When your Home is also your Office (and you can’t move!)

A Sign of the Times

A look at local home listings paints a sign of the times. For example, “Extra bedroom would make a great office!” Or “plenty of room for a desk … bonus room ideal for setting up work/study from home.” And here’s a classic, “backyard space perfect for adding an office outbuilding.” 

It used to be that most of us left home for work. Nowadays, a combination of better technology, the changing economy, and the pandemic means that many of us find our desks a whole lot closer to our beds than ever before. (Closer to the kitchen too, but that’s another blog for another day.)

 

We all need a little space to call our own. So what do you do if you’re struggling with living, working, and schooling out of your home, but you can’t or don’t want to purchase a new home

 

When You Just Don’t ‘Fit’ Anymore

You don’t necessarily need a new home. But you do need to be creative! Take a hard look at the space you have to work with. Make a list of your existing spaces then star any spots where you can carve out a nook or set up a station. 

 

Consider these: a guest bedroom, the laundry room, space under the stairs, a wide hallway, a walk-in closet. The barely-used formal dining room is becoming extremely popular with the work-from-home crowd. If your work requires phone and video calls, privacy (and maybe a locking door?) is likely to be your top concern. 

 

It Doesn’t Have to be a Huge Space

One mistake some people make is assuming you need an executive workstation. In fact, a comfortable chair, a small table with room for a cup of pens, a notebook and a laptop might do the trick. A catch-all basket can help keep you tidy. Think about keeping a file cabinet in a nearby closet for organizing overflow.

 

Nowhere to go But Up

You might find that more shelving in a den, more cabinets in a laundry room, or more overhead racks in a garage will open up the space you need. Can you remove a too-large piece of furniture? Add a space-saving, fold-up Murphy bed? Ask a friend for a second set of eyes to help you rearrange and find the space to set yourself up.

 

Don’t Skimp on the Details 

It doesn’t have to cost a mint, but be sure to pick one or two items that make the new space special. On your day off, add some fresh, light-colored, neutral paint. (White is best for small spaces.) Be sure to rearrange some art to your new office, too. Something to look at and take comfort in during all those Zoom meetings.

Picture a new work environment–or maybe just a sitting space to get away from it all. In this “new normal,” it might be all you need to improve your efficiency, productivity, and calm. 

 

When the timing is right and you do choose to buy, you’ll need a title on your new home. For professional assistance on the close on your sale, keep Clean Title, LLC, in mind. We’re researching the past to protect your future!

Don’t miss our popular Title FAQs for tips that will give you the peace of mind only a clean title can. See us on our Facebook page and check out details of our services on our website. Or call 985-277-5095 to speak to one of our title professionals today!

5 simple, Affordable Ways to Spruce up your House this Holiday Season

 

Shifting that unused vacation fund to tackle much-needed home repairs might be an easy choice this year. But if your income has seen an impact due to the pandemic, you don’t have to feel left out in the cold. You can still add some sparkle with your own low-cost home-improvement flair.

 

Want easy? Fast? And best of all, cheap? A little light landscaping and some fresh paint are your best bet. But here are a few more clever ways to upgrade your home without breaking the bank. Check out these five perfect projects for all that quality time at home during the 2020 holiday season!

 

Black Door Knobs

Tired of those ’70s gold plated knobs? Change out your hardware and there goes your repair budget. But check out a tube of black metallic wax ($8-$10) and now you’re in business. There are copper and silver tints as well. (First, be sure to check the finish on the inside of a backroom or on closet hinges to confirm you like it! If not, oil-rubbed bronze spray paint is your plan B.)

 

Carriage Doors on the Garage

A regal carriage door for your garage can really drive demand! While it looks great, it can certainly cost you your crown. Fear not, fair damsel in distress! Magnetic hinges and handles to the rescue. No drilling necessary! (Add faux windows for just $20 more.)  

 

Shiplap Wall Accent

Nothing makes a modern house look more classic than an accent wall. And it doesn’t take a master craftsman to build one. You can use the planks from pallets or trimmed plywood pieces. Stack them horizontally and attach them to your wall with anchored screws and construction adhesive. (Pinterest is the place for ideas and directions!)

 

“Vintage” Floor Tile 

You can spend the weekend (and empty your bank account) replacing your flooring. Orrrr… you can try some vinyl sticky tiles. It comes in amazing patterns and colors. Give a small, drab area a 10-minute makeover with a pop of bright, fun style!

 

Shower Curtain Pick-me-up

This one’s practically cheating. Treat yourself to a new shower curtain! You’ll love the look and your family will thank you. It’s the next best thing to a whole bathroom renovation. 

 

Make the most of this most wonderful time of the year with a few simple changes that go the distance and make your whole house shine for the holidays and into the future!

Don’t miss our popular Title FAQs for tips that will give you the peace of mind only a clean title can. See us on our Facebook page and check out details of our services on our website. Or call 985-277-5095 to speak to one of our title professionals today!

3 reasons to be thankful for a Thanksgiving at home 

 

Thanksgiving might look a little different for you and your family in 2020. If you’re following CDC recommendations for low-risk holiday activities, you’ll choose a small dinner with only the people who live with you in your home. 

For homeowners who love throwing an elaborate feast for a crowd, coronavirus presents a challenge. At Clean Title, we’re focusing on the bright side! Here’s three ways to count your blessings this holiday season. (Even if it means a quieter dinner without Aunt Etta’s famous pecan pie!)

Less fuss

Let’s face it, holidays can be stressful. And food prep can take a lot of time and energy. This year, with a smaller crowd, you can still make it special. But now, you’ll enjoy a much lower grocery bill and a lot less work getting ready. 

More leftovers

They say you shouldn’t try new recipes on guests. No wonder we’ve been eating the same stuffing recipe since 1967! Looks like 2020 is the perfect year to try a few new dishes with your immediate family. And the biggest bonus of all? With fewer mouths to feed, you’ll have more leftover. So you can have Thanksgiving (and dinner ready) all week! 

More time to focus on what matters

Maybe you and your family love games. Or it could be hiking in the woods during fall is your thing. With a big crowd, it’s always hard to get any activity started (except eating). Make plans now for a slower day with less time around the table and more time enjoying something you like to do together!

In case you need a few activity ideas, try these:

  • Prepare a few to-go plates for shut-ins who are at-risk for illness. Deliver them (in masks) as a group. Sing, dance or do a lot of extra waving from a safe distance outside their door.
  • Schedule dinner time to host a virtual dinner party with family and friends. Share recipes and stories while live.
  • Prepare your home early for December holidays. Enlist the kids to take over some of the decorating this year. (Why should you have all the fun?)
  • Set up an outdoor theater for the big game, parade-watching, or movies by the fire. 
  • When all else fails, plan next Thanksgiving. If a bigger house is on your wish list so you can host a table full, use this extra time to go house hunting!

 

If you do choose to buy, you’ll need a title on your new home. When it comes time to close on your sale, keep Clean Title, LLC, in mind. We’re researching the past to protect your future!

Don’t miss our popular Title FAQs for tips that will give you the peace of mind only a clean title can. See us on our Facebook page and check out details of our services on our website. Or call 985-277-5095 to speak to one of our title professionals today!

Local real estate market heats up… for now!

 

Working from home. Studying at home. Playing at home. With more time at home, we all want (and need) a little more out of our space.

That’s why the same pandemic that has all but shut down the travel and tourism industry and created widespread unemployment is also turning up the heat on a hot local real estate market. 

…and more good news

Adding more fuel to the fire is the double bonus of low-interest rates plus low inventory or (less houses for sale). That’s essentially a buyer AND seller’s market at the same time. 

Factors that were once considered a deal-breaker–a pool or a yard with a lot of upkeep for example–are suddenly highly desirable. When your outlook is work and school at home for the known future, location is no longer everything. Distance from the city center and traffic patterns are less of a concern. 

People primarily want more space so everyone in their family can have their own space. 

Numbers are strong nationally and locally

Existing and new home sales reached their highest levels since 2006 this week. Realtor.com said New Orleans has the fifth-highest increase in real estate sales in the U.S. in 2020. And local real estate brokerage Latter & Blum said sales prices are up 21% compared to last year. The average number of days on the market has dropped 6%.

But keep in mind:

All the variables–and there are many–can change quickly in an upmarket.

Elections are coming. Because there’s nowhere else to fall, interest rates could easily go back up. Continuing unemployment (and under-employment) may begin to cut into who can afford to move. 

Quick tips for buying and selling

Nothing says buy low, sell high like a hot real estate market. So if you’re interested in selling, buying, or both, now might be your best opportunity. 

 

Don’t miss our popular Title FAQs for tips that will give you the peace of mind only a clean title can. See us on our Facebook page and check out details of our services on our website. Or call 985-277-5095 to speak to one of our title professionals today!

The affordability index is up! Understanding the 2020 market

Remember the housing bust that started back in 2008?

Lenders–trying to boost “the American dream” for everyone–relaxed their strict lending standards. Too many people and businesses took on real estate loans they couldn’t afford. The bubble burst. The stock market crashed.

It didn’t take long for people to lose their homes in the aftermath. Foreclosed properties flooded the market. And there weren’t enough buyers to purchase them. Home prices tumbled so buying a home got much more affordable.

Now you can see from the green bar on this National Association of Realtor’s chart that median-priced homes are more affordable compared to median incomes. In fact, more affordable than they’ve been since the crash when properties were sold at discounts not seen before in the housing market. 

But today’s homes are affordable for a very different reason.

 

What makes a home affordable?

There are three main elements that go into determining how affordable homes are for buyers:

  1. Current mortgage rates
  2. Mortgage payments as a percentage of an owner’s income
  3. Current home prices

 

So why are homes so affordable today?

Although all three factors add up to the final numbers, the one that’s playing the largest part today is historically low mortgage rates. Based on this main factor, we can see that it’s more affordable to buy a home today than at any time in the last seven years.

No one can guarantee affordability won’t stay high. Or go even higher if more people lose their jobs and foreclose on their homes. But for today, conditions are favorable.

 

So where and when do I start?

You’ll want to do your research. Ask a local real estate professional their thoughts on the market today. And if you have another house you need to sell first, it’s not a bad idea to jump in on those little fix-it projects this very weekend. 

If you’re considering purchasing your first house or moving up to that dream home, remember affordability when it comes to the cost of your home. Buying while mortgage rates are low can save you quite a bit of money over the life of your home loan.

 

If you do choose to buy, you’ll need a title on your new home. When it comes time to close on your sale, keep Clean Title, LLC, in mind. We’re researching the past to protect your future!

Don’t miss our popular Title FAQs for tips that will give you the peace of mind only a clean title can. See us on our Facebook page and check out details of our services on our website. Or call 985-277-5095 to speak to one of our title professionals today!

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