Marianne Ganzenmuller, a realtor that is accessible and at the same time refreshingly unique.

Earlier generations walked to the grocery store, school and work. It was as normal as drinking water. Then, automobiles became the rave and it almost became embarrassing to be seen walking to work or to the store. Surprisingly, younger generations are starting to navigate towards the simpler, earlier travel option. But, they aren’t alone. Boomers are regaining an appreciation for a simpler lifestyle too.

Walkability scores play bigger role to homebuyers

Evidence of the shift is showing up in the popularity of tiny homes, people living off the grid and a pick up in the gig economy. Millennials aren’t the only ones taking advantage of telecommuting and adjustable work shifts. Baby Boomers are jumping on board. Motivation for the change includes a desire for more flexibility, more work life balance, appreciation to live clutter free and with less anxiety and a desire to be closer to the pulse of a city.

Americans are also adjusting the way they work and live because they want to treat the earth more gently. Walkability scores are playing into nearly each of the changes. Realtors aren’t just being asked to find home buyers properties that have attached garages, open floor plans, energy efficient appliances and loads of natural light.

Realtors are being asked to find home buyers houses that are located in neighborhoods that have high walkability scores. Neighborhoods with good walkability scores are home to two or more forms of reliable public transportation. Bus stops, trains and subways are within walking distance.

Businesses are also within walking distance, making it possible for residents to walk or ride their bicycle to work instead of driving. To get to companies located further away from town, these neighborhoods may operate carpools. The decrease in the number of automobiles on the road in these neighborhoods reduces emissions.

High walkability scores help nature, fitness and human connectivity

Other features that help to give a neighborhood high walkability scores are:

A main community area that has shopping centers, banks, grocery stores, a library, gas stations, health clinics and worship centers is a must for a neighborhood to have high walkability scores. The best walkable neighborhoods have a movie theater, historic sites and local landmarks. People who live in these neighborhoods may know each other by first name.

Homeowners in neighborhoods with high walkability scores may be involved in at least one local organization, whether it be a government, charity, sports or educational organization. Streets and sidewalks are built with space for bicyclists,runners and walkers. It’s not uncommon to see a bike lane to the right of an automobile lane in these areas.

Should home buyers state that they want to live in a neighborhood that has a high walkability score, realtors can ask the home buyers if they want to live near parks and other wide open, natural spaces. As the numbers of gig workers increases, the shift toward walkable neighborhoods may rise further, demanding that realtors move these spots further up on their “must see” list.

The bottom line is that, similar to how Americans lived generations ago, people want to feel more connected. They also want places that that frequent to be nearby, preferably within walking distance.

Selling a house is no small feat, particularly in a competitive real estate market. As such, home sellers may be prone to make mistakes if they don't plan ahead for potential pitfalls.

Common home selling mistakes include:

1. Listing a Home Without Performing Housing Market Research

Let's face it – selling a house can be stressful. In many instances, home sellers will want to speed through the home selling journey – something that may lead these sellers to list residences without evaluating the real estate market in advance.

Spending even a few minutes looking at the prices of homes in your city or town may make a world of difference. Ultimately, the more housing market research that you perform, the more likely it becomes that you'll be able to optimize the value of your house.

Take a look at the prices of available homes in your city or town that are similar to your own. Also, evaluate the prices of recently sold houses in your area. With this housing market data at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than ever before to price your residence competitively and boost your chances of a profitable home sale.

2. Accepting an Initial Offer on a Residence

The first offer that you receive on a residence may prove to be the best offer. However, in some cases, the initial offer may fall short of your expectations.

Immediately accepting the initial offer on a residence may prove to be costly. Fortunately, a home seller who understands the housing market can take a data-driven approach to determine how to proceed with any offer, at any time.

Performing a home appraisal before you list your residence can provide valuable insights into a property's value. Then, you can list your house for a competitive price, one that helps generate substantial interest in your house and may lead to offers at, near or above your initial asking price.

In addition, don't forget to consult with a real estate agent. If you receive a home offer and are unsure about whether to accept, reject or counter it, a real estate agent can provide expert advice to help you make an informed decision.

3. Ignoring a Real Estate Agent's Recommendations

A seller's agent is committed to helping you optimize the value of your residence, and this housing market professional will offer recommendations as you sell your house to ensure you that can get the best results possible.

If you ignore a real estate agent's recommendations, you may miss out on a golden opportunity to sell your house. A real estate agent provides housing market analysis and insights, along with honest, unbiased recommendations about how to overcome a wide range of home selling hurdles.

Furthermore, a real estate agent always has a home seller's best interests in mind. This housing market professional also is available to respond to a home seller's questions, guaranteeing that a home seller is fully supported at each stage of the home selling journey.

Ready to sell your house? Collaborate with a real estate agent, and you should have no trouble achieving your desired results.

There’s a lot more to interior design than simply picking out the latest trends in home decor. Design principles are also used to make the atmosphere of your home spacious and welcoming, and to make your home livable in a practical way.

 In spite of the fact that most people will own a home someday, no one is ever really taught interior design. So, it comes as little surprise that so many people are missing out on simple techniques that can drastically improve their home.

 In today’s article, we’re going to share with you some of the best interior design and decorating secrets to help you spruce up your home and make it more practical at the same time.

Low ceiling? No problem

Having a low ceiling can make it difficult to decorate and make your home seem spacious. One great workaround is to avoid tall furniture and seek out chairs with low backs, and bookcases that are wide rather than tall.

Omit hanging lights and ceiling fans and used recessed lighting instead to maximize your space and avoid having taller guests having to dodge objects hanging from the ceiling.

Finally, paint the ceiling white and remove crown molding to give the impression of openness.

Making small rooms feel larger

If you have a small home it can feel difficult to keep things uncluttered while still making sure you have everything you need. There are a few ways to make rooms feel more spacious that don’t involve throwing out your belongings.

First, add mirrors to give the illusion (literally) of space. A single or group of mirrors can be a nice decorative touch that makes a room seem much larger than it is.

Next, paint and decorate with mainly light colors or white. Dark colors will make a room feel smaller.

Lastly, take advantage of hidden storage space, such as tables with drawers underneath, and avoid putting decorations on too many surfaces. Filling the room up with objects will make it appear smaller.

The size of decorations matter

There’s a rule in interior decorating called the “cantaloupe rule.” It states that you should avoid using decorations that are smaller than a cantaloupe.

However, that doesn’t mean this rule can’t be artfully broken. A better description would be that you should omit several small decorations in favor of just a few large ones.  

Create a color palette

When choosing the color of your furniture, walls, and decoration it can be easy to just choose whichever color you like for that object rather than what works well in your home. Try making a color palette to adhere to when shopping for these items.

Create a house-wide palette and a palette for each room. Stick to three or four colors that complement each other well for each room, and make sure they aren’t too starkly contrasted from other rooms in your home.

If you aren’t sure about how to design a color palette there are several free online tools you can use to help.

Secure a fixed interest mortgage and you could be responsible for a stable monthly mortgage installment. That puts you out of the world of rising annual rents,what you might have to face if you decide to rent an apartment or even rent a house from someone else. As good as it sounds, if you've reached your middle adult years, you might fear that your chance to own a house has passed.

Why you're not too old to buy a house

If you have been thinking that way, you might be wrong. Laws protect borrowers from discrimination. Lenders also realize that financial stability, financial responsibility and income are key indicators that help reveal whether a borrower is going to repay a mortgage. Age is generally not an indicator.

Over time, borrowers could build retirement savings and personal savings that are not earmarked for retirement. The longer borrowers have been working, they might also have built equity in technology, automobiles, land and art. It's this type of equity that can serve as a leverage during the home loan process.

Buy a house when you're older and you may also have put your children through college, paid off the mortgage on a larger house and advanced your career to the point where you're earning the highest income that you've earned so far in your life.

Each of the above accomplishments, could make it easier to buy and own a house when you're older. Check with your employer to see if they offer perks or loan discounts. It doesn't hurt to ask. Your human resources manager is a good place to start.

Another good resource is your current banker. If you've been managing an account at your current bank, you might be able to take advantage of a mortgage special. Take on a part-time job or freelance from home and you could use money from the additional work to cover your mortgage.

How buying a house could work to your benefit

Take in renters and you could also use the rent money to pay your mortgage. Options to sell your house would be within your reach. Don't rule out letting your adult children, grandchildren or children of your adult friends buy your house years from now.

If your children or grandchildren buy your house, it would keep the house in your family. It could also save your adult relatives money. Other things to consider are your personal and career goals. For example, are you taking steps to start a freelance career, art shop, hair salon or daycare at home?

Other activities that you may want to use a house for after you are older include starting a catering business, virtual personal assistant business or advertising or marketing agency. You just might be someone who decides to start an entirely different career midway through your life.

Whatever your reasons for buying a house during your middle adult years, don't allow fear to stop you. Depending on your personal situation, you could pay off a 30 year mortgage in 15 years or less. As with any borrower, make sure that you have the finances to afford a mortgage. Also, make sure that you're ready to take on the responsibility of maintaining and caring for a property.

Every child should experience the joys of building and hanging out in a blanket fort. The lights shining through the blankets giving a blast of color to everything inside... the art of balancing a broomstick just right to stop the whole thing from falling over... the laughter from when it finally does collapse on you. Blanket forts are a blast. It's a way to go camping right inside your house, it's a way to have fun on a rainy day, and it's a way to escape from the reality of your home for a bit. If you weren't fortunate enough to experience a blanket fort as a kid you can start now. Gather your children, your supplies, and start building. Here's everything you need to know about building the world's greatest blanket fort.


The best part about blanket forts is that you can build them with whatever you have at hand. There are a few items, however, that will make your fort structurally sound. The bare necessities are:
  • Blankets (as many as possible)
  • Sofa cushions (you'll want to stack these to make a crawl-through doorway)
  • Chairs (to toss the blankets over; these are the bones of your fort)
  • Broom sticks or any other tall pole (to raise the roof)
  • Something to clip blankets with
Aside from those necessities, there are a number of other items you'll find useful. Here are some ways to improve your fort:
  • Lighting. Bring flashlights, christmas lights, black lights, or a lantern inside your fort to illuminate the fun activities you can do inside.
  • Games. Once inside your fort you're not just going to lay there (until bed time anyway). Bring in board games, Jenga, or whatever you have laying around.
  • Friends. Stuffed animals, dolls, action figures... make it a party.
  • Sleeping bags. If your fort makes it through the night you'll want something comfy to sleep in.
  • Food. You can't have the campfire but you can have the S'mores. Cook them in the microwave or toaster oven and eat them inside the fort.
  • Laptop. This is strictly for movies, not for Facebook.


It doesn't take a structural engineer to build a blanket fort (though I'm sure they'd build a really awesome one that we'd all be envious of). Use the biggest blankets for the largest part of the roof, smaller blankets for walls and objects that can't hold a lot of weight without tipping. Use your environment to your advantage. If the room you're in has anything you can toss blankets over--like a table--or if there are window-sills you can clip blankets to, use these features to optimize your experience. Using slightly translucent blankets underneath the lights in your room will add a nice glow to the inside. If you want it to be more like camping out, turn the lights off in the room and only use lights inside the fort.   The best part of making a blanket fort is that it's your own creation. Use our guidelines to get started, but once the blankets are out--anything goes.