Jeanine Connor | Collinsville Real Estate, Troy Real Estate, Maryville Real Estate


Although clutter in your home may seem like an insignificant problem, it can actually have a negative impact on everything from your personal productivity to family relationships.

When dirty dishes pile up, clothes gather on the floor, and toys are scattered everywhere, it often creates a feeling of discouragement that can seep into every aspect of your life.

While most people view clutter as an annoyance or an eyesore, studies have shown that it can contribute to stress, feelings of guilt, and even depression. Books have been written on the topic and well-known websites have devoted countless pages to the connection between stress and clutter.

In addition to feeling embarrassed when guests drop over unexpectedly, household clutter makes it difficult to find important things, like car keys, homework assignments, or cell phones. A disorganized, messy home can also lead to bills being paid late, which can bring with it a whole separate set of problems, such as late payment fees, collection letters, and credit rating issues. For people planning on applying for a mortgage in the near future, a damaged credit score could adversely affect interest rates, loan terms, or even their chances of obtaining a mortgage.

Fortunately, there are ways to turn the tide on your battle with household clutter. The first step, of course, is to recognize that you have a problem. The second step is to begin writing a plan or set of goals for taking charge of the clutter. The third step is to begin taking action and to set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day for organizing your home and putting clutter in its place!

If you're considering putting your home on the market in the near future, you may need to bump up that time allotment! Cluttered closets, storage areas, and countertops are sure to send the wrong message to prospective home buyers. Living areas that contain too much furniture, stacks of magazines, or piles of unsorted mail will convey an unwanted image of chaos, messiness, and disarray. Clutter can also have the effect of making rooms look smaller and less appealing.

In addition to establishing new and better habits for keeping your home organized and looking its best, it's also important to enlist the cooperation of your family. When everyone does their part to keep your home looking presentable and well maintained, fewer things will get misplaced, moods will be lifted, and you'll no longer feel embarrassed when company drops by!

The best time to begin attacking the problem is now. If the project seems overwhelming, the solution is to start small, but stick with it on a daily basis. As the famous quote says, "The race does not always go to the swift, but to those who keep on running."


If you intend to buy or sell a house, it frequently pays to hire a real estate agent, and for good reason.

A real estate agent can offer expert insights into the housing market. Plus, he or she can respond to any concerns or questions that you may have as you proceed along the homebuying or home selling journey.

When it comes to hiring a real estate agent, however, it is important to note that no two real estate agents are exactly alike. In fact, there are several factors that differentiate an ordinary real estate agent from an outstanding one, and these include:

1. Industry Experience

Regardless of whether you plan to buy or sell a house, you should definitely spend some time evaluating a real estate agent's industry experience. That way, you can find out how long a real estate agent has been working in the industry and choose one who knows how to overcome potential homebuying and home selling hurdles.

Ideally, you should employ a real estate agent who possesses many years of industry experience. This housing market professional likely understands the ins and outs of buying and selling houses and can help you get the best possible results.

2. Communication Skills

The right real estate agent will be a great communicator. As such, this housing market professional will be able to keep you informed at each stage of the homebuying or home selling process.

To learn about a real estate agent's communication skills, it often is a great idea to meet with a real estate agent and interview this individual. During a face-to-face interview, you can get a better idea about what a real estate agent is all about and ensure you feel comfortable working with him or her.

In addition, a real estate agent should have no trouble communicating with you in good times and bad. He or she will be prepared to provide honest, unbiased feedback, and by doing so, help you make your homebuying or home selling dreams come true.

3. Client Feedback

Reach out to a real estate agent's past clients before you hire this housing market professional. With client feedback at your disposal, you can learn what it's like to work with a real estate agent.

A real estate agent usually will be happy to provide you with client referrals. Then, you can contact an agent's past clients and learn about their homebuying or home selling experiences.

Lastly, if you're uncertain about whether a real estate agent is right for you, it sometimes is valuable to find out how this housing market professional will approach the homebuying or home selling process. Explaining your goals and learning how a real estate agent will help you accomplish these aspirations can make it easy for you to find the right agent, at the right time, every time.

Start your search for a real estate agent today, and you can move one step closer to buying or selling a home.


You may have heard of an FHA loan, and you probably weren’t sure if you were eligible for one. FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration which is a part of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.  

 If you have an FHA loan, it includes special mortgage insurance which helps to protect lenders from a loss should the loan be defaulted on.  

Why An FHA Loan?


Due to the extra insurance lenders can offer these loans at an lower interest rates. These loans are also easier to qualify for. This makes affordable housing more accessible. 


Things To Know About FHA Loans


The minimum credit score depends upon the type of loan that you need.

If you have a credit score of 580 or higher, you can provide a down payment as little as 3.5% with an FHA loan. 

If your credit score is lower than 580, you are required to make a down payment of at least 10%. 

If your score is lower than 500, you may be ineligible for an FHA loan all together. 


FHA loans require a low down payment, which is why it is so enticing to buyers. While these types of loans may have limited availability, it’s good to do your research and see if you’re eligible. 


Securing The Down Payment


Generally, buyers use their own savings to make a down payment on a home. Some states have government assistance programs that provide grants to be used for a down payment on a home.  


Incentives With FHA Loans


The Federal Housing Administration has special provisions to allow sellers, builders and lenders to pay for some of the other costs incurred while buying a home including the closing costs, appraisal, credit report, or title expenses. This allows builders and sellers to provide incentives to entice buyers. This could have an effect on the interest rates associated with the loan if the lender agrees to pay these costs. Buyers can compare rates with different lenders for these purposes.            


Mortgage Insurance And FHA Approved Lenders


The Federal Housing Administration is a provider of insurance and not a lender. You must be sure that you go with an FHA approved lender in order to get your loan in check. This is where it’s important to shop around for benefits, loan standards and rates.  


The re are 2 required insurance premiums for FHA loans. The upfront premium is about 1.75% of the loan amount. This is paid at the time the loan is secured and can be financed as part of the loan amount. The second premium is the annual premium which is paid monthly and varies based on factors such as the length of the loan.  


As you can see there’s many benefits for home buyers who need additional mortgage insurance and assistance in buying a home. Talk to your lender about how you can secure an FHA loan today and make buying a home a reality. 







For those who want to acquire a stellar house at a budget-friendly price, it pays to work with a diligent real estate agent. In fact, some of the top reasons to hire a diligent real estate agent include:

1. A diligent real estate agent knows all about the housing market.

Are you still unsure about what differentiates a buyer's market from a seller's market? No worries, as a diligent real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about the housing market.

A diligent real estate agent will dedicate the necessary time and resources to help you become an informed home shopper. That way, you can enter the real estate market with the support and insights that you need to succeed.

Also, a diligent real estate agent is ready to respond to any homebuying concerns and questions. This housing market professional can serve as an expert homebuying resource who can help you achieve the best possible results during the property buying journey.

2. A diligent real estate agent can help you establish realistic homebuying expectations.

Although it may seem simple to look at houses and find one that can serve you well for years to come, the property buying process may prove to be much more complex than you initially thought. However, a diligent real estate agent can help you map out your homebuying journey so you can avoid potential hurdles along the way.

For example, a diligent real estate agent may encourage you to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Because, with a mortgage in hand, you can begin your home search with a clear understanding of how much money you can spend on a house.

A diligent real estate agent may ask you to differentiate between "must-haves" and "wants" for your dream residence. And with a homebuying checklist in hand, you can narrow your home search and accelerate your quest for the perfect residence.

3. A diligent real estate agent can help you handle homebuying negotiations.

Let's face it – homebuying negotiations can be tricky, particularly if you're forced to work with a stubborn home seller. But with a diligent real estate agent at your side, you can get the assistance you need to purchase your dream house at your ideal price.

A diligent real estate agent can negotiate with a home seller on your behalf and keep you up to date at each stage of a negotiation. Then, as homebuying negotiations progress, a diligent real estate agent will be able to offer tips and guidance to help you make informed decisions.

In addition, a diligent real estate agent can help you minimize stress throughout homebuying negotiations. If these negotiations become too stressful, a diligent real estate agent will do everything possible to help you stay calm, cool and collected as well.

If you're planning to buy a home in the near future, hiring a diligent real estate agent is a must. This housing market professional will do what it takes to ensure you can purchase a wonderful residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.


Home improvements are a great way to add value to your home if you’re hoping to sell in the near future. The problem is, however, that many home improvements are costly and time-consuming. And, if you don’t plan carefully, they could even cost more than the amount of value you add to the home.

The good news is that there are several home improvement projects that will cost you less than $100 and won’t uproot your life in the meantime.

In this article, we’re going to give you five home improvements, all under $100, that can add value to your home. That way when you do decide to sell, you won’t have to scramble to make updates. Read on for the list.

1. Add a fresh coat of paint to your trim and baseboards (Cost: $75 - $100)

Trim and baseboards fall prey to getting kicked and covered in dust and cobwebs over the years. Adding a fresh coat of white paint will make an entire room feel new.

2. Improve your lighting (Cost: ~$50)

Bright lights help to make the rooms of your home feel more spacious. If you can’t increase the natural light of a room, bright, LEDs are the next best alternative.

The cost of LEDs is constantly decreasing, and they’re becoming more energy-efficient as well. To really get the most value out of your budget, use different color temperatures depending on the mood of the room (warm for bedrooms, bright white for bathrooms, etc.).

3. Add a burst of color to your front door (Cost: ~$20)

It can be difficult to increase curb appeal on a tight budget. One way to do so is to repaint your door a bright color that stands out but still fits with the style of your home.

4.Install a new shower head (Cost: $80 - $100)

Adding a new shower head to the main bathroom is a great way to add a bit of luxury to the room. While many stainless steel shower heads cost around $200, there are several chrome options that look just as nice and cost half the price.

5.Upgrade your hardware (Cost: $50 - $80)

Replacing your kitchen cabinets is an expensive endeavor. However, you can easily revamp your existing cabinets by replacing their hardware. Add a fresh coat of paint and they’ll look brand new.

Outside the kitchen, you can also update towel racks, bathroom drawer knobs, coat hooks, and other outdated hardware. Using a consisted, dark color throughout the home is a good way to give your house a theme and a sense of continuity.


With these five simple upgrades, you can increase the value of your home, boost your curb appeal, and avoid breaking the bank at the same time.