Renovating Your Home? This Can Help


Photo by Blue Bird via Pexels

Article By Marie Villeza
So, you’re thinking about renovating your home. Whether you want to update the finishes, reconfigure the layout, or add some more square footage, there’s a lot to consider before starting any type of home renovation. From finding experienced and reputable contractors to arranging your home office, here are some things you should think about before embarking on a home renovation project, courtesy of BuySellInvestUSA.com.

1. Learn the Different Types of Home Renovations
There are many different types of home renovations, from small projects like painting or installing new light fixtures to major additions or gut renovations. It’s important to do your research and understand the different types of renovations so that you can make sure you’re getting exactly what you want and need. Not sure where to start? This guide covers the different types of home renovations in detail.

2. Find Experienced and Dependable Contractors
One of the most important aspects of any successful renovation is finding experienced and dependable contractors who can do the job right. Once you’ve decided on the scope of your renovation, take the time to interview multiple contractors and get detailed estimates before choosing who you want to work with. Here’s a checklist for finding the best contractor for your home renovation project.

3. Organize a Schedule and Target Dates
No matter how big or small your renovation is, it’s important to create a schedule and target dates so that everyone involved knows what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. This will help keep your project on track and ensure that it is completed promptly.

4. Know How You’ll Finance Your Renovation
Before starting any kind of home renovation, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how you will finance the project. Will you take out a loan? Use savings? Or finance it with a credit card? There are pros and cons to each option, so be sure to do your research before making a decision.

5. Understand What Apps Your Contractor Might Use
Estimating apps are becoming increasingly popular among contractors as they provide an easy way to create accurate estimates for materials and labor costs. If your contractor is using one of these apps, be sure to ask them how it works so that you can understand the estimated costs for your project. Professionals such as electricians need to be able to estimate the job before they start it. Good estimating software can make this process much easier for professionals. If you’re planning on renovating your home, be sure to ask your electrician if they would like to use estimating software for electricians. While it may cost you a little bit extra upfront, it will certainly pay off in the end.

6. Arrange Your Home Office
If you’re planning on working from home during the renovation, it’s important to set up a dedicated space for yourself so that you can be productive (and stay out of the way of the contractors!). Here are some tips on how to set up a temporary home office during a renovation.

7. Explain Your Plans Carefully
Once you’ve made all the decisions about your renovation, it’s important to explain them clearly (and in writing!) to your contractor so that there is no confusion about what needs to be done. After all, even small miscommunications can lead to big problems down the road!

8. Secure a Home Warranty Upon Completion
A home warranty is an insurance policy that protects your home and its systems from defects or malfunctions for a certain period of time (usually one year). If something goes wrong after your renovation is complete, having a home warranty in place will give you peace of mind knowing that it will be covered by insurance.

With a little preparation and organization, you can have a stress-free home renovation. Follow our tips to design your home office space, and get familiar with the types of apps or software used by contractors. By taking these steps, you’ll be ready to tackle your next home renovation project head-on!

7 KEY FEATURES OF A TRUE SMART HOME SYSTEM

By Gregg Pechmann

Smart home technology has been around for the past decade. However, many of these smart home products were just plug-and-play devices, such as smart speakers, that didn’t deliver the true, connected smart home experience that is available today. But thanks to the adoption of those plug-and-play devices, home buyers are now willing to pay for true smart home solutions that enhance their lifestyle. Here are the key features of smart home systems that are becoming as desirable as the latest countertops and luxury bath fixtures.

Interoperability. Every part of a true smart home system needs to work well with the other parts of the system. The key is that every part, from lighting to HVAC to AV, is part of the same smart home ecosystem, or is from a third party that partners with that ecosystem.

Interfaces. Devices in a smart home system can have a variety of interfaces. There could be a voice user interface—VUI—or a graphical user interface—GUI—such as buttons on a touchscreen. What’s important is that adjusting any part of the connected home should be easily understood by a variety of users. Or an interface might be customized to different people using it at different times, in different rooms.

Automation. These capabilities make smart home living magical—shades opening and closing for cooling, heating, and privacy; hearing your favorite playlist on smart home speakers when you come home; having your indoor lighting adjust to the daylight outside.

AI and Machine Learning Capabilities. Machine learning is the technology that enables devices to log your behavior and adjust their settings accordingly—smart thermostats are a popular example. AI (artificial intelligence) is the technology that allows devices to learn, think, and make predictions. This could be a smart thermostat that would see you put on a sweater and then raise the temperature a few degrees. With these kinds of capabilities, it’s good to reassure buyers that a connected home isn’t a spying robot—it’s only as “smart” as it has to be.

Aesthetics. Smart home technology that’s visible should be pleasing to the eye—flush-mounted speakers, well-designed keypads, flat-panel TVs doubling as digital art displays, for example.

A Hard-Wired Backbone. Many smart home installations can run on Wi-Fi from a single modem-router. Wi-Fi is fine for smartphone and laptop connectivity, and for smart home systems in smaller properties. In larger homes, however, installing a hard-wired backbone is a good idea. These are cables running to wireless access points that result in smoother connectivity. A hard-wired infrastructure also provides a backbone for future system upgrades and property expansions.

An Integrator. This professional knows how to spec, install, and service robust, reliable smart home systems and how to keep them secure. Make sure the smart home system was done by an integrator who is available if needed in the future.

Image: Pexels (Andrea Piacquadio)

Make A Go Of Investing In A Vacation Rental

By Marie Villeza

Families are taking vacations like never before. Buying a vacation rental is a popular investment option for so many reasons. The demand is high – and it’s an investment that will let you show your creative side. Don’t take the leap as an investor without a few considerations. Here’s some advice from Buy Sell Invest USA.

Know the vacation rental market.

The vacation rental market is distinct from ordinary real estate. Where one focuses on buyers, sellers, or long-term rentals, this is a more fast-paced exchange where listings go quickly and the asking price is almost always on an upward trajectory. Go into the market armed with an awareness of how the market fluctuates by season, and how to set your rates accordingly. You’ll need a digital marketer or you may want to partner with a rental agency to get the word out. Today, most people simply list on Airbnb or other online short-term rental listings.

While an Airbnb-type listing is enough for most property owners, a vacation rental agency can deal with cancellations and quick turnarounds, property upkeep, insurance requirements, and customer service.

Know your budget.

Before investing in a vacation property, set a budget. You don’t want to purchase a rental that you can afford only if you experience high demand and no unforeseen costs. Instead, brainstorm a few with worst-case scenarios. The terms of the loan can vary, but a 20% down payment wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. Add to that fresh paint, landscaping, any repairs–and the property may not make a profit for quite a while.

In addition to insurance on the rental property, you may want to consider forming an LLC. Not only will an LLC help protect your personal finances from liability if anything happen to your business, but it also gives you some advantages during tax season. An LLC is just one more financial safeguard that makes it possible for you to feel comfortable renting out the property.

Choose the property.

Clearly, location is a primary consideration here. The rental property you want should be in close proximity to area attractions, whether this means an easy walk to the beach, a great mountain view, or an easy subway trip to a downtown show or museum. Every state has places to vacation. A rental with more regional appeal may not stay booked, but it might be purchased for a bargain.

The property itself should be in good condition, so you can focus your attention on updating it with desirable aesthetics and amenities, instead of on dealing with structural or practical problems. Thankfully, researching is much easier in the Internet age, and finding a prime property and learning about all the different things you need to do to purchase it requires a lot less work than it once was.

Upgrades to make your rental more appealing.

Renters are attracted by a space that looks clean, new, and up to date. A rental that is filled with dated-looking carpets and dingy furniture will be off-putting no matter how desirable the location. Also, consider attractive amenities to include in the rental. Renters will be looking for things like a full-service kitchen, great television and entertainment systems, and good internet — perhaps even extra attractions like a game room or pool table.

You’ll put more than a little of yourself into the place, and you’ll have to be sure to reserve a few weeks per year for your own family. A vacation rental is an investment that will almost always be in demand, and one that will continue to grow in value. The best part is that it’s an investment you’ll get to share with others. When the checks come in, it will be good to know the renters enjoyed their stay.

Ready to invest in a rental property? Ready to sell? For a cash offer with no repairs necessary, contact Buy Sell Invest USA or tall/text Dawn Adams at (803) 221-3296 or (208) 757-1788.

Image: Pexels

Hot Home Trend: Antiquing Your Design

From Realtor Magazine

Antiques are surfacing in more homes, from nostalgic to modern spaces.
Whether it’s due to the extensive lag time in delivery of custom furniture orders or the trend in retro-meets-modern design, antiques in interiors are on the rise. Interior designers weigh in on how they’re incorporating more antiques into their styles.

A Little Refurbishing
Lead designer Lance Thomas of Thomas Guy Interiors(link is external) recently returned from a two-week trip to France specifically to seek out antiques for his design work.

What he found from his travels: “Although antique trends tend to vary geographically, I am seeing a similar trend in the refurbishing of these pieces,” he says. “Many antiques, especially those derived from oak, are getting bleached before heading back into clients’ homes. I also found that upholstered furniture was getting a textural upgrade with bold velvets and nubby boucle reupholstery, giving old pieces a new lease on life.”

View some of Thomas Guy Interiors’ designs incorporating antique pieces below.

Antique brass fireplace screen

Photo credit: Jen Burner

Antique Italian bamboo dining chairs upholstered in a soft green pinstripe

Photo credit: Jen Burner

Antique seat bench and artwork

Photo credit: Jen Burner

Antique pink sofa and Aubusson rug

Unique Touches
Designer Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design says she’s loving the antique trend, too. “For years, French antiques were trending. Now, midcentury vintage finds are in demand,” she says. “The goal for a well-designed home is to have that sense of interest. Finding a unique aesthetic is an art form, and antiques can do just that.” That unique touch could be anything. For example, Patton says she recently even came across a midcentury rattan fish tank to use in her designs.

Here are some of Patton’s designs incorporating antique pieces.

Antique French chaise with vintage fabric

Photo credit: Molly Culver

Antique dining table that is more than 100 years old

Photo credit: Molly Culver

Antique side table

Photo credit: Molly Culver

Timeless Aesthetic

Mel Bean of Mel Bean Interiors says she’s noticing more clients beginning to appreciate antiques for the depth of character they can add. “I like to use antique furniture, mirrors, or accessories alongside new pieces for a layered and timeless aesthetic, rather than attempting to replicate a historic era entirely,” Bean says. “I like to achieve a blend of both new and older that hits the right balance for each client. In some of our projects, that means mostly modern items with a single antique piece, such as a massive refectory table, for character.”

In some spaces, Bean also uses antiques mixed from various eras and locations all over the world that are brought together with a few timeless upholstered items and modern accessories for a more collected aesthetic.

See some of Bean’s designs incorporating antique pieces below.

Antique refectory table (with two white lamps and painting)

Photo credit: Laurie Glenn

Antique wooden side table (near the white sofa)

Photo credit: Laurie Glenn

Conversational Piece

Designer Jessica Nelson of Jessica Nelson Design in Seattle finds antiques can create more visual interest in a space. She recently used an antique bar cabinet. “This vintage 1950s bar piece is a showstopper,” she says. “It has an amazing black lacquer finish and fits perfectly in this space. It folds open to display our client’s collection of decanters and barware beautifully.”

Photo credit: Carina Skrobecki Photography

Photo credit: Carina Skrobecki Photography

4 To-Do’s For September To Save Money & Get Ready For Fall

By: Kelley Walters

Now’s the time to stock up on paint.

When it’s hot outside, smart homeowners focus their energies inside on these four tasks. You know, like taking advantage of your nice, cool basement.

#1 ORGANIZE THE BASEMENT
The two most common types of clutter? Old clothes and seasonal items. Just the kind of stuff that winds up in the basement. So this month, face your messy basement head on. Not only will you regain space, but you’ll also save time and could even knock back clutter-related depression. (Yeah, that’s a thing.)

Now that you’ve got it organized, maybe it’s a good time to consider this next project:

#2 FINISH THE BASEMENT
The solution to a cramped house could be right under your feet. Transforming an unfinished basement into a media room, home office — or even a rentable space — builds equity, upping your home’s resale value. Start this project now, and you can kick back and enjoy your new space all winter long.

#3 BUY PAINT ON SALE
July. Not really the time of year you think of painting, right? It’s usually too hot and humid. Probably why so many places put paint on sale this month. Stock up now, and you’ll be ready for that painting project on your fall to-do list. (P.S. Latex and acrylic paint can last up to 10 years; oil-based, up to 15.)

#4 HIT UP RECYCLING CENTERS
Summer is home improvement season. That also makes it the savvy buyer’s time to seek out deals at recycling centers and home improvement resale stores. Since this is project time — not to mention moving season — lots of folks are ditching their old stuff. Take advantage and grab it up at super-low prices.

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These Are The Must-Have Tools For Your Downsize Move


By Marie Villeza

Technology has changed the way we work, live, and socialize. So when it comes to moving, why do so many people still rely on pen and paper to keep their move organized and on track? Not only is moving the old-fashioned way time-consuming, but it also makes you more prone to costly mistakes, such as hiring an unscrupulous moving company or buying furniture that’s the wrong scale for your new home. If you’re tired of frustrating moves, mix things up! The following tech tool suggestions from Buy Sell Invest USA will change the way you move for the better.

Downsizing Resources

Downsizing can be a serious challenge. Fortunately, modern technology can help. The following resources can make the process more seamless. Charge up your smartphone so you can access apps that will save your sanity and make this more of a smooth move.

Finding Professional Movers

Don’t try to do it all on your own – just search for “movers near me” and browse ratings and reviews to get started!

Apps for Moving: The Only List You Need

A great list of resources to use before, during and after your move.

The Top Apps and Sites for Selling Your Stuff

Declutter your home (and sell your old things) before putting your home on the market.

20-Plus Best Places to Sell Stuff Online and Get Paid Quickly

If you’re looking to declutter and make money from the items you’re purging, find out what options exist for selling your items online and locally.

Simple Tips for Impressive Real Estate Photography

Follow these 10 real estate photography tricks and tips to produce beautiful photos of your home right on your smartphone.

Selling Plan of Action

Wondering how to slice into your massive task list? No worries! use this checklist then create a feasible timeline to accomplish everything on your list. Consider setting up calendar reminders on your phone to help you stick to your goals.

Downsizing Resources Especially for Seniors

For seniors, downsizing can be a great way to set yourself up for the future, but it’s also more challenging. Saying goodbye to a family home and winnowing down possessions can be fraught with emotional highs and lows. To simplify and ease the process, take advantage of the following resources:

The Essential Moving Guide for Seniors

It’s important to approach the moving process with necessary sensitivity in order to reduce the emotional tension involved; learn more here.

5 Ways Technology is Making Moving Easier

Basic technology assists the tasks involved with moving; learn how here.

Technology Can Help Seniors: Here’s How

While some seniors embrace technology, others may run from it. Either way, technology can help during the moving process and has many other benefits as well.

Best Cellphone Plans for Seniors

If it’s time to upgrade your smartphone device and data plan, look for a provider that offers a reliable network and affordable rates. Some providers even offer new devices when you sign up as a new customer.

9 Things to Consider When Relocating an Aging Loved One

Learn some important factors to consider in order to make the move as painless as possible.

Moving is hard enough without inefficient methods wasting your time, money, and energy. This time around, ditch the moving binder and adopt technology that promises to make downsizing easier on you and your wallet.

Buy Sell Invest USA is your local investment company that purchases single & multi-family properties and land. We buy properties in any price range, in any condition, and in any area. We deal with folks just like you in all kinds of situations, including yours. Call (803) 221-3296 or (208) 757-1788

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