Francesca Volpe - RE/MAX Alliance



Posted by Francesca Volpe on 7/9/2018

If you’re a newer homeowner, odds are you don’t really “own” your home outright. Rather, you likely have equity in your home.

In this article, we’re going to talk about what home equity is, how to use it to your advantage, and things you should avoid using your home equity toward.

 What is home equity?

Unless you’re one of the lucky few who paid for their homes in cash, you probably took out a mortgage. As you pay off that mortgage you build equity.

Home equity is essentially the value of a property that a homeowner has at their disposal due to paying back part or all of their mortgage.

However, there’s another factor at play in home equity, and that’s market value.

Since the housing market fluctuates, the value of your home does as well, and as a result, your home equity changes with the market value of a house. That might sound worrying, but the good news is that due to something called appreciation.

In the same way that the cost of living tends to rise each year with inflation, so do housing prices. However, appreciation isn’t the only factor at play in the valuation of your house. As your home ages, it will likely need some renovations, which could decrease the home value.

Generally speaking, however, your equity achieves a net gain as you pay your mortgage and the value appreciates.

Increasing equity

Now that we know why equity can be so beneficial as an asset, let’s talk about ways to build it.

The best way to build home equity is to repay your home loan. However, more than simply repaying, you’ll want to repay in the fewest number of years to avoid paying more in interest. The longer you take to pay your mortgage, the more interest accrues that could have been used toward other investments.

The second way to increase equity is one we mentioned before--market fluctuation--namely appreciation. To improve the chances of getting a high appraisal of your home, it’s important to keep up with maintenance and make smart renovation choices that will have a high return on investment.

Using home equity

The best use of home equity is to leave it be and increase its value over time. However, that isn’t always possible for all of us. Since many of us need to move before repaying our full mortgage, equity allows homebuyers to use their equity toward their next mortgage.

Another option is to take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. Ideally, you’ll only use these loans if you’re planning on using the loan money to increase the value of the home via home improvement projects.

Borrowing against your home equity does come with risks. Since you are putting your share of your home on the line, there is a chance of your home being foreclosed on if you don’t repay the home equity loan. However, lenders typically seek other methods of repayment or settlement before foreclosure.





Posted by Francesca Volpe on 7/2/2018

Where you decide to live is perhaps one of the most important decisions that you’ll make. The location of your home will determine the property value and how much you can potentially get out of your investment. The location of your home also will determine how you live your everyday life. What’s nearby and how you get around are big factors based on where you choose to live. Here’s what you must consider when choosing where you want to live: 


The Part Of The Country You Live In


Where you choose to live is based on a lot of factors in your life. Yet, the part of the country that you choose to live in has such a big impact on your lifestyle. If you’re planning on staying in your home for a long time, this is an important decision. Although many people have their location chosen for them based on job and family needs, other people work this question out a bit differently. 


City Life Or The ‘Burbs?


If you like peace and quiet, this is an important question. If you live far outside the city, you’ll be able to have a lot more land than if you buy a home within the city limits. Education options are also greater in the city compared to a town or rural area. If you are looking for wider access to entertainment, shopping and medical services, you may need to strongly consider living closer to the city. If you like a bit more quiet, choose the outer limits as a place to live. 


The Neighborhood


Each neighborhood in a particular area has different characteristics. You’ll want to find a neighborhood that fits your personality and needs. You should feel comfortable and at “home” in your neighborhood. Also, you’ll want to be in close proximity to your workplace so that you avoid a long commute. 


What Are The Schools Like?


This is one of the most important questions for people who have a family or are planning to start a family. You’ll need to do some research as to what school systems are like in specific areas that you’re thinking of living in. Keep in mind that you may end up paying a premium to live in a neighborhood that has a good school system.


Neighborhood Culture


Depending upon the neighborhood that you choose, people will either keep to themselves or provide a certain kind of social pressure. In certain neighborhoods there’s more social activity and more pressure to send your kids to certain schools and enroll them in certain activities. 

What’s Next? 


Now that you know how to find the right place to search for a home, you’ll need to figure out what kind of home you’d like to live in. Start making your wish list!





Posted by Francesca Volpe on 6/25/2018

Boosting the value of your home doesn’t have to require huge renovation projects, thousands of dollars, and months of planning. Making small, tactful home improvements can do the trick just as well.

The key to making desirable home improvements is to follow well-established building and design principles. Don’t worry about the latest trends or trying to reinvent the wheel.

In this post, we’ll tell you how to do just that so your home can be market ready in no time. Here are the top ten improvements for your home that cost $100 or less.

1. Add fixtures to the most outdated room of your home

Most people tend to renovate their homes one room at a time. If you have that one room that’s keeping your home in the past, bring it up to speed by replacing the fixtures; whether that’s a new faucet, doorknobs, or other hardware.

2. Shine the light on your hard work

A dark room feels smaller, older, and less put together. Abundant lighting is an excellent way to make your home feel larger and more welcoming.

3. Paint the front door and mailbox

It’s all about curb appeal. Refresh the outside of your home by putting a fresh coat of paint on your front door and mailbox. Bright, bold colors are sure to help your home stand apart from the neighbors while still fitting in.

4. Powerwash exterior surfaces

For $50 you can rent a pressure washer and clean up your vinyl siding, decks, walkways, and driveways. That’s a lot of value and square footage for a small investment.

5. Buy a “luxury shower head”

You can find spa-style shower heads on Amazon for less than $40 that look great and will make your home feel a bit more luxurious.

6. Stage to sell

Buy some modern wall art and large plants and ditch the family heirlooms for when it comes time to sell. These additions will make it easier for prospective buyers to picture themselves living in your home.

7. Mirrors are magic

Mirrors can be used in a number of places around the home to create the illusion of spaciousness in rooms that are otherwise lacking. There are plenty of creative uses for mirrors for each room of the home.

8. Ditch the linoleum

Underneath those linoleum floors lies wood that might be able to be refurbished. Don’t worry about small dings; they add character.

9. Get ready for the welcome party

Buy a fresh doormat and replace an old doorbell to make visitors feel like they’re entering a brand new home.

10. Cable management is king

Hide those cables in the office and living room by tying them behind displays or running wires underneath carpets or behind the drywall. This can instantly make your home feel more clean and put-together.





Posted by Francesca Volpe on 6/18/2018

When you’re short on space, it can be difficult to see how you could ever possibly declutter your closet. It is, after all, a convenient hiding space for all of your items that you have no idea where to put! There’s a few tips that can help you to get on the road to decluttering your closet and getting organized.


Make Things Accessible


One reason that clutter builds up is that things are not very accessible. As you’re trying to find something, items fall and become misplaced. By spreading out your organization system a bit within the closet, you’re able to see what you have and exactly where it is. 


Group Like Items Together


In the same light of being able to find things that you need, grouping like items together makes it easier to find what you need. If you know that all of your haircare items are in a certain bin, you’ll be able to reach in the same spot without thinking.   



Find Places You Can “Drop” Things


Closets tend to be that kind of space where we just drop things and forget about them. We always think “I’ll deal with it later.” When later never comes, we end up with quite a cluttered closet. Keep baskets or trays handy in the closet in order to keep things that you may empty out of your pockets or put away at a later time. This way you’ll only have to clean out one basket instead of the entire closet. 



Make Use Of Drawers


Drawers are incredibly useful in a closet space. You can place a dresser in the closet if space permits. If you don’t have room for a dresser, you may want to create your own drawer units. For an alternative option of storing things, try installing shelving units and placing baskets across the shelves, giving the illusion of drawers.   


Encourage Tidiness


Everything that you do to organize your closet should have the goal of keeping tidiness in mind. If the closet is a walk-in, you’ll organize it much differently than if you have a smaller space. No matter the size of the closet, you’ll want to divide the space into zones of sorts. This way, you’ll know where everything goes and how to keep it neat.   


Light The Space


Without adequate lightning in the closet, it’s pretty difficult to find what you’re looking for, no matter how organized you are. If your closet doesn’t have a lot of natural light, you’ll need to install some lighting. Whether you put in overhead bulbs, or install touch- activated portable lights, the brighter the better when it comes to your closet. Be sure that there’s lights in key areas like darker corners where the main light source doesn't reach. 





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Francesca Volpe on 6/11/2018

If you don’t have a dedicated playroom space in your home, you may feel as though toys and children have taken over. Toys, games, stuffed animals, coloring books, and crayons may be all over the house if children don’t have their own space to play. 


It doesn’t have to be this way. There are a few options that you can use to let your kids have their space, and the adults have theirs. You don’t need to move just to find a home that has an area for kids to play. Read on for some ideas to help you stay stylish yet kid-friendly in your home.    


Versatile Furniture


Buying furniture that has a couple of purposes can be handy when you have kids. A coffee table with storage drawers can turn into a great place to store board games. An ottoman that has a storage component built in is a fantastic place to fantastic place to keep stuffed animals or action figures. When you have kids, finding ways to keep your style but allow children to play freely can be done easily with these types of furniture.   


Turn An Ordinary Shed Into A Magical Place


No matter what part of the country you live in, you can buy a small outdoor storage shed and turn it into a playroom. You can install portable heaters or fans in the shed for comfort. This space can become your child’s playroom detached from the house with all the comforts of home. You might even consider a treehouse, but that may afford slightly less storage or possibilities than a storage shed.    


Use The Corner Of A Room


Kids don’t have to take up the whole of a room. Consider giving little ones a corner of a room dedicated to their stuff. A small chair with a bookshelf and a few baskets of toys is all they need for a play space without fuss. Depending on the size of the room, you can even put a toy chest there for the playroom effect without the space.   


Use Baskets


Baskets are the next best things to furniture that has hidden storage. Baskets look pretty, and the contents are colorful, fun toys. There’s not too much wrong with this solution! You can even give the dog a basket for his toys.   


Find Ways To Incorporate Kids Into The Rooms Of Your Home


You can get creative when it comes to living with children. Chalkboard walls. Tiny furniture and more items are available to make your kids comfortable yet creative and keep your home stylish. Consider a chalkboard wall that allows kids to change their artwork on the daily.

With a little creativity, your kids can feel at home without a playroom and without taking over the whole house.  




Categories: Uncategorized