Things You Must-Know Before Buying a Home

Congratulations on having the opportunity to purchase your first home. This is an exhilarating time in your life. You will hear a lot of advice from a lot of different people, and we want to share ours with you before you buy. Here are seven things we want you to know before you buy your first home:

1. Make a List of Wants.

Realistically, you will not be able to get a home with everything on your want list, but you will definitely want to have a list of things that are important to you. Make a list of your wants and use it while you search for a home. 

2. Set a Budget.

When searching for a home, it is essential to set a realistic budget, and you will want to stick to that budget. Try to check off your needs before you check off your wants, and you may find something that fits well into your budget.

3. Get a Trusted Real Estate Agent.

Your real estate agent will be your best friend during the house hunt. Be sure to find a trustworthy and reliable agent. Ask family and friends for their referral to find the best agent.

4. Understand Your Mortgage.

You will want to find a mortgage with reasonable rates, and you will also want to apply for pre-approval before you start. Just keep in mind that your pre-approval is not you committing but it is imperative to have in order to put down an offer.

5. Gage The Competition.

It is essential to know who you are going up against during a bid. You will want to be aware that other buyers are looking at the place and you will want to be assertive when the right house comes along.

6. Have a Professional Inspection Done.

We always recommend that buyers have a professional inspection done before purchasing their home. It can be an essential factor to the house hunt. 

7. Explore Various Options and Stay Updated.

Be sure to keep your eye out for potential buys. You will want to be constantly updated with the newest homes for sale. Ask your agent to send you listings to make sure that you make a well-informed choice at the end.

We hope you enjoyed these tips. Be sure to check back weekly for more expert advice. Thanks for reading!

Expert Advice on How to Install Backsplash (Part Two)

Having the right tools for the job will set you up for success. Like any project, your preparation is crucial before installation. Learn how to properly prep and install your tiles below to have a better understanding of the installation process:
Prep
First, you need to measure and decide how you would like to layout your backsplash. Decide if you want your tiles on a forty-five-degree angle or straight across.  Wipe down your wall with a wet sponge and remove all dust and dirt.  If there is prior adhesive, you may need to sand to get your wall to an even coat.   Remove all outlet covers as well as light switch covers.  You will want to loosen your outlets as well, so they can sit on top of your tiles you are installing.  Use your notched trowel and spread out your tile adhesive. Next, take your level to make sure your tiles are level.  You may also want to pencil in all the spots you are tiling, so your adhesive is not spread in access areas.  Spread your adhesive in the regions that you can tackle in thirty-minute increments. Do not put adhesive over the whole wall immediately. Some wall tiles will come with built-in spacers, but if not, make sure to have your spacers ready.
Installing Tiles
By now, you should know how you want your design to look.  If you are doing a brick layout or a herringbone, measure your tiles and make your cuts using a tile cutter.  Start from the bottom up and use your spacers to keep the tiles even and from sliding.  You can now use your grout float as well to press the tiles and make sure that they are evenly spaced from the wall.  For your outlets or cuts that may need an “L” cut, use a pencil or washable marker and draw out your cuts.  Take your tiles to your wet saw and make the appropriate cuts.  Whenever making any cuts, remember to put on your safety glasses and be extremely careful.  The wet saw is not forgiving and can severely hurt you.  Remember, loose particles can also fly into your eyes even without power tools when cutting.  Continue installing your tiles and making cuts as needed.  Build the pattern of your tiles as you go and do not try to jump ahead.  Use your rag or sponge to remove any access glue that may have come through the grout lines.  Allow tiles to set depending on the time length your tile adhesive suggests.
Cut your tiles slowly and carefully. Try to be meticulous on your cuts and sand and rough edges. The time you invest in the project can show in the end-product. Check out Expert Advice on How to Install Backsplash | Part 3 to find out the final stage of grouting your tiles.

Expert Advice on How to Install Backsplash (Part One)

Your kitchen is the heart of your home. It is where you prepare your food, and it can also serve as a casual hangout. Amongst the many stylish additions in a kitchen, backsplash serves multiple purposes in your kitchen and may be worth the investment. Backsplash not only gives your kitchen a completed look as well as adds character to your home, but it is easy to clean and prevents splashing onto your walls. With thousands of styles available, picking the perfect backsplash for your home can be a fun and perfect way to personalize your style. To help you in the process, we put together the step by step installation if you are looking to tackle this project yourself. Let’s take a look and see how:

Supplies

The right supplies will help make this task go a lot smoother. Installing backsplash takes some artistic skills as well as handwork skills. It is recommended to hire a professional for this home improvement, but if you would like to do it yourself, you will need to pick up or rent a couple of tools.

You will need:

1. The tile of your choice
2. The grout of your choice (Note: some sanded grout may take off the finish of your tile)
3. A sponge
4. Some rags
5. A bucket
6. Tile Adhesive
7. Drill with a mixing attachment
8. Tile Cutting hand tools
9. Level
10. Grout Float
11. Wet Saw
12. Tile Spacers
13. Notched Trowel
14. Pencil or Washable Marker
15. Rubber Gloves
16. Caulking Gun
17. Caulk
18. Paintbrush
19. Safety Glasses

Having the right tools and equipment is essential. Your kitchen’s backsplash can be tricky, and it is best to hire a professional for the job. If you do decide to do this project yourself, make sure to invest in all the correct safety equipment as well. Some power tools can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening. Installing your own backsplash is a great way to become united with your home and invest time into home projects. Your custom style and design can show throughout your installation. Continue reading Expert Advice on How to Install Backsplash | Part 2 to learn how to properly install your tile.

Brilliant Tips for Dealing with a Bathroom Remodel

After a long decision process, you have decided to remodel your bathroom and may not know what exactly to expect. Fear not, because we have created a quick and easy guide for dealing with a bathroom remodel. Let’s take a look.

Tips for Dealing with a Bathroom Remodel:

Tip #1: Before You Begin. . .

Starting a remodel can be an exciting process, and as much as you may want to get started, we recommend waiting until all of your materials are delivered. Once you have received everything for the project, you can begin the remodel. If you start the remodel without having all of your materials on site, you may be delayed and have unforeseen events happen with your deliveries.

Tip #2: Cover Floors Attached to Your Bathroom.

In any remodel and renovation, there will be a lot of dirt, dust, and debris. While one room is undergoing a remodel, you may not want the rest of your home to resemble they same amount of dust. To help control all of those unwanted particles, we recommend covering your floors outside of your bathroom. This will help deal with all of the foot traffic and leave your home looking like a home.

Tip #3: You Will Need a New Bathroom.

During any remodel, you will need a makeshift room to take on the responsibilities of the old room. With bathrooms, things can get a little more challenging, especially if your home only has one bathroom. If you do not have access to another bathroom, you will want to ask your contractor to set up a temporary bathroom with a shower and toilet. The setup will need to be added to the overall budget; therefore, if you have the chance to use another bathroom, we highly recommend it.

Tip #4: Expect The Unexpected.

Unfortunately, construction can come with a lot of unforeseen circumstances. From delayed materials to scheduling errors, your dream bathroom could be further out than you planned. To help make sure that you are ready, we recommend having some wiggle room in your budget and schedule. Try and expect the unexpected before it happens to you.

Tip #5: Make Memories.

Sure, remodeling can be overwhelming and stressful, but only if you let it be. Try and embrace everything that this journey has to offer. Take pictures of the renovation and remember that you will have your dream bathroom soon.

We hope you enjoyed these tips. Be sure to check out our other expert advice at From The Floors Up. Thanks for reading!

Ten Party Ideas to Celebrate The Holidays

The holiday fun does not stop after Thanksgiving. As December 1st hits the calendars, the race begins to get to the malls for holiday gift shopping. During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, homeowners may feel stressed, overworked, and tired. The last thing you probably want to do is organize a get-together with all of your friends. Do not let the stress of the holidays stop you from enjoying yourself. Everyone needs a little break here or there, but what if you could combine a break with getting done seasonal chores? Sounds genius, right? Well, we have ten party ideas to help you celebrate the holidays AND accomplish your seasonal tasks! Let us take a look:

Party Idea #1: Custom Ornaments.

This party is perfect for all ages! Custom ornaments have been a treasured gift for as long as we can remember. For the party, you want to gather blank, new ornaments or provide thick paper for your guests to create their own. Just throw on some Christmas jams and get crafting!

Party Idea #2: Deck The Tree.

It may seem like an odd idea to have your guests help you decorate your tree, but you may be surprised by how willing guests are to help. Just be sure to provide buckets of ornaments, tinsel, and lights for guests to help dress up your tree for the season.

Party Idea #3: Movie Marathon.

Who does not love cheesy Christmas movies? We sure do! Have a movie marathon and feature all of the holiday classics for all ages to enjoy.

Party Idea #4: Winter Wreaths.

Did you know you can make your own custom wreaths? This actually makes for a fantastic holiday party, because guests get to walk away with a gift for themselves!

Party Idea #5: Cookie Decorating.

Santa will need some fresh baked cookies for Christmas morning; a cookie decorating party can be just the yummy holiday fun you desire!

Party Idea #6: Holiday Gift Exchange.

Sometimes it is difficult to get together individually with all of your friends or family to exchange presents. The solution: have a holiday gift exchange party. To make things interesting, you can throw a white elephant gift exchange. During this type of gift exchange, you have all of your friends or family bring a gift that meets your set price (i.e., $15). Once everyone arrives, everyone will receive a number. You go through the numbers in order and have each individual open a present in front of everyone. The gifts can only be “stolen” once per turn. To keep things fair, each item can only be stolen a maximum of three times, and by the third steal, it becomes the 3rd person’s gift (no more steals).

Party Idea #7: Gingerbread House.

Decorating gingerbread houses can be a fun and rewarding activity. After the party, each guest gets to walk away with a unique holiday decoration for their home (a personalized gingerbread house). Be sure to provide tons of fun icing colors, toppings, and homes for everyone to partake.

Party Idea #8: Christmas Caroling.

If you are looking to bring holiday cheer, Christmas caroling may be the party for you! Have a set list of songs you plan to perform and gather your closest friends. Afterward, invite everyone back to your house for hot cocoa and cookies.

Party Idea #9: Gift Wrapping Galore.

Busy parents have a lot of gift wrapping and little time. Not to mention, they need to wrap while the little ones are sleeping or at school. With little time to wrap, a gift wrapping party may be just what your friends need! Have each guest bring wrapping paper to share and provide several options yourself. Turn on a holiday movie and get wrapping!

Party Idea #10: Holiday Treats Pot-Luck.

If you do not have time to prepare a meal for your party, make it a holiday pot-luck. Ask your friends to bring their favorite holiday treats and meals to share! This helps get everyone in the holiday spirit and cuts down on stress for the host/hostess.

What holiday party could you see yourself throwing this season? Let us know in the comment section. Thanks for reading!

Investments That Will Save You $ Over Time Part II

Now that you understand the importance of investing in your home’s windows, Investments that Will Save You Over Time Pt I, it is time to understand the value of investing in your floors. About a decade ago, the flooring industry was 80 percent carpet and 20 percent hard surface flooring. Today the industry has changed, and hard surface outweighs the amount of carpet being installed. Carpet is not a bad option by any means, but hard surfaces like hardwood and luxury vinyl planking have a longer lifespan in most cases.
Hardwood flooring is a great addition for any home. Hardwood flooring will increase your home’s resale value while adding a timeless appeal to any room. This is a great long-term investment because it can be sanded and refinished time and time again. There is no surprise why hardwood floor has been popular for so long. Whether engineered or solid, both have benefits that will help improve your floors overall quality.
Luxury vinyl planking has become the hottest selling floor today. With so many realistic wood-like patterns and tile replicas, it is no wonder why a more durable floor has progressed so successfully. Vinyl planking is easy to install and highly durable. Most LVP’s on the market today are also waterproof which makes them great solutions for bathrooms and laundry rooms. Because these floors are scratch-resilient, they are long-term investments that can stay around for the life of your home.
Remember that your home is an investment and should be respected as one. When you are upgrading your home, consider what the correct way to do something not necessarily the easiest or cheapest route is. You should understand that some investments may be more up front, but a truly good investment will help save you money in the long run as well as be long lasting and more durable. Flooring and windows are usually two more costly investment to do to your home but will help with the overall aesthetic, atmosphere, and resell of your home.

Investments That Will Save You $ Over Time Part I

Sometimes, large investments can be overwhelming. Understanding the quality of your investment is essential to help save you money in the long run. You need to decide how long you will be in your home and what are your ultimate goals. There are several home investments that you should highly consider for long-term benefits. Windows and flooring are both purchases that can last a long time and should be treated as such. With these more substantial investments, you should consider quality over quantity and what will help save you money in the end. If you buy a floor covering that will not last more than a couple years, you will spend more to replace it. Likewise, quality windows help insulate your home and can save you energy. We will break down all the benefits of these home improvements in Investments that Will Save You Over Time Part I and II.
 
Windows are one of the most significant energy-saving investment you can do to your home. When it comes to replacing your windows, the initial cost can seem intimidating, but after discovering how much you could save in energy-efficiency, you may realize it is worth the price. With old single-pane windows, nearly thirty percent of your home’s heat is expelled outdoors. With energy-efficient windows, you will be able to keep your heat inside and prevent it from escaping, thus allowing you to maintain the temperature at a much lower cost.
Also, if your home has old windows and you replace them with quality new ones, you will increase your home value. New windows are a significant investment to help your house with resale. It not only is noticeable from the inside, but it will increase your home’s curb appeal which is your home’s first impression on the market. If you do not plan on selling your home anytime soon, you have the comfort of knowing that new windows will help you out as well. This worthy home improvement will increase the amount of light emitted into your home and help reduce condensation and humidity.
Consider the money you will save annually after replacing your home’s windows. Lowering your homes energy cost is a great way to save money over time. Check out Part II to get a better understanding of the importance of upgrading your floors.

Your Guide to Everything Bright

Light plays a huge factor in a room’s overall feel and energy.  Different lighting can change the entire atmosphere.  It is essential to tailor your light fixtures to enhance your space rather than diminish your room’s worth.  There are three primary purposes for lighting in a room: general, ambient, and task.  Balancing all three in a room can be challenging, but it can tremendously improve your design.

General Lighting

First, you will want to decide what your room’s general lighting option will be.  This is your deliberate attempt to illuminate your space. Overhead lighting is, generally, a great place to start.  This lighting option should be the room’s focal point of illumination and should fill the whole room.  You can go with different overhead lighting options or incorporate something elegant like a chandelier.  A chandelier will be a bold, statement lighting option that gives the room most of the energy.

Ambient Lighting

Next, you will want to incorporate ambient lighting.  This can be spotlights projected on to pictures and dimming spotlights along a rail. They will help set the room’s feel and help drive the eye towards the focal point in the room.  Ambient lighting is essential to help amplify the room’s aesthetic and design style.

Task Lighting

Lastly, make sure to include the use of task lighting.  This is lighting you may have above a workstation or a desk.  You may also want to have light beside your bed as night lights or even a lamp on the side table of your couch.  Task lighting is vital to help amplify the room’s light in particular areas.
Understanding different illuminating options is pivotal to picking the right lights.  Too little of lighting can make a room feel dark and small. Windows and natural lighting are great at opening up a space, but sometimes your room does not give you those amenities. Adding the right lights to your home is essential to creating a lively, energetic atmosphere.  Your lighting options should complement your design style of the room and accentuate the room’s ambiance.  Picking the right light choices can be challenging, but with a better understanding of options and styles, you should be well equipped for the task ahead of you.

Brilliant Storage Ideas for Your Mudroom

Mudrooms and foyers can be useful and practical areas for extra storage. If you are looking to include one in your home, we have seven genius ideas for you. Let’s take a look! 

Genius Mudroom Storage Ideas:

1. Get Hooked.

Make sure you install hooks rather than rods or bars with hangers. Hooks are a stylish way to organize your belongings, and they take up less space. Plus, it is far easier to throw your coat on a hook rather than a hanger.

2. The Coveted Cubby.

The cubby system has been a long-time favorite for mudroom organization. Cubbies help to contain unsightly messes and store items neatly in containers. Plus, you can incorporate a cubby system underneath a bench to create more of a hidden storage look.

3. The Key to Success.

Do you have a specific place to put your keys when you get home? If not, you will want to invest in a key hook for you and your loved ones. It will also help you get out of the door in the morning rather than searching for your misplaced keychain.

4. Have a Seat.

It is vital to include a seating area in a mudroom or foyer to give people a place to put on their shoes. Like we mentioned before, you can incorporate a chic bench, or you can even add a stylish chair in the corner of the room.

5. Conversion.

If you have an extra dresser or piece of furniture that you are not using, you should consider converting it into a mudroom storage piece. With dressers, you can repurpose them into a fully-functioning organizational masterpiece. You can even transform your hallway coat closet into a personalized mudroom. With a fitted bench, a couple of hooks, and lower cubbies, you can instantly make your coat closet more valuable.

6. You Have Mail.

Along with having a place to store your keys, you want to make sure that you have a place for mail. Installing a mail bin on one of your walls can be accessible and useful for your home’s organization. 

7. Rightfully Yours.

If you live with children, you may find it purposeful to assign names to each bin or basket. This will help reduce disagreements and give everyone a place of their own to store their belongings.

How do you keep your foyer neat and organized? We would love to hear below in the comment section!

Simple Tricks for Housing Guests without a Guest Bedroom

If you do not have a bedroom to spare, you may be left without a proper guest bedroom. But fear not, because we have six simple ideas to help transfer your space into a guest’s hideaway. Let’s take a look!

Simple Ideas for Housing Guests without a Guest Bedroom:

Add a Tension Rod with Curtains.

If you are trying to create a closed-off space for your guests, you can install a tension rod with curtains inside one of your rooms. This simple hack will easily close off their area of the room by giving them privacy and comfort.

Place in a Room Divider.

Another solution for instant room division is a divider. Room dividers can be easily removed at a moment’s notice, making it a perfect last-minute solution. You can place the room divider inside of any room with extra space to feature your guest’s hideaway.

Buy a Sofa-Bed.

If you are worried about where they will sleep, you can invest in a sofa-bed. Sofa-beds are fantastic because they are dual-purpose. In the daytime, they provide a cozy place to sit and watch television. In the evening, they can be turned into your guest’s bed for a good night’s rest.

Provide The Essentials.

Guest bedrooms tend to come along with essential items like extra blankets, clean sheets, towels, and even extra phone chargers. Although you do not have a guest bedroom, you can make this designated area special by incorporating these items. You can also make them a friendly welcome basket for their stay. The basket could include some of the items previously listed and even things that are special to your city.

Give a Proper Nightstand.

If you are hosting your guests in your living room, be sure to convert your end table into a proper nightstand for the evening. That means clearing it off of extra decor pieces and providing the essential items we previously listed.

Make It Have Easy Access to a Bathroom.

Lastly, before you decide on the location of your temporary guest bedroom, you want to be sure that you choose somewhere with a central location to the bathroom. The last thing you would want is your guests stumbling over everything in the middle of the night to get to the bathroom.

We hope you enjoyed these tips and tricks! Be sure to check back weekly for more expert advice.