Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Make a Few Changes

You don't need to reinvent your entire wardrobe. That would cost a fortune. Instead, update it. Start by introducing a few up-to-date pieces that reflect your style -- some earrings, a new pair of shoes or a scarf.
Don't be afraid to experiment a little, but take baby steps. If you've been very conservative your whole life, buy one "out there" piece. Shop in places you wouldn't normally go, like an antique clothing store or (if you can afford it) a high-end designer boutique. You might find that you like taking a few risks with your wardrobe.
To save money, try updating what you already have. Do you have an old pair of jeans that's starting to look ratty? Crop or roll them up into Capri pants or shorts. Have a pair of pants that no longer fits? Have them tailored to look like new. Re-invent an old boring dress with a new belt.

Although change is good, it's also important to maintain a core wardrobe composed of a few well-designed and constructed pieces. Keep some classic staples in your closet that you can mix and match to give you more bang for your fashion buck.

Miriam Araujo
561 213-2363


Take a Style Lesson

Don't know your Armani from your Kmart casuals? Do you have to twist around and check the label to know what you're wearing? Time to brush up -- fashion illiteracy can stop your personal style quest dead in its tracks.
You don't need a degree in fashion to understand clothing. You just need to be more aware when you shop. Look at different fabrics. See how polyester feels compared to silk. Learn the difference between plaids and houndstooth prints. Figure out how to see differences in an outfit's stitching and cut.
Look for a variety of fabrics when you shop. Choose some cotton pieces for everyday, silk ones for dressing up, wool for the winter and linen for spring and summer. Learn how to care for your fabrics too: Cotton/polyester blends are great for everyday because they barely wrinkle, but you'll need to keep your linens carefully pressed if you don't want to walk around looking rumpled. Silks are more delicate, so be extra careful about spills.
Know which fabrics and textures are most flattering. Shiny, bulky, or stiff textures can make you appear bigger than you really are. Smooth, matte surfaces, like cashmere and jersey, can really slim you down.
As a student of fashion, your "textbooks" should be the big magazines, like Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle. Study the ads and articles, including the picture captions, to see what fabrics and colors are "in" this season. Look to the masters -- Dior, Dolce & Gabbana and the like -- to see what elements they use in their designs. Use those designs as inspiration to create your own fashionable looks more affordably.

Miriam Araujo
561 213-2363

Accentuate Your Assets

What are the best parts of your body? Focus on the areas that you like best; choose clothing and accessories to highlight them.
For example, if you have gorgeous blue eyes, show them off with eye shadow and liner colors that really make them pop. Endless legs deserve to be seen in short shorts and mini-skirts.
Know your measurements so you can find clothing that fits well. Write down your measurements and bring them with you when you shop.
Try to dress to your body shape. For example:
  • Most women's bodies are pear-shaped, which means they have a narrow waist and wider hips. If you're pear-shaped, buy clothing that draws attention to your slim upper body. Brightly colored shirts, scarves and modern-looking shoulder pads should work well. Wear tailored pants and skirts, as well as hip-length long jackets. Avoid pleats and stripes, which will further accentuate broader areas.
  • If you're rounder and more apple-shaped all around, you'll want to draw attention away from your waist. Go for flat-fronted skirts, empire-waisted dresses and tailored, wide-legged pants.
  • Don't accentuate a flat chest with a deep v-neck. Instead, choose rounded-neck tops, and add a layered necklace to add dimension.
  • If you're busty, accentuate your curves by wearing a scooped neckline that hugs your chest appropriately.
  • If you're extra curvy, you don't have to wear baggy, saggy clothes. You can still find fashionable, tailored clothes that comfortably compliment your body. Shop in stores that can accommodate your shape and buy clothes that fit well.
    Miriam Araujo
    561 213-2363

Home Inspection

A professional and thorough home inspection is absolutely critical when buying a home. As the buyer, you pay for the inspection, which will cost between $200 and $500. But don't let the cost deter you. Without an inspection, you could be making the biggest investment of your life in a lemon. Even with a brand new house, there may be hidden problems that only a professional inspector can find.
Your real estate agent can recommend an experienced inspector. If not, look for someone who is certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors. If you are getting an FHA or VA loan, you will also have to have an additional inspection. (Don't let that one be the only inspection you get, however, because it may not be as thorough as a full-blown inspection.)
Your purchase offer should be contingent on the results of the professional inspection. This means that if the inspection turns up something like a really bad termite infestation or cracks in the foundation, you can back out of the contract, or you can have the seller repair the problem to your satisfaction.
Here are the major areas the inspector will cover:
  • Foundation: If there is a basement or crawl space, are there signs of water damage? Are there any cracks in the walls or floor that might indicate structural problems?
  • Construction: Does the house have good quality construction? Is the flashing properly installed to protect wood, are there any rotting problems with the wood, is the roof in good shape or will it need to be replaced soon?
  • Plumbing: Has the plumbing been properly installed? Is it in good shape? Is there any evidence of leaks?
  • Heating and cooling systems: Are the units in good shape? Will they need replacing soon? Are they rated for the amount of square footage they are heating?
  • Electrical: Do there appear to be any electrical problems or code violations?
  • Interior: Are the floors level? Do windows and doors function properly? Do the appliances in the kitchen function properly? Is there any evidence of leaks or mildew in the bathrooms?
The inspector will provide you with a printed report showing everything that passed and the (hopefully) few things that didn't. This report will be your ammunition if you need to renegotiate the purchase contract to include repairs. If the inspection report is clean, it's time to get ready for the big day: the closing.

Miriam Araujo
561 213-2363

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Realtor

Buying or selling a home can be daunting. In fact, it can be a full-time job. For many people, it makes sense to hire an expert to handle the time-consuming tasks and the nitty-gritty details. Real estate agents can take work off your hands and also help you get a better deal.
Your seller's or listing agent will advertise your home, walk buyers through, answer questions and help you through the negotiation phase. If you're trying to buy, you can hire a buyer's agent who is familiar with your preferred locations. He will recommend neighborhoods that fit your preferences, and he'll also warn you about possible drawbacks -- like the nearby factory that will wake you up every morning at 5:00 a.m. But not all agents are the same. Some may take advantage of your inexperience and end up costing you a pretty penny.
Since your house is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make, no one should judge you for being more than a little choosy about whom you hire to help sell or buy it. Find an agent whose philosophy and methods align with your preferences. And be prepared to interview at least two or three agents to find the right person. Asking the right questions will help you gain insight into the agent's capabilities and personality. Of course, he or she should offer stellar references and be thoroughly familiar with your neighborhood. In this article, you'll find several essential questions you should ask to help you make the best choice.
First of all, you want to find out what others have to say about the agent. Here are some questions:

Can I see your references?Can I have a CMA for the area?Is this area growing or declining?Do you work solo or as part of a team?How many clients are you currently representing?How will you market my home?How do your realtor fees work?What experience do you have?How will you keep me informed?What are the drawbacks of my home?

Miriam Araujo
561 213-2363

Friday, June 20, 2014

Look for Inspiration

Find a celebrity or model (or a few) who best captures the style you want to emulate. Flip through the pages of leading fashion and entertainment magazines to find pictures of your style icons. Cut out those pictures and paste them into a binder or hang them up around your room to inspire you. Don't copycat --just use elements of that celebrity's look as a springboard to create your own style.
Take your own pictures. Carry along a camera or sketchpad as you window shop.
Inspiration can come from a variety of sources. Don't just look at what's hot today. Scour vintage clothing stores and flip through the pages of old magazines and history books so you can see the origins of the latest styles. Look to both modern and classic fashion icons, like Jackie Onassis or Grace Kelly. You might find that your personal style combines elements from both your grandmother's era and your own.

Miriam Araujo
561 213-2363

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tips how to sell your home

Selling Secret #10: Pricing it right
Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.
Selling Secret #9: Half-empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.
Selling Secret #8: Light it up
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.
Selling Secret #7: Play the agent field
A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong broker. Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold.
Selling Secret #6: Conceal the critters
You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.
Selling Secret #5: Don’t over-upgrade
Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Mammoth makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.
Selling Secret #4: Take the home out of your house
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.
Selling Secret #3: The kitchen comes first
You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.
Selling Secret #2: Always be ready to show
Your house needs to be "show-ready" at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.
Selling Secret #1: The first impression is the only impression
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important. You use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.

Miriam Araujo
561 213-2363

Monday, June 16, 2014

Know What You Want to Accomplish

Do you want to get a new, high-powered job? Are you trying to meet the guy of your dreams?
Take out a notebook or journal and write down your goals -- in life and in fashion. Then start to think about which design elements and accessories can help you accomplish those goals. If you want to get a better job, think about adding a few pieces to your suit collection. If you're headed back to school, you'll want to trade in a few of the suits you already have for some casual knits and jeans.
Once you have your list in hand, take it with you when you shop. It can also help to bring along some pictures or descriptions of what you already have in your closet. Ask the salesperson to help you pick out pieces that will enhance your current wardrobe and help you accomplish your goals.

Miriam Araujo
561 213-2363

Know Who You Are

How do you like to dress? Are you wild or more conservative? Do you prefer business formal or casual comfort? Is your current wardrobe classically elegant or fashion forward? Consider the persona you want to present to the world.
Think about:
  • Your age. Clothing should always be age-appropriate. If you've got grandchildren and you're dressing like them, there's a problem. It's OK to want to look youthful -- just make sure your outfits suit your stage of life.
  • Your occupation. You wouldn't wear jeans and a cut-off T-shirt to work at a law firm, and you wouldn't wear super-high heels and a short skirt to teach kindergarteners. Use your profession as your guide when you shop. Once you've got an appropriate ensemble for your job, jazz it up with a few accessories to add your own personal flair.
  • Your lifestyle. Stiletto heels are just fine for the city, but they'll make you stick out like a sore thumb if you live way out in the country. Fashion should combine form and function, and it should fit well with your surroundings.
Remember that you don't need to buy designer duds to express your personal style. Even jeans and T-shirts can be stylish if you feel comfortable in them and choose the right ones.

Miriam Araujo
561 213-2363

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Negotiating a Purchase Price

Unless you live in an extremely depressed housing market, a seller rarely accepts an initial offer at face value. You can almost always expect some sort of counter to your offer and at least one round of negotiations. The obstacle may be strictly related to price or it may be the fact that you want the porch swing and washer and dryer included in the deal. Either way, prepare for some haggling.

 It's extremely important that you stay true to your mortgage pre-approval letter throughout the negotiations. It is very easy to fall in love with a house, especially if you've been looking for a long time or feel pressured to leave your current place. Don't let your heart or your emotions prod you into making a potentially disastrous financial decision. Failure to make house payments can resort in foreclosure, bankruptcy or worse. If the seller doesn't accept your best possible offer, you have to walk away and wait for the next opportunity to come along.

With persistence and some luck, you and the seller will arrive at a fair price for the home. Depending on the real estate laws in your state, the offer letter itself might become the contract or you will need to draft and sign a separate document. If you haven't already deposited earnest money, you will do so now. Even if you sign the contract, you can still back out of the purchase, but you will lose that deposit. Once the purchase contract is signed, both you and the seller will need to follow through on the contingencies of the contract, starting with the home inspection.

Miriam Araujo
561 213-2363

Your Offered Purchase Price

An offer letter reads like a legal contract. In some states, once the offer is accepted, the document automatically becomes the purchase contract. Your real estate agent will be experienced with drawing up the offer letter, but make sure you understand the details of the offer agreement before you sign on the line. You may be asked to offer earnest money, also known as hand money, along with the offer. (It's just enough of your down payment to let the lender know you're serious.) This is normal. However, if the seller accepts your offer and you decide to back out of the deal, you will forfeit that hand money. Since the offer letter often doubles as a contract, it will include a long list of clauses and contingencies required of both the buyer and seller. Here are some examples of items that will be included your offer:

 Your offered price and the amount of earnest money you are putting down Home inspection contingencies: Since the inspection may take place after the offer is accepted, you need to state that the entire deal is contingent upon an acceptable inspection report. If the house is on a well and septic system rather than city water and sewer, these should also be inspected Financing contingencies: You can also include a contingency for getting the mortgage you want (i.e., maximum interest rates, expected terms, etc.)

Items included in the purchase: This list can include things like major appliances (often the refrigerator goes with the seller), lighting fixtures, shrubbery, basically anything that isn't nailed down and some things that are! Title contingencies: Your attorney will do a title search to make sure the property does not have any other legal claims against it (i.e. liens) and that the seller holds a clear title Timeline: A deadline for responding so you know when to consider the offer rejected In most states, the seller is under no obligation to accept an offer, even if it matches the listing price.

 The seller doesn't even have to explain why an offer was rejected. In most cases, though, you should expect to receive an answer within a day or two. If the offer was too low, the seller will tell you. Then it's time for the age-old dance called negotiating.

Miriam Araujo
561 213-2363

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Stay in Your Comfort Zone

Don't suffer in stiletto heels when you'd rather wear flats. And don't suck in your stomach to squeeze into a skin-tight pair of designer jeans. Wear what makes you comfortable.
If you're not sure what makes you comfortable, look to your closet for inspiration. Sift through your clothes and pull out your favorites. Ask yourself why you love them. Do the fabrics feel good on your skin? Do you like the way the clothes make you look? Do you get a lot of compliments when you wear them? Use those favorite pieces as a springboard when you shop for new looks.
Speaking of shopping, don't just rush in and out of stores -- take time when you're trying on clothes. Consider the ease of putting on the article of clothing, how good you look in it, and how well it fits in with your current wardrobe and needs.

Miriam Araujo
561 213-2363

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Buying a home in Boca Raton Florida

Buying a Home
Buying a home is a big deal. The financial and emotional stakes are high – but the rewards can pay dividends for a lifetime. Plain and simple, owning a home can improve your quality of life, provide stability and give you a sense of control you just can't get from renting. You have a place to live when you rent, but buying is something much deeper and better.

The Importance of a Buyer's Agent –
A real estate transaction is a complex process involving stacks of paperwork and a number of outside service providers and contractors. An experienced buyer's agent can guide you through the process, answering your questions and serving as your advocate. Your agent will help you find the property that fits your needs, submit offers and counteroffers, suggest a good property inspector and other professionals, and provide all sorts of relevant advice. With a buyer's agent, you'll have someone on your side, looking out for your interests every step of the way.

Miriam Araujo
561 213-2363

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tips for Decorating on a Budget

Decorating on a budget? Skilled labor and materials add up fast. You don't want your project to become a financial burden. Each step should meet your re­quirements and reflect your tastes. Rule of thumb? It's best to get structural needs figured out and accounted for first.
If you are calling in a contractor, three bids are­ recommended, and request references. And, if feasible, visit a project the contractor has recently completed.

Trips to home centers, show­rooms, and furniture stores will help you establish a realistic figure. If the amount involved isn't large and you'll be able to pay it off in a month or two, the simplest way to handle it may be to put it on a credit card.
Remember, though, credit cards often have the highest interest rates. Talk to the employees at your bank, and use the Internet to explore every avenue from home-equity loans to refinancing. Check with the assessor's office, too, to determine the selling prices of homes in your neighborhood.
Kitchen and bath upgrades can return as much as 70 to 90 percent of their cost at resale. However, experts caution that it's not wise to invest so much that you significantly raise the value of your home above others in the area. Later, should you decide to sell, it could prove difficult to recoup the money.
If you're handy, lessen expenses by performing a portion of the labor yourself. Discuss this with the contractor, and make sure it's noted in your contract. Ripping up an old floor and hauling away debris are possible money-saving tasks. But use common sense, please: Dangerous materials, such as those involving asbestos or paint containing lead, should be left to the experts.
With all of today's options, high-end materials are not the only answer. Keep an open mind, and when the price is too steep, find a substitute within budget. Can't afford handmade Italian tiles? Ceramic tiles that mimic their warmth and color are an affordable alternative.
Different contractors, a variety of fabrics, multiple furniture stores...It can be difficult to keep track of all the items involved in decorating a home.

Miriam Araujo
561 213-2363