Robin Tanner | Benicia Real Estate, Vallejo Real Estate, Napa Real Estate, Fairfield Real Estate


Want to wake up each day to a stunning luxe bedroom? Feel like you can’t achieve this without draining your account? I’ve got good news, today I‘m going to share my favorite upscale upgrades you can make even on a budget. You don’t have to be royalty to live like one, you just need to get creative (and put in some elbow grease).

Add mirrors to closet doors to bring in more light and make your bedroom feel larger. Get mirrors cut to cover over the panels of a door for a smooth, luxe look. This works great whether you have a hinged swinging door style or bifold.   

Create a faux canopy bed with curtain rods installed on the ceiling. Look for bracket styles described as ceiling mounted or those that completely enclose the rod. There are also room divider options that allow for rods to connect and create a seamless look. The curtain fabric you use will completely set the tone and atmosphere of the room.

Restain a piece of furniture or your whole set to give an old piece new life. This is a great long weekend project as you will need to time to sand down the pieces as well as stain and add a finishing coat. A dark stain will feel upscale and luxurious.

Create a built-in library with a window seat by filling a wall with bookcases flanking each side of a bench or trunk. Add molding around where they will meet the ceiling and floor to fully integrate them and give that built-in look. Ensure that whatever finish you choose for your new bookcase it matches existing woodwork in the room.

Update your light fixtures to create a rich new atmosphere. Update sconces to a new sleek silhouette. Swap a flush mount ceiling light for a pendant or chandelier. Replace a ceiling fan with blades for a drum style fixture for a true update in style.

And of course, there is nothing a fresh coat of paint can’t update. Create a luxurious atmosphere by choosing a neutral palette. Or be bold with a statement color that feels high end and ahead of the style curve. This one change can completely alter the look and feel of your bedroom without the need to change out any of your furniture to linens.

With that said, changing out linens is a great, easy way to upgrade your bedroom. Invest in a set with a high thread count and luxe-to-you style. Invest in a down blanket to stay toasty warm throughout the colder months. Curtains that sweep from ceiling to floor feel extravagant and create the illusion of a taller room. Load up on decorative pillows for a well-styled room that feels style-shoot-ready.


If you want to purchase a home, it pays to establish a homebuying budget. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand and narrow your search for your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three best practices to help you create a homebuying budget.

1. Look at Your Finances

Your finances will play a major role in your ability to purchase a home. Thus, you should evaluate your current financial situation closely so you can map out an effective homebuying journey.

Request a copy of your credit report – you'll be glad you did. You are eligible for a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) annually. Take advantage of this complimentary perk, and you can gain deep insights into your outstanding debt.

If you have outstanding debt, try to pay this down as much as possible. That way, you can boost your credit score, which ultimately will help you improve your chances to acquire your ideal residence.

2. Meet with Banks and Credit Unions

When it comes to buying a home, meeting with banks and credit unions usually is a great idea. That way, you can learn about your home loan options and get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Apply for a mortgage from several banks and credit unions. Then, you can receive various mortgage quotes and select one that suits you perfectly.

Also, don't hesitate to ask plenty of questions during a lender consultation. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage professionals – all of whom are happy to help you make an informed mortgage decision. Therefore, if you're unsure about whether to proceed with a 15- or 30-year mortgage or can't decide between an adjustable- or fixed-rate mortgage, you can ask these mortgage professionals for expert advice.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A homebuying budget is tricky to establish on your own, especially if you are entering the real estate market for the first time. Fortunately, a real estate agent can help you plan ahead for all stages of the homebuying cycle.

During a real estate agent consultation, a housing market professional will learn about your homebuying goals. Next, this professional will help you establish realistic homebuying expectations and ensure you can discover a great house at a budget-friendly price.

Of course, let's not forget about the world-class support that a real estate agent provides after you kick off a home search, either.

A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about open houses and offer homebuying recommendations and suggestions. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on a house.

Ready to begin your search for your dream home? Use the aforementioned best practices, and you can craft a homebuying budget and start your homebuying journey.


311 2nd, Benicia, CA 94510  

Residential
$555,000
Price
8
Total Rooms
3
Bedrooms
3/1
Full/Half Baths
Beautifully Remodeled Point Benicia condo. 3 Beds & 2.5 Baths, 1,544 sq ft. Engineered wood floors, Designer paint colors, Remodeled Kitchen features: Quartz counters, stainless appliances, built in breakfast bar. Peaceful deck off Living and Kitchen with it's own pond and fountain. Walking distance to Downtown and the Marina. Seller will Credit 8 months of HOA fees to Buyer...Don't Miss Out on this one!!!!


If you’re hoping to buy a house in the near future, you’ll want to focus on saving for a down payment.

Down payments are a way to let a lender know that you are a low-risk investment, and a way to save money on interest over the term of your loan.

If you have your other finances in order--a good credit score and stable income--there’s a good chance that making a 20% or more down payment will land you a low interest rate that can save you thousands while you pay off your loan.

How large should my down payment be?

The larger the down payment you can afford, the more money you’ll likely save in the long run. While there are ways to get a loan with no or very small down payments, these aren’t always ideal.

First, if you put less than 20% down on your home loan, you’ll be required to pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI. These are monthly payments that you make in addition to the interest that is accrued on your loan.

So, if you don’t put any money down on your home, you’ll accrue more interest over your term length and you’ll pay PMI on top of that.

What affects your minimum down payment amount?

Lenders take a number of factors into consideration when determining your risk. If you’re eligible for a first-time home owners loan, a veteran’s loan, or a USDA loan, your loan can be guaranteed by the government. This means you can likely pay a lower down payment while still receiving a reasonable interest rate.

When applying for a mortgage, be sure to reach out to multiple lenders and shop around for the rates that work for you. Many lenders use slightly different criteria to determine your eligibility to pay a lower down payment.

Other things that affect your minimum down payment include:

  • Credit score

  • Location of the home you want to buy

  • Value of the mortgage

Saving for a down payment

You’ll get the most value out of your mortgage if you put more money down. However, if you’re currently living in a high-rent area, it could mean that it’s in your best interest to get out of your apartment and start building equity in the form of homeownership.

If you want to buy a home within the next year or two, there are a few ways you can help increase your savings.

First, determine how much you need to save. Depending on your housing needs and the current market, everyone will have different requirements. Do some home shopping in your area online and look for homes that are within your spending limits. Remember that you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly income on housing (mortgage, property taxes, etc.)

Next, find out what a 20% down payment on that home would be, adjusting for inflation.

Once you have the amount you need to save, remember to leave yourself enough of an emergency fund in your savings account to last you a month or two.


Purchasing your first home will be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling parts of your life. It’s an important milestone on the way to financial independence and to starting a family for millions of Americans.

It also comes with a lot of responsibilities and unforeseen expenses.

A Reddit user asked the online community what items ended up being useful to them that they didn’t think about beforehand. The result was a ton of great advice for new or soon-to-be homeowners.

In today’s post, I’ve broken down the most useful items from all of their responses. So, if you’re going to be a

1. Information about past purchases

One user found that the most useful thing the previous owner left behind were a number of receipts for appliances that would be left in the house. In addition, they also left a list of model numbers for important parts like faucets, and list of all of the paint colors used in the house.

In addition, the previous homeowners even left a binder full of menus for local restaurants. While the seller of your next home might not think to leave behind all of this useful info for you, it doesn’t hurt to ask in case they have some of that information saved that they’ll no longer need.

2. Ten thousand dollars

While this comment may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, it does illustrate an important fact for new homeowners: expect to spend some money. As the poster pointed out, there isn’t necessarily one thing that you’ll need. More likely, you’ll find yourself running to the hardware store often for a number of small purchases.

Setting aside some money for these initial expenses is a good idea so that you can get the most out of your home in the first few months living in it without worrying about how or when you’re going to replace some of the many small, but annoying, fixes you’ll experience in your new house.

3. A steel hand cart

From day one and onward, you’ll be moving a lot of things around your home. Heavy objects like dressers, drawers, refrigerators, and other furniture and appliances will often require two people to move. Well, if you live alone or you and your spouse work different hours, it isn’t always possible to have two people around to help lift and move something. To save time and prevent injury, having a dolly (A.K.A. a steel hard cart) on hand will make things easier.

4. Check your cell phone signal before moving day

In spite of the claims of the major cellular carriers, there are still many areas of the U.S. that have little or no reception. This can come as a shock on moving day if you haven’t planned ahead.

Fortunately, you can purchase a device called a microcell to boost the cellular signal in your home, preventing dropped calls.

5. A Carbon monoxide and smoke detector, and fresh batteries

As much as you may trust the previous owners, there’s no way to be certain that there aren’t any fire or CO hazards in the home that you’re unaware of. Getting new detectors, batteries, and installing them immediately will help you rest easy on your first night.