Julie Sprankles's Recent Articles
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How To Find a First Home That’ll Actually Make Money When You Sell
For most of us, buying a first home is a pretty big deal. We’re all indoctrinated from a young age with the more romantic aspects of becoming homeowners, making it hard to imagine when we purchase that first abode that we’ll ever live anywhere else. But think of it this way: Wouldn’t it be nice to know that when it does come time to sell your beloved first home, you’ll be walking away with a nice chunk of change to put toward your next dream house?
Sep 12, 2017
The Things No One Tells You About Selling Your House
Buying a home is a momentous time in one’s life and, accordingly, congratulatory pats on the back abound — as does unsolicited advice. Everyone has insight about everything from how to pick the perfect house for you to saving money on home repairs. However, there’s not nearly as much fanfare when it comes time to sell your house.
Sep 5, 2017
6 Creative Ways to Use the Space in Kids’ Closets
You know what’s so great about kids’ clothes? Aside from the fact they are so darn cute you kind of wish they came in your size too, they don’t take up a lot of room. If your kid’s room has at least one large-ish dresser, you’ve pretty much got storage for their clothing covered. And that, crafty mamas, means you can use the storage space in your kid’s closet in a fun way.
Sep 4, 2017
The Most Popular Home in America: Why the Ranch Style is So Pervasive
If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’ve likely given a lot of thought to what style suits you best. Are you drawn to the sleek lines of modern architecture? Or are you a sucker for Craftsman style? If your answer happens to be the modern American ranch, well, you’re certainly not alone—according to a 2016 Trulia study, it’s the most popular pick in 34 states in the U.S.
Jul 20, 2017
In-Reach Real Estate: Affordable Cities Outdoorsy People Will Love
You can read a million lists about buying a home—and I could prattle on for days about the process myself—but the best advice anyone can probably offer is this: buy a home in a city that you love even more than the house itself. Never does this ring more true than when it comes to outdoorsy people.
Jul 20, 2017
What You Can Do Now in Your 20s to Retire Early
Sometimes, when I’m watching a recently retired early 40-something couple agonize over which Italian villa to choose on a certain international house-hunting show, I sit and ponder, “What did these people do right to get them to this place in life so early?” Or, more pointedly, “What am I doing wrong?” Everyone dreams of retiring one day, and most of us assume it will be in our twilight years.
Jul 16, 2017
It Works: Try This (Easy!) Personal Challenge to Get Out of a Rut
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by, well, being underwhelmed? You know, that nagging feeling in the back of your brain that something is just… off. If so, it sounds like you’ve fallen into a rut, my friend. That’s the thing about ruts. They kind of creep up on you and, before you even realize it, you’re stuck in one. You have your routines, and your days all have a comforting structure about them. Listen, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Jul 11, 2017
What is Considered an “Older” Home?
I distinctly remember during our home-buying journey when our real estate agent asked if we wanted new construction, something close to it, or if we’d be open to an “older” home. When we said yes, we knew that—in our budget—we would likely be looking at a few houses built in the early-to-mid 1900s. However, if we’d had a much larger budget, we could very well have wound up walking through (and legitimately considering) houses built in the early 1800s.
Jul 10, 2017
Take it From Me: What First-Time Buyers Should Know About Fixer Uppers
When you’re a first-time home buyer growing dizzier by the minute walking through dreamy homes outside of your budget, it’s only natural to consider adding a home that needs a little “TLC” to your short list. Know this, though: fixer uppers come with some special considerations, especially for first-time homebuyers. Two years ago when my husband and I decided to take the plunge and buy our first home, we settled on a fixer upper.
Jul 5, 2017
Can Solar Power Pay Off? One Homeowner Crunches Real Numbers
Aside from the obvious benefit of helping the planet, solar power can be pretty enticing to homeowners who are tired of paying an arm and a leg for their electric bill every month. Given that outfitting a home with solar panels comes with considerable costs upfront, though, is doing so practical from a financial standpoint? Can solar power in fact pay off?
Jul 5, 2017
Do You Know Difference Between a Hard Loft and a Soft Loft?
In our search for the ideal abode, our realtor asked a seemingly simple yet perplexing question: "Are you interested in a hard loft or a soft loft?"
Jun 30, 2017
The Surprisingly Big List of Things You’re Probably Not Keeping in Your Car (But Should)
Having grown up in an old farmhouse miles from… well, anything, I know firsthand how unfortunate it can be when your car breaks down or you get stranded with no one nearby to lend a hand. My only saving grace has been that I live somewhere warm enough to walk the miles that stood between my car and civilization. If I lived in a colder state, I’d probably already be a goner. So whether you keep your ride spotless or your floorboards double as storage receptacles (holla!
Jan 31, 2017
17 Real-Life Places Straight Out of Nostalgic Movies & TV
There are certain places that feel like home even though we’ve only seen them on a screen. Whether it’s a restaurant, coffee shop, hotel, a home, or some other edifice, the locales from our favorite nostalgic movies and TV shows seem to take on a life of their own. They become supporting cast members, in a way. As you might expect, many of these places are fabricated on studio lots in the Los Angeles area. Others are merely shells that are demolished once filming is done.
Jan 11, 2017
Extended Stay: 7 Unique Ways to Bring the Vibes from Your Best Vacay Home
It can be jarring, to say the least, returning to reality after a glorious vacation. Whether you spent a week sunning yourself on the white sandy beaches of some tropical isle or shredding the powdery slopes at a ski lodge, holding on to your vacation-mind’s sense of zen can seem hopeless once you have to dive back in to to the daily grind.
Dec 1, 2016
The Best Ways to Store The Dishes You (Almost) Never Use
‘Tis the season to be merry—and host dinner parties, of course. It’s time to break out a couple of bottles (or boxes, no judgment here) of wine, about a metric ton of food and, well, the dishes to help you serve said culinary delights. Since most of us don’t host large dinner parties every day, this means some of the extra dinnerware used during the holidays isn’t in regular rotation.
Nov 24, 2016
“Can This Go in the Dishwasher?” Your Guide to Post-Thanksgiving Dinner Cleanup
As hard-working as that holiest of appliances is, it can't do it all. Or, rather, it shouldn't.
Nov 23, 2016
7 Things to Cut Your After-Thanksgiving Cleanup in Half
Everyone adores getting together with family and friends over Thanksgiving to enjoy gorging on good food and great company, but cleanup is another story altogether. You almost need a holiday after the holiday to recover from the exhaustive process of returning things to their pre-Turkey Day state at home. First of all, remember you’re not alone. No, really… there will be people loitering all over your kitchen. Put them to work!
Nov 22, 2016
8 Grocery Hacks to Make Going Organic Easier on Your Wallet
If you’re one of the 45 percent of Americans who actively try to include organic food in your diet, you know that while organics might be the best fuel we can put into our bodies, it can be quite a drain on a household budget. All it takes is a quick stroll down the organic produce aisle at the grocery store to give you a serious case of sticker shock. For something that is so good for you and good for the globe, it can definitely be bad for your wallet.
Oct 29, 2016
Budget-Busting Red Flags to Look for When Buying an Older Home
Wooed by its close proximity to our favorite beach, my husband and I bought an older home in Charleston, SC, last spring. One year and tons of cash later, we’ve learned the hard way that it isn’t always the big, glaring problems with older homes that’ll bite you right in the butt—er, budget. In our experience, it’s the little red flags that sneak up and rob you blind before you can close the front door.
Oct 28, 2016
How To Haggle $100 Off Your Rent This Month
I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of money. Scratch that—I do know about you, because let’s be real, we’re all big fans of money. Alas, cash isn’t the easiest of things to hold onto, especially when the cost of housing seems to increase exponentially each year. All hope is not lost, however. If you can work up the nerve, you can negotiate your rent.
Oct 26, 2016
13 Unforgettable Trips Every Harry Potter Fan Should Take
Calling all Potterheads! Take your tired ol’ bucket list and toss it in the trash, because we’re about to write a new one—the only one you’ll ever really need. Why? Because, dear friends, ours is chock full of trips every Harry Potter fan dreams of taking in their lifetime. Bless J.K. Rowling and her brilliant brain for creating a literary world so rich that it spilled into the real world, giving every single one of us a major case of Potter-inspired wander lust.
Oct 26, 2016
8 Sneaky Ways to Fit in a Workout Every Day
If I had a dollar for every time I justified skipping a workout because I couldn’t find the time, well, I’d probably have enough money to cover my woefully neglected gym membership for a year. But the reality is it can seem impossible to devote a decent chunk of the day to exercise. Still, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Happily, there are about a million sneaky ways to fit in a workout—even when time is scarce.
Oct 25, 2016
7 Ways to Prevent Product Clutter When Your Bathroom Is Tiny…or Teeny-Tiny
When my husband and I were on the hunt for a home last year, one of my must-haves was a spacious master bathroom. You know, the whole nine yards – a huge soaking tub, plenty of storage, dual vanities. So if you knocked on the door of our sweet beach-town bungalow today and asked for a tour, you’d likely be surprised to find a master bathroom so slight that my husband and I can barely fit in it together. (In its defense, it does have a massive tub.
Oct 20, 2016
6 Things To Do Before You Even Think About Applying for a Mortgage
Tired of kissing your hard-earned cash goodbye every month and handing it over to your landlord? Thinking about taking the plunge and purchasing your own place? Well, hold up, young Padawan—before you apply for a mortgage on a whim, you should probably pump the brakes. If you’re really ready to shed the renting lifestyle once and for all and get serious about buying your first home, there are a few considerations you must make.
Oct 4, 2016
7 Simple Daily Habits that Will Make You Less Wasteful
When you read about a woman who makes only a Mason Jar worth of waste per year, it’s hard not to think you’re doing life wrong. We all want to do right by the environment, but getting started along the path to a more sustainable lifestyle can seem daunting. The good news is it really is easy being green. By making small modifications in your daily life, you can significantly reduce your waste output.
Aug 25, 2016
5 Things Money-Savvy People Always Do (No Matter What)
You know those people who never seem to struggle with their finances at the end of each month? They’re the ones who’ll likely cash in their stocks and savings to retire into a sea of green (dollar bills, y’all!) when the rest of us are still trying to figure out stocks and savings. We want to be like those people. So, without further ado, here are five things money-savvy people always do that we less money-minded mortals should pick up post haste.
Aug 25, 2016
Chill: Easy Ways to Decompress from a Stressful Day
When you’ve been hustling a million miles an hour all day long, the idea of collapsing on the couch and unwinding is like the Holy Grail. Decompressing from the daily grind is easier said than done, though—in order to unwind, your brain might need a nudge. Here are a few simple strategies to boost your mood and help put a stressful day behind you. Literally.
Aug 11, 2016