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.

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.

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.

How to Design Your Home Office

Whether you work from home, are studying for school, or just like a room to get away and read, a home office is an excellent addition for your home. Designing a room for functionality, low distractions, and a classy look can be a bit challenging at first, but we gathered a couple of great pointers to keep in mind while designing your office or study to keep your design theme on track. Let’s take a look!

Simple Yet Entertaining

You want your room to be simple so that you can focus on your work at hand, yet entertaining enough in design to keep the space lively. Finding a balance between comfortable to work but not too cozy that you want to sleep is essential. Try adding plants to give the room a more exciting atmosphere. Pictures are also great to add as well to add character and charisma to your design theme.

Let There Be Light

Lighting is essential in all forms of room design. Consider mirrors and a well-lit task area. Task lighting can be a lamp at a desk or a focal light that helps your mind stay on task. Natural light is ideal for making your space feel big and more open. If you are easily distracted, consider putting blinds that allow lighting in but are more visually impairing to keep you from looking outside the whole time.

Make It Attractive

Your room should make you want to return to it. If you make your room a dreary dungeon, you will never want to go there to get your work done. Add colors that attract you to the room. If you have a design theme that you love, try incorporating it into your room’s theme; however, be cognitive to keep the space functional and purpose-driven as its main priority. You do not want a room that is more distracting than useful.

Make sure you optimize your space. If you are using an extra bedroom or spare room, chances are it may not be the largest room in your home, but it will work. Be aware of the amount of space furniture may take up in the room. You want to have a comfortable amount of room to work and not feel clutter or stuffy. For more great tips and tricks, visit us at From The Floors Up. Thanks for reading!

Professional Organizational Advice for Your Home Office

If you tend to bring your work home, you understand the importance of having a fully-functioning home office. Even homeowners who work from home, enjoy the luxuries of having an office space right there. Having a home office to work from can be great, but what if your office is underused. There is a desk, sure, but you have not been able to use your office in quite some time. We totally get it and that is why we have created four organizational tips to help make your office fully-functioning by this weekend. Let’s take a look!

Four Office Organization Tips:

Systemize. Your office may be a mess when it comes to the filing systems you have created. Using an efficient filing system will change your life. A good tip is to create a color-coded system for filing. You will want to divide each personal record into a different colored category for example:

Red: Medical
Orange: Dental
Yellow: School
Green: Home
Blue: Personal
Purple: Finances

Computerize. Just imagine all the space you could save by getting rid of the physical paper copies you own. Transfer all of your paper records onto your computer by scanning the documents onto your computer. Generally, it is a good idea to keep the physical copies of significant documents, but you could have two copies just in case. After you put all of your records on your computer, you can color-code your folders to match the color categories you previously used in your filing system.

Minimize & Categorize. Try to minimize the clutter by placing your office supplies in bins inside your desk. While you are sorting through your office supplies, it is a good idea to sort through the items that you want to keep and the items you can donate. After you have placed items inside a box, you can label each box with the category of contents inside of the box (I.e., writing utensils, crafting paper, etc).

Centralize. Your home office can be at the forefront for all of your household needs. Since mail will need sorted and potentially filed, it is a good idea to create a mail station in your home office. Just place a bin on your desk for the mail that needs to be read and sorted.

We hope that these four tips will help you organize your office space quickly and efficiently. We would love to hear your thoughts below in the comment section.

To-Do List for Late Summer/Early Fall Gardening

Before pumpkin-themed drinks are released, you need to do some important things in your garden. During the late summer, it is important to tackle a couple of gardening projects to keep your garden happy and healthy during the wintertime. These tasks can be done over the weekend so grab your favorite gardening gloves and let’s get started!  

Late-Summer/Early Fall To-Do List:

  • Remove faded and dead flowers from your garden bed. Flowers and plants that have lost their color tend to not recover; therefore, you will want to make an executive decision on whether or not to remove them from your garden bed before fall. 
  • Add grass and bushes into your yard and garden. Late summer to early fall is the perfect time to begin planting grass and bushes at your home. 
  • Fill up your bird feeders with fresh seeds.
  • Plant your favorite fall flowers! Grab some mums and decorate your garden with fall-inspiring colors like yellow, orange and red. You can even incorporate a bale of hay with a couple of pumpkins for a fun, festive look. 
  • Take some time to prune your trees, bushes, and hedges. This will help make them look full and colorful next spring and summer. 
  • Till your soil and garden beds to get them ready for next year. You can even add a homemade compost! 
  • If you decide not to use your planters this fall, make sure to remove all the soil and wash them out thoroughly with mild soap and warm water. This will prevent transferring bacteria and disease to next year’s new plants. 
  • During the fall, your grass will grow at a slower rate than it does during the summertime. Make sure to lower your lawn mower’s blade height.
  • Once the leaves begin to fall, you want to make sure you are raking frequently. Leaves can actually suffocate your lawn and stop it from growing properly. 
  • Take some time to remove weeds and debris from your garden bed. The more you remove this time of year, the less you will have to worry about in the spring. 

Make sure to follow these tips to help your garden adjust to the change in temperatures. Let us know what you think in the comment section. Happy Gardening! 

5 Ways to Make Different Colors Blend

Brown or taupe? Or white versus gray? One thing that these hues all have in common is that they have a neutral base. Do you find yourself feeling confined to neutrals out of fear of experimenting with color? While a neutral palette will always be a designer favorite, some of us crave a bit of bold color. How can you implement such vibrant hues in your decor without going overboard? There is no need to wonder because we are going to show you how to effortlessly blend colors in your home. Let’s get started!
 
5 Ways to Make Different Colors Blend:
1. Tone on Tone.
One way you can experiment with color is to use tone on tone hues. What exactly does that mean? It involves using the same color but variations of the hue throughout the space. A tone on tone scheme will make you feel like you are using a lot of colors while in reality, you are sticking with the same hue. A great tone on tone color that you can play with is blue. Consider combining a soft baby blue, a chilly blue and a dark navy for a tone on tone look. Afterward, you can accent the space with violet or red.
 
2. Break up Color with Neutrals.
Use neutral elements to break up the “color on color” look. When your space begins to feel like it is becoming a bit too much, you can incorporate more neutrals. For example, if you have a room with yellow walls and other variations of this hue throughout the space, you will want the trim on the walls to be a neutral tone like white. This can add a sense of balance while emphasizing this neutral element. Introduce as many neutrals as you want until you tame the look to your liking.
 
3. Wood Elements. 
Another great way to diffuse a colorful design scheme that feels off-balanced is to incorporate some elements of wood. The soft touches of wood can add a lot of natural warmth while creating a balance inside of the space. 
 
4. Do Not Forget About Texture.
When working with different colors, you cannot forget to enhance the design by using texture. Rough or rich textured objects such as lacquered furniture, a brick wall or even unfinished flooring can add interest, depth, and detail into your space. 
 
5. Using Multiple Colors. 
When using various colors within a single space, you will want to use something that can tie together all the different hues. For instance, a colorful piece of artwork or accessory like a patterned throw pillow can help harmonize all the colors being used. 
 
We hope you enjoyed these five ways to make different colors blend throughout your space. Be sure to check back weekly for more design tips and tricks!