7 Easy Ways to Spruce Up Your Home While Sheltering at Home

Everyone is spending more time at home right now. With so much time on our hands, it’s natural to want to spruce up our homes. While furniture stores and other retailers are closed, the good news is there are home improvement stores and online delivery to help us make the best use of this time and make some easy changes to freshen up our homes. Here are 7 ways to spruce up your home while sheltered in place.

  1. Outdoors – Big box home improvement stores are open and full of spring blooms; this is a great time to add color to your yard
  2. Update Your Kitchen – Kitchen trends have changed. Add some color to your space with modern paint or even a colorful appliance.
  3. Reimagine Your Living Room – With a little time to kill, try moving your living room furniture around for a fresh look. Visit a local big box store for decorative pillows, area rugs, frames, vases, and other décor details.
  4. Change Your Walls – An accent wall is an easy way to liven up your space. Invest a couple of hours to paint one of your walls a fresh color. Build a gallery wall with family or vacation pictures – anything that draws attention to the wall and interest to the room.
  5. Improve the Lighting – Simple things like installing new light bulbs or fixtures can really change the mood of a room.
  6. Plant a Garden – Whether inside or out, there’s no better time to try your hand at an herb or fresh vegetable garden.
  7. Clean and Organize – Take the time to finally tackle that cleaning project.

We’re all spending more time at home; as we appreciate our homes more, we can also take this opportunity to tackle some of the changes we’ve been wanting to make. If you like to know more about sprucing up your home contact us today.The MacDonald Team

Preparing Your Home for a Virtual Tour


Technology is helpful in so many areas of life, even real estate. Twenty years ago, if someone were moving across the country, they’d have to wait to buy a house until they arrived to start their new life, or they’d have to buy a home without seeing it in person beforehand. Both options would cause extra unwanted stress on top of moving to an unfamiliar place. Luckily, with the rise of technology, virtual tours are here to save the day

When it comes to creating a virtual tour, don’t panic. Your real estate agent will be there to guide you through the entire process. An agent may help to schedule a videographer to come to your house or utilize software like Matterport to create a virtual tour of their own that can be added to the listing. Real Estate Agents can also use FaceTime or other apps to
give their customers a tour of a house that doesn’t include a virtual tour of the listing.

There are a few ways to prepare your home before filming a virtual tour. Start by turning on all the lights in your home and opening the blinds or window coverings. You’ll need optimal lighting to get the best footage, so your realtor will most likely schedule filming in the morning or late afternoon. Take time to clean your house before the virtual tour and remove all clutter and any furniture you don’t want to be seen. Your realtor will help you with a simple staging of your home beforehand so it looks presentable in the video. The great thing about staging for a virtual tour is you’ll only have to keep it that way for a couple of hours before you can put everything back where it belongs.

Once the virtual tour of your house has been edited, it’ll be ready to show potential buyers. Your real estate agent will show you the final footage and add it to your listing. Anyone interested in taking a virtual tour can easily watch it online to get a good idea of what to expect in person.

When you’ve decided it’s time to sell your home, a virtual tour can be a great way to get more people to see it and secure a buyer in less time than a traditional open house. Not only does it give potential buyers a first glimpse, but it also ensures that only people who are seriously considering purchasing your home request a tour or show up to the open house

Ready to make your move? Give us a call and let’s chat—we’d love to help you make your real estate dreams a reality!

Have You Outgrown Your Home?

Many homeowners are surprised when they suddenly realize that the “perfect” home of just a few years ago no longer suits their needs. From an expanding family to an empty nest, it’s common for a home to no longer be the right fit. If you’re unsure if you’ve reached the point where a move is warranted, here are a few signs you’ve outgrown your home.

Outgrown Home
Have you outgrown your home?
  • More Kids than Rooms or More Rooms than Kids – Life changes and our homes must change also.
  • Clutter or Lack of Storage – Do you need more closet or storage space? A home with more space could be the answer.
  • Home Office – More and more companies are opting for telecommuting or home office workers, if your kitchen is your office, it might be time to look for a new home with extra room for a home office.
  • Outdoor Entertaining – Home design trends over the last couple of decades have seen a rise in outdoor living and entertaining areas. You might have simply outgrown your yard if you crave space for an outdoor living or dining area.
  • Lifestyle – The square footage might be fine, but you would prefer a different floorplan; more open, single-story, more windows, etc.

Your reasons for moving will be as unique as you are, but these are just a few considerations that indicate you might have outgrown your current home. Make sure your home still meets your needs and wants, then you’ll be able to decide if it’s time to move.

The Stephanie MacDonald Team has access to some amazing programs that make upgrading or downsizing your home easy. From Compass Concierge the hassle-free way to sell your home faster and for a higher price with services like staging, flooring, painting and more. To Compass Bridge Loan Services, a simple solution to bridge the gap between the home you have now and the home you want!

If you have any questions about upgrading your home, or if you’re looking for representation on your next purchase or sale, contact Stephanie MacDonald, ESQ. now.

The Stephanie MacDonald Team

Personalized Service. Proven Results. Serving the Mainline, Center City Philadelphia and South Jersey.

610-246-1048 Stephanie@themacdonaldteam.com

The Top 5 Exterior Areas to Fix up Before Listing Your Home this Fall

You’ve probably heard that spring and summer are the best times to sell your home, and we’ll be honest: they do have their perks. But with mortgage rates remaining low and motivated buyers steadily flowing into the market, this fall is shaping up to be a pretty profitable selling season. 

If you’re gearing up to list your home soon, then you’ll need to pay extra attention to your outdoor areas. Here are the top five spaces to give a little TLC to before you sell!

The Lawn

An old rake leaning against the wall of a home.

Once you’ve raked up the leaves, you might think your lawn is all taken care of. But there’s much more to fall lawn care than bagging up leaves! If temperatures haven’t majorly dropped by the time you list, you’ll need to keep mowing your lawn—it’ll continue growing until the first hard frost. 

If you’ve got a few bare spots in your yard, fall is also the perfect time for overseeding! Since the ground is relatively warm but the sun isn’t quite as powerful as in the summer, growing conditions are better than ever. Just be sure you’re providing your lawn with plenty of water, and those sparse spots should start to fill in. 

The Garden

Pumpkins and gourds sitting on a table.

Since you’re planning a move, you probably don’t want to start planting new veggies, but there are other ways to give your garden a fresh look. First, you’ll want to make sure all of your leftover plants from spring and summer are cleared out, and your plot is weed-free. Once that’s taken care of, it’s time for the fun part! 

Picked up a few pumpkins or gourds from the farmers’ market? Set them out near your doorstep. Need a home for a scarecrow or two? Give them a perch on either side of the garden. You can fill in any blank space with potted plants like mums or sunflowers or a decorative holiday banner! 

The Roof 

Leaves in a gutter.

With trees shedding leaves and dead branches, you’ve probably got a decent amount of brush and foliage dotting your roof. Now’s the time to pull out the ladder and do a clean sweep. Plus, it’s the perfect chance to get a look at the condition of your shingles and see if any need replacing! 

While you’re up there, be sure to sweep out your gutters, as well. There’s a good chance the extra debris has them more clogged up than usual, which could lead to flooding or exterior damage. Clearing them out will prevent any issues, and show buyers that you go the extra mile in maintaining your home. 

The Porch

Fall decor including a wreath, potted plants, and gourds, all placed around a small bench.

The crowning glory of your home’s exterior, the porch should act as the first taste of what the inside of the home has to offer. You want to strike the perfect balance between warm and welcoming and clean and clutter-free!

First, take care of spiffing the space up by sweeping the floors, ringing out the welcome mat, and dusting off any outdoor furniture. If you have one too many chairs or a crowded collection of potted plants, you should remove some of the clutter. 

Then, add a little character! Put a few pumpkins by door, set out a scented candle or two, swap out your porch light for a warmer wattage, and update your throw pillows—just be careful not to overdo it. Since your porch space is likely relatively small, a little goes a long way. 

The Front Door

A welcome sign and a small wreath on a white front door.

It’s only a small portion of your exterior, but if you play your cards right, your front door can be one of the most eye-catching parts of your home. Nothing draws attention like a fresh coat of paint, so you should consider picking a shade that pops and matches your siding—like a warm red or a bold blue. At the very least, you should use furniture wax or dish soap to scrub out the dinginess. 

Once you’ve revamped your door, it’s time to accessorize! Since it’s fall, you should be able to easily find a seasonal wreath to hang. If you really want to go the extra mile, think about replacing your house number or knocker with some shiny new hardware. 

Need a Few More Tips?

If you want to make sure your home is staged to impress—in all areas—then we can help. In addition to our home-staging resources, we’d also be more than happy to do a walkthrough of your home and recommend a few personalized decor suggestions or DIY improvements.

From helping you stage to navigating closing, we’ll be there to help you through the selling process, every step of the way. Whenever you’re ready to get started, we’re just a phone call away! 

Here are 4 Tricks to Choosing a Neighborhood You’ll Love!

Aerial shot of neighborhood

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’ve probably heard, “location, location, location!” on repeat. Finding the perfect city or town is one thing, but you’ll need to take it a step further. The right neighborhood matters more than you think, so before you start your search, we have some tips to help you find the perfect spot!

Do Your Research

Man exploring neighborhoods on tablet

Before you start driving through prospective neighborhoods, you’ll want to do some research at home first. Finding the right place to live can be time-consuming, but some quick online searches can help narrow down your options. Many agents also spotlight certain neighborhoods on their website and tend to offer more in-depth guides—as well as more listings and home-buying tips.

After doing your initial research, you’ve probably narrowed your list down to a few neighborhoods. Now it’s time to delve deeper and look at these places by the numbers. It’s worth looking at stats like crime rate, HOA fees, and average property taxes. You might want to start your search with sites like Neighborhood Scout and City-Data—these sites give you localized data on demographics, schools, and more.

Scope Out What’s Around

Man researching on laptop

While the actual neighborhood might seem perfect, what’s around matters a lot, too. Remember, you’re buying more than just a home—you’re finding a new place to thrive. If you’re looking for convenience, a community far-removed from amenities you love might not work. Be sure to take your commute into account, as well as the driving distance to places you go all the time.

School districts also play a big factor in which area you choose, especially for your kids. Even if you don’t have children, home prices in good districts are consistently higher than others, so it’s still something you should take into account. Want the inside scoop? Compare options by looking up which schools serve a community and exploring their ratings on sites like Niche.com.    

Take a Stroll

Couple walking around a downtown area

Now it’s time for some field research! Once you’ve picked some neighborhoods that seem like a good fit, go do some exploring—you’ll want to do more than just drive around, though. Get out of the car and take a stroll during different times of the day! This is a fantastic way to meet potential neighbors and see the condition of homes. 

You’ll want to ask yourself some crucial questions during each visit. How well do residents maintain their homes? Do you see a lot of people outside, or does everyone seem to keep to themselves? Is there any common space or amenities you’ll want to use? This is the best way to picture yourself living in an area before actually committing to a home.

Narrow Down Your Options

Person listing out pros and cons in  a notebook.

If you don’t have a clear winner in your head after you visit each community, it’s time to down and weigh the pros and cons. You should also evaluate the market—there might not be a home for sale that suits your needs in the neighborhood you love, so consider all of your options. 

If you have any other questions, be sure to reach out to a real estate professional. They’ll use their expertise to help you make an informed decision, and can also show you spots you might have missed!

Ready to Find the Neighborhood of Your Dreams?

Two women discussing real estate.

No matter where you are in your home search, we’d love to help make the process easier. We’ve got you covered, whether you’re still searching for the right community or are ready to look at homes. Give us a call today so we can chat—we can’t wait to be your local experts!

Tiny Houses: How These Small Homes Have Made a Big Splash

Tiny houses parked with a bench and a tree.

You’ve seen the shows on HGTV, the brand new series on Netflix, the craze on sites like Pinterest and Instagram—tiny houses are all the rage. These smaller spaces come with gigantic opportunities—if you’re looking for an incredibly versatile and stylish home, you may want to look into one of the hottest housing trends of the past year. We’ve got all the details you need to understand the ins and outs of tiny homes—and maybe even buy your own.

What is a Tiny Home?

Tiny house on the lake

Less than 1,000 square feet and often towable, tiny homes allow their owners to be economical, environmentally-friendly, and enjoy life on the move.

These small abodes are built with an emphasis on organization and maximizing space. You’ll often see stairs repurposed into cabinets, smaller appliances, and loft areas for beds. However, many tiny homes are quite luxurious, with some featuring full sized appliances, bath tubs, and multiple floors. This is proof that “tiny” doesn’t necessarily mean bare bones!

An Inside Look at the Lifestyle

Tiny houses interior with windows, dog, and desk.

Where did tiny homes come from? Well, it turns out they aren’t just a recent trend—they’ve been around since the 1970s. The tiny house “movement” is becoming increasingly popular, especially due to shows on tiny house living and construction. 

Many tiny home dwellers are fully committed to this unique lifestyle, but it takes some getting used to. The most difficult part is paring down what you own, as these tight spaces don’t come with the same amount of storage as a normal home. 

However, you don’t have to give up everything you love. Many residents say that living in a tiny home allows them to tour the country and live without clutter. Additionally, a well-built tiny house will allow you to have plenty of space for privacy, hobbies, and even pets.  

Discover Diverse Design Options

Tiny houses kitchen with woman drinking beverage

While tiny-home living might seem pretty straightforward, there are actually quite a few variations between homes.

One major option for tiny homes is towing ability. Having a towable tiny home means you can live wherever you’d like and move at any time, but a stationary tiny house is often larger and features more amenities like multiple floors and screened-in porches. 

In addition, there are many different size variations and exterior designs to choose from. Some builders even make custom designs for each homeowner. Nowadays, tiny homes are even being built in shipping containers!

Are They Here to Stay?

Man, woman, and dog enjoying tiny houses

Tiny homes may seem like a trend, but the number of homes being built are on the rise. In 2017, the tiny home industry saw a 67% jump in sales, with numbers steadily increasing. Tiny homes also remain easy on the wallet despite rising home costs. On average, a tiny home can cost from $15,000 – $150,000, which is significantly lower than the average home cost of $218,000.

As millennials begin purchasing their first homes, tiny houses are becoming increasingly popular. This is because many millennial buyers are choosing smaller houses and prioritizing travel, making tiny homes the perfect mobile option. They’re also a terrific choice for downsizing after retirement. 

Tiny homes don’t seem to be going anywhere, and as more and more people are embracing this unique way of living, tiny home designs are becoming even more elaborate. Even Amazon has started selling tiny homes, so you can order one with just a few clicks!

Ready to Make a Move?

Hand with key

No matter what kind of home you’re looking for, you’ll always need a real estate agent to help guide you through the process. Whether you’re buying or selling, we’ve got the resources you need to lighten your load.

Ready to make your move? Give us a call and let’s chat—we’d love to help you make your real estate dreams a reality!