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Wabi-Sabi style decorating tips for your home

If you love scrolling through home-décor ideas on social media, but get intimidated by the too-perfect images, Wabi-Sabi might be just what you need. The Japanese ideal of finding beauty in imperfection and creating harmony through simplicity is the perfect antidote for today’s chaotic world, and a great idea for updating your home.

In the context of interior design and decor, a home that incorporates elements of Wabi-Sabi embraces pieces that are lovingly weathered or lived in, while promoting peace and tranquility by keeping things simple. No more obsessing over every detail, or racing to have the latest shiny, high-tech gadget, and nothing overly polished or glittery.

A wide variety of home décor styles can easily incorporate elements of Wabi-Sabi, including shabby chic, farmhouse, minimalist, contemporary, and even industrial. If you want to try your hand at adding a little Wabi-Sabi to your home, here are a few ideas to get started:

Add artisanal and handmade items

Wabi-Sabi is about seeing the beauty in imperfection, and this works great with handmade or artisanal items. Ideas include a unique vase from a local pottery maker, homespun fabrics you found in a bazaar on vacation, or a bench or table made by a local craftsman.

Embrace calm and clear the clutter

Obsessive organization is not the key here, but rather clean, clutter-free areas that evoke feelings of peace and calm (instead of stress and chaos). You can have small items on counters and tabletops, but they need to have a sense of order and functional purpose. Decorative bowls and trays are very Wabi-Sabi, as are houseplants, herbs or succulents that add freshness to the space.

Bring the outdoors in

Speaking of greenery, Wabi-Sabi embraces bringing nature inside the home, valuing plants and organic elements for the sense of peace and harmony they can brings. Nature itself is also a great example of beauty in imperfection. Fresh flowers, hand-carved wooden bowls or trenchers, unique stones or agate, succulents and plants of all kinds, and even natural wood furniture can all add to your Wabi-Sabi décor.

Mismatched is exactly right

Throw out those catalogs where everything matches exactly. Adding something you love or treasure to a room, even though it is not a perfect fit aesthetically, means you’re really getting to the heart of Wabi-Sabi style. Remember, imperfection is, well, perfect!

If you want to study Wabi-Sabi a bit more before making a decision, here are a few books to reference:

  • Wabi-Sabi Welcome, by Julie Pointer Adams
  • Wabi-Sabi Home: Finding beauty in imperfection, by Mark Bailey and Sally Bailey
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo

In my work as a Realtor in the Arlington, VA area, I’ve noticed elements of Wabi-Sabi working exceptionally well for home staging and décor when selling a home. The peaceful, welcoming feeling it evokes, as well as the natural tones and effortless blending with other styles are attractive for potential home buyers.

If you have questions about home staging, selling homes or the real estate market in Arlington, Virginia or the greater Northern Virginia area, please give me a call. I’ve been living and working in this area for more than 30 years and am ready to help.

How home design is changing to support better health and wellness

A home that makes you healthier? In an economy where consumers are consistently rating health and wellness as a top priority, architects and real estate professionals are creating homes that support overall well-being.

According to the 2018 Global Wellness Economy Monitor report, real estate that incorporates intentional wellness elements into its design, materials and building is quickly growing. There are now more than 740 wellness real estate and community developments built or in development across 34 countries – a number that grows weekly.

We’re not just talking about physical health, though. In fact, people’s overall views of health take into consideration at least six different aspects, including:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual
  • Social
  • Environmental

Since homes are typically one of the most important investments people make in their lives – personally and financially – it makes sense that architects, home builders, interior designers and real estate professionals see the potential for integrating wellness-promoting details that support better, healthier lifestyles.

How to create a healthier home

How do designers create homes that support better health and wellness? It starts by looking at the environment a home creates, and the details that can be adjusted to support different aspects of health such as physical, mental, social, etc.

Physical and mental health can be improved, for instance, by using “green” products and construction methods that reduce toxin exposure. Creating soothing spaces that support sleep and relaxation, or that encourage interaction with nature, are also ways to use space and design to support both physical and psychological wellbeing.

Incorporating design and “smart home” elements such as built-in aromatherapy, circadian lighting systems, and sophisticated air and water filtration systems also add to the health factor for new homes.

Current homeowners who want to follow this trend don’t have to pack up and move to a new home. Design elements such as smart lighting, air and water purifying systems, and easy remodels or redecorating that transforms inside and outside spaces into relaxation zones can be incorporated to add healthful benefits for all.

Easy downsizing tips that give you a head start

Is downsizing in your future? It might sound easy but deciding what stays and what goes into your next stage of life can get overwhelming pretty quick. Life events that require downsizing like empty nesting or retirement can be planned for, but others like relocations or military moves cannot. That’s why it’s a good idea to channel your inner Marie Kondo and figure out what sparks joy and what does not.

Here are a few tips I like to share with clients and friends here in Arlington, Virginia, that are perfect for organizing and downsizing at any time of life:

#1 Tackle those mystery boxes

Random boxes seem to follow homeowners throughout their lives. Dusty, shoved to the back of closets and storage rooms, filled with mystery and who-knows-what. Everybody has them, I’m sure you do too. Tackling these boxes, one at a time, is a great way to get a jump start on downsizing.

If you haven’t opened a box in years, now is the time. Take it out of storage, dust it off, and carefully open it up. You might find childhood keepsakes, hand-me-down clothing, housewares from your college apartment days, or treasured family albums and journals. Some of these items should be sorted and set aside for keeping. But items that you never knew existed until now, and probably won’t miss, should be donated or disposed of.

#2 Let go of nostalgia but keep the memories

A lot of the “stuff” that accumulates in homes is kept for nostalgia’s sake. Downsizing means that space is limited, so it’s important to differentiate between things you need and love versus things that are just memories in the form of dusty junk. Memories are meant to be treasured, though, so here’s what to do:

Take photos, write down your memories, and create an album (digital or physical) of beloved belongings that you can always have with you without taking up all the room. Now it will be much easier to donate or discard these items without feeling like you’re turning your back on important and memorable moments of your life.

#3 Edit and put an expiration date on the extras

Downsizing is about learning to live more simply, which means getting rid of the extras that can accumulate during years of homeownership. Go room by room and clean out closets, shelves, cabinets and dressers of belongings you don’t need, never use, or maybe even forgot about.

That part is easy, but what often happens next is that many people put the items they’ve cleaned out but want to donate or recycle to others into bags or boxes that get moved into storage rooms or garages and then forgotten again. You can avoid this issue by giving each box an expiration date. Write the recipient’s name and expiration date on it. Let them know that if they want these items, they have to pick up by the date. After that, all items are donated.

#4 Work with a Realtor who understands your needs

If you are thinking of downsizing in the Arlington, Virginia area, be sure to work with an experienced Realtor who will take the time to understand your vision and help you with everything from finding the right home to navigating the timing of your transition. If you have questions about downsizing or moving to Arlington or nearby please give me a call at 703-593-6320, I’m here to help!

Decorating mistakes that make your home look out of style

Decorating trends come and go. Some become classics and stick around for a while, others not so much. If you’re thinking about selling your home, outdated décor can have a negative effect on potential buyers. Here’s a few trends of the past that can make your home look outdated – and easy ways to freshen things up.

#1 Accent Walls

OUTDATED: If you watched HGTV or read any interior-design magazine in the 90s and early 2000s, accent walls were all the thing. Using big, bold colors, materials like brick or wood, and in-your-face patterned designs, accent walls were a trend that anyone could do and practically everyone tried.

UPDATE: Start by painting your accent wall the same color as the rest of the room. If you feel like the room needs accent colors, use rugs, pillows and artwork to create focal pieces and a flow of color. Easy to move, easy to adjust, much easier on the eyes.

#2 Tuscan Faux Finishes

OUTDATED: The massive popularity of the book “Under the Tuscan Sun,” followed by the movie, created a big trend of decorating everything from kitchens to bathrooms and bedrooms with Tuscan-themed finishes, golden textured walls and painted faux stonework.

UPDATE: Easily updated, all it takes is paint and maybe a little sanding to remove textures and give your rooms a light, clean update.

#3 Jacuzzi Tubs

OUTDATED: Another trend from the 90s that was seen as a symbol of luxury is the jacuzzi tub. Large soaking tubs with lots of jets, surround by candles and lots of bubbles were all the rage. (Think Julia Roberts singing in the tub in “Pretty in Pink.”)

UPDATE: In today’s eco-conscious world where homeowners want to maximize their space while minimizing their costs, these giants tubs that take up to 80 gallons of water need to go. Replacing these tubs with large standing showers with water-efficient shower heads and space for a built-in stool or wood bench is a small project that can give you big returns when you choose to sell your home.

#4 Plantation Shutters

OUTDATED: All the rage for homes throughout the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, plantation shutters were seen as the ultimate in class and style for window treatments. But expensive and bulky plantation shutters are often hard to replace or repair as less people use them. They also cut out too much light for people today who want more light, air and a feeling of connecting to the outdoors.

UPDATE: Replace plantation shutters and let in the light. You can leave windows bare for a direct link to the outdoors or add a mix of shades and drapery to create the look you want. There are no rules and you can create any style or look by raising the height or changing the colors and patterns without too much expense.

#5 Yellow Oak Cabinets

OUTDATED: Last, but not least, are kitchens and bathrooms filled with yellow-toned oak cabinetry that home builders across the nation used by default a few decades ago.

UPDATE: Once again, there are no hard and fast rules for how your cabinetry looks and homeowners are mixing things up for style and functionality to fit their own lifestyles. Reclaimed woods, mixes of light and dark stains, floating shelves and neutral paint colors are all ways to update cabinets – and update your home.

If you’re looking for more ways to update your home, check out these articles:

If you live in the Arlington, Virginia area and you’re ready to sell or learn more about how your home’s décor – both inside and out – can affect your experience, I’m here to help! Give me a call at 703-593-6320 or email mike@mikesellsvirginia.com.

What to look for when downsizing to a new home

The number of Americans downsizing to smaller homes has reached impressive numbers over the past few years. In fact, 46 percent of baby boomers who sold their homes in 2017 were in the process of downsizing, according to a Zillow report. People downsize for a lot of reasons: retirement, divorce, saving money, or just tired of maintaining a large space.

Moving into a smaller home for a fresh start may sound easy, but if you’re planning on downsizing in the near future a bit of planning is a good thing. I’ve helped many clients here in the Arlington, Virginia area find their downsizing dream, and noticed there are a few universal issues everyone should plan for to ensure a smooth transition.

Location Still Rules

Even if you’re now an empty nester, location is still key because it’s a major factor in your home’s value. No matter how large or small, your home is still an asset, so location will always be a consideration. Even though you don’t have children to account for, buying a home in a high-value neighborhood, in a good school district, and with proximity to major highways, shopping and dining are all things you should look for in a home.

Plan for the future

The kids have moved out, you’ve planned well, and you’re retiring early. Your lifestyle now is probably a lot different than it will be in 10, 15 or 20 years. So if you’re looking for a forever home to spend your retirement years, consider future needs you might have. Single-level homes are best, or at least ones with the master suites on the ground floor. Handicap accessible entries and at least one bathroom should also be on your list. Even if you live to be 100 and are still running marathons, who wants to go up and down stairs 20 times a day for laundry or clean 2,000 square feet of space every week?

Declutter and fit your stuff to your new space

If your downsizing plans are still a few years away, you can start on this step right now. Go through your home and decide what furniture in your home will move with you, and what will be given away or sold. Declutter things that have built up over the years by slowing cleaning out room-by-room.

Donate or sell the closets full of gifts you never used. Go through years of paperwork files and shred anything you don’t need anymore. Spring clean your closet and give away anything you haven’t worn for over two years. Ask your kids if they really want you to save your dining set for them. Usually they would rather have the money and purchase something to their own tastes, so sell the dining set and give them the proceeds. If your goal is to downsize your home by 50 percent, see if you can declutter and get rid of half your stuff.

Shop for your lifestyle needs

Think about what lifestyle you want to embrace as you move forward. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, downsizing your living space will work but you might want to plan for larger garage or storage space for things like kayaks, bicycles, or camping gear. Extensive travel plans? A home with a small apartment or “mother-in-law” space will allow you to accommodate house sitters as you circle the globe. If you love to garden and can’t imagine life without it, a full-time condo on the beach probably won’t work so well.

When you decide it’s time to downsize, be sure to work with an experienced Realtor who will take the time to understand your vision for this next stage of home ownership and help you with everything from finding the right home to navigating the timing of your transition. Downsizing into a smaller home often consists of timing issues that require considerable thought and planning. The right real estate agent can put together a seamless plan to fit your lifestyle and needs. If you have questions about retiring or moving to Arlington, Virginia or nearby please feel free to give me a call at 703-593-6320, I’m here to help!

Tips for selling your home to a younger generation: Millennials and Generation Z

If you plan on selling your home soon, it’s a good idea to consider how to make it more appealing to a younger generation. As Millennials and Generation Z make up more than a third of the home buying market (and growing), making a bigger profit might depend on how millennial-friendly you can make your home.

Who are Millennials and Generation Z?

While there is no concrete definition, people who are considered Millennials or Generation Z are generally young adults ranging in ages between 18 and 34. These are the children of the internet, people born into a technology book that continues to roll forward at an amazing rate. They were learning to use computers at the same time they learned to walk, they’ve grown up in a world where working from home and entrepreneurship are the norm, and they are exposed to cultures, lifestyles and trends that their parents never had access to. This gives them a unique perspective of what homeownership should look like, and unique challenges and opportunities for current homeowners to reach out to them.

If you’re ready to sell your home, it’s a good idea to be aware of this demographic of home buyer and utilize a few of the tips I’ve gathered here to catch their attention.

Home selling tips for Millennials and Generation Z

#1 Add smart technology to your home

Ready for a home that they can interact with as much as they interact with their phone, smart technology throughout a home will definitely catch some attention. Things like smart door locks, surveillance cameras and doorbells, and smart garage door openers are budget-friendly and easy to install. Take it one step further with Wi-Fi thermostats that can be controlled from the road, security systems and whole-house voice-activated tech that allows you to control everything from the temperature to music to refrigerator with just a few words.

Here’s a tip that’s often forgotten during a home sale process, but definitely very much appreciated: For all smart technology installed in the home you are selling, be sure to provide information to the new owner for accessing accounts, changing passwords, etc.

#2 Be move-in ready

Millennials want their homes to be simple and easy to move in without planning for big renovations or upgrades. Always on the go, they will be looking for homes that won’t need a lot of work to move in. This means up to date appliances, neutral colors, wifi-ready, and expert staging to show them how easy it will be.

#3 Stage for the Millennial lifestyle

Speaking of staging, be sure to discuss with your Realtor or staging consultant for ideas to make your home appeal more to the younger set. Even if you’re an empty nester who is moving on to your dream retirement home, you’ll want to make your home a place where younger buyers can visualize themselves living. For instance, the Millennial and Gen Z workforce consists of a much larger percentage of entrepreneurs and people who work from home. Therefore, a home office space will be a priority. Even if you don’t have a home office now, designate a room or space to be cleared and then staged as a home office so they can see it in real life.

#4 Green up your home

In addition to growing up with technology, today’s youth have also grown up with a decidedly “green” focus on things like eco-consciousness and environmentalism. Adding energy efficient features to your home such as smart thermostats, high efficiency appliances, organic gardening, composting, and low-maintenance native landscaping are a great way to appeal to someone looking for a great house that leaves a small footprint.

#5 Multi-functional outdoor space

A large majority of Millennials want multi-functional, relaxing outdoor spaces that allow them to expand their home outside its walls. Decks, gardens, and features that allow them to take their work, play, food and friends outside are what can make the difference between your home and the one for sale a few blocks away. Not to mention adding curb appeal that creates the perfect first impression.

If you live in Arlington, Virginia or the surrounding area and would like tips for making your home for sale more appealing to the majority of homeowners on the market, please feel free to call or contact me. As one of the leading real estate professionals in the area, with more than 30 years of local experience, I can help you connect with the right buyers for a successful sales experience.

How to find the best Arlington real estate agent for you

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in Arlington, Virginia, then finding the best Arlington real estate agent near you is a great way to get started. If you live in the Northern Virginia area, we’ve got you covered. If you live outside our area, don’t worry, these tips will still work to help you find the best options.

When people want to find an experienced local Realtor located nearby, they often sit down at the computer and type in the search “Realtor near me” or “best real estate agent near me.” That’s a good place to start and likely to get you a list of professionals in your area. But narrowing it down even more is essential.

The next thing you need to do to find the best person to fit your needs is to focus your search even more. Some people try to do this by searching for “best Arlington Virginia Realtor for me” or “best real estate agent in Arlington for me.” That’s OK, and you might even get some good results worth looking into, but there are more steps you can take that will help you ensure you find the best real estate professional who is perfect for you, your family, your business relocation move, military reassignments, or whatever makes you need to buy or sell a home in Arlington, Virginia.

Local Arlington Real Estate Agent

Start by verifying that the real estate professional you are considering has extensive local knowledge and experience required for a successful home buying and home selling experience. You want someone who has personal knowledge, long-term experience, and a clear handle on the housing market in the area you are selling or buying.

Next, ask family, friends or coworkers in the area for referrals or for their thoughts about the list of Arlington Realtors you are considering. Ask them about their experiences working with any agents they recommend, and always ask if they would work with them again. The answer to that last question will tell a lot and help you to narrow down your list of the best local real estate agents near you.

Experience counts for a lot. You want to be sure that the real estate agent, company or Realtor you choose to work with is knowledgeable and can answer questions about such topics as:

Best Realtor in Arlington, Virginia

Now that you’ve narrowed the real estate professionals you are considering down to a short list, it’s time to make a choice. Check out each agent’s websites to see if they maintain an active presence online. Real their blog articles and scan their local listings to see how up to date they are, the types of homes and clients they work with and if they seem like someone you would want to work with. Social media is also a good place to research comments and see what former clients have to say about their experiences.

For the best real estate agents in Arlington, Virginia, or the best Realtors for you in Arlington, Mike Pugh is someone who should be at the top of your list. If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Northern Virginia areas of Arlington, McLean, Falls Church, Alexandria, Fairfax County, and other nearby areas, there’s a lot of great information Mike shares on his website and social media about the local real estate market plus advice and tips for buying, selling or investing in real estate, no matter what stage of life you’re at. Mike has decades of experience that he’s happy to share to help you make the best decisions for your real estate needs. Give him a call at 703-593-6320 or email mike@mikesellsvirginia.com.

Arlington, VA Real Estate

Home office decorating tips to boost work quality, productivity

Home office décor can have just as much as effect on your work as getting the right technology set up. Here are a few tips and tricks that experienced entrepreneurs and telecommuters swear by to create a more pleasant, productive and business-boosting home office experience.

The best lighting for your home office

If you can’t see, you can’t work. OK, it’s a little more complicated than that, but let’s start with the idea that more natural light is better. For work in the office by day, open curtains or blinds and let light in. Be sure to arrange your desk and computer in a way to take advantage of natural light without affecting your ability to read your monitor.

If you tend to work when it’s dark outside, lighting in your home office should be adequate and layered. Just the light from your monitor is not enough and you’re bound to get headaches if you try to read by it. Place a few lamps in different positions and elevations around the office and be sure to have light that is behind you if you’re working on a computer during night hours.

Stylish surroundings that energize

Just because you work from home, doesn’t mean your office doesn’t deserve corporate-level comfort. Invest in ergonomic seating for your desk, but also splurge in a comfortable reading type chair for times when you want to read a book, go over a presentation, or just take a break with a cup of tea. Choose paint colors that make you feel energized. Add wall art and decorative items that fit your style and inspire creativity. If you can’t work without coffee or tea, splurge on a fancy setup so you can indulge without breaking your routine.

Breathe deeply

If you spend a lot of time in your home office, making sure the air you breathe is clean should be a top priority. Indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, VOCs, and carbon monoxide can cause headaches, fatigue, and brain fog – all productivity killers. Studies have shown however, that common houseplants work like nature’s air filters to absorb harmful gases and remove toxins from the air we breathe. Houseplants are inexpensive and easy to care for, so next time you are at a garden center, pick up a few of these proven air-cleaners for your home office: Rubber Plant, Boston Fern, Philodendron, Sansevieria (’Mother-in-Law’s Tongue’), Dracaena, Ficus or Spider Plants.

Reduce Stress

Work can be stressful, but the beauty of working from home is that you can take a quick break whenever you need it without feeling guilty. Create a relaxing space in your home office you can retreat to when you need to disconnect and recharge. Remember the comfy chair we talked about earlier? Settle in with a non-business-related book for 10 minutes. Studies have shown that just 10 minutes of sustained reading can reduce stress by 68 percent. Or have a yoga mat rolled up in a corner you can pull out and use the next time you need to relax, refocus and refresh for whatever challenge comes next.

Set the Stage

If you have the space, try to dedicate a corner of your office as a studio for YouTube videos, Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, tele-summits, conference calls and anything video so you don’t have to keep setting up and breaking down backdrops and lighting.

If you don’t have enough space to do this, think about setting up your main working area to be video friendly. Even though people in videos often look like their desks are floating in the middle of the room with sophisticated art and lots of room behind them, don’t be tempted to try this. Putting your desk that far out from a wall means you’ll have power-source dilemmas for your computer, lighting, etc. Instead, set your desk just far enough away from the wall to give it that floating look, hang some great art, but still be able to run cords and plug everything in. Be careful with your cords, of course, and incorporate safety covers, strips, or any solution that keeps them from being tripping hazards. Office supply stores have lots of great ideas for this.

You might also be surprised at one other thing that will benefit from having a desk that looks into a room – your eyes. Staring at a computer all day is stressful for hardworking eyes. By facing into a room, or even toward a window with a view, you can look up from the screen regularly and focus on objects at varying distances to help your eyes refocus and relax.

Interior Design Trends for 2019

While Virginia may have its own unique style, interior design trends are fun to watch, and some might even inspire you for your own home. I’ve rounded up a list of the top trends experts say will be hot this year so you can see if anything catches your eye.

Talk-To-Me Technology

People here in Arlington, Virginia like to be on the cutting edge, so the smart home trend definitely will fit in. In 2019, smart homes will keep getting smarter with the addition of even more technology that allows you to control your environment and perform tasks just by using your voice. You’ll see smart faucets, fans, window coverings, mirrors and even smart toilets (yes, toilets!) that can all be voice-controlled. And technology like Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomePod will keep them all connected to increase the functionality of the modern home.

The “Etsy” Effect

Custom, handmade, crafted products will still be stylish in 2019 and used throughout homes to add a softer, more homey tone that offsets all the modern smart technology. Chunky hand-woven blankets, pillows, art and furniture made with natural material in soft neutral colors will be popular for bedrooms, living rooms, home offices and children’s rooms.

Bedroom Reboot

According to House Beautiful, bold accent walls in the bedroom are out, but softly textured wallpaper all around is in for 2019. Sticking to subtle textures and colors, using wallpapers in interesting patterns or inspired by nature will add a visual pop without overdoing it.

Pickers Rejoice

Another trend for 2019 that antiquing fans, pickers, and junkers will love is the design world embracing anything-goes for furniture throughout the home. No more buying all the furniture for your living room or bedroom at the same store so they all match. Designers are saying this is the year to choose furniture that you love and not worry about being all matchy-matchy. Mix up styles, use antiques next to contemporary pieces, and don’t be afraid to show off your personal style.

As winter moves along for us here in Virginia, it’s a great time to think about ways to freshen up your interior either using what you have – or getting out of the house and checking out what’s new in the showrooms. And no matter what, it’s always a good idea to stay true to your own personal style.

How to budget for a new home

How do you know how much home you can afford? Understanding the financial responsibilities of homeownership and setting a budget before you start touring open houses will ease the process and help ensure a successful home buyer experience.

Luckily, budgeting for purchasing a home doesn’t require an accountant’s degree and high-tech calculators. Identifying how much you can afford, and a general household budget that will enable you to maintain that home, can be estimated using the following tips.

Start by adding every source of income that flows into your account each month. Paychecks, freelance work, investment income, etc. This number is your total monthly income.

Next, make a list of your monthly expenses. This is a great exercise as you might think you know what you spend each month but writing it all down in black-and-white is very eye-opening. Consult your bank statements, credit card statements and cash receipts for this exercise. Expense categories can include: charities, savings, utilities, food, clothing, entertainment, pet care, health care, transportation, childcare, etc.

If you have the time, calculate your monthly expenses for at least 3 separate months, add them together and divide by 3 to identify your average expenses. Certain months will have more expenses than others (holidays, vacations, etc.) so figuring an average is a better way of estimating a true value for your expense output.

Now, take your average monthly expenses and subtract them from your total monthly income. The amount left is what you have to cover monthly housing costs. This includes a mortgage payment as well as home maintenance and repairs. You can estimate a total home price by using a free mortgage calculator online. Your best option, however, is to take these budgeting figures to a local, experienced Realtor. He or she can help you use  those numbers to decide on the best home price range for your needs. Your Realtor can also help you figure out down payment numbers, moving costs, monthly maintenance figures and all the little things you might not think of to give you a realistic financial view of homeownership.

Planning your budget for buying a home doesn’t have to be scary. Just remember, your odds for a smooth and successful experience are much better with the right real estate professional on your side. If you’re ready to buy, sell or learn more about the real estate market in the Arlington and surrounding Northern Virginia communities, as a highly experienced Arlington Realtor, I’m here to help! Give me a call at 703-593-6320 or email mike@mikesellsvirginia.com.