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Decorating a child’s room can get pretty expensive, especially if your little one is your first. There are just so many cool things out there and sometimes, parents (and grandparents) can get too excited and spend a lot of money. So, whether you want to redecorate your kid’s room or are just starting to put the nursery together, you will find these inexpensive ideas helpful for you project.

1. Art Gallery

art-gallery

You can create a very inexpensive gallery with your kid’s art or pictures from old kid’s books and frames that you, your family or friends do not use anymore. You can even include your children and have them collect flowers and/or leaves they like and put them in a piece of paper, there are endless ways to do this!

2. Furniture Makeover

furniture-makeover

Thrift stores and garage sales are full of hiding gems; find a piece of furniture you like and add your own style to it, or you can repurpose it, like this old cabinet turned into a small kid’s diner.

3. Handmade

handmade

Get creative with the things you have at hand, use some colored paper to cut out fun shapes, you can even make your own pompoms, and if you are into sewing, check out this DIY less than $10 teepee.

4. Check out IKEA

ikea

Ikea is known for having low-priced, and pretty cool things. But if you are really creative you can make the most of what you get at the store. Just take a look at how these Ikea products have been transformed!

5. Use wall decals

wall-decals

An easy way to give your kids room character is by using wall decals, no need to be the best artist when you can get ready to go decoration for your wall. Wall decals can get to be a little expensive, but some stores, like Target, have cool and reasonably priced decals.

6. Chalkboard paint

chalkboard-paint

Paint a wall with black chalkboard paint, your kids will have a giant canvas to draw on. You can also use this to write reminders or routines for your kids.

7. Small spaces

Make the most of the space you have available, there are really cool beds and room furniture that come with extra storage. Or you can use what you have and reorganize it, like this parent whose kid’s closet was out of control.

8. Get to know Pinterest

pinterest

Pinterest, the world’s catalog of ideas, is the to-go website for people who love DIY. This platform is full with ideas and we know you will love it!

Tips to Save Energy

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SAVING ENERGY

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**If you sell your home do you need to have it Energy Certified? http://www.factcheck.org/2009/07/energy-bill-and-existing-homes/**

Do you know how much money are you spending on your Energy Bills? Well, according to Alliance to Save Energy, ‘the average U.S. residential household consumed 10,982 kWh of electricity and spent around $2,200 annually on utility bills’ Yes, that is right, you are probably using more energy that you need to! Just take a look at this blog on the 10 most energy wasting habits people have in their home.

Saving energy is not only about being cleaner and caring about the planet, it is also about using your resources more effectively. So, whether you want to stop wasting resources for the planet’s sake or save on energy (and other) bills, here are some steps you can take towards being more energy-efficient.

  • Heating and Cooling
    Close blinds on summer to keep your house cool and open them in winter to let sun in. In the colder months be careful with fans because the air coming from them can make your heating system work harder.

    Check for air leaks, any cracks in your home will let cold hair come in and hot air escape, this makes your heating system work harder and waste energy in the process. Look around your windows, anywhere wood meets concrete, sill plates, doors and air duct joints.

    Make sure to install a programmable thermostat, according to Energy.gov, ‘You could save an estimated 10 percent per year on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat, and by resetting it when you are asleep or away from home, you won’t have to sacrifice comfort.’

    Want to know more? Read this Guide to smart Heating and Cooling from Energy Star, a voluntary energy-savings program of the U.S. government.

  • Appliances

    Just by pushing the ‘energy saver’ button on some or all your appliances, you will be making a difference on your energy consumption. But if you feel like you want to do more, and if you have the money, you can replace your old appliances for energy-efficient models. We recommend that you get appliances that are certified by Energy Star, here is a list of them. You can also reduce the use of electricity when electronics are not in use by plugging them to an advanced power strip.

  • Transportation

    If you are about to buy or replace your old car, you can get one that has good mileage, this will help you save money on gas and will reduce the CO2 emissions that come from your car.

We hope to have inspired you to take some steps towards using energy better, and to give you more inspiration, here, read this couple’s story on how they made their home more energy efficient.

Getting Ready to Buy a Home

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Buying a home is one of the most important steps in one’s life, so we have put together some advices hoping that we can help make your home buying process easier.

SAVE FOR DOWN PAYMENT AND CLOSING COSTS
With most loan programs you will need to put between 3% to 20% of the home’s price and this can come in a form of a Gift Down Payment. The one exception to this rule is the VA loan program where you can do up to 100% financing.

**Do you want to know if you qualify for a VA loan? Go here http://davidhaleymortgage.com/va-loans/ **

Other cash expenses are the closing costs. According to Zillow, “…home buyers will pay between about 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price of their home in closing fees. So, if your home cost $150,000, you might pay between $3,000 and $7,500 in closing costs. On average, buyers pay roughly $3,700 in closing fees, according to a recent survey.”

However, each case is different so you should talk to your Loan Officer, she or he will give you a Loan Estimate which will give you an idea of what your closing costs will look like. Remember this is only an approximation and these numbers may change.

COLLECT DOCUMENTS
Providing the right documents to ensure your capability to qualify for a Home Loan is very important. Start collecting your financials: W-2’s, paystubs, bank statements and copies of your last two tax returns. Of course, required documents vary from person to person, but these are the basic documents that you will want to gather.

KNOW WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD
According to Money Under 30 you should “Aim to keep your mortgage payment at or below 25 percent of your pretax monthly income” and “[Try to] keep your total debt payments at or below 33 percent of your pretax monthly income.” (THIS ARE THE IDEAL NUMBERS), however most find this to be too tight for their buying opportunity.

BUILD YOUR SAVINGS ACCOUNT
Now that your expenses will increase with a monthly mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, utilities and others, it is best practice to have a good amount of money in your savings for emergencies.

GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE
You don’t want to find your dream home and then find out that you cannot get financing to purchase it! Make sure that you can actually get a loan before you start home shopping. Talk to your family members, friends or co workers and ask if they know a Loan Officer that you can work with.

LOOK FOR A REALTOR
Finding a Realtor that you can trust is very important. Make sure you ask these 9 important questions.

LOOK FOR HOUSES
Your Realtor will most likely put you in a Home Search site or program, so you can get notifications whenever a house fits your criteria. But you can also look on your own; there are different kinds of Home Search Engines, so you have a lot of options out there.

A good Home Search App we recommend is Home Scouting, it has accurate Listings and live, real up-to-date active homes, unlike other Real Estate search sites, it lets you save searches and favorite homes, it’s private and does not sell your name or contact information.

To download the Home Scouting App:
iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/homescouting/id643321575
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hbsr

After downloading the app, use this code: 4254716039

We hope these tips help you to get you ready to buy a home, and please do not hesitate to contact David Haley if you have any Home Loan questions. Don’t delay and call today! 425-471-6039

Happy House Hunting!
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Brighten Your Home

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brighten-home

Mirrors
Enhance your room’s natural light by hanging a mirror on a wall that faces a window, the mirror will reflect the light and your room will look brighter. You can also hang the mirror facing a lamp. Play with the mirror’s placement and see what works best for you.

Colors and Texture
Choosing a different color for your walls and ceilings can change a room’s appearance dramatically; you can choose lighter shades of paint for most of your room and then add contrast with a darker or bolder color for your floor, door and window’s trim. Even if it does not seem like it, texture can be detrimental to or help enhance light in a room, matte finishes are better than glossy ones since they offer a more subtle impression and reflect light as well.

Light Curtains
Using bulky and heavy curtains in a room that is already dark won’t let any natural light in. Try lighter, airy curtains and you will see the difference. If you are concerned about your privacy, you can always get blinders in a neutral painted or pale wood finish.

Use brighter Light bulbs
You can replace them with higher light intensity bulbs such as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) of a lower wattage but higher light output. You can also try different light coloring. Daylight bulbs usually provide a cooler, bluer, more vivid light. Take a look at this blog to learn more about lightning.


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