheating to temperature changes and checking your roast’s internal temperature.

Walk in the door from work with dinner DONE!

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USE MEMORIAL DAY SALES TO YOUR HOME’S ADVANTAGE!

Keeping your home comfortable and up-to-date seems like an expensive endeavor. With trends changing so fast, our wallets can hardly keep up! Lucky for us, Memorial Day is just around the corner. If you shop smart at the sales this holiday you can give your home the facelift you desire.

5 Simple and Affordable Options to Look for Deals on This Holiday:

1. Curtains: For bathrooms, bedrooms, or living rooms, a simple curtain change can do wonders to the look of your room. Memorial Day is great for getting those curtains you have been lusting after for months, on clearance! Look for great deals on trending summer patterns. If you shop early and wisely, you can update multiple rooms in your home by making the one simple change.

2. Couch and Chair Covers: Want to lighten your furniture for summer? Look for great couch covers to change up your look and create a blank canvas for new colors and patterns. Try out upholstery changes in your dining room by purchasing chair covers with patterns and colors similar to upholstery changes you might be considering.

3. Throw Pillows and Blankets: Experiment with new colors and patterns without breaking your budget or making big changes to your home using pillows and throws. Find new styles to mix and match this summer and let them marinate in your home a couple months before you make more permanent renovations.

4. Duvet Covers: Give your boudoir multiple personalities to match your different moods! You will keep your wallet in check by giving yourself simple ways to switch it up without making large purchases.

5. Rugs: Rugs come in varying sizes, shapes and prices but you don’t have to make a large investment to get something classic, classy and fun. Summer rugs are usually lightweight canvas, jute, and sisal. These materials add a fresh, airiness to your home that is great for warmer months. Shop rug sales over the next few weeks and grab yourself a second option to use until winter!

Great Stores for Home Decor Deals:

Online and Off

TIP: Many of these stores offer their best deals on site instead of online. This being the case, we remind you of a typical sales tip. GO EARLY! Most of these shops are located in or near malls; you might only be shopping decor but everyone and their mother is shopping for something. Be sure to get in early to get what you want!

Online Only Shopping

TIP: Many stores/brands also have an Amazon or Wayfair presence in addition to their brick and mortar location or even their own website. Since consumers expect to find deals at these locations, sometimes it is best to find what you want online then search for it again at a place like Amazon—pricing is not always different, but when every dollar counts, it is worth the extra Googling.

Plus! Do not forget to check in with your local boutiques. They might be small but they love to get you a good deal too! Big stores seem to have better sales, but a truly unique home comes form that special piece that only you have.

TIP: Check in with your favorite boutiques early and make sure you know when their sales start. Small shops do not carry as much inventory as chain stores and they tend to start their sales a couple days (or weekends) early to keep up with the competition.

Our Gift to You! Here are some links to promo codes and coupons for upcoming sales!

Compliments of Virtual Results