9 Easy Ways to Make Your Patio Pop!

Nice porchSpring is finally here, and several people around the nation will begin working on their yard and garden. But what about your patio? It’s time to start thinking about what you want your patio to look like and what function you want it to play!

There are so many things you can do to make your patio accent your yard and garden instead of the other way around. Make your patio work for your yard this year instead of always feeling like you are working for it!

Here are 9 quick and easy things to do to make your patio this pop this year!

Tone It Down– If your yard has a good variety of plant types and textures, then you want your patio to be a little more toned down. You don’t want to try to add too many additional types of patterns to an already diverse setting because it can become very overwhelming and too jarring to be relaxing.

Say Hello To Your Biggest Fan! If you have a structure overhead to help shield you from the elements you may also be shielded from the refreshing summer breeze. This could warm you up during the summer months rather than help cool you down. One way to counter this is by installing a ceiling fan if possible. This will not only help get the air moving and help keep you cool but it is also an added light source!

Light Up Your Life – When creating a beautiful patio, why not consider using exterior lighting? It not only helps keep you safe at night and illuminates your pathway, but it can also help create gorgeous ambience!  It’ll help cast light on your dinner plates after the sun has set as well as make the light source decorative and fun looking.

Potted plantsBring Nature to Your Patio– Tie your patio together with the rest of your yard! You don’t want your patio to come to an abrupt end when it hits your yard and garden. By placing decorative potted plants on the patio you can make your patio and yard flow together nicely despite how large or small your patio is. Try putting your favorite plants and succulents in beautiful pots of all shapes and sizes to give your patio life and a chic look!

Over the Garden Wall – Trellises are a simple and easy way to soften the edges of your patio. By choosing the height, spacing, and type you can easily find a design that fits the needs you have. They also provide a nice way to add a flowering vine to your yard!

Consider Using Your Front Yard – Front yard patios are not all that common, but that doesn’t mean you have to let all that space go to waste! Instead, move your patio to the front! It will give you a place to easily entertain your guests and neighbors and can accent your home beautifully. Using mid-height flower planters will provide you with an elegant and beautiful privacy wall and will also give you more space to plant!

Get Creative – If you have a partially enclosed patio or a patio that is protected from the elements then it’s time to decorate it! Accent it with cushions, pillows, accent rugs, decorative pots, and more so that it has the feel you want. Add in favorite pieces of art – just make sure they are properly shielded from the elements! Add a photo frame or two of your latest vacation. Make your patio a space that you’ll never want to leave!

Make Your Patio Multi-Functional – Make your patio have more then just the typical use. Make your prep station work as a breakfast bar as well. Allow one side for seating so that you can eat your breakfast or lunch out there while having a larger table for dinner and dinner parties! Not only will you have a prep-table and a serving area but also a great place for you and your closest friends to gather for small get-togethers!

Introduce the Element of Water – Water features, even a small one, provide a soothing sound and a calm environment. Birds and butterflies also find themselves attracted to these water features to drink from and bathe in. Allow these beautiful water elements to become a focal point in your yard to help you attract and appreciate the beauty of nature!

You don’t have to take part in all 9 of these ideas in order to create a vibrant, welcoming patio that will be the envy of all your neighbors! Feel free to employ one, two, several, or all of the tips to get that patio you’ve always dreamed of!

Speaking of dreaming, now is the time to find that dream home you’ve always wanted! We can help! Just call us at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com today to find that home you’ve been dreaming of living in!

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Selling Your Home? Here’s What Your Home Inspector Will Be Looking For

field_inspectorAre you thinking about selling your home?

If you’re at that stage of homeownership, you are probably busy contacting the right people, straightening up your rooms, and de-cluttering your home from piles that you might otherwise not have ever touched.

But do you really know what’s necessary to help your home get a passing grade for potential homebuyers?

If you’re unsure of what your home needs to look like in order to sell (or to sell for the amount you would like), don’t fret! Just look at our checklist below to see what your home inspector will be looking for during your home inspection!

Your Yard

One of the very first things that potential buyers will notice about your home is your yard, so be sure that you ready it properly! The inspector will check for proper grading drainage and for any evidence of standing water or leaks. Your trees and bushes should be in good condition, and your landscaping should be well-kept. Remember to double-check that your driveways, sidewalks, patios, and railings on your stairs are in good condition as well!

Exterior Surfaces

Next move to your surfaces outside! Make sure that your paint or stain on your home has no stains or flaking and that your vinyl or aluminum siding has no dents or damage. Your professional inspector will be able to locate any large cracks in your stucco or masonry veneers as well.

Windows and Doors

When it comes to your doors and windows, you will want to make sure you did your seasonal homework! Doors and windows will need to be secured, have no cracks or decay, and be caulked and weather-stripped. Remember, damaged screens, broken windows, and visibly neglected features are a major turnoff to potential buyers!

Your Roof

Take a look at your roof! Do you see any broken, damaged, or missing shingles? Does your roof have any cracks or splits? That could be evidence that you need to get it repaired! Your inspector will also check for decay and stains on your soffits and fascia, your gutters, and much more! Don’t forget to check your chimney, if you have one, for any damaged bricks or cracked joints!

The Attic

When your inspector checks out your attic, he or she will be looking for evidence of decay or damage to the structure and stains on the underside of your roofing. He or she will also be checking for sufficient insulation that is functional and properly installed, along with proper ventilation, and any plumbing, exhaust, or appliance vents ending in the attic.

Interior Rooms

To make sure that you’re the bedrooms, offices, and family rooms of your home are ready for potential buyers to see, make sure that you don’t have any stains or significant cracks in your walls and ceilings and that your doors latch properly and easily. Check your paint for cracks and that your flooring is in good condition, too. Your inspector will also check for adequate heating and cooling in each room and that all electrical outlets work properly.

The Kitchen

When it comes to your kitchen, your inspector will check that there are no leaks in the pipes under the sink, that your water flow in the sink is adequate, and that your cabinets are in good condition and that the doors and drawers open and close properly. You will also need to ensure that your dishwasher drains properly, has no leaks, and that it operates correctly.

Your Bathroom(s)

Whether you have one or multiple bathrooms, you will need to be prepared to impress your inspector. He or she will be looking for a working exhaust fan that doesn’t end in your attic space, adequate water flow and pressure in all of your fixtures, proper drainage in your shower, tub, and sink, and that your toilet operates properly, too. Be aware of any and all leaks; if there are any leaks present, please contact a plumber beforehand to correct the issue.

The Basement

If you’re not a fan of basements or not in your basement often, you will need to take extra care of it before the inspector comes! Make sure that your basement shows no evidence of moisture, has no exposed foundation or stains or major cracks, and has no damage from insects. Your insulation and rim and band joints will be checked as well.

Please remember that this checklist shouldn’t be solely relied upon as a home inspection report and that you shouldn’t consider it as a substitute for a professional home inspection. This list is also not a complete list, so please be sure to contact a professional home inspector for a proper inspection!

If you’re ready to sell your home in search of your dream home, then what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone right now and call us at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com. We will find you your dream home and help you sell the home you have now!

Springtime Is Here! The 11 Tips You Will Need to Make Your Yard Beautiful!

flowersIt’s that time again – it’s time to start your springtime gardening! There is always a lot of basic gardening and clean up required to start off with, but all your hard work will pay off.

 Just like any other project you want to start off with a set out plan before you go shopping for plants for your yard. This can help ensure you save money as well as get the yard that best fits what you want.

You always want to start with what you have before you move to what you need! Here are 11 great tips to help you with all your gardening endeavors!

Fruit Trees (Late Winter, Early Spring) – If you currently have fruit trees, then late winter and early spring is the time to trim them. Fruit trees need to be thinned every year to help keep the tree healthy and to make harvesting easier. Make sure you trim your tree before any new growths start to develop for the best results!

Winter Mulch (Early Spring) – If you used mulch to protect your plants during winter then now is the time to remove it! Only remove it if the danger of extreme temperature changes is over. If you remove it too early then your plants could be hurt from the cold temperatures. Remember to keep some mulch handy just in case an unseasonably late cold front comes through.

Roses (Early Spring) – Now is the time to put your gardening gloves on and start pruning your rose bushes! In most regions you will want to do this before or just as new sprouts are starting to emerge. Trimming them gives them stronger, healthier shoots that will produce more roses. This will also help them resist diseases better. Careful not to prick yourself!

Trees and Shrubs (Early, Mid-, Late Spring) – The cool, moist spring time conditions are ideal for adding shrubs and trees to your yard. There are many advantages to adding trees and shrubs to your yard. Trees and shrubs can actually add value as well as beauty to your property and they can shade your house during the hot summer months! This helps bring down your summer’s energy bill. Plus, if you select fruit bearing trees, they will also provide food to you and your family!

Cool-Season Annuals (Early or Mid-Spring) – There are two kinds of annuals: annuals that like it warm and those that like it cool. For a little pre-spring color try planting some of the cool-season annuals like pansies, snapdragons, calendula and sweet alyssum. These plants can take a little frost! One thing to keep in mind is that cool-season annuals will fade with the summer heat. When this happens you can simply replace them with the heat-loving annuals like petunias or nasturtiums.

Ornamental Grasses (Early Spring) –Like the other plants you will want to trim back your ornamental grasses before or just as new growths are starting. This is also the time to divide your ornamental grass, if you want to. By dividing the grass this will give you more plants to work with if you want to use it in another place.  Make sure to leave the cut grass readily available as birds will love to use this for their nests!

Overgrown Perennials (Early or Mid-Spring) – Older perennials thrive if you divide them! Make sure the perennial you have can do this before digging yours up. Splitting some perennials like bleeding hearts or peonies can actual set the plant back rather than help them thrive. Splitting the Perennials you can will help the plant grow because it will no longer be over crowded. This will also give you more plants to work with or to share with your neighbors.

Seeds (Early Spring) – If you start growing the seeds indoors then it can help speed the process up by a couple weeks versus growing them outdoors. If this isn’t an option then follow when your seeds tell you to plant them but make sure you sprinkle the seeds in moist, loose soil. Most unused seeds can be stored in the freezer until next spring!

Vegetables (Early or Mid-Spring) – Check to see what kind of temperatures your vegetables like. Cool-season kinds can withstand a bit of frost but make sure if the temperature drops too much to cover them to keep them from dying. 

Mulch (Mid-spring) – When the soil has dried out it is time to break out the mulch. Spread the mulch about 2 inches deep over the soil. Mulch helps protect your plants by holding in moisture during the hot summer while helping to prevent weeds from growing.

Make Records (Early, Mid-, Late Spring)- When you notice that there are holes in your garden or perhaps not enough color variation then the best way to fix this is with a photo! A photo will help you remember where and what color you need to add. Even if you think you have a good enough memory to remember where to plant it a photo will ensure that no mistakes are made. You can take this photo with you when you go to buy more flowers to fill in your garden as well as how to know where the new plants go in your garden.  Add these new additions in autumn so they are ready for the next year.

Now you are ready to make your yard shine but make sure to stop weeds while they’re small!  This prevents them from developing stronger roots as well as prevents them from seeding which means fewer weeds for you in the long run. This will keep your yard looking beautiful even longer and without unnecessary work.

Still looking for that home that’s perfect for you? Let us help. Call us at (618) 791-9298 or at (618) 791-5024 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com and let us help you get that perfect home you’ve always dreamed of!

Your Dream Home Is Right Within Reach – See It Here!

Allen house frontImagine this – you’re looking for the house of your dreams, and you’ve been relentlessly searching for longer than you’d like. You’re about to give up all hope when something catches your eye. You turn to see what caught your attention, and you gasp in amazement, eyes dilated to let in all the radiance.

Before you stands your dream home, a place of infinite beauty and wonder that is guarded behind a robust but ornate and welcoming gate. It’s as if the house of your dreams simply plucked itself out of your mind and presented itself to you in your time in need, as if to say, “I’ve been here for you all along.”

If this sounds like your dream home, then you’re in luck! We have such a house for you for sale right now, and we know you’re going to love it!

allen house 2Located on 5502 State Route 159 in Edwardsville, Illinois and built in 2004, this gorgeous home boasts 7 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms in 14,632 square feet. But don’t feel daunted by its large size! Despite how large the home might be, it has truly retained that warm home feel that makes a house a home.

When you see the house for the first time, you will be greeted by a large driveway surrounded by lush green grass, a gorgeous lake, and ornately beautiful bronze doors.

allen house pic 3You will be delighted to entertain family and friends alike in this home’s spacious yet cozy features. Take guests in to chit-chat in the home’s warm living room. Cook a meal to remember together in the well-equipped, sparklingly clean kitchen and serve them in the marble-floored dining room, lit by a radiant chandelier.

You can also enjoy a stunning walkout basement complete with 6 basement rooms, 7 luxurious and spacious bedrooms, and several appliances such as a built in microwave and oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, and many more!

allen house pic 4Don’t forget to take the fun outside with your friends and family (or by yourself, even)! This custom-crafted brick and stone chateau also comes complete with a heated outdoor pool, spa, and a boat lift! You can also host parties and get-togethers on the stately patios that encircle the estate.

allen house pic 5Oh, and horse lovers – if you have a horse or wish that you could have one prancing and racing about majestically near your home, this home is definitely for you. Horses are welcomed here!

With this home, there are simply too many fantastic amenities to list! The possibilities are unlimited.

If you’re ready to check out this dream home, just give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298. You can even view this listing online here!

Renovating Your Bathroom? 10 Tips to Keeping Down Cost and Boosting Your Style!

7512480526_72e4a84767Are you tired of your bathroom but don’t have a lot of money to renovate it? Remodeling your bathroom doesn’t always have to be expensive! There are a lot of tricks to keeping the cost down while still getting the bathroom you want.

First off, know what you want before starting any work in your bathroom. Jumping in and doing any serious renovations without a set plan can not only cost you more time, but it can also end up costing you big money. Set out what you want so you don’t make the mistake of buying materials, products, or fixtures that won’t work in your space. Once you know what you want to accomplish in your space, you can start thinking about ways to cut cost without cutting the quality.

Not sure where to start? Here are 10 ways to help you save money and make your bathroom pop!

1. Do it Yourself- Most of the work you can do yourself. Doing it yourself can cut the renovation cost in half. Only pay to have more complicated things done in your room. Be warned, however – before starting any major renovations you should make sure to research your project to ensure you truly know what you’re doing. Unresearched DIY projects can take an ugly – and oftentimes costly –turn.

2. Think Fabric- If you’re not a painter and don’t want to fight putting up wall paper then try adding fabric to the walls. It’s easy to put up and remove when you decide to remodel again and the best part is that it looks like wallpaper! Fabric also gives you more decorative options then standard paint or wallpaper would.

3. Let Mirrors and Artwork Complete Your Space- Mirrors can make your room look larger as well as lighter, and they can be an art piece on their own while reflecting the other art work you have in your bathroom!

4. Refurbish Old Cabinets for a Fresh Feel – New cabinets can make a space look and feel refreshed, but don’t buy new cabinets just yet. Refurbish your old ones to give them that new look and feel. Remember, spicing up your bathrooms cabinets doesn’t have to cost a lot. Choose your expenses carefully.

1387791_marble_bathroom5.  Small Bathrooms Are All About Wall Space- Storage space is hard to find in a small bathroom. A good way to create storage space in a small bathroom is to sacrifice your wall space, but this doesn’t mean you must sacrifice style! Shelves add storage and don’t have to be traditional looking; in fact, many are pieces of art! You can use decorative glass shelves, stainless steel towel racks, or even standard wood shelves. Stainless steel towel racks can hold anything from a bath sponge, clear storage containers or a potted plant.

Thinking you want to keep it more traditional and use wood shelves? Think about painting the edges or the tops of the shelves an accent color to make them a focal point.

6. Use Under-the-Sink, Open, and Tall Cabinets – Using multiple types of cabinets can help make your cabinets work for your bathroom’s functionality, storage, and design. Tall cabinets can either go from the floor to the ceiling or as a separate unit on your sink’s counter top. These cabinets are great for storing your towels close at hand. The open cabinets allow you to keep your decorative containers of cotton swabs and cotton balls on display with a clutter-free feel and look. It helps frame and contain decorations so that your sink is left looking clean and clutter-free.

7. Personalize Your Bathroom- Don’t be afraid to incorporate yourself into your bathroom! Personalize your bathroom with a few framed pictures or even a canvas print to make the space yours. Small decorative accents can also make the space feel complete and encompass your personality.

913533_bathroom_window8. It’s Okay to Splurge on an Item- If you find or know that there is something you want to splurge on, then find ways to cut back on the cost of something else. Refurbishing is a great way to cut costs!

9. Create an Accent Wall- Save a little money by only tiling one wall. Tiling the wall around the sink or bathtub gives you functionality as well as a great accent wall.

10. Add a Floating Shelf- A floating shelf not only looks great but it also gives you extra storage space! Consider placing a floating shelf in a normally unused space to place your toothbrushes and soap or any fun decorations you want to display!

What does your dream bathroom look like? Let us know below in the comments or on our Facebook page! If you’re still looking for your dream home call us at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298 or you can check us out online at http://www.dianamasseyhomes.com! Let us help you find your dream home!

Top 15 Fun Things To Do in St. Louis

STLAre you moving to the St. Louis area soon? Congratulations! You will soon be learning why St. Louis has been deemed one of America’s most livable cities and how historically rich the city and the area around it are!

Whether you’re already living in the area, have lived here for a little while or several years, or are moving here soon, you don’t have to worry about ever being bored! While St. Louis is relatively small compared to other cities like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, you’ll find a plethora of activities and events to enjoy with friends and family alike. Check out our favorite 15 things to do in the Lou below!

1. Go to the Top of the Arch – When you think about the city of St. Louis, you will more than likely picture the Arch towering majestically over the cityscape. Why not bring yourself up to the top and check out the city at a bird’s eye view? Take a 630-foot ride to the tip-top of the Arch, and you will see lines and lines of buildings and lights. Once you’re done, go below the Arch to check out the museum, which recounts the settlement in St. Louis and the explorations of the west.

2. Cheer For the Home Team – St. Louis is definitely a city that’s passionate about its sports. During the spring and summer months, buy a ticket to a Cardinals baseball game in Busch Stadium, and check out the St. Louis Rams in the Edward Jones Dome during football season. You can’t enjoy St. Louis to the fullest, though, without going to a St. Louis Blues hockey game at the Scottrade Center. There’s nothing quite like hearing someone honk 3 times and hearing everyone shout, “LET’S GO BLUES!”

St. Louis Zoo3. Visit the Zoo – The St. Louis Zoo is one of the nation’s top zoological parks and houses thousands of animals. Take the Emerson Zooline Railroad for a ride around the park. Check out fun areas including Big Cat Country, Penguin & Puffin Coast, the Interactive Stingray Pool, and so much more. The best part? It’s free! Just be sure to grab a fun souvenir or two before you leave.

4. Embrace the Night Life – Nighttime in the city is always hopping and fun in the Lou. Check out Laclede’s Landing or Washington Avenue for blocks and blocks full of awesome bars and dance clubs. Visit Soulard, the oldest neighborhood in the city, for your music fix. If you’re into swing dancing, be sure to stop by Grandel Theater every Tuesday night and dance the night away with Lindy Hop St. Louis.

5. Check Out Forest Park – Perhaps one of the best parts of St. Louis, Forest Park encompasses 1,371 acres of land situated right in the center of the metropolitan area. In fact, it’s about 500 acres larger than New York City’s Central Park! Enjoy all that Forest Park has to offer including its scenic walking and biking trails, the St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Science Center, the zoo, the Muny, and the Jewel Box, a flower conservatory that’s a popular venue for special events!

6. Feel the Rush of Adrenaline at Six Flags – Just to the west of St. Louis is Six Flags! Zip around loops on The Batman, face harrowing curves and dips on the Screaming Eagle, go on a water adventure on Thunder River or at Hurricane Harbor. You can also see live shows and concerts, meet your favorite cartoon characters, and so much more! Go with a group for a discount or grab season tickets for you and your loved one.

7. Sample Some Beer at the Local Breweries – Beer is a big part of the city, so be sure to take time to visit the historic Anheuser-Busch Brewery where you can sample a variety of premium brands of beer and even visit with the Budweiser Clydesdales! Another place to stop is Schlafly Bottleworks; you’ll get a free brewery tour, and you can enjoy sampling different styles of beer, listening to live music, and eating delicious food at the Schlafly Tap Room.

St. Louis City Museum8. Run Wild at the City Museum – Before you skip to the next activity, you should know that the City Museum isn’t actually a boring, ho-hum museum. It’s a unique location that’s pretty much an absolutely enormous playground for people of all ages. Filled with caves, slides, and lots of things to climb on, the City Museum is full of wonderful activities to do, including interacting with over 10,000 sea creatures, venturing through the Museum of Mirth, Mystery, and Mayhem, and wandering through tons of fun mazes and exhibits. Make your own work of art in Art City, play on equipment at the very top of the towering building, or feel the rush of adrenaline as you zip down a three-story high slide.

9. See the Animals at Grant’s Farm – Can’t get enough animals? Visit Grant’s Farm for an up-close and personal experience like no other! You’ll see African elephants, tortoises, bald eagles, deer, cattle, fennec foxes, buffalo, ostriches, and so much more when you stop by for a visit. See shows, take tours, and don’t forget to check out the carousel!

10. Discovery Something New at the Science Center – Located in Forest Park, the Science Center is a definite must-see to add to your list. Find out about animals, see a life-sized animatronic T-Rex and other dinosaurs, and marvel at the wonders of our solar system! You can even build your own arch! Don’t forget to check out the Omnimax Theater for unforgettable shows shown in a manner like no other!

11. Feast on the Foods of St. Louis – You can’t live in or near St. Louis without having tried some signature foods. Go to restaurants on The Hill to try delicious toasted ravioli. Visit a local pizza parlor to savor St. Louis style thin-crust pizza. Swing by Dooley’s Beef N Brew House for mouth-watering bbq. Top it all off with scrumptious frozen custard at Ted Drewes at the end of the night.

12. Enrich Your Life with the Arts – Love the arts? You’ll love St. Louis! Visit the Art Museum in Forest Park and wander through the many halls and coves of the museum. You can find numerous amounts of famous paintings, sculptures, and so much more! If music is more up your alley, then you’re in for a great treat. Grab some tickets to one of the many shows at the St. Louis Symphony for a breath-taking show.

13. Jam to Some Live Shows – There’s always happening in St. Louis on the live band scene. Check out some live music at places like The Pageant or the Scottrade Center. See outdoor acts at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater or catch touring acts at the famous Blueberry Hill.

14. Get Lost in the Missouri Botanical Gardens – For plant and outdoor lovers or just those seeking some peace or a new kind of adventure, the 79 acres of lush gardens, landscape architecture, greenhouses, and conservatories that make up the Missouri Botanical Garden are just what you need! The oldest botanical garden in the nation, the Missouri Botanical Garden features a Climatron, which recreates a real rainforest experience for you to talk through, peaceful Japanese gardens, and fun and educational Children’s Garden. There’s always something fun and new to do here!

15. See Live Theater – Love drama? Don’t start it – just go watch it in St. Louis! You can get your Broadway fix at the Fabulous Fox Theater when you see plays, concerts, and dance troupes perform. For an enjoyable outdoor experience, come to The Muny, the nation’s largest outdoor amphitheater dedicated just to musical theater!

Need to find your dream home close to St. Louis? We can help! Just call us at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298, and we can help you find the perfect home for you! Be sure to also check us out online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see what we can do to help you find that one perfect place for you!

First-Time Home Buyer? 10 Must-Know Tips to Buying Your First Home

Keys to the new home!Are you getting ready to stop renting and to buy a home for the first time? That’s fantastic news! You will no doubt love being a homeowner and enjoying all the freedom that comes with owning your own property; however, you definitely need to do your homework before you just pick a house.

Think about your dream home for a minute. What does it look like? Where is it located? What about your dream community? What is it like? These are actually very serious questions to consider before you go out there and try to find a home. But where do you start?

Below are 10 tips outlined to help you get started and help you along your way to finding your very first home!

1. Know Your Credit Score – Before you do anything else, check your credit score! This is the most important factor in getting your mortgage qualifications assessed. Lenders will connect your credit score to the interest rate you will have to pay, so ideally a score between 720 and 800 is what you should aspire to have in order to pay the lowest mortgage rates. If your score is 620 or below, you might not even qualify for mortgage at all until you improve your score.

2. Set a Budget – When it comes to buying a home, a budget is essential. It will be your guideline to what you can and cannot afford, and it will help keep your searches in check. Create an easy budget for yourself with income and spending to figure out how much you want to spend on house payments, and definitely set it before you go house hunting. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a house that’s way out of your budget range.

3. Stop Spending and Start Saving – As soon as you set your budget and have figured out how much your potential mortgage payments will be, start saving the difference between that payment and your current rent every month. This will help you save money and will help you get more accommodated with paying higher payment amounts.

4. Find a Lender – Before you start looking at houses, get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan! Make sure that you ask your lender about all the different loan options and figure out an idea of how much money you’d need for a down payment and for closing costs.

5. Find a Trustworthy Realtor – There’s nothing more vital to buying your first home than finding a reputable realtor. This realtor should be experienced, knowledgeable, and familiar with where you want to live. You will need someone who will be reliable in representing your interests during times of negotiation – and that’s what we do!

6. Nail Down Your Top Priorities – We know that there are a lot of things on your first house wish list, but sometimes you won’t be able to afford or find all that you want with your first home. Time to make some compromises! Ask yourself, “Is it more important to live in a particular type of home or in a particular section of town?” You will need to hone in on your top priorities before you can discern for yourself what you truly want.

7. Select Your Desired Neighborhood – Remember in your house searches that some neighborhoods hold onto their value more than others if the housing market is rocky. You should work with your realtor to find a neighborhood that meets your needs and that will keep you happy and make you feel safe. Your safety is of utmost importance, so please choose wisely before settling!

8. Make an Offer – Found a home you love and adore and simply can’t live without? Time to make an offer! Don’t place your offer at too low of an amount, though; many sellers are willing to negotiate, but many others simply won’t. Have your realtor walk you through the process so that you can be assured that you will receive fair treatment.

9. Get It Inspected – This is one of the most important items on this list. Never, ever, EVER buy a home without an inspection! A professional home inspection will help identify the weak spots and flaws in the home and will help identify which systems and appliances will need to be replaced.

10. Seal the Deal – Congratulations! The contract is signed! After the contract is signed, be sure to be in frequent contact with your realtor and your lender to make sure your financing is taken care of. A good realtor will keep a checklist handy to ensure that everything is completed in time for settlement.

Are you ready to find your first home? Then give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298, and we can help you find the best house out there for you! Visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see all of the services we provide!

Looking for a Vacation Home? 5 Tips to Consider Before Purchasing

Luxury Home with Backyard PoolHave you ever thought, “Gosh, if I could just live here, life would be perfect!” or “I need a vacation from this weather; I should move to X”? Well, you most certainly aren’t alone! Many people think about buying a second home or vacation home!

In fact, this trend doesn’t show any sign of slowing down or stopping at all. People, especially those in their 40s, 50s, and beyond are much more active than the generation before them and are finding ways to have fun, and, of course, in households in which both spouses work, income is more disposable than ever on a secondary home!

Are you considering buying a second home? Check out these 5 tips before you decide to purchase!

Location, Location, Location – There’s a reason that location is mentioned three times! Location is absolutely crucial when it comes to purchasing your secondary or vacation home (or any home, for that matter).  Keep your interests, hobbies, and your personal tastes in mind when looking for your vacation home, and keep in mind how far you’d mind traveling to get to your secondary home and when you would retreat there, be it for a few weekends at a time, every other month, or during a certain season.

The Price Tag is Pivotal – Money can’t buy you happiness necessarily, but the cost of your secondary home can certainly affect your jubilance! Keep in mind that up and coming communities tend to be less expensive than those well-established vacation locales. Before you set your heart on a certain home in a certain area, go ahead and jump in your car and look for different home options. If you’re still stuck on a certain location, try spending at least a few weeks there to make sure it’s what you really want.

Know Exactly Where You Want To Go – You might have an idea of where you want to live, but it’s essential that you know more specifics on where you’d like your vacation home to be. Would you like it to be near a lake or right next to a lake? What would you want to do there? Would you want to retire to this location? You might need a while to truly decide the exact location you’d like your vacation house to be, but it’s definitely worth it in the end!

What Will Your Home Look Like? It’s important to envision what your vacation home will look like. Do you want to have a small cottage by the ocean? How about a small cabin in the woods? Another thing to keep in mind is what you will use this home for. Is it for just you and your immediate family, or will it be used for large get-togethers with friends and extended family? Keep this all in mind when you settle on a property!

Take Your Time – It’s no easy feat to look for a vacation home, even if the Internet does make things easier. Regardless, don’t rush into your purchase! A little cabin in the woods might look fantastic at first, but if you rush into it, you could really regret your purchase. Think about your long-term goals and go from there.

Looking for your vacation home? We can help! Just give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see how we can help you!

What’s Your Architectural Personality?

Victorian House on WhiteIn the world of architecture, there are several different types of homes out there for us to choose from.  Some people are more drawn to certain styles of architecture than others, though many aren’t sure what it is about that style that pulls them in. In fact, they might even begin to wonder if their attraction to a certain architectural style might shed light on their personalities and lifestyles.

Well, we feel that perhaps your choice in architecture could very well indeed speak of your personality and how you like to spend your time! Check out five of the most popular types of architecture below and see if you match a certain style!

Lovely Ranch style home of red brick, white trim and black shutters with an American Flag.

Ranch House – Strong, easy-going, and kind, you like a simple life in the suburbs away from all the hustle and bustle but close enough to your loved ones. You love having company over and are a warm, relatively laid-back kind of person. You feel it’s better to have a house messy from visitors than pristine yet lonely. To you, life is measured by how well you spend your time, not by the material possessions or money that you acquire.

Victorian House – When you’re not planning an amazing party you’ll be hosting, you’re out in your garden, antiquing, or partaking in another activity that exhibits your creative side. You love planning elaborate get-togethers for your family and friends and want to show them how much you care for them. Much like a Victorian house, you can be a bit mysterious and dark, but there are many sunny and cheerful things about you!

Mediterranean Style Single Family House, Suburban Beijing, China, Wide Angle

Spanish Colonial – If you’re drawn to the Spanish colonial, then you are a warm person with a penchant for romance and life. You are a relatively traditional person who takes simple ideas and adds your own artistic flair, just as a simply constructed Spanish colonial home might have details such as painted tiles, iron fixtures, and huge carved doors. You are down-to-earth, fun, energetic, and elegant, and you can put everyone at ease.

New home built in the tradition of the Colonial style with a country feel.

Highbrow Greek Revival – These types of homes, which are also known as Southern Colonials, are a fun mixture of Roman, Greek, and French with their high columns and high windows. Just like the highbrow Greek revival, you are also a mix and have many influences. You like to look at the world in the big picture and make it all work together. You are a sophisticated soul, but that won’t stop you from dancing with your best friends on a sawdust floor! You love life, and you seem to always find time to talk with a loved one over a plate of delicious food.

A picture of a modern luxury house and garden

Contemporary – Edgy, minimal, and thoughtful, you are the type of person who likes to reflect on life, that is, whenever you’re done updating your blog! You enjoy quiet spaces and exquisite foods, and you are one to notice details. You tend to defy tradition, much like contemporary architecture does, and you find that people trust you because of your quiet, confident composure.

What’s your architecture personality? Let us know below in the comments or on our Facebook page! And remember, if you’re looking for your dream home, whether it’s a ranch house, a contemporary home, or somewhere in between, just call us at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298, and you can even check us out online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com! Let us help you find that perfect dream home for you!

8 Curb Appeal Ideas to Attract Homebuyers

A modern custom built luxury home in a residential neighborhood.  This upper class home is a very nicely landscaped property.

Perhaps the most important question you need to ask yourself right now if you’re selling your home is, “What will be the first thing that potential homebuyers will see?” Quickly after you ask that question, you should additionally ask yourself if the things that will attract or deter them from your home.

Usually, the first thing that homebuyers will notice when looking for homes is your front yard, the color of your home, the landscaping, and if the home has an attractive exterior. They won’t be able to see the new kitchen appliances you have or the gorgeous, original hardwood floors that are throughout your home. If your curb appeal is subpar, the homebuyers won’t even bother coming through your front door to check out the inside of your home.

But what’s a homeowner to do? Well, don’t fret and continue reading – we have 8 tips that will help you improve your curb appeal and attract homebuyers to your lovely abode pronto!

Reevaluate Your Exterior Paint – Before you even begin on your yard work, look up and check out your home’s exterior. Is the pain cracking, dingy, or old? Is it incongruent with the colors that are present in the neighborhood, or does it not matchup with the style of the home itself? If so, you might want to reevaluate your home’s paint color. If nothing else, do consider pressure washing your siding or brick; it’ll look just like new after you do so!

Keep Your Accents Fresh – Whether your house is adorned with shutters, columns, or planters, be sure that all the accents are in good condition. If there is any damage to your planters, driveway, fences, or exterior lighting, be sure to address them and repair the damaged areas.

Take Note of Walkways – Next on the list are your walkways and entryways. Are the sidewalks cracked and old? Are the stepping stone paths broken? Are weeds sprouting up in the cracks in your driveway? Consider giving extra attention to these areas. Pull the weeds, and fix any broken areas. Additionally, power wash these areas to make them look just like new once more. You’ll notice a difference right away!

Pick Up Your Toys – Curb appeal is associated with how you and your family live your lives day in and day out. Make sure that you don’t leave any objects out on the lawn, or your potential homebuyers could draw up opinions about you and how you care for your home. When you’re finished with gardening tools, put them away immediately. The same goes for your children’s toys – be sure to teach them to put them away when they’re done playing with them. This will help prevent your lawn from appearing unkempt.

Love Your Lawn – Now it’s time to look at your lawn. How do your plants, grass, and surrounding areas look? Does your lawn look beautifully-kept or like a scraggly eyesore to the unbiased eye? Be sure to pull weeds where you can and fix unsightly areas in your yard, and consider employing new landscaping in your yard if it looks a little, well, sad in the landscaping department.

Out With the Old – This may seem kind of crazy, but even the simplest things like your mailbox or house numbers can turn a buyer off. If you’ve lived in your home for a while now (or if your mailbox has seen better days), replace your old mailbox and house numbers with new, more inviting ones!

Add a Pop of Color – Does your home need some extra color? Add an instant pop of color with planters filled with seasonal plants at your front door, in your yard, or at the sides of your garage. The plants will make future homebuyers happy to see what else is inside!

When trying to revamp your curb appeal, remember that it doesn’t have to be difficult or cost you al lot of money. If you’re having trouble attracting homebuyers, try the 8 tips above to help, or go ahead and give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298! You can also visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see how we can help you sell your home and get the dream home you’ve always wanted!