MARIA RAYMER - RE/MAX SPECIALISTS | ST JOHNS, FL Real Estate, JACKSONVILLE, FL Real Estate


There’s a certain recipe for successful home lighting. Lighting can make a room feel smaller or larger. There should be a mix and match of about 4 layers of lighting throughout the house. These layers should be:

  • Ambient light
  • Task lighting
  • Accent lights
  • Decorative lights


These 4 layers of lighting are perfect to mix and match for a well lit room. Ambient lighting includes natural light sources like windows, pendant lighting and overhead light fixtures. Task lighting includes under-counter lighting, desk lamps and reading lamps. Accent lights include recessed lighting and adjustable lighting. These lights will highlight certain areas of a room. Decorative lighting includes chandeliers and other types of ornamental lighting. After you have your layers set up, you’ll want to use your lighting to the advantage of your home’s decor.   


Bring The Drama To A Room


You can highlight anything you wish in a room using the right kind of lighting. It can be a fireplace or a painting or a ceiling. Use a soft spotlight to highlight a painting. Uplighting adds a softer effect to the scheme of a room. You can create this effect with wall mounted sconces or rope lights. You’ll see quite a warm glow.  


Dimmers Are Your Friend


Installing dimmer switches on your light fixtures can help to save energy and will allow you to bring down rather bright ambient lighting or help you to create a different kind of lighting scheme with the flip of a switch. As a plus, a dimmer will extend the life of your light bulbs and will maximize the time you need to change lightbulbs that require a ladder to reach. 


Don’t Put All Of Your Lights In One Place


Don’t just stick one or two bright lighting fixtures in a room and say that it’s all set. You’ll get more shadows and glare than would be desirable. This is where our blend of lighting recipe comes into play. Using that 4 step-formula will help you to spread your lighting out accordingly. This way no type of lighting will be overwhelming. 


Look Outside


Remember to use the daylight. Natural daylight is the best type of lighting. It brings in fresh color and complements any landscape. You can add natural light to your home through installing skylights, widening windows or thinking about how to redress the windows that you already have.


Choose Quality Fixtures


High quality light fixtures are better all around. They’re clearer and the fixture will be more attuned to your home’s style. When choosing lighting make sure that you see if the shade covers any part of the light, is made of good materials and that the connections are sound. 


When it comes to creating a well-lit home, you need to look everywhere from the windows to the ceilings. You want to be sure that your lighting is set up to be energy efficient and practical. Consider the many different kinds of lighting that are available and plan each room to ensure that you’ll have all the light that you need.  

      

   





Searching for the ideal home is an exciting adventure, but it can also be fraught with setbacks, delays, and disappointments. With a little preparation, however, you can avoid many of the potential pitfalls that could happen along the way.

One of the secrets of successful house hunters is to adopt a positive attitude, but temper it with a dose of realism.

Flexibility is also important, but it pays to be steadfast about your absolute requirements, also known as your "must have" list.

To help ensure a successful house hunting experience, here are a few of the key attitudes and qualities that are worth taking inventory of and cultivating.

Persistence: Although it does happen, it's unlikely that the house of your dreams is going to show up at the beginning of your search. As seasoned house hunters know, it's not unusual to have to look at dozens of houses for sale before finding just the right one. But even when you've reached that turning point, there still may be obstacles, hurdles, and challenges to deal with. The perfect example is a bidding war. What if you're all ready to make an offer on the ideal house, but it turns out that one or more other buyers have their sights set on that same house? That can not only be stressful, but it can stretch your housing budget to its outer limits (and beyond)! On one hand, you have to be willing to walk away from a property that would leave you "house poor", but on the other hand, you may want to consider pursuing a real estate deal that's on the high end of your budget, but financially doable. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent who's a skilled negotiator can help give you an edge when you're confronted with a so-called "bidding war."

Optimism: If you view house hunting as a process which will eventually produce your desired outcome, then you'll be a lot more motivated to go the distance, rather than lower your standards or give up entirely. A positive attitude will help you overcome setbacks, identify workable solutions, and recognize opportunities when they present themselves.

Organization: Whether you prefer the idiom "The devil is in the details" or "God is in the details," the lesson is still the same: Small details can have a big impact. Staying goal-oriented and organized can help propel you forward and avoid frustrations. Knowing your credit score, establishing a realistic housing budget, and scheduling meetings with mortgage lenders will help you stay on course, be prepared, and steer clear of unnecessary delays. It also helps to take notes, create lists, and follow a daily or weekly action plan.

Buying a house is an important priority which can affect the quality of your life in many ways. By staying organized, focused, and positive about your search, your chances of success will be enhanced many times over.


Your 401K is a great resource of investing for retirement. Many people use their 401k’s as a part of their overall investment strategies, pulling money out of it when it’s needed. When you’re ready to buy a house, you may think that pulling money out of your 401k for a down payment is a good idea. But think again. 


Although you should always speak with a financial professional about your money matters, the bottom line is that is probably not the best idea to use your 401k to supply money for a downpayment on a home. 


First, your 401k funds are pre-tax dollars. That means that you haven’t paid any taxes on these funds. Your employer will often match the amount of money that you put into your 401k, as an incentive to help you save money for your future. You need to keep your 401k for a certain amount of time before any funds in the 401k become available to you without having to pay any kind of penalty. If you decide to take on the penalty, you can often face a cut to your employer’s match programs as well. This is why you must make this decision wisely. 


The Penalties


Anyone under the age of 59.5 pays a penalty of 10 percent to take the money out of the fund. In addition, you’ll now need to pay taxes on this money, because it becomes a part of your adjusted gross income. 


Alternative Actions


If you are looking to invest in a property, there may be other options for you rather than pulling money out of your 401k. While some plans allow you to borrow money from it. However, if your only option to get money to invest in a property is to pull money from your retirement account, it may not be the best time to invest in property for you. 


Keep It Separate


If you’re younger (say in your 30’s or 40’s) your best option is to have a completely separate account that is used to save for a downpayment and other expenses that you’ll incur when you buy a home. In this sense you aren’t spreading yourself too thin as far as investments go. You should compartmentalize your money. Buying a home is a large investment in itself. Home equity can also be a good source of a nest egg in later years when you need it. However, even if a property will be an income property, it’s never smart to take from one investment account to provide for another unless you’re shifting your focus. You don’t want to reach retirement, only to see that your funds have been depleted and you can’t retire as expected.


Buying a home should be an unforgettable experience. However, problems sometimes may arise that prevent a homebuyer from enjoying the property buying journey.

Whether it's tough negotiations with a stubborn home seller or a property inspection that reveals many problems with a house, problems may occur that can make the homebuying journey memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the homebuying process and ensure you can acquire your dream home quickly.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that homebuyers can use to transform an ordinary property buying experience into an unforgettable journey.

1. Perform Plenty of Real Estate Market Research

Navigating the real estate market can be tricky, particularly for first-time homebuyers. Conversely, homebuyers who evaluate the real estate market closely should have no trouble discovering a wide range of terrific residences.

Examine the prices of recently sold homes in your area. That way, you can establish a price range for homes that match your needs.

Also, analyze the amount of time that recently sold properties were available. This will help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one and ensure you can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Buying a home likely will require you to get approved for a mortgage. If you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you can narrow your home search based on your budget.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with several banks and credit unions. These lenders can explain how a mortgage works and help you find one that suits you perfectly.

In addition, don't hesitate to ask plenty of questions when you meet with lenders. These mortgage professionals can provide expert insights into the different types of mortgages, including fixed- and adjustable-rate options. By doing so, they can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage so you can kick off your search for the perfect home.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to buying a home, working with a real estate agent is paramount. This real estate professional will do what it takes to eliminate guesswork and streamline the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent understands the challenges that are commonly associated with buying a home and can help you overcome any potential hurdles along the way. He or she also is happy to respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and provide you with the support you deserve at any time.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new homes as they become available, set up home showings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. This housing market professional will even provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you make informed decisions throughout the homebuying cycle.

Ready to get the best results from the homebuying journey? Use these tips, and you enjoy an outstanding homebuying experience.


If you’re trying to decide whether it’s best to move from your current home or to make the necessary improvements on the home, it’s not an easy decision. One thing you may have to consider is how to get the capital in order to have those home improvements done. 

There’s a variety of options available to you in order to secure a loan to renovate your home. Whether you need to renovate the kitchen, build out from your current property, or replace the heating system, there’s ways that you can get the money to complete these necessary updates. 


One thing to consider about any of the options discussed is that you don’t want to be paying for home improvement loans until you need to update everything once again. If you’re preparing to sell your home, making improvements is a wise choice, as it can increase the return that you’ll get on your home. 

Don’t Run Out Of Cash


 If you cannot complete the improvements that you started, you may not be able to get another loan to complete them. You can typically borrow between 80 and 90% of your home equity. The downside to refinancing your home or taking out home equity lines of credit is that you’ll need to pay closing costs once the loan is approved. In other words, you’ll need to put out some cash in order to get some cash. 

Use Your Own Cash

If you have some cash saved up, it’s wise to just do one project at a time. This can take some time, but can be more economical in the long run. If you don’t need to complete your repairs in a hurry, then using your own savings is a good idea.

Refinance Your Home

If you would benefit from a lower interest rate, refinancing your home can be a great option. As long as the cost of repairs doesn’t exceed the number of years that the updates will last, refinancing makes sense. 

Home Equity Credit Line


If your mortgage is locked in and working for you, home equity lines of credit are always a good option. You can draw money out as you need it and pay it back as you go. You won’t need to pay interest until you use the money and the loan is good for 10 years. The downside is that if you don’t make the payments, you could lose your home.   

Home Equity Loans

This type of loan allows you to borrow a fixed amount and then pay back the loan with a fixed monthly installment. A 15 year term is typical of this type of loan.


Construction Loans


A construction loan can be used to build a house or to make large-scale renovations. These loans are short-term and not always easy to find access to. Not to mention that they are heavily managed and perhaps the least popular option presented here. 


FHA 203K Loans


This type of loan is generally used to purchase a home that is in need of much repair. The downside is that you’ll need mortgage insurance for the entire life of the loan. Less complicated repairs often offer a more streamlined FHA loan of up to $35,000. 


FHA Title 1 Loans


These loans provide up to $25,000 for home improvements. The money is insured by the federal government and can be obtained from approved lenders. Homeowners don’t need access to equity in order to get one of these loans and they are available in 20 year terms. 


These are just some of the options that are available to you as a homeowner seeking ways to get cash to make improvements to your home. You can tap into other types of personal loans including credit cards. Really, you need to do what’s best for your finances. It’s good to know that there’s options available to you to improve your home.




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