Southern Home Shopping

Photo by Pattie Steib via Shutterstock

All home buyers create a list of features they desire in a property and come armed with the list when their agent shows them a new listing. When you’re shopping for a home in the South, there are a few key features you should include on the list along with the whirlpool tub and big kitchen with an island. If you want to live comfortably and affordably in warm and humid climates add these property and design must-haves to your list.

Trees, Trees & More Trees

When at all possible, find yourself a property that has plenty of trees and shade. Sure, you’ll spend a little more time on yard upkeep in the Fall, and your gutters will need more managing, but you’ll be glad to have a shaded home during the warmest months of the year. Plus, the yard itself will be more usable and enjoyable through the Summer.

Single-Story & Lofty Ceilings

Look for a single-story home with high ceilings instead of a two-story home. The high ceilings give the heat somewhere to go while keeping the space below cooler without the need for blasting more AC. In a two-story home, the upstairs can be difficult and expensive to cool so you may find yourself avoiding an entire half of your home while blowing through your summer funds. Tip: Make sure the temperature gauge for the AC unit is well-placed in a central location and not directly facing a window.

Strategic Windows

Windows can be tough in warm climates. You want to let as much natural light into the house as possible, but you also want to keep the heat out. Ideally, look for a home that has more windows, or the largest windows facing North or South instead of East and West. This way you can enjoy indirect, natural light that brightens your home without heating it up. You can also try looking for a home with skylights on the North slope of the roof. These will allow indirect light in as well.

Cool Flooring

A home with all hard flooring, either tile, wood or a combination is a must. Since you can always add rugs to your living spaces, save yourself from additional cooling requirements by avoiding carpet in the home. Tile flooring will keep the home the coolest through the hot months, but wood or laminate flooring is still much cooler than carpet.

Armed with your preferred features list, your agent will be sure to find you the best home for your needs and comfort.

Buy Less Home Than You Can Afford

If you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand. In fact, this mortgage will enable you to spend up to a certain amount on a house. But in many instances, it pays to buy less house than what you can actually afford.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to consider purchasing a house below your means, such as:

1. You might not have to worry about significant home maintenance.

A small house likely means less home maintenance than would be required in a large house. Therefore, you may be able to spend less time worrying about keeping your residence looking great if you acquire less home that what you can afford.

Of course, let’s not forget about the money that you might save by purchasing an affordable residence. If you buy an inexpensive home, you may be able to use the money that you save to hire professional home cleaners, landscapers and others to help you enhance your residence’s appearance.

2. You’ll be better prepared than ever before for unexpected expenses.

There is no telling when a family emergency, natural disaster or other dangerous situations may arise. Fortunately, if you spend less on a house now, you may be better equipped than ever before to handle the expenses commonly associated with these unforeseen events.

Purchasing a cheap house may prove to be valuable if you encounter costly, time-intensive home repairs down the line too.

For example, your home’s roof won’t last forever, and you likely will need to fix or replace it at some point. But if you purchase a budget-friendly home, you may be able to save extra money that you can use to cover the costs associated with various home repairs.

3. You’ll have more money that you can use to personalize your house.

The money that you save on a house today may be used to upgrade your home both now and in the future.

For instance, if you want to install a deluxe swimming pool or fire pit in your backyard, spending less on a house now may provide you with the financial resources that you need to fund these projects. And if you complete a broad range of home renovations, you may be able to increase your house’s value as well.

Deciding how much to spend on a house can be a tough decision for any homebuyer, at any time. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can explore a vast array of residences that fall within your price range.

A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and tailor your home search accordingly. He or she also will set up home showings, keep you informed about new residences that become available and ensure that you can discover a home that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Consider your budget closely as you prepare to kick off a home search. By doing so, you should have no trouble finding a terrific house at an affordable price.

The Psychology of Home Decor

Anyone who’s ever been in an outdated house or hotel room can tell you that the way we decorate can have an effect on our mood. Certain colors, lack of lighting, and cluttered rooms are all things that, whether we realize it or not, can have a negative effect on our mood and productivity.

These concepts aren’t recent realizations. In ancient China and India, concepts of architecture and decorating have been teaching proper design techniques for thousands of years. Today, these schools of thought are often lumped into the field of environmental psychology.

In today’s post, I’m going to talk about a few design techniques that will help you and your houseguests feel more welcome in your home and create a tone that matches your desires, whether that’s relaxed or energized.

The effects of color

With a quick Google search, you’ll find hundreds of articles discussing the psychological effects of colors. What many fail to mention is the way these effects are based on things like the culture and time period we grow up in.

However, you may find that guests to your home will feel more comfortable in light, neutral- colored rooms than they will in a room that’s painted bold colors.

On a room-by-room basis, there tend to be certain colors that Americans associate with the “right” colors for the occasion.

However, this is often influenced by the architectural style of the house more than an internalized idea about specific colors.

How much is too much?

It’s easy to accumulate home decor and find your walls and surface becoming a little too cluttered. However, bare walls and sparsely decorated rooms can feel a bit too sterile and unlivable. Is there a balance between the two?

Oftentimes the best solution is to follow one simple decorating principle:

Rather than using several small items to decorate a room, choose just a few larger items. This will prevent the room from appearing cluttered but still give it a sense of character.

Taking advantage of the full area of a room

So far, we’ve been talking about how colors and decor can make a room feel more spacious and welcoming. But, even if you have a small room, you can still often achieve this effect.

One solution is to add brighter lighting to the room. Increasing the light makes to room feel more open. And, if possible, natural lighting is the best option, as it can reduce any feelings of claustrophobia.

If better lighting or windows aren’t an option, many homeowners turn to mirrors to make a room feel larger. Larger, wall-hanging mirrors are an excellent way to give the illusion of spaciousness in a small room.


Using the psychology behind these three decorating principles, you’ll be able to make you and your houseguests feel more at ease within your home.

What’s Your Buying Power?

The biggest area of your life that you need to understand before you buy a house is your own finances. Before you know what kind of house you can buy, you’ll need to understand your own buying power. While things like square footage, how many bedrooms you need, and finding the right neighborhood are important, you can’t go very far without some type of financing. While understanding how much you can spend on a property is one of the more serious parts of buying a home, it’s something that you’ll want to do. Knowing what you can spend on a home is a step to helping you land a home you love. If you understand your own numbers, you’ll know the chances that you have of an offer being accepted on a place you love.  

The Elements Of Your Buying Power

Your Credit Score

This little three digit number has a lot of meaning behind it. This is the most basic piece of information that lenders use to determine your loan worthiness. The factors that influence your credit score include:

  • Payment history
  • How much you owe
  • Length of your credit history
  • Mix of credit accounts
  • How much new credit you have opened

A low credit score is somewhere under 620. Having a score this low doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be denied for a loan, but the type and amount of the loan you’re offered can be impacted. You’ll also face higher interest rates because of a low credit score. This means your mortgage could be considerably more expensive than if you had a higher credit score. 

Down Payment

The 20 percent down as a rule of thumb actually offers many benefits to your buying power. This means that you’ll need 20% down of the purchase price of the home in cash. If you put this amount of money (or even more) down on a home, it eliminates the need for you to have to buy PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). You’ll even be able to negotiate a lower interest rate. A large down payment may be especially helpful in competitive markets where there is a lot of buyer competition.

How Your Financial Picture Appears

Your assets and your debt-to-income ratio are also important factors in your financial picture that you present to the lender. Basically, all of these numbers let both the lender and the seller see how committed you are to buying a home. It is one of the biggest financial undertakings of your entire life. If you can’t show financial responsibility, then it may be a bit difficult for lenders to see that you’ll actually pay your loan back in a timely manner.

The better all of your financial numbers are, the more buying power that you’ll have. If your numbers are good, you’ll be able to afford more house. While it may not be the most exciting thing to look over all of your financial numbers, it’s a vital step in the process of your journey to home ownership.