Home Staging vs. Interior Design: What’s the Difference?

The difference between home staging and interior design.

Selling your home means selling a lifestyle – but not necessarily your own. Although everyone has different tastes in décor and furnishings, most people want a home that is welcoming, functional, peaceful, and clean. When homeowners are getting ready to sell their property, they are often confused on whether to reorganize the space with home staging or interior design.

If you’re selling your home now or in the near future, going with a home staging company is the right choice. Home staging is all about prepping your house so it will appeal to as many buyers as possible. This process can include changing out paint colors, adding new pictures or artwork, and bringing in furniture and accessories. It’s generally viewed as a temporary change in order to attract buyers and bids.

If you’re settling into your home for the foreseeable future, an interior designer would be more suited to your needs. A professional interior designer is knowledgeable about building construction, remodelling, and structural details. As a result, the designer is able to make suggestions about improving the space, such as ripping out walls, installing new flooring, and matching the walls, carpet, drapes, and upholstery colors.

It may be difficult to be objective about your own home, but it is crucial if you want to sell it. Home staging presents your property in the best way possible so that you can sell it that much quicker.

Buying and selling a home is no small feat, so it pays to have a trusted, experienced professional on your side! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Top Home Buying Fears and How to Face Them

How to handle common home buying worries.

Buying a home is a huge commitment, and it’s likely that it’ll be your biggest transaction ever. It’s only natural that homebuyers have fears going through the extensive and significant process. However, a lot of these problems swimming around inside your head could just be wasting your time and energy. Check out these top home buying fears and how to overcome them.

  • Deposit Money

When you’re interested in a home, you need to put earnest money down to show you are serious about purchasing the property. It’s a fear that many buyers have – once you put that deposit down, you could easily lose that money if the sale doesn’t work out for one reason or another. However, with the right safeguards in place, it’s nearly impossible to lose your deposit. Work closely with your real estate agent to put the right contingencies in place. Pay close attention to the dates to ensure your contingencies don’t expire before you are finished closing on the house.

  • Maintenance

When renting, the landlord takes care of all the repairs and broken appliances. When you’re the homeowner, you need to face the issues and expenses yourself. There are a lot of costs involved with owning a home, from repairs to mowing the lawn to buying more furniture. However, this fear is a good and healthy fear. It forces serious future homeowners to work within their budget and plan accordingly.

  • Structural Issues

Go into house hunting with the knowledge that there is no possible way to buy a perfect house. There is always going to be something wrong – even with new builds. Hiring a home inspector should alleviate these concerns, as he or she will be able to detail any problems with the house before you purchase it. Include a home inspection contingency in your purchase agreement so that if the inspection uncovers problems, you are not obligated to go forward with the sale.

Contact Dean Rathbun when you’re looking to secure the right mortgage for your needs. We work with your credit score and financial picture to ensure that you lock in the right home loan to land that house of your dreams. Give us a call to get started.

How to Beatify Your Home in Minutes

Quick and easy ways to freshen up your home.

Now that spring is here, you may already be preparing to give your home a thorough spring clean to breathe new life into the property. To help you make your home look its best without spending hours upon hours cleaning and clearing out closets, check out these tips.

Soothe the Senses

Spring is not only a colorful season, but a fragrant one, too. Scents have a profound effect on the mood, so ensure that your property smells its best. Whether you pick up a new bunch of flower or burn sweet-smelling incense, helping your home to smell better will improve it in seconds.

Let the Sunshine In

Dusty windows often go unnoticed in winter and the shorter days often gave us an excuse to leave them out of our cleaning regimen. Now is the time to take advantage of the sunny season by giving the windows a wash. You can have a gorgeous room, but if the windows are dirty, it won’t look as beautiful or as bright.

Update Accessories

Put away the winter throws and drape light, bright throws on your sofa. Pick out spring-hued vases or candles to boost a dining room table or the kitchen.

Clean Up

Get rid of the clutter and reduce the junk. Dust in those hard-to-reach places. Clean behind kitchen appliances. Use spring as an excuse to get your home sparkling and shining!

To keep on top of your household cleaning and maintenance, protect your home in the best way possible! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

3 Spring Landscaping Tips

Transform your garden for springtime.

Whether you’re looking to sell your home or simply improve your property, you may not realize just how large of an impact the garden makes. If your lawn is looking lackluster after the winter, it could be time to revamp it for spring. Check out a few of our spring landscaping tips to help your home and garden look its very best.

Create a colorful atmosphere. When you think of spring, it’s likely that colors pop into your mind, from greens to yellows to pinks to blues. Spring is finally when we start to see some vibrant colors after the long winter! Whether you prefer colorful flowers or something more subtle like pastel plant pots, be sure to incorporate a pop of color into your garden.

Brighten your surroundings. Spring is the time when the evenings get lighter and we can enjoy more time outdoors. Why not set up string lights to help brighten your space? Your guests will be impressed and feel right at home with your inviting outdoor area, lit up to perfection. Choose whether you want to add torches, lights, and other fun light sources.

Tend to your lawn. After the cold weather of winter, it’s likely that your lawn will be looking a little sad. Now is a great time to trim it, water it, prune any dead branches from trees and shrubs and fertilize the lawn. Some TLC now can reap plenty of benefits once the warmer weather creeps in.

Buying a home is no small feat, so it pays to have a trusted, experienced professional on your side! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Money Mistakes First-Home Homebuyers Make

Avoid these financial foes when looking to buy a home for the first time.

Making the transition from renting to homeownership is an important (and exciting!) financial milestone for many adults. As one of the most (if not, the most) expensive things we’ll ever buy, we want to ensure that we go into the deal levelheaded, realistic, and financially prepared. However, it’s not always as smooth as we’d like it to be. Buying a home requires a certain amount of research and planning, especially if it’s your first time. First-time homebuyers should be wary of committing these common money blunders.

Not Checking Your Credit

Before you even start checking home listings in your area, you need to check your credit to ensure you’re in a good position to buy. If your credit history is non-existent or your score is lower than average, you’ll want to put in the time to perfect these issues before going to a lender. If you do qualify for a home loan with a less than stellar score, you’ll likely end up paying a much higher interest rate.

Focusing on Price

It’s easy to focus on the listing price when you’re a first-time buyer. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are appraisal and inspection fees to consider, as well as closing costs for the loan. Homeownership is an expense in itself and many first-time buyers forget this. Once you’ve closed the deal, there are expenses such as homeowners insurance, property taxes, and maintenance and repairs to face, too. Make sure there’s room in that budget to accommodate these costs.

Choosing the Wrong Kind of Mortgage

While a traditional 30-year mortgage is the most popular type of home loan, it’s not the only option for buying your first place. If you are able to put down a sizable down payment, you may consider choosing a 15-year mortgage instead. Your mortgage will be dependent on your financial landscape as well as what your long-term plans are.

Luckily, Dean Rathbun can help you find the right mortgage for your needs. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you’re seasoned in real estate, we can help. Contact us or give us a call at (888) 455-2847 to get started.

Home Improvements That Increase Your ROI

Update your home with these valuable improvements.

The fluctuation of property prices is highly dependent on the state of the market at that given time, which homeowners have little to no control over. However, this doesn’t mean that you have no control over the rise and fall in price of your own home. You’re in control of your property and can ensure that you get the most for your home when looking to sell and purchase another property.

Before you start throwing your life savings into hot tubs and swimming pools, be aware that not all home improvements will increase your ROI significantly. These additions, however, can add value to your property.


A fresh coat of paint can bring life to the most derelict of objects: doors, cupboards, staircases, and walls. Painting a house may not seem like a task worth undertaking, but some properties have gained value significantly after a simple coat of paint!

Replace Doors

Doors are eye-catching, so it stands to good reason that you want them to look their best. Replacing an older, two-car, steel garage door may give you a healthy ROI, believe it or not. That being said, if you convert your garage into in-law living quarters, you could expect a higher ROI.

Floor Coverings

Nothing makes a room feel more miserable than old, worn out, and dirty flooring. Laminated floors, simulated wood flooring or even a tile job may do the trick. If you have budget constraints, consider replacing the carpet and re-doing the floor coverage one room at a time.

Being prepared for a home sale or purchase is critical. Ensure that you know how to handle it by relying on the expertise of a professional mortgage corporation. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Questions to Ask Before You Move

What to Know About Your New Property

If you’ve just bought a new home, you’ll know that there is so much to think about! From arranging a removal van to packing to switching utility providers, it’s likely that you’ll have your hands full. Indeed, there is so much to consider that we’ve written a few questions that you should know in advance of your move-in date.

Where are the utility switches?

In case of emergency, know where the utility shut-off switches are. Once you’ve located them, label them, and ensure that each member of the family knows how to turn them off.

Have the previous owners got any spare tins of paint?

Eventually, you’ll need to repaint the walls in your new home. But what shade of beige is the living room? If you’re able to find out what paint and which color the previous owners used, this will help immensely. The previous owner may even have a couple of cans of paint left over, so ask them if they can leave this behind rather than throwing it out.

Will existing items be left behind?

It helps to understand exactly what you are expecting to inherit so that you can plan ahead and buy some useful items prior to the day you move in.

Will there be instruction manuals left behind for any electrical goods?

You should know which electrical goods are going to be staying in the property. You can find almost any instruction manual by doing an internet search, but having these paper copies handy will save you time when trying to figure out how the oven works on your first night in the house!

Are you ready to move into your dream home? Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

How to Save for a House and Tackle Debt

How to Pay Off Debt When Saving for a House

Most of us mere mortals have a bit of debt to our name. That baggage is loaded with interest rates, loans, and payback deadlines. Fortunately, just because we owe a bit of money doesn’t mean that our vision of buying a dream house dissipates. It can take some time, but luckily you can save for a house and tackle your debt!

Intrigued yet? Read on!

Set Savings Goals 
All future homeowners realize that a home includes saving for a hefty down payment. Commit to a specific price range for your future house and set a savings goal!

Set Up a Separate Savings Account
If you don’t already have a savings account for your down payment, set one up! Keeping your savings separate means that you won’t dip into it for car repairs or a shopping splurge.

Strategize Your Debts
Make a list of all of your debts and interest rates for each. The debt snowball method may help you: pay off your smallest balance first while keeping up with the minimum payments on your other debts. Once that first one is eliminated, direct that money to the next highest balance, and so on! Don’t forget to budget your down payment savings into this plan.

Stick to It!
Paying off debts and saving for a house are both long-term goals. Be consistent and you’ll see movement!

Contact Dean Rathbun when you’re looking to secure the right mortgage for your needs. We work with your credit score and financial picture to ensure that you lock in the right home loan to land that house of your dreams. Give us a call to get started.

Tips for Selling Your Home When You Have Pets

How to Sell Your Home When You Have Dogs and Cats 

Selling a property can be difficult at the best of times, but if you have pets, it can sometimes be even more difficult. Not everyone loves cats and dogs as much as you, and even if your pet has been the tidiest and cleanest, some viewers won’t want to view a property where a pet has previously lived. To help sell your home without Fido or Mr. Whiskers hindering the process, check out these tips.

Try Not to Be Sentimental

It’s really hard to put your emotions to one side in a home sale, especially when you’re attached to your beloved pet. Homebuyers don’t want to be met at the door by excitable dogs or have to step over cat toys. If you can, keep your pet shut away in one room while guests view the house, or leave them with a family friend or neighbor. Remember that buyers are there to picture themselves in the property, and any unwanted distractions could leave them feeling uninterested.

Cleanliness Sells

Never underestimate the power of a vacuum and a mop. If you want to achieve the top price for your property, it will need to be looking (and smelling!) great. While it can be difficult to stay on top of smells and toys in the house, try to ensure that the property is left in good condition before a viewing. Ensure there are no toys lying around, no clumps of dog hair floating along, and that litter boxes are emptied and cleaned.

Go Neutral

As mentioned before, viewers are trying to picture themselves in your property, so that last thing they want to see is family pictures and pet portraits in each room. Try to neutralize the space so that the guest isn’t put off with the number of personal belongings. If you don’t have the space to tidy things away, consider investing in self-storage for the period your property is on the market.

Buying a home is no small feat, so it pays to have a trusted, experienced professional on your side! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

House Hunting: How to Win a Bidding War

Know How to Get Ahead of the Bidding War 

If you’re buying a home at the height of a seller’s market or simply want a sought-after house in a neighborhood with limited turnover, you may find yourself in the midst of a real estate bidding war. While it’s tempting to just keep upping the number every time someone outbids you, you may need to step back and decide how much you really want that particular home. Here are some home-buying tips to help you navigate the vicious bidding waters.

Set a Budget

Start by figuring out exactly how much you can afford before you look at properties. Your income, credit rating, monthly expenses, and down payment will help determine your loan approval. Work with the right mortgage team to help you get started.

Don’t Overbid

It may seem logical that a seller would automatically accept the highest bid, but sellers want to be certain that offers are going to go through. In short, putting in a high bid can be a risk – both because the seller may not accept it, and because your lender may not be willing to increase the value of the loan.

Watch for Timing

When you’re competing against potential buyers, it’s in your best interest to be on top of things and scan the housing listings on a daily basis. Once you see a home on the market that sparks your interest, consider acting quickly. If you wait a day or two, someone else may have already claimed the advantage.

Make Your Strongest Offer

In a tight housing market, you may assume that there are going to be multiple offers on a property. Rather than going in with the mindset of negotiating your final price, try going in with your strongest offer.

Are you ready to secure the right home loan to see you into your dream house? Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We’re happy to help!