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


If you've always dreamed of owning a house, there is no need to wait to enter the real estate market. In fact, there are many reasons to kick off a house search today, and these include:

1. You can upgrade from your current residence.

If you live with family members or friends or rent an apartment, buying a home may represent an upgrade. Because when you purchase a residence, you can reap the benefits of having your very own living space.

There is no shortage of high-quality houses available in cities and towns nationwide. Regardless of whether you prefer the comfort of small town living or the hustle and bustle of city life, you can check out a broad range of houses at your convenience. Then, you can discover your dream residence, submit an offer to purchase it and move one step closer to making your homeownership dream come true.

2. Many home financing options are available.

One of the biggest issues that often prevents people from pursuing homes is a lack of financing. Fortunately, banks and credit unions offer a variety of mortgage options designed for individuals of all incomes.

Whether it's a fixed- or adjustable-rate mortgage, you're sure to find a mortgage option that complements your finances perfectly. Plus, banks and credit unions are ready to teach you everything you need to know about different types of mortgages. And if you are unsure about how a mortgage works or which mortgage option to choose, friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists are available to assist you.

3. You can receive plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey.

Let's face it – buying a home can be a daunting task, particularly for an individual who is entering the real estate market for the first time. The sheer volume of top-notch houses sometimes makes it tough to differentiate a good home from a great one. Meanwhile, navigating the homebuying process can be stressful, and challenges may arise that make it difficult for a homebuyer to achieve his or her desired results.

If you enter the housing market today, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner. This housing market professional will offer expert insights into all aspects of the homebuying journey. In addition, he or she will go the extra mile to ensure that you can quickly and effortlessly acquire your dream home at a price that matches your budget.

Of course, a real estate agent will help you map out a successful homebuying strategy too. He or she will meet with you, learn about your homebuying goals and help you plan accordingly. And if you have concerns or questions at any point during the property buying journey, a real estate agent can respond to them.

Launch a home search today – you'll be glad you did. If you pursue your dream home with help from a real estate agent, you can seamlessly navigate the property buying journey.


Not all smart home devices are created equal. If you wind up paying a high price for a smart home gadget you do not need, you risk wasting precious time and resources.

Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to make informed smart home device purchases, such as:

1. Consider Your Smart Home Device Needs

The needs of one property owner for a smart home device may vary from those of another.. If you consider how you can use different smart home devices, you can boost the likelihood of making smart home gadget purchases that will serve you well for years to come.

For example, if you find your electricity bills are on the rise, investing in smart light bulbs may prove to be a great choice. These light bulbs can help you optimize your house's electricity consumption and lower your electricity bills.

On the other hand, if you are concerned about home security, a smart house security system may be an excellent investment. This security system can help you simultaneously safeguard your residence against theft and lower your home insurance rates.

2. Perform Comprehensive Research

New smart home devices are becoming available every day, and as such, determining which ones are right for your house sometimes is difficult. If you perform in-depth research into the smart home devices at your disposal, you could find gadgets that you can enjoy day after day.

Conduct online research into assorted smart home devices – you will be happy you did. Once you learn about different smart home gadgets, how they work and their benefits, you can choose the right devices for your residence.

Also, it may help to consult with family members and friends as you assess myriad smart home devices. If a family member or friend recently purchased a smart home device that works perfectly, for instance, you may want to consider buying the same gadget for your house.

3. Evaluate Your Budget

As more smart home devices are released, the prices of various smart house gadgets are falling accordingly. Yet it is still crucial to evaluate your budget closely before you make smart home device investments. If you understand exactly how much money you can spend on smart house devices, you can take steps to get the most out of your available finances.

Don't forget to shop around for smart home devices, too. Online and brick-and-mortar retailers occasionally offer sales on smart home gadgets. Thus, if you search far and wide for smart home devices that fall in line with your budget, you could avoid spending too much to acquire top-notch smart house gadgets.

As you get set to invest in smart home devices, it generally pays to be diligent. If you take an informed approach to smart home device shopping, you can find gadgets that will deliver long-lasting benefits. Best of all, you can use assorted smart home devices to lower your electricity costs, secure your residence and much more.


You’ve been binging on HGTV and DIY network every weekend while you save up your money and you’re ready to take the plunge. Your agent tours you through several potentials and there it is … the perfect corner lot, the mediocre house with the awkward layout, chopped up floor plan, aging kitchen, and dated bathrooms. It’s just waiting to reveal shiplap behind the cracked plaster, original hardwood floors under the stained and dusty carpet, and other treasures you can only dream about until their uncovered.

You make the deal … now it’s all yours. Where do you go from here?

Find the right professional
Ideally, a contractor with renovation experience toured the property with you, casting a professional eye over potential problems and exciting possibilities before you made the deal. If not, engage one now. Renovations require specific knowledge of structural issues like which walls to safely remove giving you that open-concept floor plan and which might be load-bearing. Experienced pros know when to call in an engineer to determine whether to expose the beams or if the wiring needs pulling. 

Make a plan
As with any project, make a basic plan before you start. Unlike new-builds, however, your plan might be more general until you’ve removed walls and studs, discarded old cabinets and fixtures, and revealed the location of existing drainpipes, wiring, support structures, and other hidden gems. With everything visible determined, it’s time for demolition. Just know that with a renovation, once demolition starts, plans can change. A supporting beam here, an unmovable drain there, a hidden chimney under that plaster … could derail your perfect original plans. When that happens, a pro can help you figure out what do.

Don’t underestimate time
Watching a 57-minute renovation on television might give you an unrealistic expectation of how long it might be until your home is ready. After all, you don’t have a trove of assistants ordering cabinets, changing out flooring samples and visiting showrooms to cull through items for you. Choice fatigue (the inability to choose between too many choices) can stymy a project for a novice.

Normal delays, hidden issues
You’ve planned, then modified the plans after the demo, selected, deselected, then re-selected the cabinets, flooring, and fixtures. Now it’s time to get approvals and permits. Moving a project through the approval process in your municipality could be smooth sailing or rife with delays. Your professional contractor should help you navigate this process, but waiting for a permit can add days, or weeks to a project.

In addition to the normal delays, your demolition may uncover other issues that require remediation. These include lead, mold, asbestos, termite damage, shifting foundations, broken pipes, and myriad other possibilities. Bringing wiring up to code and changing out electrical panels consumes precious time and adds to the delays.

Before taking on a fixer-upper, seek the advice of a real estate professional with renovation experience to help you make a plan, and plan for contingencies.


If you’re looking to save more energy and money around your home, perhaps one of the first places that you should look is your plugs. Take a look around your rooms and see what outlets are being used. If every outlet is full of plugs, you may have some adjustments to make. 


There are so many things in our homes that require plugs including TV’s, microwaves, toasters, clocks, refrigerators, phone chargers, and more. 


Anything that is always plugged in actually adds to your electric bill whether you’re using it or not. This is known as phantom power usage. Even when a device isn’t turned on, it’s still using energy.


You don’t want to go around your home and unplug everything, only to plug it back in when you need to use it. Use this handy guide to discover what you should unplug and what you can leave plugged in your home in order to save some energy and some money. 


What To Unplug


Small Appliances


Large appliances in your kitchen would be impractical to constantly plug in and unplug. Smaller appliances, however, are much easier to manage. These include toasters, coffee makers, food processors, and microwaves. The small digital clocks on many of these devices, for example, are constantly using energy. Do you really need the function? If you don’t need to know the time, you should just unplug it and save your home some energy usage. 


Chargers


We need to charge just about all of our devices including laptops, iPads, phones, and even electric toothbrushes. these items don’t need to be plugged in all the time. Once a device is charged fully, be sure to unplug it. It’s only wasting energy otherwise!  


Computers


Unplug your computer each and every night. Screen savers and sleep modes don’t actually save much power from being used while your computer is plugged in. It’s a good idea to keep your computer unplugged for safety reasons as well. A strike of lighting hitting, for example, can cause your entire system to fry.


Keep These Items Plugged In


There are certain items that you can leave plugged in at your home without worry. These items include:


  • Power strips
  • Nondigital items
  • Items without clock or LCD displays




Power strips are particularly useful for items like entertainment centers and computer setups. Flipping the switch to the off position on the power strip helps to stop the phantom power usage. The convenient thing is that you won’t need to plug and unplug everything in individually, and you’ll still save power. 


Saving energy and money is easy when you have the right strategies put in place.


If you want to streamline the home selling journey, it usually is a good idea to develop goals. That way, you can identify any potential home selling challenges and address them before you list your residence.

Ultimately, there are many problems that may arise during the home selling journey, and these include:

1. Poor Curb Appeal

How your home looks to buyers is key. If your residence fails to impress buyers when they see it for the first time, these individuals are unlikely to schedule a house showing. As a result, your home may linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time.

Devote time and energy to improve your house's curb appeal – you will be happy you did. By mowing the lawn, removing dirt and debris from exterior walkways and performing other home exterior upgrades, you can make your home an attractive option to buyers. You may even differentiate your residence from the competition – something that may lead to a successful home selling experience.

2. Cluttered Interior

If your home is full of personal belongings, you may want to remove some of these items. By doing so, you can show buyers the full potential of your residence.

For those who want to cut down on clutter, there are many options. Oftentimes, it helps to rent a storage unit that allows you to keep your belongings safe until your residence sells. On the other hand, if you want to get rid of excess items, you can host a yard sale, list your items online or give these items to family members, friends or local charities.

3. Exorbitant Home Price

An exorbitant initial home asking price may be an instant turn-off for buyers. Fortunately, if you analyze the local housing market and your residence, you can establish a competitive initial asking price for your home.

Evaluate the prices of available homes in your area that are similar to your own. Also, you may want to conduct a house appraisal and review an appraisal report. With this information at your disposal, you can price your house competitively.

As you get set to enter the housing market, you may want to employ a real estate agent, too. This housing market professional will help you establish realistic home selling goals, as well as determine the best steps to help you achieve your aspirations.

A real estate agent is committed to a home seller's success, and he or she will do what it takes to help you thrive. If you want to sell your residence as quickly as possible, for instance, a real estate agent can help you do just that. Or, if you want to optimize your house sale earnings, a real estate agent will ensure you can get the best price for your home.

Ready to add your home to the real estate market? Develop home selling goals, and you may be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a fast, profitable house selling experience.