Tony Lee - Realtor - Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. Fairfax VA, Arlington VA,Woodbridge VA


Money is the root of many people’s stress and anxiety and it’s also the cause of many fights. But it doesn’t have to be for you. You may own a home now, but it doesn’t mean you should stop saving or that saving has to be a difficult undertaking.

Ideally you already have a robust emergency fund—this type of account is suggested by financial experts to have even before paying down ‘good’ debt such as student loans. This account is extremely important as you never know when or if that “rainy day” will come. The suggested amount to have in an emergency fund is six to nine months’ worth of income—and to be on the higher end if you own a home and have children. For instance, if you take home $3,000 a month, you should have $18,000 to $27,000 in your emergency fund. You should also consider whether it’s best to keep these funds in a regular savings account or a money market account.

Now that we’ve covered the importance of an emergency fund,let’s discuss how to keep saving—whether you are saving just to save or saving for a vacation, new car, or that fancy grill you’ve been eyeing.

Automatic deposit from primary income: If you aren’t doing this already then you should be. Automatic deposit is the easiest way to save money. Many places of employment offer this option, and if not your financial institution will. Automatically depositing money into a savings account (separate of the rest of your income) will force you to save. And if your place of employment offers this option then that money will never enter your checking account—out of sight, out of mind. If you must use your financial institution then have the automatic transfer occur on the day you are paid so the money is almost like it was never there for spending. Of course, this will be an adjustment if you are used to living off that money, especially if you just purchased a home. However, you can start small and work your way to a larger amount such as when you receive a raise or have other forms of incoming income.

Automatic transfer from checking to savings: Many financial institutions offer the ability to automatically transfer funds between your checking account and savings account each time you use your debit card. If your bank does not offer this opportunity there are apps for your phone that can easily connect to your online bank accounts and do the work for you. It’s a great way to save a small amount of money each time you swipe your card. And depending on how often you use your debit card, those savings could add up quickly. For example, you spend $25.33 at the grocery store and use your debit card to pay. Your bank (or app) will round that number up to $26.00 and transfer .67 into your account of choice. It’s too easy not to participate!

There are many other ways to be a better saver, but it’s best to start simple and small. Overwhelming yourself with how much you need/want to save and with many ways of saving, might cause the opposite to happen. Remember, you have a house to pay for and all the other expenses that come with it. Be conscious of your financial situation and be diligent with your savings strategy and you’ll be on the road to being a savings master.


For some people, cleaning the house is a relaxing way to pass the time. It's a mindful activity and living in a clean space can help improve your mood and focus. However, for many of us it can be hard to find time to clean after a long day of work, cooking dinner, caring for kids and pets, and so on. Many people try to keep up with the mess by cleaning one room at a time. However, it actually takes much longer to clean if you do it on a room-by-room basis. The most efficient way to clean is by chore. You wouldn't dust or vacuum just one room; you'd do the whole house because it saves you the pain of taking out the vacuum cleaner every time one room needs to be vacuumed. In this article, we'll go over how you can avoid having one long, excruciating cleaning day by spending 5-10 minutes per day cleaning your house.

Monday

Today is pick-up day. After the weekend your home is likely to have a lot of things laying around out of place. Do a quick tidying up in each room of your home. That includes: picking up clothes, clearing off tables and surfaces, and putting away any children's or pet toys that might be on the floor.

Tuesday

Dusting. With your duster in hand, run through each room of your house hitting all of the surfaces. Grab a microfiber cloth for things like TVs and computer screens that might have fingerprints and put it in your back pocket. In your other pocket, keep a lint roller or lint brush for your sofa, bed, chairs, etc.

Wednesday

Floors. Get out your Swiffer, mop, vacuum cleaner and whatever else you use to clean the floors of your home. Sweep each room into a pile, starting from the walls and working your way in. Once all rooms are swept, grab your dustpan and pick up each pile. From there you can run your Swiffer or mop through your rooms with wood floors or tile. Finally, vacuum any carpets or rugs you have.

Thursday

Kitchen day. Mix some white vinegar and water, toss in a few drops of lemon or lime juice, and you've got an all-purpose kitchen cleaner that's free of any harsh chemicals that you don't want going near your food. For areas that need to be scrubbed, like your sink or countertop, sprinkle some baking soda down after you spray the vinegar solution. Once you're done, tuck your spray bottle and baking soda within reach under your sink--you'll need it again tomorrow.

Friday

Bathroom day. There's no denying it--it's the worst room in the house to clean. But, think about how you'll have the next two days off from work and cleaning and you'll have the motivation to get through it. First, go grab your rubber globes, vinegar spray, and baking soda from yesterday. Today, you'll need them for the sink, tub, and toilet. Other useful items to keep for cleaning your bathroom: an old toothbrush for scrubbing tile grout and baby oil for polishing the chrome on your sinks.   Follow this schedule and you'll be on your way to cleaning the whole house in just 5-10 minutes per day so you don't have to dread those marathon cleaning days.

Did you know that your front door says a lot about you and your family’s personality? It can also affect how you feel about your home. After a long day of work, school and/or shuffling the kids around to practice what type of home would you like to come home to? Keep reading to learn what your current door says about you and which colors would better suit your family.

Blue

A blue front door represents a traditional, family-centered home. Your abode is a peaceful, serene place to return to after a day of work and feels like a place of refuge to visitors.  

Best for: South East, North facing front doors

White/Gray

A white front door represents a tidy and classic atmosphere within. Those who choose this door color are neat, minimalist and strongly value knowledge.

Best for: North West and West facing front doors

Red

A red front door can be found on a house whose inhabitants lean towards the elegant and charming. This is the home of a family that loves to entertain. Visitors will expect a vibrant, energetic, and exciting reception.

Best for: South, North East and South West facing front doors

Green

Homey and welcoming a green front door practically invites guests in itself. And when they come they’ll be ready for a social, warm home where they can be at ease.

Best for: South, East South, and South East facing front doors

Brown

A brown front door represents stability and warmth. Guests will feel like they are in a refuge from the chaotic world.

Best for: East and South East facing front doors

Yellow

Those with a yellow front door like to stand out from the crowd, but still, like to be a part of it. Always cheerful and happy go lucky visitors will never leave your home without a smile on their face.  

Best for: North East, North West, South and South West facing front doors

Pink

A pink front door is for hopeless romantics. Sophisticated yet eccentric the family in this home has big hearts and is always there with a tissue for a friend who is feeling down.

Best for: South, North East and South West facing front doors

Black

If black is your color of choice for your front door you’re calendar is packed with people to see and places to be. Chic and world wise you are always the center of a riveting conversation.

Best for: South East and North facing front doors

Turquoise

Laid back and relaxed is the name of the game for a family with this color for their front door. When inside their home you never feel as if you need a vacation from life.

Best for: North facing front doors

Orange

An orange front door isn’t for just anyone. This home is modern, sleek, and curated. Guests love visiting because of this family’s spontaneous nature.

Best for: South, North East and South West facing front doors

Whether you opt for a more classic color and a more offbeat one, the front door to your home is the first impression friends, family and neighbors have of your new home. Choosing a color, whether classic or quirky, that best aligns with the message you want to give to new visitors and the overall ambiance you want to create will guarantee a unique reception to your home.


As a home seller, it generally is a good idea to consider the buyer's perspective. That way, you can determine why buyers may consider your house over other available properties and map out the home selling journey accordingly.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you assess the buyer's perspective before you embark on the house selling journey.

1. Analyze Your Home

Think about why you decided to buy your home in the first place. By doing so, you may be able to discover what makes your house unique from other properties so you can promote your residence to the right groups of prospective buyers.

Don't hesitate to take an objective view of your home's interior and exterior too. Remember, your goal as a home seller is to generate as much interest as you can in your house. If you take a critical view of your house, you can identify problem areas and work to correct various issues as quickly as possible.

2. Review the Local Housing Market

The local housing market may favor buyers or sellers. By reviewing housing market data, you can find out whether a buyer's or seller's market is in place. Plus, if you evaluate the local real estate sector, you can understand how your residence stacks up against the competition.

Analyzing the local housing market also may help you establish a price range for your home. As you check out the prices of comparable houses in your city or town, you can use this information to set an aggressive initial asking price for your residence. And as a result, you may be able to stir up lots of interest in your home among potential buyers.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

If you are unsure about how buyers may perceive your house, it may be beneficial to have a housing market expert at your side. Luckily, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market experts are happy to help you find ways to generate interest in your residence.

A real estate agent will learn about you, your home and your house selling goals. Next, he or she will craft a personalized house selling strategy designed to help you achieve your desired results. After a real estate agent puts this strategy into action, it may be only a matter of time before you receive offers to purchase your residence.

Let's not forget about the assistance a real estate agent provides after you receive an offer to purchase, either. At this point, you'll have to decide whether to approve, reject or counter a buyer's proposal. Meanwhile, a real estate agent can provide an honest, unbiased recommendation to help you make an informed decision about a homebuying proposal.

Want to streamline the home selling journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can incorporate the buyer's perspective into your home selling strategy and increase the likelihood of enjoying a fast, profitable house selling experience.


If you plan to list your house in the foreseeable future, you should do everything possible to differentiate your residence from the competition. That way, you can show homebuyers exactly what your house has to offer and increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you optimize your home's potential.

1. Boost Your House's Curb Appeal

Your house's curb appeal may dictate how quickly your residence sells. If you allocate time and resources to transform your home's exterior from drab to fab, you may be able to reap the benefits of a speedy home sale.

Mow the lawn, trim the hedges and perform other home exterior upgrades. By doing so, you can take your house's curb appeal to new heights.

Also, if you need assistance with home exterior projects, you can reach out to local home improvement professionals. Contractors are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these professionals can help you enhance your house's curb appeal in no time at all.

2. Remove Clutter

Clutter is an eyesore that home sellers need to eliminate. Because if your home is overloaded with antiques, decorations and other items, it may be tough for homebuyers to envision what life may be like if they purchase your residence.

If you own lots of items but want to keep these belongings, there is no need to worry. You can always rent a storage unit where you can store various items until your house sells. Or, you can contact family members and friends to find out if they can store some of your belongings for the time being.

On the other hand, if you want to get rid of assorted items, you can host a yard sale or sell items online. This will enable you to simultaneously remove clutter from your house and earn extra cash.

3. Conduct a Home Inspection

Identifying home problems sometimes can be difficult. Luckily, home inspectors are available who can analyze your residence and offer valuable property insights.

Typically, a home inspector will review your residence over the course of a few hours. The inspector then will provide you with an inspection report that details his or her findings. If you analyze the inspection report closely, you can gain comprehensive insights into your house's strengths and weaknesses and prioritize home improvements.

If you need help finding a home inspector or completing other home selling tasks, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent will help you revamp your house both inside and out and ensure your residence stands out to property buyers. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any of your home selling concerns and questions, at any time.

Maximize your house's potential – use the aforementioned tips, and you can update your residence and differentiate your home from the competition.




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