Welcome to the Brittany Allen Group's Tips, Tricks, & Ideas about Home Ownership as well as everything about the Wilmington NC area!

 

The home buying and selling process can be stressful. We have several tips to help make your experience go a little smoother. You'll also find lots of information about the Wilmington North Carolina area, straight from a local :)

Have a question, feedback, or anything else to add? Tag us on Facebook at #BrittanyAllenGroup and we will answer it here!

 

April 8, 2019

What You Save By Getting Ride of Excess Stuff Before You Move

If you’re getting ready to move, whether you are trying to sell your home or you’ve already purchased a new one, one of the first things that tends to cause stress in the process is the fear of packing all of your stuff. Whether you’ve been in your current space for a few months or several years, you’ve probably accumulated plenty of things you use and love, and even more items you haven’t touched since you brought them home. Now is the perfect time to purge those items and start fresh in your new home with intentional decor and less clutter. Here are some of the things you’ll save when you let go:

Save Time 

Instead of waiting until you’re ready to move, start sorting through your items now. Sell, donate, or trash the items that you’ve decided don’t have a place in your future home. When you’re ready to pack up for your move, you’ll save so much time because you’ll have less to pack (and unpack). 

Save Money 

Maybe some of the stuff you’re considering letting go of is worth something. If that is the case, consider having a garage sale or selling your clothes to resale boutiques in your area. Donate or dispose of whatever you don’t sell. Not only can you make money, but you can save money by moving less stuff. You may be able to fit what you love into a smaller moving truck if you get rid of those items that have gone unused for years! 

Save Energy 

Sometimes items can take up a great deal of emotional energy. It is often in our nature to cling to things that may have meant something in our past, but have no place in our future. Get rid of that baggage and create an intentional environment with positive energy in your new home. 

Save Space 

Instead of taking the clutter from your current place into your new home, save space by getting rid of it now. Open spaces in your new home will bring you peace of mind and joy. 

If you've done all this saving and you're ready to save even more on a new home, give us a call, 910-679-6525!

Posted in Organizing
April 2, 2019

What Your Carpet Is Hiding From You

 

How many carpeted rooms in your home appear clean at a glance? Even if you think they all look clean, those carpets may not be very sanitary. Spring is here which means if you have snow, it has likely started to melt - exposing dirt and pollen that can now be easily tracked into your house.  Carpets trap dust and odors and can attract mold when they absorb moisture. So often, we forget what our carpet could be hiding because it just doesn't look dirty. You want to make your carpet last as long as possible, and the only way to ensure that is by keeping your carpets cleaned and sanitized. Here are some steps to take to keep that carpet in the best shape possible, and as clean as ever.

1. Vacuum Weekly

Make a habit of vacuuming once a week, even twice a week in high traffic areas. While it is easy to rush through vacuuming, try taking it slowly to ensure your vacuum is pulling up as much dirt and dust as possible.

2. Use Door Mats

Door mats can help reduce the amount of dirt and dust being brought into your home in the first place. Use both indoor and outdoor mats and be sure to clean them when you vacuum each week. 

3. No Shoes, No Problem

It probably isn’t hard to believe that 80% of the dirt in your house is carried inside on people’s shoes. Ensuring that your family members and guests remove their shoes before entering your home will help to greatly reduce the amount of dirt and dust.

4. Treat Spots and Spills ASAP

To avoid permanent damage, make sure you are always cleaning up messes as soon as they happen. It can be easy to quickly wipe up a spill without really cleaning it, but spot treating to remove any residual mess is the best choice. It is much harder to remove a stain once it has set!

5. Vacuum Under Furniture & Rugs

It is easy to forget about the dirt and dust that collects under rugs and furniture. Aim to clean in those hidden spots monthly or bi-monthly.

6. Deep-Clean Your Carpets

If you don’t own a carpet steam cleaner, consider renting one for a deep-clean twice a year. The high-powered water extraction system will clean, disinfect, and sanitize your rugs and carpets to remove anything that regular vacuuming leaves behind. 

Keeping your carpet clean is a great investment for your home. By following these steps, you can prevent the need for carpet replacement for many years to come. 

Posted in Tip of the month
March 25, 2019

How To Save Up For A House

Are you thinking about buying a home and just don’t know where to start? Before you even begin looking at homes, consider how much you may need to save to make the process as smooth as possible for you, especially in the long run. While there are situations where you don’t need a large down payment for a home, having one can save you money down the road. 

Saving for a down payment is slightly different than other large savings, like retirement. With those savings, you can set aside smaller amounts or invest the money. Because you will need your down payment sooner rather than later, those saving methods won’t be beneficial to you. Here are some steps to take to save up for your dream home!

1. Determine How Much You Need

There is a general rule of thumb in real estate, the rule of 28, that says your maximum mortgage payment should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income. Sitting down with a mortgage lender will help you find out how much of a mortgage you qualify for based on that income. They will be able to tell you the recommended amount needed for a 20% down payment. Whether or not that is a requirement, a 20% down payment can get you a great price deal and reduce your monthly mortgage rate. 

2. Decide When You Want To Buy

The next step will be deciding when you want to buy. This will give you either a monthly or annual goal of how much money you need to be setting aside to reach that down payment goal.

3. Choose A Savings Plan

It it usually best to avoid stocks or other risky investments when it comes to saving for a home. Consider opening a regular savings account specifically for your down payment, and make sure it is an account you use for deposit-only purposes until you’re ready to make your down payment.

4. Check Your Budget

Saving a few dollars here and there can be easy, but saving thousands of dollars may take a little more practice. First, consider cutting back on your expenses. Check your budget for things you can go without. This may be difficult, but think about what you are saving up for! If you have the chance to earn additional income, devote that extra cash directly to your savings account. These saving strategies will not only help you to buy your new home, but can create life-long habits to help you continue to save money down the road.

5. Consider An Automated Savings Plan

Even after you have adjusted your budget, pulling that money out of your checking account and putting it into a savings isn’t always easy. Once you’ve determined how much of your budget will be going into savings, consider adding a savings plan to your bank account so that the money will automatically be sent to your savings. This can remove the temptation of spending what may look like extra money in your account and ensuring that it goes where it needs to. 

6. Save Your Big Deposits

Have you received a large sum of money lately? Maybe you just got married, or got a bonus at work, or that tax-return was especially big this year. Instead of spending that cash, deposit it directly into your savings account. This can reduce your savings timeframe and might have you ready to buy sooner than you thought.

Saving up for a home isn't always easy, but it is always worth it! When you are ready to buy, give us a call and we will get you that home you've been dreaming of! 

Posted in Tip of the month
March 11, 2019

Add A Spring Touch To Your Home

 

Even if the weather isn’t cooperating quite yet - spring is on the way! Cheering up your home with some spring decor is the perfect way to prepare for warmer days and more sunshine. Here are some options to prepare your home for the next season!

ADD AN HERB GARDEN

While they may not last outdoors with the sporadic weather of spring, bringing potted herbs into your home and letting them soak up sunlight in a kitchen window is the perfect way to add life to your home and have access to fresh herbs while you’re cooking. 

THINK SPRING 

If you are all about DIY-ing, creating simple decorations can add a pop of seasonal color to your home. Take that pair of rain boots you don’t wear anymore and turn them into planters - add bright floral arrangements and use your new decor item as an inviting piece by your front door.

POPS OF COLOR

Neutral and sleek is all the rage right now, but adding a pop of color in your normal decor can add a cheerful touch to your home. Swap out your kitchen napkins or tablecloth with something a little bit more colorful, like soft blues or pinks. Small changes can do enough to make your home feel different without being overwhelming.

FLORALS ARE ALWAYS THE ANSWER

Whether or not you already include florals in your home decor, take the time to swap out or add something new that feels like spring. While fresh flowers are a great choice, consider picking up some faux florals for the majority of your decor and saving the fresh flowers for a centerpiece. Don’t be afraid to add pops of color, specifically yellows and pinks, to create a focal point for the room. 

TOUCH UP TIME

Is there a room in your home that is just feeling drab? Maybe it is dark and uninviting, or maybe it has white walls that have started to fade. While you are spring cleaning, consider adding a fresh coat of paint to a place in your home that needs a boost of light. Spring is all about being fresh and new, so your home should feel that way too!

Posted in Spring
March 7, 2019

First-Time Buyer Advice

If you’ve never purchased a house before, you may have no idea where to begin when preparing to become a homeowner. You may be on the fence about buying, or you may feel like you are ready to buy a home today. Either way, these tips can help anyone feel a little more prepared for their first home purchase!

MONEY IS KEY

It is easy to begin scrolling through beautiful homes on the market without considering your budget. Sale postings can be all over your social media feeds, tempting you to just take a peek. While looking can be fun and exciting, you should prepare financially before you start eyeing any homes. It is much better to know what your price range is so you don’t fall in love with a house you just can’t afford (for now!)

MAKING A LIST, CHECKING IT TWICE

While you need to be realistic and recognize that you likely are not going to find a home with every single thing you wish to have in a house, making a list of the things that are a priority for you (room count, big backyard, master walk-in closet, etc.) will help you to make sure you’re only looking at houses that will fit your wants and needs.

PHOTOS DON’T TELL THE WHOLE PICTURE

It is easy to fall in love with a home after seeing the listing photos. These perfectly lit, well-staged photos show off houses in their best light, but that doesn’t mean you are getting the whole story. Listing photos are a great place to start, as they will help you to narrow down your options. Unfortunately, there are home traits that may not be portrayed well in photos, whether it be low ceilings, a drafty build, or anything in between.  Once you’ve made a short list of the homes that appear to be a fit for you, always do a home tour

THAT GUT-FEELING

If you walk into a house and it feels like home, trust your gut. There is no better way to know if you should buy a home than seeing how you feel when you walk through the front door. Your home purchase will probably be one of, if not the largest, purchase you’ve made in your life so far. Pictures can only do so much, and nothing can help you decide whether or not a house is made for you better than getting inside it!

NOTHING ELSE WILL DO

Do you get upset at the thought of losing the house you just toured to someone else? Does it already feel like home when you are inside? These are two signs that you have found the home for you! If you see a home and are ready to stop looking at others, you are one step closer to buying a home you will love.

THE BEST AGENT

Finding a great real estate agent is going to be the part that ties everything together. A quality agent will help you find homes within your budget that possess your must-have items and they’ll offer you guidance through every step of the process. 

If you’re looking for a real estate agent to help you find and buy your first dream home, call us today!!

 

Feb. 25, 2019

533 Chattooga Place Drive

Welcome home to this impeccably maintained home on golf course!

 

 

This charming home offers 3 bedroom 2 full baths with split floor plan and open design.

 

 

         

Take advantage of the huge kitchen with plenty of cabinets and breakfast bar, vaulted ceilings in the great room with 2 skylights that allow natural light in as well as fireplace with gas logs.

       

Relax and unwind while enjoying views of the 9th hole from your private screened porch. HVAC less than 5 years old. New carpet in master bedroom. Fenced in backyard. Refrigerator, washer and dryer included. Memberships available at Beau Rivage Country Club for golf, tennis and pool. Golf course is semi-private. No city taxes. 2-10 Home Warranty offered

 

 

     

Posted in New Listing
Feb. 11, 2019

Durable Kitchen Floor Options

 

Kitchen floors get put through quite a lot! Between all of the dropped utensils, the spills and drips; being one of the most used rooms in a home, your floors need to handle kitchen hazards and look good doing it. A large variety of floor materials won't be an ideal fit for the kitchen because of this. Below, I'm listing my favorite kitchen floors that help with maintaining low maintenance, and keeping a balance between style and functionality. 

CERAMIC TILES

Ceramic tiles can be a great fit for the kitchen because they are resilient, hard, and impervious to stains and water. It also helps that they are resilient to heat and breakage, under normal conditions, that is. They came in a variety of colors and even faux finishes to add a beautiful, yet smart, addition to your kitchen. 

DURABLE CONCRETE

Concrete is a great option for ground level kitchens and are a long lasting option for homeowners. Sometimes, concrete slabs may have already been placed beneath your existing flooring. The surface of it can then be polished or stained to provide a stylish look for your kitchen.

NATURAL STONE

Natural stone is a hard rock that allows it to remain durable and long lasting. The only drawback to stone is that it is porous, which makes it susceptible to water and liquid stains. This can be avoided with an annual application of chemical stone sealer, which simply provides an invisible coat of protection.

HARDWOOD

Hardwood can be tough to work within a kitchen because the material is porous and relatively soft. However, if you like the look of hardwood in a kitchen, you'll just want to have it treated with a quality polyurethane-based finish. Keep in mind, it will, overtime, take on a more aged look. If you find character and personality in imperfections, then hardwood will work great for you.

BAMBOO

Bamboo has a similar look and feel to hardwood, and can be a great alternative. It is a harder and more durable material that helps it become more resistant towards moisture and water damage. The only drawback? It's tough to refinish them because there is no direction to the natural grain.

LINOLEUM

Made popular about 50 years ago, linoleum seems to be making a comeback. Linoleum is made from all natural linseed oil, which makes it pretty environmentally friendly. They're also pretty easy to clean and maintain. If it is properly cared for, it can generally have a lifespan for upwards of 40 or so years. However, if it is immersed in water, it is highly susceptible to damage. Be sure to avoid basement quality linoleum in your kitchen or they will begin to curl when faced with humidity. 

VINYL

Vinyl is a great and affordable kitchen flooring option. Their lifespan generally tens to run around 7 to 10 years before they start showing significant signs of wear and fade. Vinyl is man-made and is nearly impervious to water issues, stains, and other damage. It is also very easy to clean.

Don't want to replace your flooring? You can always contact us and we'll find you a house with the type of kitchen flooring that you love! 

Posted in Floor options
Feb. 6, 2019

7828 Chip Shot Way

          

Low maintenance 3 bedroom home with pond views! This well maintained open floor plan home features a vaulted living room with a gas fireplace. The kitchen has a built-in microwave, glass top stove, pantry, & bar top for gathering around. The master suite has a walk-in closet & its own full bathroom with 2 sinks. Unwind on the back screened porch or entertain on the patio. Attached two car garage. Nestled off River Road, the community of Cypress Island is just a short drive to Carolina Beach. Neighborhood amenities include a pool, tennis, trails, golf, & even lawn maintenance - all included with the HOA dues!

Posted in New Listing
Jan. 25, 2019

Eliminating Pet Odors In Your Home

 

Eliminating bad odors from your home is incredibly important, you want to make sure you've removed them before putting it on the market. Often times, the first thing buyers notice upon entering your home, is how it smells. If there is an odd odor, it will instantly put them off. No matter how beautifully staged and presented it is, strong odors or stale air can make your home unappealing to prospective buyers. Opening windows and exhaust fans will only go so far in removing foul odors, but won't generally eliminate it completely. To ensure you don't lose potential buyers, follow these odor eliminating tips to ensure your home smells and feels fresh and new.

Don’t Use Artificial Freshening Sprays

Don't make the mistake of spraying artificial room freshener sprays in hopes that it will remove the bad odor. Deodorizers will quickly fade, and only mask the smell, sometimes in an overwhelming way. If a buyer walks into your home, your air freshener can cause a reaction, like a runny nose or a headache, and will make them suspicious of an underlying foul odor. Instead of trying to mask it, locate the actual source of the bad odor and get rid of it.

Best Pet Carpet Cleaners for Accidents

We all love our furry friends, but unfortunately, they can get your home pretty smelly. Whether the smell is on the carpet, furniture, or even on the walls - it's essential to have it removed. Most odors stem from accidents. You always want to attend to the accident right away. Blot them with a paper towel and use mild dishwashing liquid to help remove the odor. Once completely cleaned, blot again with fresh paper towels to dry the spot. If the accident is not recent, use an enzyme cleaner to eat the bad bacteria. Another great idea is to use activated charcoal. It is a form of carbon that has been activated to make it extremely porous. You can get activated charcoal meant for pet odors at most pet stores. 

Green Cleaning Products

Using natural odor eliminators is a great green alternative to most of the chemicals sold at stores. One of the most recommended products is to use baking soda. You can place an open box of it in a room to help absorb unwanted smells. It also helps to remove musty aroma in dark spaces, like a basement. On top of being used to remove pet odors, it also works great for cigarette smells. If you don't wish to use baking soda, most pet supply stores will have green cleaning products that help remove odors, while still being safe for your household. 

Posted in Cleaning
Jan. 8, 2019

Open House

 

Open House 

 

 

Join us Saturday January 12th from 10:00-12:00 at 307 Lennox Place! This beautiful home is nestled on an almost half acre cul-de-sac lot! The kitchen features white cabinets, new granite counters and stainless appliances including built in microwave, glass top stove, dishwasher and fridge. The home has a spacious 2nd living room, formal dining room and an upstairs office! There is a new HVAC including duct work. Plumbing is updated and has all new vanities. Crawlspace has new insulation & vapor barrier. Fresh paint throughout the interior. Also the home features an attached 2 car side loading garage and a new driveway. 

This renovated house features:

  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • 1 half bathroom
  • New vinyl plank floors throughout the living areas
  • Modern kitchen
  • Wood burning fireplace
  • Vaulted ceiling in the family room 
  • No HOA
  • New storm door on back door

 

Don't miss out on seeing this home! We hope to see you at the open house!

Posted in Open House