4 Things I Wish I Knew before Buying My First Home

by Sara Seeger 2. April 2015

Shopping for Homes

Purchasing a home is a big deal. Many times, a house is the most costly and valuable asset an individual can own. Many people understand that taking out a home mortgage means taking on a huge amount of debt, but what happens after you sign the papers?

As someone who purchased a house two years ago, I wish I would have thought about these four things before I took the plunge.

Work, Work, Work

Owning a home is a lot of work. If something breaks, you don’t have a landlord, maintenance team, or parent to fix the problem. You don’t have a landscaper to cut your grass and trim the bushes outside. You are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the outside and inside of your house. Some people enjoy these activities, but not everyone does. That’s why it is important to know that owning a home is a lot of work.


When purchasing a home, it is important to know that things can break, and it’s up to you to fix them. A few months after moving into my house I discovered an issue with my air conditioner and water heater, with both items needing to be completely replaced. Luckily, I received some money back at closing which gave me some extra cash to have these two items replaced, but no one expects to purchase a home and have to make repairs immediately. It is wise to not max yourself out on your home loan and also to have some sort of repository for extra "home" money that you can dedicate to any home repairs or maintenance.


Buying a home is one of the biggest financial responsibilities a person can take on. A house is not like an apartment; you can’t easily move to a new one if you dislike your neighbors or community. Selling a home you purchased right away can be expensive. You may lose money on the house, or if people aren’t buying it could sit on the market for a while. When buying a home, think in the long-term and plan to own it for several years. Purchase enough house for you (with maybe a little extra), but don’t over-indulge.

Talk to Your Potential Neighbors

Looks can be deceiving. A beautiful house situated in a quaint neighborhood may look pleasantly appealing, but can turn into a disaster once you move in. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow this advice when I purchased my home two years ago. If I did, I may have figured out the potential issues of the neighborhood, for instance the barking dogs at all hours of the night and the neighborhood pest problem, ahead of time.

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Quick Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell

by Sara Seeger 10. March 2015

Staging Your Home

There are a number of attributes that can help a house sell, such as location, updates, size, and proximity to renowned schools, just to name a few. However, you have little to no control over many of these things when you go to sell your home. What you can control is how your house looks when it's on the market. Once you place your house on the market, you are ultimately selling a product, so it is important that your product looks and feels as appealing and comfortable as possible. Here are five quick staging tips when selling your house.

1. Make It Comfortable

Forget about sterile white walls and bare rooms, an empty house can make it hard for someone to visualize themselves living there. It also doesn’t help for pictures on an online listing when trying to draw buyers to your property. Empty rooms can appear “cold” and smaller than their actual size. Paint your walls a warm, neutral color and add furniture that makes the home feel comfortable.

2. Enhance Unique Attributes

Remember the saying, “less is more.” Try not to crowd furniture in corners of the rooms or in places that don’t make sense. Instead, accentuate your home's characteristics by decorating around them. You can even arrange furniture to downplay negative characteristics of the home.

3. Let the Sun Shine

Natural light can greatly improve the look and feel of your home. When staging your home, open your blinds and pull back your curtains.

4. Remove Personal Items

The easiest thing to do when staging a home is to remove all personal items. This includes family photos, personal items in the bathroom or bedroom, papers, etc. These can be distracting to a buyer and may not allow them to connect with the house. If you are still living in the house, consider placing your personal items in a decorative basket or cabinet while showings are happening.

5. Clean Up

No one wants to walk through a dirty or cluttered house. Remove any clutter (ahem, garages anyone?) by consolidating and putting storage bins in cabinets or on shelves. If you have a lot of storage items, consider renting a storage unit. They are fairly inexpensive and if they will allow your home to be less cluttered and potentially sell faster, it may be worth it. Also, make an effort to clean the house before staging photos are taken and always tidy up before a showing.

These are just a few quick and inexpensive ways to stage your home to sell. There are many other things a seller can do to make their home shine. Have you ever staged a house to sell? How did you prepare to get your home ready to sell?

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

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Infographic: Is Getting a College Education Worth It?

by Sara Seeger 24. February 2015

For some time now, obtaining a college degree has been regarded as mandatory for success in many career paths. Many jobs require a college degree to even be considered. But as college costs are creeping higher and higher, many people are wondering if the ROI is still there. Between the years and years of student debt people obtain and the high unemployment rate for recent graduates, people are asking the question: is college still worth it?

Infographic: Is Getting a College Education Worth It?
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