Technology is helpful in so many areas of life, even real estate. Twenty years ago, if someone were moving across the country, they'd have to wait to buy a house until they arrived to start their new life, or they’d have to buy a home without seeing it in person beforehand. Both options would cause extra unwanted stress on top of moving to an unfamiliar place. Luckily, with the rise of technology, virtual tours are here to save the day!


When it comes to creating a virtual tour, don't panic. Your real estate agent will be there to guide you through the entire process. An agent may help to schedule a videographer to come to your house, or utilize software like Tour Wizard or My360 to create a virtual tour of their own that can be added to the listing. Real Estate Agents can also use FaceTime or other apps to give their customers a tour of a house that doesn't include a virtual tour of the listing.


There are a few ways to prepare your home before filming a virtual tour. Start by turning on all the lights in your home and opening the blinds or window coverings. You'll need optimal lighting to get the best footage, so your realtor will most likely schedule filming in the morning or late afternoon. Take time to clean your house before the virtual tour and remove all clutter and any furniture you don't want to be seen. Your realtor will help you with a simple staging of your home beforehand so it looks presentable in the video. The great thing about staging for a virtual tour is you'll only have to keep it that way for a couple of hours before you can put everything back where it belongs.


Once the virtual tour of your house has been edited, it'll be ready to show potential buyers. Your real estate agent will show you the final footage and add it to your listing. Anyone interested in taking a virtual tour can easily watch it online to get a good idea of what to expect in person.


When you’ve decided it's time to sell your home, a virtual tour can be a great way to get more people to see it and secure a buyer in less time than a traditional open house. Not only does it give potential buyers a first glimpse, but it also ensures that only people who are seriously considering purchasing your home request a tour or show up to the open house.

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I know a lot of us absolutely love decorating our home in the winter to give it that extra cozy feel. And who can blame us?! Outside we’re surrounded by snow drifts, short days, and those chilly winds that make you wish you had worn that extra sweater. But when someone says, “Winter Décor”, let’s be real, our minds jump to Christmas decorations! But what about the other 3 months of winter we still have to go through? Are you actually planning on keeping that Christmas tree up until April? I mean, there’s no judgement on my end, but you most likely won’t. So, I’ve put together a list of 5 items that are neutral but will still give you that super cozy winter vibe for the ENTIRETY of winter!



COZY THROWS

I don’t about you, but nothing says cozy to me quite like a throw! Merino wool chunky knit throws and faux-fur throws are perfect to casually throw over a chair, couch, or even your bed! It will instantly have your room feeling warm and toasty, while giving off chalet vibes. A great idea is to also have a basket with several different throws for family or guests to be able to pick their own.


MIRRORS

We know all too well how winter can be such dreary time of year, so little sunlight and so much darkness. Mirrors will help reflect natural light around your home and just give it that extra little sparkle we could all use! Even mirrored surfaces like trays, tables, or consoles can help liven up your space with a little extra brightness.


ITEMS FROM NATURE

We’ve all seen the cozy décor that incorporates items from nature, like pinecones, birch logs, cedar or pine clippings, sticks.  Take these items, and strategically place them on your mantel, hanging on your railings, or in a vase or oversized urn on a table, and transform any room into a winter wonderland. Whether you choose real or fake, these items will give you the best outdoor vibes, without bringing in the cold.


WINTER FIGURINES & ACCESSORIES

You want to think ahead when choosing your décor and find something that is seasonally neutral. Certain items like reindeer and wooden trees represent all of winter, and not simply Christmas. Throw in some ceramic and metal houses, and you have season long decorations that won’t seem out of place come January. It might be worth looking into changing those tea towels, pillow covers and table runners to really go that extra mile!


TWINKLE LIGHTS

We’ve all seen the new twinkle light trend that’s been around, and for good reason! Twinkle, or fairy, lights truly give your home a magical feel like nothing else could. Turn them on and cuddle up under one of your throws and embrace your new cozy space.



Pick and choose any of these to best suit you and your space, and you’ll feel the cold melt away at the door as you walk into your warm, snug home.

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Buying a home is a huge commitment and one which should be considered carefully before undertaking. Not only are you committing to years of the mortgage, but you are also putting down roots in a community for some period of time. As more and more Millennials consider the pros and cons of buying their first home, they are often confronted with a barrage of information containing half-truths and outright lies. Here are 2 common myths which cause my potential buyers to hold off buying a home.
 

Myth #1 – You have to have a 20% down payment. 

While it’s true that most 0% down loans have disappeared after the mortgage meltdown last decade, it’s also true that there are some very attractive loan options which do not require a 20% down payment. Although loans with less than an 80% loan-to-value do require private mortgage insurance, which add cost to the monthly payment, there are many options available with a lower down payment; many lenders offer conventional loans with as little as 5-10% needed for the down payment.

Myth #2 – You need great credit

While it is certainly helpful to have a great credit, there are loan programs available for buyers will lower scores. If you have any concerns that your credit score might be too low, talk to your mortgage broker about your options, and what type of lenders may be available to you.

The main point is that buying a home is a great investment in your future, both financially and personally. Before you assume you aren’t ready to buy a home, talk with a lender and learn your options. Don’t let these myths keep you from a new home. 

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Buyer Tip!


Curious what inspections you’ll need? Here are the most common inspections I see…



  • General Home Inspection, the whole home should be examined to make sure all is good. The basics, like the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical system and everything else that makes a house a home, will all be covered in a home inspection.
  • Radon Inspection, A radon inspection will check on the levels of radon in the air. If radon is present and is a concern, you can negotiate with the seller to have a radon remediation system installed to get the home to safe levels and keep them there!
  • Pest/Insect Inspection, if the home your purchasing is infested with some type of pest or insect…trust me you’re going to want to know about that.
  • WETT (Wood Energy Technology Transfer) Inspection, if the home has a wood burning fireplace or stove, you're going to want one of these. In fact, you most likely will need one to insure your home. These inspections will be able to insure that these appliances are burning in a way that won't compromise your health and safety. You want to make sure they are running optimally and are generally in good condition.


While these are some of the most common Residential Real Estate inspections, I always recommend you speak with your representative about what inspections you should get for the specific property you are planning on purchasing. There are no 2 homes alike, so we always have to do our due diligence!


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Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
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