How to Create the Perfect Lighting Design Scheme

Let’s be real – whether you are designing your dream house, selling, flipping, renting, or entering the world of air b n b, lighting is everything, literally everything we see is because light reflects off objects in our environment and enters our retinas. Do you see me?

Lighting Tips and Tricks for Beginners 

Color temperature is key. Decide on a color temperature and stick with it. Using the Kelvin scale, most light bulbs and fixtures fall between 2700K (warmer) and 5000K (cool). When I walk into a newly listed property with 4 different color temperatures, I’m instantly cringing. Our preferred color temperature at home is 2700K and always warm. 

Create lighting experiences for both day and night. A great way to figure out where you need more light is to walk around and take photos of dark spots. Then upload those photos in a design board and visualize what lighting may work in each area. 

Create different lighting schemes for various activities. Whether you’re hosting a gathering, curling up with a book, cleaning the house, or having a family meditation/yoga session, you’ll want lighting to be both functional and temperamental in helping you create the right mood.

Diversify your lighting sources: overhead, pendant, table and floor lamps, sconces, candles, task lighting, perforated lights, under cabinet lights, lanterns, wall washers, mounted lights, hanging lamps. Depending on the size of the room, I would include a few of these options in each space.

Maximize natural light that you have by opening window coverings during the day and cleaning windows. We installed commercial roller shades because you can control the percentage of light that comes through. Percentages generally range from 1% to 14% – lower percentages have a tighter weave and higher percentages have a more “open” weave. Also blackout shades are an option for those late sleepers. 

Reflect light around your house with mirrors. Mirrors are particularly useful on eastern and northern walls.  

Use paint with a higher LVR in rooms that receive some natural light. The higher the LVR of your paint , the more light it will reflect. Choosing paint is much more technical than one may think, so that’s a topic for another post. 

Consider scale as you choose your light fixtures. You’ll want to make sure your lighting fixture fits visually in the space. For example, a large pendant fixture in a small nook can feel crowding and overbearing. Likewise, fixtures that are too small can make a space feel uncomfortably disproportionate, like a tiny chandelier in an expansive ballroom. Again, a photo depiction is a helpful tool in creating your desired ambiance.  

Add dimmers to your compatible lighting fixtures. By replacing simple on/off switches with dimming devices, you can control customize your lighting mood even further with an endless combination of various brightnesses for different fixtures. 

Ok, now GO! I know you’re all running to your computers right now to create your dream lighting design. 

Camera: Photos from our home are a work in progress over a 6 week renovation period. 

Top 9 Real Estate Seller Successes in 2022: How our Clients Rocked the Selling Process

1. Preparation and staging is key – get started early because details matter. 

2. Hire an expert agent who is a skilled negotiator and a problem solver.

3. Know your goals, write them down and share them with your agent. 

4. Price strategically based on the condition of your property and the market. 

5. Maximum exposure = maximum value. Market widely! 

6. Accept when you need to pivot because the market has changed. For example, staging, overall property condition and updates become more important in a ‘buyers market’.

7. Strive to keep the deal together – multiple sale fails may lead buyers to think something is wrong with your house. Find the win-win whenever possible.

8. Work with a team who you trust and has proven systems in place. 

9. Understand that selling and buying property involves people and emotions. You may need that extra glass of wine and a meditation class. 

Prepping Your Home to Sell

As you prepare your home to sell, staging is an important part of the process. Even if your house is vacant during the time of sale, a few staging touches will help prospective buyers envision their future in your home. If you have the funds, I suggest hiring a staging company to make your home picture perfect.

Studies have shown that staging makes a positive impact on buyers. If you price strategically, market widely and stage, you are likely to sell your home for above list price. Check out the National Association of Realtors’ 2017 Staging Stats report for more stats.

I’m excited to share my go to check list for staging your home! It’s okay to take parts and pieces from this list and an experienced realtor can help you create a strategy that makes the most sense for your own sale.

Stage it Where It Counts:

  • Living room,
  • Master bedroom,
  • Kitchen.

These high-traffic areas usually have a big impact on buyers’ perceptions.

Make a good first impression.

  • Power Wash or scrub the front door step.
  • Add a potted plant by the front door.
  • Hang easy-to-read house numbers.
  • Remove seasonal decorations.
  • Mow the lawn and reseed or add fresh sod as needed.
  • Wash the front windows.
  • Repaint or stain the porch floor as needed.
  • Add simple porch furniture if you have room.

De-personalize the space

  • Remove personal photos and items.
  • Pack up and hide all your personal products, especially in bathrooms.

Get Rid of Clutter.

  • Throughout the house, remove clutter from out in the open and behind closed doors.
  • Empty closets and storage spaces make the house look move-in ready, and easy for someone to visualize how they might use the space. 
  • Utilize offsite storage temporarily.

Clean the House from Top to Bottom.

  • A deep cleaning now will make your move easier later. 

Patch and Repair.

  • Spackle holes in walls and ceilings. 
  • Caulk where appropriate: bathrooms, windows and trim.
  • After these two steps above, consider repainting your interior to give it that fresh house feel. 

Go Neutral with Paint.

  • Repainting your interior prior to a sale can provide an easy return on investment.
  • Stay white or gray — make it bright and light. 
  • Painting your house white makes natural and artificial lighting better, and gives buyers a blank canvas to express themselves with accents. 
  • At the very least, paint overly saturated accent walls. Your favorite red may be someone else’s blue 🙁 

Focus on fresh

  • Add a few well-placed houseplants.
  • Set up fresh flowers on the dining room table or kitchen island. 
  • Add a bowl of lemons beside the sink, but make sure they stay fresh!

Remove Odors

  • Add houseplants, which naturally clean indoor air. 
  • Clean ducts. 
  • Steam carpets.
  • Use a natural scent such as an essential oil diffuser — no synthetic wall plugs or chemically candles. 

Create the Best Lighting Possible

  • Open the blinds on all of the windows to show off available natural lighting. 
  • Turn on all the lights in your house for showings, including lamps and closet lights.
  • Coordinate your lighting color temperatures: 2700K light bulbs create a warm and inviting lighting. 

Rearrange Your Furniture

  • Go minimal: Store extra furniture to show off your best pieces. 
  • Create symmetrical arrangements — symmetry psychologically conveys beauty. 
  • Pull your furniture off the walls and use pairs to create an inviting conversation area.
  • Throw away your television unless it’s part of a well-defined entertainment area. 

Add Key Accents (These are great for vacant homes too)

  • A new fluffy white bathrobe on a decorative hook on the door adds a cozy touch. 
  • A beautiful bar of soap by a local maker makes a nice statement. 
  • A simple wreath (seasonal but non-holiday) on the front door can jump out visually. 

Stage the outdoors

  • Set up a hammock in the summer to activate your patio or lawn! 
  • Add a couple of chairs and a small table with a potted plant to help buyers envision themselves in the yard. 

A few additional touches that can go a long way

  • Empty all trash cans and move them out of sight.
  • Create a luxury spa look with a fancy soap dispenser, fluffy white towels, decorative baskets, candles, plants, a white shower curtain, and a new bath mat.
  • Organize the insides of cabinets.
  • Make sure it smells fresh, but please do not use wall plugs-ins — many individuals are highly sensitive to synthetic fragrances. 

You’re already one step ahead by reading this go-to check list. Now all you have to do is implement it!

Reach out to me here with questions on how to go about these must-do pre-sale tasks.  

How to create long term wealth through investing in real estate

There’s a reason why they call it real estate: it’s a real, tangible investment. The fact is, land is a finite resource and we’re not manufacturing any new land on Earth. The principle of supply versus demand applies here. Less supply and more demand means that your investment is going to increase in value over time.

#1 Save for your down payment and pretend like that money doesn’t exist. Did you know you can invest in owner occupied real estate for as low as 3% down?

#2 Start small. Your first investment property doesn’t also need to be your dream house.

#3 Plan to own your house for at least 5 years. My personal strategy is to buy and hold. Know your goals and then develop a step by step guide.

#4 Study your market and understand what a good investment looks like when you see it. You may need to put a little sweat equity into improving your property over time. You got this.

#5 Continue to save after you move in. It’s just like owning a car, your house will need preventative maintenance, or perhaps occasional repairs. I suggest developing a spreadsheet to keep track of your major systems.

#6 Make an extra payment towards your principal each year. Did you know that by making one extra payment each year over the life of the loan, you can subtract six years off your 30 year mortgage. Two extra payments and you may be looking at a 15 year payoff!

How to Step into the Market as a First Time Home Buyer

Purchasing your first property can feel daunting; having a team of specialists to walk through the process makes all the difference. As a real estate agent, my mission is to educate so that my clients feel empowered at every step of the homebuying journey.

As a buyer in today’s market, you need to be flexible, open, and prepared. Here is my step by step guide to becoming a homeowner:

Saving
The first step is developing a budget and defining your monthly fixed costs. If you’ve already created a budget and a monthly savings goal, kudos! — you’re well on your way!

Open a savings account and label it “home.” Stash your excess funds in the account before you are tempted to spend them in other places. Then add extra funds at the end of the month after you’ve implemented cost-saving strategies like changing your grocery shopping habits.

I recommend saving at least 5% of your desired home purchase price and $10,000 for closing costs. (Closing costs are lender fees, escrow fees, and property taxes for the year.)

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to consider your credit score — if you are buying with another person, the lender will use the lowest score of the two.

Buyer Consultation
Meet with your agent to learn about the process and discuss priorities for your future home. My shortlist of key factors to consider:
Location
Desired Home & Lot Size
Timeline for Moving
Bedrooms / Bathrooms
Needs vs. Wants
Desired Price Range
Establish Mutual Expectations

Mortgage Options
Meet with your mortgage lender to determine the price range that you are pre-approved for. I encourage you to work with a lender that will educate you on all the costs associated with purchasing. Out of pocket costs, in addition to the down payment and closing costs, include inspections and appraisal fees. Inspection fees can be variable, but I recommend budgeting $1,000.

Start Your Home Search With Your Agent
Using the guidelines you have identified together, your buyer’s agent will set up a property search for you in your area’s proprietary Multiple Listing Service (MLS). That system has vital information to each listing not visible by the public only available to licensed agents.

Viewing Properties
Finding the right home is an exciting journey. It is important to realize that some strategic scheduling is part of the process and that constant communication is key to ensuring you are able to spend the most efficient time touring properties. Communicate with your buyer’s agent if you have plans to attend an open house so that your agent can research the property for you. In today’s hot markets where inventory is low, time is of the essence!

Writing Offers
Once you find a home that meets your needs, it’s time to write an offer. Working on the best strategies to make your offer stand out is essential. Make sure you choose a buyer’s agent that is a skilled negotiator and can help you write the most attractive offer and guide you through negotiations. I’ve developed a contingency cheat sheet to help my buyers win in competitive offer situations.

I hope this article makes you feel empowered to start the journey. Happy home ownership planning my friends! If you want to learn more about the buying process, please reach out to me here.

7 Steps to Purchasing your First Real Estate Investment

In the real estate investment world, there are many paths you can take. Luck is the intersection of action and opportunity, and you need to be prepared to take action when a great opportunity comes along — and to recognize that opportunity. Interest rates are at an all time low at the time of this writing, and markets are changing rapidly. See below for my best strategies that new investors need to take in order to seize the moment.

Educate yourself. Read everything: books, articles, blog posts 😉 and interview people with investment experience. Hire an expert, tour properties, drive around neighborhoods. Most importantly, study and learn your market.

Decide whether you want to move into your property or buy it solely as an investment. If you plan to live in your first investment, then you can put down as low as 3% on a conventional loan. If you don’t plan to move in, then you’ll need a whopping 20%. I moved into my first investment property, so I could save my liquid funds for renovation costs.

Define your investment goals. This step is very important because there are lots of options as a first time real investor. Capital was a defining factor in my investment strategy.

Connect with a lender to find out what is possible financially. Meeting with a lender may show you that you need to save more or do your taxes differently. As a 1099 independent contractor, the lender will take an average of your income over two years! Planning and strategizing now can be helpful in reaching your long term goals.

Open a high yield savings account and label it investment property. That’s what I call motivation baby! Know what you can save every month and treat that money like it doesn’t exist. If you’re ready to rock financially, go to step 6.

Hire an experienced agent who thinks outside the box to help you locate and negotiate your investment property. Did you know hiring a buyers agent is free to the buyer? The seller pays both the buyers agent and seller agents commission.

Know your numbers and what type of investment is right for you. Spreadsheets will become your best friend! The way you evaluate a property is going to be completely different depending on whether your investment is a quick flip, a rental, a 2-5 year flip, or a long term investment. A clear direction on your investment goals is absolutely essential to this process.

Happy investing my friends!