Valentine’s Day is around the corner and, for some people, this is a wonderful time. For others, the chocolate, stuffed teddy bears, and wine displays can be an irritation. But, on top of all that, don’t be discouraged by the look or condition of your house. If you’re not in love with how your home feels or looks, this may be the perfect time to make some changes before the busy summer season rolls in.

These changes could be major house upgrades or simple fixes that make you eager to return home after work. Your house should be a place of comfort and happiness. If your house feels drab and you haven’t updated anything in a while, here are a few easy and inexpensive ways to give your home a facelift.

Paint the Walls
Sometimes all a house needs is a fresh coat of paint and a new burst of color to really make a difference. Try experimenting with new colors in the rooms that get the most traffic: entryway, living room, or kitchen. Maybe a light yellow would brighten up the kitchen or sky blue for the bathroom. If you’re having a difficult time imagining other colors on your wall, download the Sherwin Williams ColorSnap app. It allows you to test different colors on your walls through your phone.

Britton Homes model

Kitchen Facelift
Families typically spend the most time in the kitchen. Being the most-used room in the house, it won’t take long for dirt to build up, colors to fade, and cabinet knobs to fall off. If you need to save money, try painting the cabinets, rather than buying new ones. Change and match all of the knobs. Replace your backsplash with a new, pretty tile. Reorganize your cabinet and appliances. Throw away those plastic containers that don’t have matching lids and store the items you don’t use often away in the pantry to clear up some space.

Britton Homes model

Upgrade Your Wall Décor
Matching the photo frames, especially the ones that are next to each other, can make a big difference. If you don’t already have a picture wall or hallway, start drawing the layout and plan what photos and frames to use. Some artwork may go out of style. Sell or give away the old artwork and try giving your walls some texture with objects and open shelves.

Redo the Bathroom
If you dread getting ready in the morning, maybe it’s time to update your bathroom. Reorganize your cabinets by throwing away the old and mostly-empty shampoo bottles and Q-tip boxes. Get small storage crates and organize by types of items. Maybe it’s time to get a new set of towels and a matching shower curtain. Or you can experiment with paint colors and create a two-toned look.

Improve Your Curb Appeal
Instead of buying a brand new front door, give it a fresh coat of paint! Find sturdy, new house numbers to put on the siding or, if your house is not in an HOA, update the mailbox. Maybe you’ve always wanted flower boxes on the windows and it’s time to make a Lowe’s run.

Add Fresh Flowers or Scents
Nothing makes a home feel more cozy and clean than a vase of fresh flowers on the dining room table and candles burning in the rooms. Get new scents for every season and match your hand soap and lotions to the candle scents to complete the feel.

Before you get to work, however, make a list of wants and set your priorities. You may not be able to do all of the upgrades at once. Maybe the walls desperately need a fresh coat of paint because they’ve been the same color since you moved in. Put that to the top of your list and worry about the door knobs later.

We hope these tips gave you inspiration to make easy, real changes to your home. Every house is different and every family has different priorities. Make upgrades according to what you believe is best for you and your family!


Questions? Comments? Reach out to your First International Title rep today!

Congratulations! After negotiation and maybe a few tears, your offer was finally accepted on your perfect home. Before you pop that bottle of champagne, make sure you follow these next steps. After all, the battle is only half over.

The first critical step to securing that dream home is depositing your escrow. You must deliver the earnest money deposit to the title company in the format and timeline agreed upon in your sales contract. Don’t be late! You do not want to be in breach of contract and risk cancellation.

The second important step is to schedule the property inspection. You want to choose a reputable inspector that will do the inspection as soon as possible to assess the home and determine if any repairs are needed. You may need multiple types of inspectors so be sure to discuss the options with your Realtor.

Next, be proactive and let your lender know you are under contract. Make sure you give them all their requested information on time. You do not want to delay and slow the closing process down or risk contract cancellation.

Once you receive the title commitment from your title company, be sure to review it and ask any questions immediately. The title commitment will provide you with the title history of the home and disclose any liens against the property. If there are liens, they will need to be resolved before closing.

The fifth step is to order the appraisal. This should be done after you have completed the inspection and resolved any issues. Your lender will do this for you to ensure that your new home is worth the loan amount that you are requesting. Buyers are typically required to pay for this, and the cost will appear on the closing disclosure as part of your closing costs.

Following the appraisal, you will need to shop around for the home owner’s insurance policy. This step is required by your lender. Research your options and choose the one that best suits your needs. Once you have selected the provider, make sure to inform your Realtor, lender, and Title Company.

The hardest parts are now finished! Your next move is to schedule the utilities to be transferred into your name and turned on before closing. The sellers will likely provide you with the utility contact information. Now it’s time to schedule the closing! Your sales contract will have an agreed upon closing date. Communicate with your Realtor and schedule the appropriate closing time with your title company. The day prior to the closing, you will need to contact the title company to verify any monetary amount needed from you to close. Most title companies require a wire transfer. Your last action before closing is to complete the final walkthrough. You want to make sure that all repairs have been made and personal belongings have been moved out.

You’ve completed your required steps; it’s finally time to close! Be sure to bring a state issued identification card such as a driver’s license or passport to the closing. All that is left to do is sign the closing documents and wait for the lender to fund the transaction. Once the deal has been funded, the house is officially yours! The process can be emotionally and physically draining but if you follow the steps above, your closing should go off without a hitch. Now is the time to pop that bottle of champagne and move into your new home!