Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

DIY Your Own Window Treatments

May was a crazy month around our house! And you may have noticed my lack of blog involvement. But no worries. I’m back! With the exception of a couple of dance recitals this weekend, our crazy time has normalized. I’ve been saving this post for awhile and am excited to share how you can save some dough if you DIY your own window treatments

DIY You Own Window Treatments

This post contains affiliate links for convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure.

Curtains and rods can get pretty pricey, depending on several factors.

The size of the window, the number of windows, and the materials you use definitely make a cost difference. If you only have one window to worry about, then maybe sticking to a budget isn’t the highest priority.  However, dressing multiple windows at once is a good way to put you in the poor house if you are not a millionaire.

Drop Cloth Curtains

I have a couple of super, budget-friendly curtain ideas. First, is the trusty ol’ canvas drop cloth. You can get them in almost any size and they look like linen, so that is a bonus. 9′ x 12′  drop cloths are really cheap when you consider that you can get two large curtain panels by cutting them in half. I think I paid around $15 per drop cloth at Menards.

Drop Cloth Curtain Ruffle

Second, I love to use basic white twin flat sheets as curtains. I snagged some from Walmart for $5 each for our bedroom. For our living room, I had an extra king flat sheet in storage and decided to cut and hem it. Don’t they look great!?! So for about $10 you can have a set of curtains for one window.  Score!

White Curtains from Sheets

Adding a wooden dowel to existing curtain rods can extend their length for only a few dollars!

As for saving money on curtain rods, I came up with this handy trick. We bought basic black curtain rods that were just too short for our larger windows. After a little brainstorming, I decided to buy a wooden dowel rod ( our was 7/8″ x 48″) and paint it with black chalkboard paint.

Easily Extend Curtain Rod

The color was pretty much on point and after adding it inside of the existing rods, we had super long curtain rods for only a fraction of the cost we would have paid for something bigger!

Lengthen Curtain Rod

If you have extra money in your draperies budget, you can always snag some ring clips to hold the curtains up.  Or, you can just cut a slit in the end of each top of the sheets and create a pocket to run the curtain rod through!

Budget Friendly Curtains

You may have noticed that all of our windows have wood blinds on them as well.  This is because our curtains are more decorative than functional.  We have electric baseboard heaters and will have to have to curtains up and out of the way during the cold season. Ugh.

Anyway, I hope this little insight into how to DIY your own window treatments encourages you if you are looking to dress up your windows without breaking the bank. I love how curtains can soften a room and if you hang the rods high, they can even make a room look bigger!

 

How To Prepare For A Showing/Open House

Last week, I shared How We Sold Our Home In One Day and I promised to also share How To Prepare For A Showing/Open House.  As a former real estate professional, I have a few ideas on what buyers like and also the things that can have them running for the door before they even get through the foyer.  Even though there are tons of infographics and lists out there on the internet, these are definitely things you want to focus on if you are trying to get ready for a showing.

How To Prepare For A Showing/Open House

Brighten

Buyers love a home with good lighting! (O.K., there may be some who enjoy the dungeon look, but they are few and far between.) Open up those curtains and blinds, clean the windows, add lamps if necessary and turn on all lighting. Adding mirrors to a room will also help reflect light and make the room appear more open.

Home Tour Coffee Table Sofa Couch Spring Tour

Tidy up/Fluff

Pick up and put away anything that is out of place. Make the beds. Wipe down counter tops and appliances. Put out the good towels. Make sure that sinks/mirrors/toilets are sparkling clean. Close the toilet lids. Fluff pillows and add some pretty flowers in a vase. Vacuum/Sweep the floors. Take out the trash. Definitely, clean up any pet messes/areas.

Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, so make them shine, like the sink from our powder room.

Beadboard Bathroom Sink

Adjust Temperature

Make sure the temperature of your home is set to a comfortable level for the season. If you are selling in the heat of summer, a buyer will appreciate walking into a home cooled with air conditioning, plus it will show that the mechanicals are working properly. The same applies to the winter with a furnace.

Metal Headboard Bed White Bedding

House Scents/Smells

Every home has its own scent. Some homes smell stronger than others, but no one wants their home to be stinky. When preparing for a showing, be careful not to use strong scents from room sprays and candles. These scents can lead buyers to believe you are trying to cover something up. Plus, many people are allergic to them. If you must use something, my advice is to keep it simple. Use natural scents, such as those of citrus, vanilla, basil, or cinnamon. And remember the best smelling home is a clean home.

Green Apple Black Laminate Counters

I hope that these tips can help you if you are trying to sell your home. Keeping these things in mind will help you to better prepare for a showing/open house and hopefully get your home sold fast!

How We Sold Our Home In One Day

It has been a little over three months since we closed on The City House and I want to share with you the secrets of how we sold it to the first buyer who walked through (on the first day). Obviously, the title of this post “How We Sold Our Home In One Day” may be a little deceptive. There is a lot more involved in selling a home than just finding a buyer. You must do all of the prep work before listing (we used a realtor), plus getting to closing can take a couple of months or more, depending on negotiations, inspections, loan approvals, etc. However, getting started on the right path can ensure that you get the perfect buyer into your home as soon as possible.

As a former realtor, I think one of the most important parts of finding a buyer quickly is making your home look as appealing as possible before listing. (Picking a reasonable listing price and deciding how willing you are to negotiate will also be very important.) Here are some tricks and tips on how to do it!

How We Sold Our Home

Fix

This should be apparent, but fixing the big and small problems in the house (i.e. small holes in the wall, doors that don’t latch correctly, lighting problems, landscaping issues) should be one of the first things on your to-do list, once you decide to sell your home. Take care of all of the problems you know of and you won’t have to worry about them showing up on later inspections.

Our kitchen counters were looking pretty bad after a failed DIY attempt. So, we replaced them with an inexpensive, yet, nice looking option.

Kitchen Final

Curb Appeal

Buyers will definitely have an opinion about your home before they even walk in. Curb appeal is important since it is the first thing that people see. Make sure to tidy up outside by cleaning walkways, cutting the grass, weeding flower beds. You can even add some potted plants and a seasonal door wreath to pretty things up.

My favorite boxwood wreath hanging on the front door.

Boxwood Wreath

Declutter

Many people don’t realize that cleaning and decluttering are two different things. With decluttering, the point is to remove all of the things that make the rooms look, well, cluttered and busy. Removing mail, tchotchkes, and excess furniture from each room will help the space feel more inviting and open. Decide whether each item you are decluttering should be thrown out, donated, or stored until you move.

We didn’t have a lot of items to purge, but we did move a lot of extra stuff to our Country House and donated quite a few things. If you don’t have space to store items in your home and your budget allows, consider renting a storage unit until you move. You could also ask friends/family if they would mind allowing you to store a few things in their homes until your home is sold.

Our dining table was pretty big for our breakfast nook, so we swapped it out for a smaller one to make the room look a little more spacious.

Dining Room Final

Clean

Again, this should go without saying, but your home should be pretty much spotless. We opted to hire a cleaning company to come in and really deep clean everything. Getting the major cleaning out of the way, saved us so much time and helped us focus on other tasks, like painting the walls.

We were also lucky enough to be able to move our pets to our new Country House before listing. We knew that then they wouldn’t get in the way with showings and it would be one less thing to worry about cleaning up. Pet odors can be a huge turn off for potential buyers! If you must have your pets around during showings, consider crating/kenneling them. Also, make sure their areas (food bowls/litter boxes/etc.) are pristine. Don’t forget to clean rugs and vacuum furniture well to get rid of smells, hair, and dander.

Our kitty Rowan, lounging like he does.

Remove pets during open houses and showings

Stage

For many people, hiring a home stager is not in the budget when they are trying to sell their house. The good news is that you could do a pretty good job at staging your own home. As I mentioned before, decluttering will really help open rooms up to feel more spacious. A few other ideas to consider would be:

  • Room Rearrangements – Move furniture around to be more inviting for conversation, especially in the living/family room. Also, make sure that each room has furniture in it to compliment the exact type of room a buyer may want. If you have 3 bedrooms, but use one as an office or playroom, consider changing it to make it look more like to a bedroom while your home is listed. Also, make sure that large furniture pieces are not in front of windows which may stop natural light from coming in.
  • Neutralize – There are a couple of ways to neutralize your home. First, consider painting rooms with bold color choices a more neutral tone (i.e. changing bright yellow to soft greige.) Second, think about storing some personal items, such as family photos, toys, and collections. You don’t have to necessarily rid your home of every last one of these items, but a buyer will be less distracted if a home is neutralized and it will be easier for them to picture themselves living in the space.

Neutral colors and welcoming furniture placement from our living room.

Spring Fling Home Tour

Good luck!

So, those were the major things we did that we believed to helped us sell our home so quickly. Even though I can’t guarantee your home will be sold in one day, I hope that you can use these tips and tricks to get your home sold as quickly as possible! Selling your home can be so nerve-racking. It is even ranked up there as one of the most stressful life events a person can experience. To say that I’m happy to be done with the selling process, would be an understatement. However, I’m glad that we spent a little extra time preparing our home before listing because it certainly paid off! Best of luck to you too!

Click here to see how we prepared for showings!

The 7 Best Apps For Photo Editing

I love, love, love to take photos. Most of the time I drag my big ol’ DSLR camera along with me when I go somewhere and I edit those photos in Photoshop. But sometimes, the convenience of being able to bring your phone with you to take pictures just makes so much more sense. It is great to be able to kick things up a notch too with photo editing apps! You can brighten up a dark photo, or add some fun text or filters to give your photo a little flare. So today, I’m sharing the 7 Best Apps for Photo Editing. (I use the following apps on my iPhone, but some may be available on other devices.)

7 Best Apps For Photo Editing

Camera+ by tap tap tap – Camera+ is an amazingly awesome app that allows you to have more control over your camera settings than the regular camera on your phone. It has really good manual mode settings which allows you to take beautiful photos in all sorts of different lighting scenarios. Plus, there are a lot of extra filters and options to help your pictures POP!

Processed with Camera+

Adobe Photoshop Express by Adobe – The Adobe Photoshop Express has many great features, but I think my favorite would have to be the blemish removal tool. I’m not a fan of editing out permanent facial features (see my wrinkles!) or making people skinnier, but this option is perfect for removing that scary, huge pimple that popped up over night or those few crumbs you didn’t notice on the floor before you snapped your photo. (Luckily, I didn’t have any zits at the time of this pic!)

Processed with Adobe Photoshop Express

Pic Tap Go by Totally Rad! Inc. – This is my favorite, most used photography app. I love that I can quickly load a photo into Pic Tap Go and apply a few filters or crop in no time at all. Usually, I just brighten and sharpen, since I love my photos to pop with color. However, there are a lot of fun options to choose from (which you can preview before you even apply) if you want to go for a vintage or black and white look as well.

Processed with Pic Tap Go

VSCO by Visual Supply Company – I love VSCO because it is so simple and the results are almost always beautiful. The app is super user friendly, with easy to use controls and lovely filters that can subtly accent your photos.

Processed with VSCO

Rhonna Designs by Rhonna Farrer – If you want to add pretty graphics and text to your pictures, Rhonna Designs is definitely the way to go. There are tons of gorgeous font options and designs that can help you create beautiful and unique graphic photos.

Processed with Rhonna Designs

Waterlogue by Tinrocket, LLC – Sometimes it’s fun to get a little artistic with your photos and Waterlogue is the perfect way to turn your pictures into art. This app takes your photos and, with the just the click of a button, changes them into beautiful watercolors. This photo started out as white plain flowers outside of our home, but now it looks like it was painted by an artist. So pretty!

Processed with Waterlogue

Moldiv by JellyBus Inc. – This last app is great if you want to showcase several photos at once in a collage. Moldiv can stitch together a grouping of photos (like a this set from my home tour) and there are tons of combinations to choose from, which is perfect for sharing on social media, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Processed with Moldiv

I love how using an app to edit photos can give it just that little extra oomph! What are your favorite photo editing apps? Do you use any of these? I would to hear your recommendations in the comments below!