Flipping Fayetteville

I can mark that one off my bucket list. We flipped and sold our first house. There were days I hated it and days I loved it but overall, IT.WAS.FUN. Here are the before and after pictures of our 100 day project. We did a lot of it ourselves, with some really talented help (dad) and a few good contractors along the way. I got strangely attached to this cute little house, and in terms of being a rewarding experience, it wins. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer buyer. I would love to do another one, but for now…we rest.

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Front Before Labor

Front after 2

Porch before

Porch after

Front door before

Front door after

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living room before

living room after

Kitchen 1 before

kitchen 1 after

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kitchen 2 after

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Kitchen Wall Labor

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Roll off labor

Rolloff After

Laundry Before

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Bath before

Bathroom after

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backyard shed before

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backyard 5 after

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backyard 4 after

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Backyard 3 after

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backyard 1 after

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Side door after

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bedroom 2 after 2

bedroom 2 before

Bedroom 2 after

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5 Things to do Before Selling Your Home

# 1 – Disconnect

Our homes are personal. They offer a glimpse into who we are and what we value, and they should. However, when you make up the decision to sell your home, contrary to all of that, it’s important to disconnect from your home. For years we have told home staging clients that they have to reframe their minds to think of their home in a different way, even before it belongs to someone else. Cherish the memories you have there, document it with photos, but try and think of it as something that needs to be marketed. Maybe it’s where you first brought your baby home from the hospital, the first home that you and your spouse ever owned together, the place where you’ve laughed, cried, and eaten thousands of family meals. But, the truth is that now it’s time for someone else to envision themselves doing the same things.

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#2 – Purge

Did you know that most moving companies charge you based on the weight of your belongings? That means that every little thing counts and it can really add up. So, it’s definitely advantageous to get rid of stuff before you deal with the hassle of boxing it up. Do you need to take those old college books with you? Or boxes of toys that your kids have grown out of? When you plan ahead and start purging, you have some control over where your stuff goes rather than a frantic last-minute trip to goodwill. You can bless someone you know with your stuff or maybe even make a little money by selling it. In addition, your home will show much better with less clutter and more spacious storage areas.

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#3 – Refresh

Even though we’ve stayed put for 6 years now, I actually love to move! Moving is an opportunity to start over. So before you even sell your current home, think about what you want to be different in your new place. Whether you know where you’re going or not, it’s never too early to envision your ideal space. Contrary to what I said about purging, it can actually be beneficial to go ahead and purchase some small things for your new home, but only if you can use them to your advantage in the house you’re selling. We see many nice homes when we stage but sometimes that fact is overshadowed by tired or worn furnishings inside. And surprisingly, it can make the entire house feel that way as well. We never advocate clients going out and purchasing all new furniture but things like throw blankets, accent pillows, new bedding, and lamps can go a long way in refreshing a space.

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#4 – Reflect

Think about what drew you to your current home in the first place. When you were looking, what were the features that prompted you to make an offer? Was it the big lot? The hardwood floors? The plantation shutters and built-ins? Make sure and emphasize those things. On the other hand, what things made you hesitate? Maybe they’ve already been fixed or addressed and if not, it’s not too late to do so.

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#5 – Don’t take it personal

Chances are that when your house gets shown, feedback will follow. It’s important not to take it personal but rather to use it to your advantage. Is it a recurring theme that potential buyers hate the Kelly green accent wall in the dining room? Or that they feel a small room off the bedroom is a wasted space? Rather than getting offended, paint the wall or stage the nook as an office or sitting room to attract more buyers and get an offer. Just change what you can and don’t worry about what you can’t…..after all, it only takes one person who thinks your home is the perfect one!

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Why I Love New Year’s Resolutions

Just the other day, my typically optimistic husband was sharing his disdain for New Year’s resolutions. “Why do people resolve to do something that they may give up by March anyway?” he said. While I must say he has a point, I personally don’t see any harm in reflecting on the year behind us and focusing on what we’d like to change or improve on in 2016…and hopefully it sticks!

There’s something about that 1-1 on the calendar that marks such a clear new beginning. It’s a chance to put the disappointments, the struggles, and the bad memories of the prior year behind us.

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Here are 3 resolutions that I like for 2016.

  1. Be more intentional about what comes into your home – whether that’s clutter, trash that’s on tv, or even people!
  2. Make a commitment to be more present with your family and friends when you’re together (put the phone down)
  3. Learn something. Read or take a class. Be teachable and expand your understanding in a particular area.

Let’s not waste the opportunity that New Year’s Day brings to start afresh. And Happy 2016, may it be your best yet!

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An Abundant Life

Todays post was written by my mom, Laurie. She knows her calling and spends her days helping people to live their best life. My mom spent years pouring into my sister and me, supporting my dad in his career, and taking care of her mother. At 48, she went back and got her degree and has been learning, encouraging others, and following what she loves ever since. We have co-owned Simple Spaces since 2010 and she is also a trained life coach pursuing her International Coach Federation credential. She is a wise and generous person and if you don’t know her… you should.

 

As a professional organizer I see all of kinds of physical clutter BUT before we can clear the physical clutter we need to focus on the mental clutter. I believe mental clutter comes in 3 forms – regretting the past, comparing yourself to others, and negative self-talk. All of these keep you from moving forward and living the best life you can. One of my favorite Bible verses is from John 10:10. “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.” It’s time to clear the mental clutter and start living abundantly.

First, realize that having regrets does nothing to move you forward but holds you back from enjoying life. You can’t change what has happened in the past so decide today to let go of those regrets. Forget what lies behind and press on to the new things that are waiting for you.

The second type of mental clutter is comparing yourself to others. It’s when we look at others and feel inferior or try and be more like other people. When we do that we are cheating ourselves and those around us. Find the path that was intended specifically for you and embrace it. You won’t succeed at being anyone other than yourself.

Lastly, negative self-talk is one that really holds us back from living a fantastic life. When you think “I don’t measure up” or “I’ll never be good enough to accomplish great things”, you really are stifling yourself and your potential. A great technique is self-awareness. It stops us in our tracks and when we acknowledge those bad views of ourselves we can make an intentional decision to stop allowing those thoughts to shape our present and our future.

I am very familiar with mental clutter on a personal level. I have experienced all three forms in my life. Today, I recognize them and realize that they don’t move me forward or help me enjoy my life. I have forgotten the past, embraced who I am, and focused on only thinking and speaking positively of myself. It’s the key to an abundant life and you can have it too!            – Laurie Malloy

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5 Things to Consider When Buying a New Home

1. Lifestyle & Function

What do you enjoy doing? Do you love to entertain? A large kitchen would probably serve you well. Do you like to mountain bike or take walks with your family?  Maybe quick access to trails or parks would be convenient for you. As far as function, do you have small kids that you need to see from the kitchen while you cook? If so, you probably want an open concept. Do you need or want a formal dining room? If not, could you utilize it as an office, a playroom, or a sitting area? It’s important to consider how you can use each space in your new home before making an offer.

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2. Changing Family Situations

Do you plan to grow your family? Or do you have a child going off to college?  Maybe you need a couple of extra bedrooms for the future, or maybe not so many. Do you plan to age in place? Maybe stairs or a large lot to maintain aren’t for you.

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3. Schools

For families with school-aged children, I recommend picking the school out even before choosing the house. Schools are very important and you need to research which ones will provide the academic learning you value and the sports or extra-curricular activities that your child may like.

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4. Finances

You can’t put a price on financial peace. You don’t want to be house poor and sacrifice your lifestyle just to pay you mortgage. If the bank approves you for a $300,000 loan, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should go right up to that limit.  Consider what your payments will be, including taxes and insurance and if there’s anything you’d like to upgrade or remodel once you move in.

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5. Location, location, location

Location is very important for many reasons, one of the most important being for resale. In addition, it’s essential to consider for other practical reasons as well. Do you make frequent trips to a certain part of town on most days? Do you need to get to the highway during peak traffic times every week? Are you a homebody and enjoy the spaciousness and privacy of rural living? Consider what part of town you want to be in and zero in on it.

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Heart of the Home

Our kitchen remodel has been done for a while now, we’ve just been busy enjoying it! It’s hard to believe how different it looks from when we moved in. It felt so dark and closed in and all I wanted was the exact opposite of that.

Kitchen  1 Before Kitchen 1 after

In the beginning, we were planning to salvage our existing cabinets and got a couple of quotes on painting them white. (This was too big and messy of a project and one I didn’t want to tackle myself!) The bids seemed high because of all that would needed to be done just to prep them for painting, new hardware, and hidden hinges. That’s when we got a few more quotes on replacing the cabinets completely and were surprised that it was actually an affordable option. In addition to that, the quote to paint the cabinets came down because they would be raw wood and much less prep work would be required.

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Since the cabinets would be replaced, we were able to consider function and design. We chose a poplar wood cabinet (ideal for painting) and opted for a basic shaker style. It’s not a huge kitchen to begin with and we had lost 3 cabinets when the wall came down so the new ones needed to be well utilized. We added slide-out drawers behind the long cabinet underneath the microwave and opted for single longer drawers rather than two smaller ones side-by-side to capitalize on space. I also wanted drawers on most of the lowers rather than two doors with a shelf inside. And, our new cabinets go all the way to the ceiling which adds quite a bit more storage.

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My favorite parts of the new kitchen are the open wall and the open shelves. I love being able to see my family or guests while I cook. I also really appreciate the convenience of the open shelving. We use the same white dishes and clear glasses every day.  They look nice enough and it made sense for them to be as accessible as possible.

Kitchen 4 before Kitchen 4 after

The counter tops are white quartz, the backsplash is Carrera marble, and my dad and husband installed several can lights and a Frigidaire hood vent. There were weeks that I had to do dishes in the bathtub, days of endless drywall dust, and more than one meltdown…but in the end, we’re very happy with how it turned out. If any room in the house was worth it, this is it! It’s the place where our hectic days begin over coffee, where we introduce our daughter to new food, and where we talk about our days over a glass of wine in the evening. It truly is the heart of our home!

 

 

10 ways to stage your own home

When we stage a home, our goal is to enhance the positive features of the home and not to distract the potential buyer with clutter, less is so much more and good flow is key.

If you’re ready to put your house on the market, you only get one chance to make a good first impression and here are 10 ways you can stage your own home.

1. Do not block doorways or windows, natural light, minimal window treatments
2. Convey spaciousness – leave wide walkways between and around furniture, don’t have an enormous coffee table taking up half your living room
3. Clean, clean, clean
4. Fix the small things – squeaky doors, recaulk bathrooms, spackle and repaint holes…because if that buyer sees small fixes that were neglected, they’re going to wonder about the big fixes that they don’t see.
5. Focus on the entry – homegain.com says a buyer has already made a decision within 90 seconds of entering the home, plus they have time to linger on the porch and look around while the agent obtains the key.pot of flowers, nice welcome mat
6. Be ok with bare – every wall doesn’t need a picture, and every corner doesn’t need a piece of furniture – they’re not there to see the furniture and décor that don’t come with the house, they’re there to see your crown molding, your hardwood floors, and your granite countertops!
7. Take half the stuff out of your closets & cabinets – we never advocate people getting a storage unit, but, this may be an appropriate time to do so…or better yet, just do a big clean-out of things you don’t need and donate them. Potential buyers will open cabinets and doors and to most of them, storage is of great importance! If they are jam-packed, it appears that there is not enough storage in the house.
8. Don’t let pets be a problem
9. Master Bedroom Oasis – when you stage your home, think in terms of not just selling a house, but selling a lifestyle as well. Most people are buying a home to enhance their life and a relaxing master bedroom is a huge selling feature. Make sure it’s appeals to both sexes by not making it too gender specific. Clear those 15 books of your nightstand, take down the family pictures, and invest in some new bedding,
10. Define spaces – a lot of potential buyers have a hard time visualizing what certain rooms or nooks can be used for. Do you have a huge living room with a whole corner of wasted space? An unused extra room filled with boxes? Stage it as a home office. Define spaces and give people ideas of what they can use each and every room for.

Kitchen Catch-up

Our kitchen is half way complete! The wall is out, the plumbing and electrical are done, the new floor is down and the lighting is up. Also, in the midst of all of that we had the popcorn ceilings scraped throughout the entire house. Next will be to have the cabinets painted (I’m not tackling that myself!), install new countertops, a backsplash, and a new sink and faucet. Here are some pictures that show our progress.

We took down the built-in lighting box, installed 8 can lights and a new pendant over the sink.

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kitchen-after

We painted the walls, trim and doors white, installed a new light fixture over the table, and had 12 x 24 charcoal tiles put down on the floors.

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eat-in-after

The wall is out and patched. Whatever countertop material we choose will also be on the ledge. We also painted the entire living room white, I love how much it brightened everything up!

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Here is the living room ceiling before. We also replaced the dated eyeball lights above the mantle.

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We moved most of our furniture into the sunroom and garage. We spent the next few days with family and friends while our home was transformed!

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And finally…

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Mid-Century Makeover

If you have gotten any of the latest Crate and Barrel or West Elm catalogs you know that mid-century modern furniture has made quite the comeback. I love the clean lines and simplicity of the style. The only problem with it being popular is that it’s also very hard to find original pieces! A few weeks ago my friend Amanda found two of these great sideboards and was nice enough to let me buy one of them. Here is my latest furniture makeover.

This is the piece as pictured in the Craigslist ad –

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It was in pretty good shape except for a few rough spots. These are relatively easy to fix if you’re planning to paint the piece. I wood-filled the gouged spots and then sanded them smooth.

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Next, I removed the hardware and painted the entire piece with bonding primer. I always use bonding primer because it creates excellent adhesion on any surface, including veneers and laminate.

I loved the simple pull hardware but wasn’t crazy about the boring, small knobs so I picked up 4 square, black knobs from Hobby Lobby. (I buy almost all of my hardware there, they have a great selection and are always half price.)

I spray painted the hardware a fun, brassy gold so they would all match. I also opted to make the piece two tone to give it some depth and visual interest. The dresser body is tricorn black by Sherwin Williams in a satin finish. The drawers are a simple high gloss white by Valspar.

Here’s the finished product!

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Here is another mid-century piece that I found at Salvation Army for $12 and painted the same high gloss white. My parents have this one in their living room.

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If you find a mid-century piece for a reasonable price, buy it! I’m hoping this trend is here to stay!

Real Estate Reality

After years of spending way too much time on the Zillow app and watching countless episodes of Love it or List it and Property Brothers, I finally did it! I got my real estate license. I think my love for houses has always been there. We moved around a lot when I was younger and my parents always had a remodeling project going on.

Simple Spaces has provided me with the opportunity to be in hundreds of homes in Northwest Arkansas. I love helping people stage and organize their homes. Your home is the single most important physical space in your life.  It’s where you reconnect, recharge, and relax. It should be a comfortable, efficient space that meets your needs and lifestyle perfectly. I’m excited to be able to help people find that.

On another note, after I got my license, I was really surprised at how many people emailed, texted or called me and asked about the process. They said they also had interest in it but never did anything about it. That really got me thinking about how many things people probably always intend or desire to do, but don’t. Here are three things that I did, that can help you follow through and turn your vision into a reality.

1. Tell people about it.

I never want to be that person who is all talk no action. I am true to my word. So for me, telling just a few people that I was planning on getting my real estate license was great motivation for following through.

2. Set a deadline

Signing up to take the class and attending were relatively easy. The challenging part for me was actually deciding when to take the test. I kept putting off scheduling it telling myself I needed more time to study. Finally, I had to just set a deadline for myself. I called and made an appointment and put it on my calendar and stuck to it.

3. Make an investment

We all hate wasting money. Once I had paid for the test, and some of the other fees, I had an investment. This is a great way to make yourself move forward with something.

So what is it that you’ve always been interested in but haven’t done yet? Maybe it’s a career change, maybe it’s just a hobby… but if you wait around for the perfect time, it will probably never happen! Just jump in.

And, if you live in Northwest Arkansas and need to buy or sell a house, I hope you’ll call me, I’d love to help!