Moving In: When You and Your Partner’s Tastes Don’t Match, Start Here

If you were asked to list all the reasons why your partner is perfect for you, the result would probably be a fairly lengthy tabulation. That doesn’t mean your style preferences are going to align perfectly, though. Even your ideal partner might not have the same ideal living situation as you. But you both deserve to live in a space you love. So what do you do? Whether you’re moving in together for the first time or are finally ready to make some design compromises, we have some tips and tricks.

We polled our Freshome team to identify some different tactics you can both use. Our goal is to make it easier to design a space you both like even when your tastes don’t match. Here are our top four recommendations.

moving in 1

Opting for furniture with clean lines in neutral colors means you’ll choose timeless pieces – and pieces your partner is more likely to like. Image: Maginnis/Twenty20

Choose clean lines.

Look for pieces that come in natural materials, which are generally crowd pleasers, with clean lines. Clean lines don’t have to mean choosing something boring. They just mean you’re picking a piece that can integrate with a variety of different tastes. You’ll be doing yourself a favor, actually. These types of pieces have serious staying power. The Yukon Natural Coffee Table from Crate & Barrel is a prime example.

No matter how you and your partner’s tastes change through the years, furniture with clean lines will always be easy to integrate. Think similarly for your dining table, bookshelves and other furniture. You’ll be more likely to choose pieces both you and your partner will like, not just today but for years to come.

Another way to keep your space looking clean and appealing to people of varying tastes is to opt for mirrors as your artwork. When you and your partner have different tastes, choosing art can be a powderkeg. Mirrors are a great way to add visual interest to your space without having to feud over design. Plus, they’ll brighten up any room, making it feel larger.

moving in - neutral

A leather couch – like the Hamilton Leather Sofa – can serve as a neutral foundation, anchoring the room and balancing even the most eclectic tastes. Image: West Elm

Go neutral.

What a surprise. When you’re trying to choose pieces that will please people of different tastes, neutrals are best. Now, before you assume we’re telling you to whitewash your space and create something so conventional everyone’s grandma will love it, wait. Yes, neutrals are a great solution when trying to blend different tastes. But they don’t have to be boring. You can choose a neutral duvet, then layer on pillows and throws you like. It’s a whole lot easier to find smaller accent pieces both you and your partner will like. By going neutral for the larger, investment pieces, you set yourselves up with a foundation on which you can build.

If you’re moving in and looking for your first couch, remember that leather is a neutral. And, thanks to the sumptuous texture of this material, it can still be high-impact. A streamlined leather couch like the Hamilton Leather Sofa from West Elm can anchor your living space with a piece both of you like.

When it comes to your textiles, go neutral, too. Upon moving in, you might discover that color is divisive for you and your partner. You still want to give your space some visual interest, though, so look for texture. This Foil Diamonds Rug, also from West Elm, comes in a crowd-pleasing color but the varying depth of pile keeps it from looking too boring or conventional. The Fieldcrest Basketweave Linen Shower Curtain at Target relies on the texture of the weave, not the color, for its visual interest.

moving in

Lay your foundation with the classics – like hardwood floors and neutral walls – then add accent pieces to suit you and your partner’s tastes. Image: Oscar Wong/Getty Images

Follow the popular vote.

Whether you’re moving in together or have lived together for decades and are thinking about a reno, choosing fixtures and finishes can be a nightmare if your tastes don’t match. Fortunately, you have what’s popular to guide you. Choosing what most people love it not just a great way to end the debate and settle on something (finally!). It also boosts the mass appeal of your home. Not only does that mean more of your friends are likely to like it, but it also means greater resale value when you list your home.

Go to the stalwarts of good design like hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances. When you and your partner can’t agree on the bulk of your home design, popular taste can guide you. Again, as with neutrals, you can follow this guide for the foundational aspects of your home. Then, add accents that are easy to change out (and easier to agree on) to add your own personal flair.

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Moody paint and airy light fixtures can live together in harmony if you give them space to play together. Image: Caiaimage/Robert Daly/Getty Images

Make space.

Compromise. If one of you chooses the coffee table, let the other choose the coffee table decor. And don’t do it begrudgingly, either. You might be surprised what you come to love as pieces gain sentimental value over time.

Speaking of those sentimental pieces, be open to creating room for them in your home. If both of you are the type to treasure items, pick out a few that you really love and want to feature prominently in your home. Put them all in one place and look at them as a grouping.

What do they have in common? Where can they best be used? Creating a cozy reading nook with grandma’s old chair could serve both of you. Making a display area on a bookshelf where you can put together an eclectic collection of things that speak to you – both together and separately – can create a conversation starter in your living area. Before you assume you hate everything your partner would pick for your house, be open. Finding that middle ground can create harmony in your home – and in your home design.

What are your tips and tricks for finding that sweet spot where both partners are happy with the way the house or apartment looks? Did you make any discoveries upon moving in together that you wish you’d known before? Share with us in the comments!

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Buyer Beware! 4 House Hunting Mistakes To Avoid If You Want To Find Your Dream Home

Looking for your dream home is tricky. Especially if you’ve never been through the home buying process before, it can be easy to make missteps or to get caught up in small details that really don’t make much difference. With that in mind, we’re here to help. We’ve pointed out four of the most common house hunting mistakes, as well as how to avoid them. Keep reading to make sure you stay on track.

house hunting mistakes

Don’t forget to get a pre-approval before shopping. Image:

Mistake: Not getting pre-approved before looking

Getting a pre-approval should be every buyer’s first step toward buying a home. This document, which comes in the form of a letter from the mortgage company, will tell you how much money you’ll be able to receive in a loan. It’s crucial in helping you set your own budget, as well as showing sellers that you’re serious about buying their home. You’ll include a copy of the letter with every offer you submit in order to prove you’re financially fit to purchase the property.

The Fix: Go see a lender before you even talk to a real estate agent. He or she can help you figure out how much of a loan you can be approved for as-is and, if needed, assist you in figuring out what steps to take to improve your financials and increase your loan amount. Once you have a satisfactory pre-approval in hand, then you can start shopping.


Work out your own budget. Image: Pics721/Shutterstock

Mistake: Forgetting to set your own budget

While a pre-approval is a necessary tool to have, it should not be the only detail that factors into setting your house hunting budget. Remember, the pre-approval shows the maximum amount that you’ll be given in a loan. You don’t have to spend that much, though, and you probably shouldn’t. You need to make sure that you’ll be able to handle your mortgage payment on top of your other recurring monthly expenses.

The Fix: Make your own budget – and stick to it. You can start by using a mortgage calculator to estimate what your monthly payment could look like at a variety of loan amounts. Then, when you find a point where you feel comfortable, work that figure into your monthly budget to make sure it makes sense when combined with the rest of your expenses.


Hire a good real estate agent whom you trust. Image:

Mistake: Not hiring an agent

Especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer, navigating the world of real estate can get tricky. Though hiring an agent is an extra expense, it’s a necessary one. An agent is there to be your advocate. He or she will help guide you through the process, steer you clear of house hunting mistakes, answer any questions that you may have and negotiate on your behalf. You don’t want to go through this process without someone in your corner.

The Fix: Make sure you hire a good real estate agent whom you trust. Do your research and check out several agents’ backgrounds before you commit to working with anyone in particular. Read online reviews to get a sense of how their other clients felt about working with them. Interview them in person to make sure you feel comfortable.

living room

Look beyond the aesthetics. Image:

Mistake: Fixating on aesthetics

We get it: when interior design is bad, it’s really bad. It can be hard to get past having a thousand shades of paint on the walls or a kitchen that looks like it was last remodeled in the 80s. However, if you let yourself get tripped up by those small details, you could be missing out on the ideal property for you. At the end of the day, aesthetics can be fixed.

The Fix: Do your best to put aesthetics aside when you look at a property. If you decide to buy it, you can always work on remodeling down the road. Instead, focus on features that can’t be as easily remedied and make sure you’re happy with those first. Here, we’re talking about things like the location and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

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These Are The 4 Foolproof Signs You’re Ready To Stop Renting And Become A Homeowner

At some point in our lives, most of us will stop renting and become a homeowner. The question is, how does one know when it’s a good time to take that leap? If you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge and buying a home recently, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve laid out four signs that you’re ready to stop renting and own a home. Read them over to help determine if now is the time for you.

stop renting

You need at least two years of steady employment to be able to buy a home. Image: Breadmaker/ Shutterstock

You’ve been at your job for a while

One of the keys to being able to buy a home is having steady employment. Essentially, since mortgage companies are giving you such a large loan, they use your employment history as an indicator that you’ll likely continue having the funds to pay them back. Traditionally, they look to see that you have at least two years at the same company before granting approval.

If you’re a freelancer or otherwise self-employed, don’t worry. There are ways to prove that you have a steady paycheck beyond showing a couple of years of W-2s. In your case, showing steady employment will be all about your tax returns. You want to have at least two years of high-net tax returns in place to prove that you have a steady source of income.


Aim for a debt-to-income ratio of 36 percent. Image: Imagenet/Shutterstock

You’ve got a handle on your debt

Notice we didn’t say that you have to be debt-free. These days, between student loans, car payments and medical debt, most loan companies know that it is unrealistic to expect borrowers to be totally debt-free. Instead, they simply look to make sure you aren’t carrying too much debt relative to what you make. They want to know you’ll be able to afford to take on an additional mortgage payment.

They do this using something called a debt-to-income ratio. Your debt-to-income ratio looks at how much of your monthly income goes toward paying off debts. Ideally, in order to buy a home, your ratio should be less than or equal to 36 percent. To find your current ratio, simply add together your current monthly income. Then, divide that by the sum total of your recurring monthly debts, except rent.

If your debt-to-income ratio is too high to be approved at the moment, you have two options. You can either find ways to generate more income or to pay down your debts. If you’re serious about buying in the near future, you may want to talk to a local lender about which specific moves will have the biggest impact on your finances.


Verify that you have enough money in your budget to save. Image: korisbo/Shutterstock

Your budget allows for some savings

In addition to a steady paycheck and manageable debt, the next piece that you need to have in place before you can stop renting and buy a home is some sort of savings. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that buying a home does come with some sizable upfront costs. While the days of having to put 20 percent down are, thankfully, a thing of the past, you do have to have a fair amount of cash-in-hand.

The first – and biggest – expense that you need to worry about is your down payment. These days, you can get a conventional loan for as little as 5 percent down, while loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) typically only require 3.5 percent. Remember, the amount you have to pay will depend on the sale price of the house you buy, so be sure to factor your savings into your househunting budget.

In addition to the down payment, there are also closing costs to consider. Closing costs account for any fees necessary to facilitate the transaction. They usually amount to an additional 1-2 percent of the sale price and are split between the buyer and the seller at closing.


Make sure you’re ready to settle down. Image: romakoma/Shutterstock

You’re ready to settle down

This last sign is a bit more subjective than the rest, but it’s just as important. Owning a home is a big lifestyle change and, before you take the leap, you need to make sure that you’re ready for all that comes with it.

One sign you’re ready to settle down is that you like your area and you intend to stay there for the foreseeable future. Conventional wisdom states that, if you buy, you should be prepared to stay in your home for at least the next five years in order to get the most out of your investment. If you can see yourself putting down roots for that long, you may be ready. However, if you think your life could change drastically in the next five years, it may make more sense to continue to rent.

Another sign that you’re open to the idea of staying put is that the idea of doing home maintenance no longer intimidates you. Unsurprisingly, owning a home means taking care of its continued upkeep. If you’re comfortable with the idea of making these tasks part of your ongoing routine, it’s a good sign you’re ready to stop renting.

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Getting Ready To Sell? These 5 Small Repairs Make A Big Difference When Showing Your Home

When it comes time to prepare your home for sale, you want to ensure it’s in the best possible shape by the time you show it. This way, when a potential buyer asks about the property’s condition, they know it is ready to be sold without much work left to be done.

After all, most buyers would prefer not to have to deal with any functional issues before they move in. Before showing your home, consider making these small repairs, as they can make a big difference both in terms of interest levels and offer prices.

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Consider applying a new coat of paint. Image:

Applying New Paint

Nearly any reputable realtor will suggest that you give your home a fresh coat of paint before showing it, provided you have not already done so very recently. At the very least, you should paint the interior in a neutral color that will make the space seem larger. If you have the time and it has been a while, you should also consider new paint for the exterior. A simple coat of paint makes everything look newer and as if it is in better shape.


Update your flooring to hardwood. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Making flooring fixes

Depending on the flooring currently in your home and its condition, you should also make any small repairs to this part of the house. Flooring replacements and repairs can be inexpensive when you choose the right material. Even a slightly more expensive flooring replacement can be worth it if you have shag carpeting or something else no buyer will want.

At the moment, most buyers prefer hardwood floors, so if you have this type of floor under your carpeting, a relatively low-cost removal of the carpet can dramatically boost your home’s appeal. If you have ceramic flooring, replace or clean the grout and replace any cracked or chipped tiles. As a general rule, don’t bother installing ceramic flooring in a home before showing it, since it is expensive. The only exception would be a bathroom or entryway that previously had carpeting.


Think about resurfacing cabinets. Image: KUPRYNENKO ANDRII/ Shutterstock

Resurfacing kitchen cabinets and sinks

The average kitchen remodel will give you almost a complete return on your investment in terms of asking price, but this holds true more for mid-range and minor remodels than it does for high-end kitchens. One thing that will almost always be worth it, however, is resurfacing your cabinets. This is something you may be able to do yourself. You can liven up old cabinets, which will make them look less dated. While you are at it, consider replacing the handles on your cabinets, as well.

This is also the time to make small repairs to the sink and countertop, such as caulking your sink. Just giving your sink a deep clean may be enough to improve your home’s appearance. Your real estate agent may suggest some other minor repairs to the countertops, backsplash or sink.


Freshen up bathrooms. Image: ArchiVIZ/Shutterstock

Cleaning or replacing bathroom fixtures

Your home needs to be sparkling clean when you show it, so do your best to get your shower doors and any glass fixtures in the bathroom completely clean. If this is not possible, go ahead and replace them. There may, for example, be lime deposits that have etched the glass past the point of repair. You may also need to refinish your tub if there are stains.

There are also some other minor repairs to make in your bathroom before showing your home. If you have carpeting in your bathroom, you definitely want to replace it with tile, as you will be hard-pressed to find a buyer who thinks this is a nice feature. You will also generally get your money back for small repairs such as new fixtures, lights and floors, all of which help make your bathroom shine during the showings. Also, don’t forget to repaint the bathroom walls, preferably in a light color as this makes the space seem larger.

curb appeal

Don’t forget curb appeal. Image: rSnapshotPhotos/ Shutterstock

Boosting curb appeal

Before showing your home, take the time to boost the property’s curb appeal with minor repairs, as this will bring in more interested buyers. If there are any cracks in your sidewalk or driveway, patch them up. If you have an asphalt driveway, take the time to resurface it. In the case of fences, make any necessary repairs on them and give them a fresh coat of paint. You will also want to do some minor landscaping, such as trimming back dead branches and planting flowers.

Remember that a boost to your curb appeal will make it more likely that someone will take a look at your home. Buyers will also be attracted to the ability to get a perfect picture in front of their new home without having to do extensive landscaping themselves.

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These Home Staging Mistakes Are Impossible For Buyers To Forget

Home staging is a huge part of putting your home on the market. For one thing, it helps your photos stand out and get potential buyers in the door. For another, once they’re there, it helps them visualize themselves living in the space and, hopefully, encourages them to write an offer. With that in mind, it’s incredibly important to get staging right and, yet, it’s also easy to make home staging mistakes.

To that end, we decided to help you get it right by pointing out some of the most common mistakes. Read them over to make sure that none of them are happening in your home.

home staging mistakes

When staging, it’s important to keep your home relatively depersonalized. Image: The Woodlands Home Staging

Keeping it too personal

When you intend to live in your current home for a while, it makes sense to make it feel personal. After all, your home is supposed to be your oasis from the outside world. Naturally, you would want to fit it to your personal tastes. However, when you’re selling your home, that goal changes. Now, you want your home to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible.

The fix: Go for a neutral look, both in terms of decor and the number of personal items you have around the house. Take down those family photographs and replace them with some affordable geometric artwork. Repaint over in-your-face colors with soothing, neutral shades.


However, even neutral palettes need some contrast. Image: KCS, Inc.

Not including some contrast

That said, sometimes when people depersonalize their homes for resale, they can go a little too far. Seeing multiple rooms decked out in tan or light gray might not turn buyers off, but it won’t make your home very memorable for them, either. Your best bet is to include a little contrast in your neutral palette for visual interest.

The fix: Remember the 10-30-60 rule. If both your primary and secondary shades – those that take up 60 percent and 30 percent of the room, respectively – are relatively neutral, you can splurge on your accent shade to make it eye-catching. We recommend using a bold color in things like accent pillows or wall art in order to help the rest of the room pop.


Pay attention to scale and proportion. Image: Robert Thomas Homes

Forgetting about scale

Scale and proportion are important to consider when putting together any room. However, they become even more critical when you’re trying to sell. Put simply, potential buyers look to your furniture as a guide for how they envision themselves living in the space.

If the furniture is too big, they’ll assume that the house doesn’t have enough space. If, on the other hand, your furniture is too small for the room, they’ll assume that they will also have trouble making the space feel appropriately full.

The fix: Keep your proportions in check. As a rule, you’re looking for your furniture to be in 2/3 proportion to the room. By that, we mean the length of your sofa should take up 2/3  the width of the nearest wall. The coffee table should then be 2/3 the width of the couch. The same proportions can also be used for dining tables or bedframes.

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Don’t forget to cater to your target market. Image: Little Staging

Not considering your target audience

When you’re staging your home, you should always have your target audience in mind and stage accordingly. In real estate, your target audience is whoever is most likely to buy your home or the demographic that makes up most of your neighborhood.

If, for instance, your neighborhood is made up of young professionals and their families, you may want to aim for a more modern color palette and decor. If, however, your neighborhood is full of empty-nesters who are downsizing, it might make more sense to go for a more contemporary look.

The fix: Take the time to look around your neighborhood and see who, predominantly, has moved in recently. Then, bring what you have discovered to your stager. He or she will know what should be done to appeal to your target audience. If you’re serving as your own stager, don’t hesitate to do some research online about the best way to appeal to them.

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4 Fast, Fab and Temporary Flooring Ideas For Renters

We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. 

Do you hate your apartment floors? What if we told you there is temporary flooring available that can cover (or completely change) your rental floors easily and without any complaints from your landlord?

We’re not talking area rugs, although they’re not a bad solution. We’re talking full-on floors that look fabulous, are easy to install and are just as easy to remove when you move out. Check out these four fast and fab temporary flooring ideas:

1. Carpet Tiles

temporary flooring ideas

The new Hollin Hills mid-century modern inspired carpet tiles by Flor add vintage-chic to any room.

Carpet tiles are the ultimate instant flooring makeover solution. They’re recyclable, making them eco-friendly, fairly inexpensive and very easy to install. Worried they may not be durable? Carpet tiles are used in hospitals, airports and other high-traffic locations around the world.

Order them in boxes according to how many you may need, cut them easily and stick them together with little adhesive dots for a cool and unique wall-to-wall look. Order extra so you can replace damaged ones in the future. And challenge your creative side by mixing and matching patterns and colors.

Check these out:

temporary flooring ideas

2. Vinyl Sheet Flooring

Vinyl sheeting is a great temporary flooring solution in kitchens and bathrooms. Filigree vinyl sheet flooring by Mannington.

A quick and easy way to hide unsightly apartment floors is by rolling out a big sheet of vinyl flooring. You can use a removable adhesive or double-sided carpet tile to stick the flooring in place. Or simply anchor down the sheet with furniture. The best part of vinyl sheet flooring is that it’s waterproof and easy to wipe clean.

Check these out:

3. Interlocking Floor Tiles

temporary flooring ideas

When a soft, forgiving surface is preferred, foam interlocking tiles are a good choice. Foam Woodgrain Interlocking Floor Mats at Amazon.

Interlocking tiles have come a long way from the colorful children’s playroom styles. They’re lightweight, quick and easy to snap together and require no adhesives. They also offer some cushioning and soundproofing as a bonus.

Check these out:

temporary flooring ideas
temporary flooring ideas

4. Laminate Flooring

The Augustus Smokey Gray Oak Laminate Flooring at Wayfair has a contemporary feel but can also work well in more traditional or farmhouse-style spaces.

Laminate flooring is durable, authentic looking and easy to install as a floating floor. Look for click and lock laminate flooring as a temporary solution that doesn’t require nails or adhesives. For extra soundproofing, add a foam underlayment sheet underneath the laminate.

Check these out:

You can add any of these temporary flooring options to update your boring floor in nearly any room of your rental home or apartment. Be sure to measure carefully, order extra (just in case) and save your receipt to return any unused portion of the flooring.

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Production Builders vs. Custom Builders: Which is Right for You?

Making the decision to build your own home means dedicating at least a few months to the process. Some builds seem to go perfectly, while others have a few bumps along the way. The type of builder you choose could make all the difference. You’ll need to choose a builder depending on your timeline, budget and level of customization. Custom builders and production builders might seem similar, but they offer different pros and cons. Consider each and compare them to your wishlist before making your final decision. Here are some of the factors to think about.

Production Builders 

Production builders have semi-custom construction down to an art; they can build hundreds of homes a year. They know how much everything costs and structure the build for budget and efficiency. They’ll be able to offer your dream house – within reason, of course. Consider these factors to decide if a production builder makes sense for you.

A production builder uses a set catalog of plans. Image: BCD Homes


  • They offer fixed prices. Because production builders build the same homes over and over, they have a better idea of prices. A production builder can give you a near-exact cost, which means you can choose a home and plan more effectively.
  • They negotiate the best deal with contractors. Production builders tend to use the same contractors for their homes. This allows them to negotiate stellar bulk deals on supplies and services, passing the savings onto you.
  • They’re faster. Managing tight schedules and multiple contractors is a science for production builders. Barring any major snafus, production builders are faster and operate on tighter timelines than custom builders.
  • They offer development amenities. Production builders usually create entire developments at one time. They typically develop amenities like parks, walking trails and even sports courts as a draw for potential homeowners. That means you’ll score major perks by choosing a builder’s development over buying your own lot.


  • You’ll be restricted to existing plans. To keep costs low and predictable, production builders reuse a catalog of plans. Your home won’t be one-of-a-kind and there may be several others in your development with the same or a similar home.
  • Your customizations are limited. Some production builders allow a little customization inside the home. You may be able to have a larger master bathroom or opt for a breakfast nook. But you won’t be able to change the size of the home and may be restricted on things like window sizes or moving walls. You’ll need to choose a plan that’s close enough to what you want, which could put a damper on building your “dream” house.
  • Your fixture choices are limited. When choosing things like carpet, tile, counters and fixtures, you’ll pick from a set of pre-chosen options that the builder allows. Restricting choices keeps prices predictable but it could make you feel stuck with options you don’t really love.

A custom builder starts your plans from scratch. Image: McEwan Custom Homes

Custom Builders

Custom builders create your home, taking you all the way from a blank sheet of paper to a turnkey property. You’ll get exactly what you want, but it can also mean a less predictable process. Here are some of the major pros and cons of going custom.


  • You’ll get a truly unique product. Custom builders start every home from scratch. Whether you come with a plan you found online or you want to create something yourself, each home is unique and designed to your specifications.
  • You can choose your own architect. A custom builder might have a preferred architect or designer, but you can bring your own, too. You aren’t limited to any set of plans and if you love an architect’s work, you can have your plans drawn before you start working with your builder.
  • You’ll have more choices. Want all-gold fixtures? Done! Want a Game of Thrones mural in your game room? Go for it. Want an oversized deck and huge pantry? It’s yours. A custom builder isn’t restricted in any way, so you’ll get to make every choice to your tastes along the way.
  • You’ll have more input. Custom home builders love collaboration, so expect to have more input along the way. Visiting the construction site and having more control over your build is par for the course. It’s a better choice for control freaks or those who truly want the full build experience.


  • Expect a longer build. Custom jobs take more time because there are more decisions to make and contractors are lined up on an as-needed basis. It takes time to send out for bids and hire contractors for your home. Expect a custom job to take longer than a production build.
  • Less predictable costs. Custom builders usually use a cost plus model, which means the cost of goods and services plus a percentage for managing the build. It’s much harder for a custom builder to predict costs because each build is different. Your cost will depend on all of your options, contractor pricing and industry prices that fluctuate.
  • No bulk pricing. Production builders negotiate bulk pricing from the same contractors, but it’s unlikely your custom builder gets the same preferential treatment as a production builder. Your end cost could be slightly higher based on that fact.
  • Too many choices. A custom build can seem like too much of a good thing. Picking all of your fixtures, colors and options can definitely become overwhelming, especially if the sky’s the limit and there’s no way to really narrow down your options.

Production and custom builders each have their pros and cons, so it’s a personal choice. Would you rather have the home of your dreams, even if it’s a little more expensive? Or is price your true bottom line? By deciding which factors are most important to you, you can choose the type of builder that makes the most sense for you, your family and your build.

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Follow These 4 Tips To Successfully Move During Winter (And Make It As Pain-Free As Possible)

Making a move during winter isn’t exactly the most pleasant task, but sometimes it’s one that’s unavoidable.  No matter why you’re moving, it can be done. All it takes is a little extra planning and forethought.

With that in mind, we’ve brought you some of our best tips for how to move during winter. Read them over as you prepare for your big day. If you follow these tips, you should be able to complete your move without the weather getting in your way.

move during winter

Make a backup plan in case of inclement weather. Image: John Maniscalco Architecture

Plan around the weather

If you live in a seasonal climate, you know that winter storms can cause life to come to a grinding halt. The last thing that anyone wants is to have their already-stressful move delayed by inclement weather. However, unfortunately, it’s a distinct possibility when you move during winter. You need to have a plan in place so that you know what to do if it starts to snow.

If you’re hiring movers – which we highly recommend because heavy boxes and icy walkways are not a good mix – be sure to ask them what their procedures and policies are in case of a weather delay. If you’re moving on your own, have a backup moving day in mind in case your first one doesn’t work out. In either case, be sure to start earlier in the day since winter days are shorter and offer much less sunlight.


Take extra care when packing to protect your belongings from the cold. Image: Maple & Gray

Pack for cooler temperatures

In the summer months, packing for a move is as simple as placing your items in boxes with a little bit of padding and taping them shut. In the winter, however, the same packing process gets a little bit more complicated. You need to prepare for your items to be sitting out in cooler temperatures for hours on end and you need to contend with the possibility of wet weather.

Glass and porcelain items can break in the cold. Make sure you surround them with extra packing materials in order to keep them properly insulated. Electronics are particularly sensitive, as well. If possible, try to move them in their original packaging as those were made to handle transport. Then, once you get to your new home, move them in first to limit their time in the cold.

move during winter

Clear any pathways to the house for easy access. Image: Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

Prepare the outside of the house

Before the movers arrive, prepare the exterior of your home to ensure that they can access everything safely and easily. If it’s snowed recently, be sure to shovel your driveway, as well as the pathways to and from the house. If it’s been cold and icy, you may also want to put down some salt or kitty litter to reduce the risk of a fall.

Most importantly, don’t forget to do the same for your new house, too. You don’t want to slow down the moving process by having the movers arrive with your belongings only to be unable to access the house. An hour or so before they’re ready to leave, send someone over to your new property to get it ready for the unloading.


Protect your floors from people tracking in ice and snow. Image: Christoff and Sons Floor Covering Inc.

Protect the inside of the house

Though you’ll want to clean your new home as soon as you move in, there’s no reason to make the job harder for yourself by allowing your movers to track in mud, ice and snow. In this case, asking people to remove their shoes before entering your home is unrealistic. Your only other option is to take measures to protect the inside of your home.

Your best bet is to designate one room of your home as a drop-off area and disperse your belongings to the appropriate spots after everything has been unloaded. You can then protect the floor of the drop-off room with a disposable tarp. Just be sure to secure the edges to the floor with tape so that there aren’t any tripping accidents.

A move during winter requires some extra planning, but with these tips you can easily pull it off.

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How to Get Comfortable in a New Home and Make It Feel Like Your Own

Getting comfortable in a new home is one of the hardest parts of moving. After the movers pick up and leave, it’s up to you to find a way to make your new property feel like home. This can be a daunting task. Fortunately for you, we’ve laid out four things that can help you start feeling at home in your new space. Keep reading to see which suggestions will work best for you.

new home

Splash some paint on the walls to give the room a whole new feel. Image: Martha O’Hara Interiors

Do some repainting

If you’re looking to make a big impact, there’s no better way to start feeling comfortable in a new home than by painting. Paint is one of interior design’s best tools because it can totally change the look and feel of a space, yet it only costs pennies on the dollar. It will allow you to do away with the previous owner’s personal tastes and help you put your own stamp on the place.

If you’re going to go this route, we suggest painting first, before you even move in. That way, you won’t have to worry about dripping paint on the furniture or on your belongings. Plus, by the time you’re ready to officially move in, you’ll already be a long way towards making the place space feel like your own.


Let your decor help you feel at home. Image: Resource Lifestyles

Unpack your decor

When most people unpack after a move, they have a tendency to want to set-up the bare essentials first and leave the rest for later. However, we advise against that route. Put simply, your decor is the thing that does away with that “just moved in” vibe and starts to make a space feel like home.

Try to focus on unpacking room-by-room instead. Once you have the furniture set up, take the time to find new places to put all your accessories and decor items. Hang that wall art and spread out an area rug. Take the time to stylize any available surfaces. When you’re done, the room will look and feel as though you’ve been living there for a while.


Get a programmable thermostat to make sure the temperature in your home is always perfect. Image: Honeywell Home

Get a programmable thermostat

There’s nothing worse than finding out that your new home is like a sweatbox during the day and drafty at night. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to help you get comfortable no matter how hot or cold your new home may be. It all has to do with the thermostat. With a programmable thermostat – or a smart thermostat, if you want to get in on the smart home trend – you can make sure that the temperature in your home is always to your liking.

These days, programmable thermostats give you more control than they have in the past, allowing you to feel at home in your home faster. If you opt for one that has home zoning capabilities, for example, it will allow you to set different areas of the house to their own temperatures. This could allow each family member to sleep in comfort. It can also help you to save on heating and cooling by allowing you to set less frequently used areas of the home at an alternative setting from your main living space.


Take the time to set up your organizational systems. Image: Neat Method San Diego

Set up your organizational systems

Every home needs a few organizational systems to keep it up and running. The faster you get these setup, the faster you can start to get in a routine at your new house. That’s why we recommend looking into them as soon as possible when you move in. You’ll be surprised how much easier life becomes when your belongings are properly organized.

As far as what you should organize in a system like the one above, everyone has different needs. For some people, having a dedicated closet organization system makes it easier for them to get ready in the morning. For others, having an organized mudroom helps them get out the door faster. Still, others find they need to create a separate study area for the kids.

Start this process by thinking about what areas of life are currently the most chaotic for you and your family. Then, brainstorm different ways in which adding an organizational system into the mix will help to streamline the process. If you need ideas, check out our organizational content for design inspiration.

Do you have any other tips for making a new house feel like home? Let us know in the comments.

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The 7 Most Important Household Tasks After a Move

For many people, the first few hours after a move are a stressful time. There’s so much to do that it can be hard to even figure out where to start. That’s where we come in. We’ve narrowed down the seven most important household tasks to take care of after the move. Read them over and use them as a  a jumpstart on that to-do list.

after a move

Take care of the utilities before anything else. Image: Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc.

Turn on utilities

The last thing you want to happen after a long moving day is for the sun to go down and you realize that you don’t have any electricity. If you haven’t taken care of it already, call your utility companies and transfer service into your name. If you’re moving locally, this should be as easy as changing the address on your account. However, if you’re moving from out of the area, you may want to get your new utility information from the seller.

Locate the breaker box and water shut off valve

In the middle of an emergency, you don’t want to be searching around frantically for these important items. Make sure you know where they’re located before you need to use them. It’s worth the effort to find them when you first move in. Be sure to learn how to use them, as well. Test out all of the switches in the breaker box and label them for easy access later. Turn off the water and faucets to ensure the valve will do its job in a pinch.


Be sure to change the locks. Image: Urban Home Windsor

Change the locks

When you move into a new home, you don’t know who might have an extra set of keys to it. It’s in your best interest to have a mobile locksmith come and change all the locks as soon as possible. If an exterior door is missing a deadbolt, this is a good opportunity to have one of those installed, too. Once you’ve been handed your new keys, be sure to label them so that you know which key is used for which door. You can have extras made later, just in case.

Check your moving boxes and furniture

The next step is to check all your moving boxes and furniture for signs of damage or dings. Also make sure that nothing got lost in the shuffle. (This is where your packing inventory list will come in handy.) You’ll want to do this as soon as possible after a move so that you can submit a claim to the moving company and your insurance company. Take photographs of any visible damage and keep your paperwork handy so you can refer back to it later, if needed.


Put together sleeping arrangements well before it’s time for bed. Image: Gaetano Hardwood Floors, Inc.

Make your bed

Even if you’ve prepared well beforehand, moving day is going to be a long one. To minimize stress and frustration at the end of the night, make sure you have your bed and sleeping arrangements set up well in advance of when you plan to use them. That said, you don’t have to take care of unpacking every single item in one day after a move. Just make sure that you have your bedding, a change of clothes, and any essentials like toiletries or medications ready to go when you’re ready to call it a night.

Change your address

Next, make sure that all your mail gets to the right place. If you haven’t already, fill out a change of address form with the post office. (Luckily, these days, you can take care of this task online.) In addition, you’ll also want to change your address with any agencies who regularly contact you through the mail, like your credit cards and insurance companies.


Don’t forget to say hello to the neighbors. Image: CJS Woodworking & Design

Greet your new neighbors

The last step after a move is to get out and greet your neighbors. You don’t have to do this on the first day you move in, but the sooner you take care of it, the sooner you’ll settle into the neighborhood. Greeting the neighbors doesn’t have to involve a big gesture like handing out fresh-baked cookies (although it can). Simply going door-to-door and introducing yourself should be enough to assure the neighbors that they can find a friend in you.

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