Karin Torrice - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage


Buying a new home is an exciting experience. Who doesn’t love new things—and a new home at that? But a new home is also challenging and intimidating. If you have left a home that you adored then this new home has high expectations. And if it’s your first home then such an investment is a big step and can be intimidating for that reason. But one thing that can be agreed upon is the need for this house to feel like your home. Let’s look at a few simple tips for making your new house truly feel like your home.

Family Heirlooms: Have a family heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation? These types of keepsakes could range from an afghan that a great-grandparent or grandparent had knit, various antiques, clocks, diaries and recipes. You can display recipes on a kitchen counter or you can even get creative and design custom wallpaper from the recipe cards. Grandfather clocks fit the atmosphere of home offices and formal living rooms. There are tasteful ways to add each one of these into your home and preserve the memory of these keepsakes.

Photos & Artwork: What better way to bring personality and familiarity into a home than photos of family and friends or artwork from a favorite artist or of your favorite place. A popular approach is a grid-like arrangement created on large, open walls. This is one way to display many beloved photos without creating clutter on tables or other pieces of furniture. A long wall along a hallway would be a great place to display larger photos or artwork that would run horizontally. This is especially nice for sequenced pieces such as change of season photos.

DIY projects: Add your personality to your home with DIY projects. Mason jars, glass vases, and wine bottles can be turned into beautiful home décor with only a few materials and a couple hours. Items like rope, artificial flowers, ribbon, and glitter are just a couple examples of supplies that can be used to turn those simple items into a homemade masterpiece.

Memories: Last, but certainly not least, create memories.This is the easiest and quickest way to make a house feel like a home. Things as simple as cooking dinner with your loved ones and as extravagant as starting a family are amazing memories to make. And the first time you remember something special happening in your home will be an amazing feeling. You’ll truly feel like you’ve left your mark and turned four walls into something extraordinary.

It’s crucial that you add your personal touches to your home, especially if it’s going to be your forever home. It’s the place you will spend most of your time, besides work. The tips above are just a couple examples of ways to help add your personality in the home. Be creative and most of all be genuine and your home will feel like it’s been yours forever.  


Buying a new home is an exciting prospect. Touring a house can feel like walking around your favorite store, picking out all of the things you love. It's easy to get distracted by things like fresh paint or nice furniture and forget to look for important structural aspects of the home that can make or break a deal. Most sellers will be honest and straightforward with you about the state of the home. In some cases, they are required by law to inform you about costly issues with the home (lead paint or sewage issues, for example). Other times, a seller is under no legal obligation to inform you about potential problems with the home. In these instances, you'll need to rely on your own senses. To help you out, we've compiled a list of the top ten red flags to beware of when buying a home.
  1. Fresh paint  It's common practice when selling a house to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. It's an inexpensive way to spruce up the home for potential buyers. Sometimes, however, the paint is used as a quick fix for hiding more serious issues. Water damage, mold, and mildew can all be covered up, momentarily, by a coat of paint.
  2. Strong odors We say "strong" rather than "bad" odors because sometimes someone selling a home will try to mask bad smells with air fresheners or candles. Bad smells in a house can be the result of plumbing issues, humidity, indoor smokers, water damage, pet urine, uncleanliness, and any number of undesirable things.
  3. Bad roofing Missing, broken or stacked shingles are all signs that the roof is in need of repair--a costly fix you probably want to avoid if buying a new home.
  4. Cracked foundation A damaged foundation could be a sign of serious structural problems with the house. Especially in sloped areas, cracked foundations can lead to water damage in the basement.
  5. Poor wiring  Don't be afraid to ask to test out the lights and outlets in a home or take a look at breaker boxes. Flickering lighting and faulty outlets are signs that a home is in need of electric work.
  6. Pest issues  Many people underestimate the power of insects when it comes to damaging a home. Wood-eating termites and carpenter ants can both devastate the structure of a home and usually results in an expensive repair. Noticing ants is a huge red flag, but if you suspect a home could have an infestation for any reason try to get it inspected by a pest control firm before you make the deal.
  7. Locked doors and off-limit rooms  When touring a home there should be no areas that you aren't allowed to see. A locked door or "do not enter" sign are all red flags that the seller may be hiding something in that room.
  8. Leaking faucets Small plumbing issues like leaky faucets or toilets that run excessively are signs that there could be even larger issues with the plumbing in the house.
  9. Deserted neighborhood Multiple homes for sale in the neighborhood, deteriorating buildings and closed businesses are all signs of a problem neighborhood. It could be due to economic issues or a decaying community, but either way these are things you'll want to consider before moving into a new neighborhood.
  10. Defective windows  Windows that are sealed shut, fogged up, or won't open or close are all signs of costly repairs. You're going to depend on windows for the security of your home, lighting and aesthetic, and to a minor degree for retaining heat. They should all function properly.

Tiny houses are all the rage. There are even multiple shows on HGTV based solely on tiny houses. So why is there so much hype around this type of home? And is it just a fad or are tiny homes here to stay? A tiny house is somewhere between 100 and 400 square feet. Some tiny homes have a loft bedroom while some keep it on the main floor. For added living space, some tiny homes have an outdoor shower and toilet. They also contain a small kitchen and living room area. There is very minimal storage in tiny homes (obviously). Tiny houses are on wheels so you can travel with your home or buy/rent a plot of land to keep it on. Let’s take a look at why tiny homes are so popular. Simplistic life: As detailed above, tiny homes are, as the name suggests, tiny. And with that comes a simplistic life. You cannot have bounds of ‘things’ as there is just not enough storage. Therefore, tiny homes bring you back to the basics, just the necessities. This is often an important reason why many are transitioning to tiny homes. So many live too large with too much stuff and at some point it just becomes too much. More money for experiences: There are countless people living paycheck to paycheck and a large majority of that has to do with their mortgage. Even the smallest homes can cost between $100,000 to $150,000, but many tiny homes range between $35,000 and $75,000. Purchasing a tiny home will leave you with a smaller mortgage and therefore more disposable income to spend on life experiences or even saving for retirement. Who doesn’t want to travel to world rather than sitting in your home for the rest of your life because all of your money went to paying for it? More free time: With a drastically smaller space than normal homes that leaves you with less cleaning and maintenance. Therefore, leaving you with more time in life to do other things. Also, since you have a much smaller mortgage you may not need to work that 60-hour corporate job anymore. You can take a much less demanding job or career, working fewer hours and making less money, but having the additional time to really experience life. So what do you think? Do you think you could see yourself living in a tiny home?



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