All posts by Gary & Robert - Sunnyvale Real Estate Experts

Costly Mistakes to Avoid After You Buy Your First Home

A single-level ranch-style house with a front porch, two-car garage, and well-maintained front yard.You’re smart. You’re doing your research about home buying and homeownership (like you are right now!), so you feel like you’re prepared to avoid common home buying pitfalls. But you’ll soon find that once you’ve moved in, there is a whole new list of common problems that plague unwary first-time homeowners.

To help you make the best buying and ownership decisions possible, we’ve outlined some of the the biggest blunders that first-time buyers make after closing on their home.

Investing in Too Many Upgrades

Not every home improvement project is worth the money or effort. Many first-time homeowners make the mistake of not considering a project’s return on investment, at least until it’s time to sell the house down the road.

If you want to know which home improvements are worth the investment, talk with a real estate agent or get a market report for your neighborhood. Give us a call and we’ll send one to you.

Ignoring “Minor” Maintenance Issues

Water dripping out of a long kitchen faucet and into the sink.As your home ages, seemingly minor issues may arise. But be careful: A dripping faucet, crumbling caulk, or slanting floors could spiral into much bigger headaches if you don’t take care of them quickly.

To avoid shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars down the road, tackle these maintenance issues as soon as you can.

We’re happy to provide local vendor recommendations if you need maintenance work. Just give us a call!

Choosing the Cheapest Repair Option

Quality comes at a price, especially when it comes to making repairs. Whether it’s picking up a cheap tool set or going with the lowest bid for a service provider, many first-time homeowners make the mistake of sacrificing quality for cost.

Contact us and we’ll be happy to recommend a high-quality local service provider.

Trying to DIY a Complicated Project

A large bathroom with white countertops, a white standing tub, white bidet, frameless glass shower, and orange walls.Some things can be done yourself. Think painting, hanging up shelves, or sprucing up the front entry.

But when it comes to stuff like plumbing, electricity, or structural engineering, think again. Hiring a professional will save you time and money — and keep you from starting a project you don’t know how to finish.

Need to talk to a contractor? Call us and we’ll give you recommendations.

Not Preparing for the Unexpected

A sudden job change, severe weather damage, or major maintenance problem can throw a wrench in your plans. Be sure that you budget accordingly for unexpected expenses as a homeowner.

We’re Happy to be a Resource

As local real estate experts, we have a wealth of information that can help you avoid many of these first-time home buying and homeownership mistakes. Contact us to learn more.

Do You Know What These Crucial Real Estate Acronyms Mean?

A man standing on a flat field and juggling apples.Acronyms are tossed around like crazy in the real estate world, which can be confusing to even the most veteran home buyers. But don’t worry — it doesn’t take long to learn the language.

Here’s a quick list of the most widely used home buying acronyms and what they actually mean. Of course, if you’d like to know even more real estate terminology, don’t hesitate to call us.

MLS: Multiple Listing Service

The multiple listing service is a massive database of available properties that is split up into hundreds of different regions. If you’ve ever heard someone refer to a home as “on the market,” it means that the home is available on the MLS.

Buyers can search for properties that are on the MLS by using a real estate agent’s website (like ours!), but that’s not the only way to find homes. Your agent can send you updates whenever new properties hit the market.

Want to get these email updates? Call us and we’ll set them up for you!

PITI: Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance

A wooden cutout of a house standing next to three stacks of coins, each taller than the next and with a sprout growing out of the top.Principal, interest, taxes, and insurance are the four parts of a mortgage payment. Initially, you will pay more toward the interest on the mortgage, but you will start to pay off more of the principal (the initial loan amount) the longer you stay in your home.

Want to see the estimated PITI for your next loan? Check out our handy mortgage calculator on our website.

FHA: Federal Housing Administration

The Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, is a mortgage insurer that offers a variety of home buying assistance programs to help people purchase homes that they otherwise couldn’t afford.

FHA-insured loans generally offer more flexible credit qualifications and a lower down payment. However, borrowers are required to pay for mortgage insurance.

Interest rates and terms depend on the FHA-approved mortgage lender you choose.

PMI: Private Mortgage Insurance

Speaking of mortgage insurance, many lenders require you to have private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you can’t put 20% down on your home. This insurance protects the lender in case you can’t pay off your mortgage.

HOA: Homeowners Association

A community pool with orange inflatable innertube floating on top.Want to live in a community with a pool or clubhouse? Chances are you’re looking for a neighborhood with an HOA, or homeowners association.

An HOA is responsible for maintaining common areas and any amenities, and it typically sets standards for how homes should look in order to keep property values up. In some cases, homeowners associations may even include Internet, cable, and lawn care with their HOA dues.

If you’re considering buying a home in a neighborhood with an HOA, check the association’s CC&Rs — Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions — to see what rules the HOA enforces.

We’ll Help You Speak the Language

Understanding real estate terminology is one of the best ways to start your research as a home buyer. Want to know the meanings of other commonly used terms? Give us a call!

What Does 2018 Have in Store? Silicon Valley Real Estate Market Predictions

silicon valley real estate market predictionsThe Silicon Valley is a real estate market somewhat notorious for its competition—its high prices, its growing demand, and its low supply of homes for sale. Buyers are looking, and homes are getting snatched up off the shelf within days of being listed. And that’s not likely to change in 2018. Low inventory, sustained demand, and strong appreciation are definitely on the horizon. Here’s what else you can expect from the Silicon Valley real estate market in 2018.

It’s Definitely a Seller’s Market

If you’re thinking of listing your home, you’ve picked the right time! That low inventory and high demand pretty muchsilicon valley real estate market predictions foretell of a seller's marketconstitutes a seller’s dream conditions. What that basically comes down to is a lot of buyers without that much to choose from—so you can expect to see some high prices and some lightning-fast sales.

Price your home right, and there’s no way your home will sit on the market for more than a few days. And you may even get multiple buyers bidding over your house.

But Buyer’s Shouldn’t Despair

Yes, prices will be high. It comes with the territory. Yes, interest rates are rising and predicted to climb over 4.3% in the coming silicon valley real estate market predictions say that rental prices will still be highyears. But there are some good prospects on the horizon for home buyers. Like decreasing unemployment rates and increased numbers of high-tech jobs in the area (hello new Google campus!), which means more and more buyers are not only able to afford those prices, but are also making larger down payments—and carrying overall less debt than in the past.

And if you are feeling a little dismayed by the high price tags, remember that renting isn’t likely to be any cheaper. As long as demand stays high, so will those price tags. Really want to make the best of the market? Consider taking on some roommates after you buy your home and let them make your mortgage payments. New sites like Nesterly can even help match up qualified renters.

How Will the New Google Campus Affect the Market?

There’s a (kind of) new player coming to town, and it’s (another) new Google campus. But it’s going to be pretty different than silicon valley real estate market predictions say that home buyers can still have good luckits existing campuses—this one will be a whole transit village in the heart of Downtown San Jose. And it’s already beginning to affect the housing market in the area.

Previously, demand in San Jose was lower because it wasn’t as convenient to tech centers in Mountain View and Palo Alto… but that’s changing, and so is buyer demand. So those more-affordable prices we were seeing in San Jose are likely to rise!

Learn More About the 2018 Real Estate Market in the Silicon Valley

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in the Silicon Valley in 2018, then it’s time to contact Gary & Robert. As your guides to real estate in Santa Clara County, we’re here to help you find the perfect home or successfully list your home.

Jumpstart the New Year: 3 Goals for Your Home

A 30-day calendar with the number 18 circled in red marker.We’re almost three weeks into the New Year, but it’s not too late to develop goals for 2018.

Now is the perfect time to jump right in and start fresh in your current home! Need ideas? Here are a few real estate goals that you can achieve this year.

Fix Those Pesky Maintenance Issues

Maybe it’s a leaky faucet. Maybe it’s a drafty window. Maybe it’s a clogged shower drain. You can probably think of one or two issues off the top of your head that you haven’t gotten around to addressing yet. The New Year is the perfect time to get those problems fixed.

Reclaim That New-to-You Feeling

The longer you live in your home, the easier it is to let the clutter build up in your closets, attic, or garage. Make 2018 your year to reorganize!

A well lit living room with a flat screen TV on the wall, a beige couch under a window, and a wooden table in the center.

Don’t try to tackle these massive home organization projects in a weekend. Instead, follow these tips to slowly but surely reduce the clutter in your home:

  • Sort through one room (or one storage space) at a time.
  • Separate the items you want to keep, donate, and toss out.
  • Expand your storage space with shelves or over-the-door organizers.

Sell Your Home in 2018

If you have been thinking about selling your home, why not start your research early? The more information you have, the more prepared you will be when you finally list your home. Here are a few ways to start:

  • Hire a home inspector to identify any major maintenance issues — Call us and we’ll provide recommendations.
  • Learn more about the local real estate market — Ask us for a report of recent home sales.
  • Find out what your home is worth — Contact us for a complimentary evaluation.
  • Start cleaning and decluttering your home — Get in touch for additional ideas.

We’re Here to Help You Achieve Your Real Estate Goals

We have all the information you need to know about the local real estate market and the home selling process. Contact us today and we’ll provide you with our best resources.

Save on Energy Bills with These Seven Simple Tips

replace lighting to save on energySaving money on those monthly bills doesn’t have to be hard! In fact, there are numerous little things you can do to cut back on your energy expenditure and save on your utility bills, even during the cold winter months. Here are # easy ways to save big on energy during the winter.

1. Replace Incandescent Bulbs with CFLs

No lifestyle changes here, and you can save up to 75% on your lighting costs! Simply change out your old bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs)—which also conveniently last longer (and will produce less heat during the hot summer months). Be sure to also turn off lights when you’re not in the room!

2. Use Natural Lighting

Open up those windows and let in the sunshine! Not only will you avoid using electricity, but letting in sun will help heat your home, too. Just be sure to close them again at night to avoid losing heat through the windows.

3. Replace Furnace Filters

Did you know furnace filters are supposed to be changed every three months? Leaving the old, dirty ones in slows down the flow of air and makes your system work harder. It’s an easy and affordable swap.

4. Turn Down the Temperature of Your Water Heater

use smaller appliances to save on energy costsAnother easy fix is simply adjusting the temperature of your water heater to “warm” (120 degrees). Older heater? Add an insulating blanket to reduce heat losses by as much as 45%!

5. Use Smaller Kitchen Appliances

Avoid using the oven if you can use a smaller appliance, like a toaster, microwave, or counter-top grill. And when you do use the oven, keep it closed. Every time you open it, the temp can drop as much as 25 degrees!
You may also consider skipping the dry cycle on your dishwasher and letting those dishes air dry instead. And be sure to check and make sure you refridgerator is properly sealed, and possibly adjust the temps on your freezer and fridge, too.

6. Unplug Electronics When Not in Use

No, it’s doesn’t have to mean hunting under your desk for the computer plug or behind the TV for the Xbox cord. Simply plug everything into a power strip and switch it to “off” when you’re not using your electronics.

7. Lower the Thermostat

Not everybody likes to bundle up, but did you know that every degree you raise the temperature above 68 degrees can add as much as 10% to your energy bill? That might make you reach for your sweater…

Looking for BIG Energy Savings? Take on Some Small Projects

If you don’t mind putting a little work into your home, or you’re planning to sell it and want to see a little more return on your investment, here are some great ways you can really improve your home’s efficiency and value.

1. Seal Air Leaks or Replace Windows

Sealing up your leaks can save up to 30%! Caulk windows, add weatherstripping to doors, or consider a whole new set in more modern, energy-efficient designs, like double-paned glass.

2. Insulate Hot Water Pipes

Simply insulating your hot water pipes can raise the water temperature 2 to 4 degrees! Then you can turn the temp down.

3. Install Low-Flow Showerheads and Aerators

Reduce your water consumption with low-flow showerheads (less than 2.5gpm) and aerators (less than 1gpm).install a programmable thermostat to save on energy

5. Insulate the Roof

Check your current insulation in your roof or attic—older insulation may need to be replaced. Consider using more energy-efficient materials to really see some savings.

6. Install a Programmable Thermostat

You don’t have to go full-on Smart Home—you can still save big just by installing a thermostat that will automatically adjust while you’re away.

7. Replace Old Appliances

If your appliances are getting on in years, it might be time for an upgrade. New appliances are designed to run more efficiently. And if you invest in ENERGY STAR certified appliances, you can see some big savings while really upping your home value.

Planning Energy Efficient Improvements to Increase Your Home Value?

If you’re thinking of increasing your energy efficiency because you’re planning to sell your home, then it’s time to contact Gary & Robert. As your guides to all things real estate and lifestyle in the Silicon Valley, we’re here to help you find your true home value, get your home ready to sell, and list your home with ease.

6 Ways to Save for Your Down Payment

A 20% down payment is a significant chunk of change. But with enough time to prepare and a little bit of creative budgeting, you’ll be able to save up for your new home sooner than you think. Follow these helpful budgeting tips to get started!

Break Down Your Budget

Closeup of the black and white number keys on a basic calculator.While it’s never a bad idea to start saving for a down payment, it’s an even better idea to analyze your budget before you consider a home purchase. This will help you set realistic expectations and concrete goals.

First, make a list of all of your necessary monthly expenditures — rent, power, water, phone service, student loans, etc. Add these expenditures up and subtract them from your monthly take-home pay. Then, look at everything that is left over and consider what to cut back.

After you’ve taken a look at your spending, determine what home price range (and, consequently, a 20% down payment) you could comfortably afford based on your current monthly budget. Our handy mortgage payment calculator might help!

Set a Concrete Savings Goal

Once you have an idea of how much money you’ll need to put down toward your new home, set a timeline for your savings. For instance, if you need to save up $20,000 for a down payment and want to move in five years, consider setting a savings goal of $335 per month.

Use a finance app like Mint to track your spending and your savings. Apps like these may also provide you with your credit score, which is essential to receiving the mortgage you need.

Get Prequalified for a Mortgage

A calculator sitting next to a paper document, which is signed at the bottom.Setting goals based on your current spending is a great place to start. To take the next step to buying your new home, meet with a lender about prequalifying for a mortgage.

Prequalifying for a mortgage will let you know how much financing you may qualify for — and how much you’ll need to save for your down payment. When you talk with a lender, ask for the maximum amount of financing that’s available to you based on your credit score and financial history. This may open up a lot of options when you’re searching for homes.

Not sure how to find a reputable mortgage broker? Give us a call and we can connect you with a trusted local lender.

Find Creative Ways to Save Money

If you’re having trouble meeting your savings goals for the month, even after you’ve carefully budgeted for the essentials, find ways to cut out superfluous spending or think of ways to earn a little bit of cash on the side. For example, you can:

  • Sell gently used clothing and household items at a yard sale
  • Substitute a movie streaming service for cable TV
  • Collect your loose change in a jar and cash it in every month
  • Use coupons while shopping at the supermarket
  • Use browser extensions like Honey to save while shopping online

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

A young woman holding colorful shopping bags in her hand over her shoulder.Saving for a down payment is no easy task. Every time you reach a major milestone, be sure to congratulate yourself!

Obviously, don’t spend all of that money in one place, but feel free to treat yourself to something special to reward yourself for your hard work.

Consider Home Buying Assistance Programs

Are you still having trouble saving for a 20% down payment? It might be worth looking into home buying assistance programs, such as FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans.

How Can We Help You Achieve Your Goals?

We are always available to discuss your home buying plans. Connect with us and we can provide you with the resources and advice you need.

Get Ready for the Amazing Public Features of the Charleston East Google Campus!

Life in Mountain View is already pretty spectacular—but it’s about to get even better when Google starts work on its amazing and futuristic new Charleston East campus. How will this campus differ from the current Googleplex? It’ll be open to the public, which means you don’t have to work for Google to reap the benefits of its new-age development.

Here’s what public features are coming to the Charleston East Google campus.

The New Google Campus Will Offer Futuristic Public Amenities

Modern big-city construction is often associated with green space and trees coming down and buildings going up… but Google plans to do it a little differently. In fact, the entire Charleston East campus will basically be a lush public park and gathering area. Check out what it’ll offer.

Parklike Landscaping All Around

lots of lush landscaping are public features of the charleston east google campusGoogle plans to plant trees and add lush parklike areas all around the building to provide a lush, green respite from big-city living. Sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes will encourage car-free navigation, too.

An Oak Deck for a Peaceful Respite

park benches and decks are public features of the charleston east google campusEmployees and civilians alike can gather on the deck to relax, unwind, and enjoy the scenery. Gatherings, guitar-playing, and picnics welcome!

Welcoming Vendors & Entertainment

food trucks will be public features of the charleston east google campusThe park around the campus will be large enough to welcome local vendors, like food trucks, so you can stop by and grab a bite to eat or enjoy a sandwich on the lawn.

First-Floor Shopping & Dining

shops and restaurants are public features of the charleston east google campusPossibly the best part of all: the first floor will be open to the public and feature shops, restaurants, stores, and businesses along a pedestrian walkway leading out to the park. Pretty nifty.

Google’s Also Adding Homes and Offices

google plans to add more houses around the charleston east google campusGoogle is currently working with the city of Mountain View to develop plans to add over 10,000 homes, 3.6 million square feet of office space, and a mix of parks, shops, and businesses around the new campus and the current Googleplex, helping to develop the city into a walkable destination with plenty of high-quality housing and attractions.

Places to Live Near the Google Campus

searching for a home around the charleston east google campusIf you want to get in on the action, then it’s time to start searching homes for sale in Mountain View! The closer to the Bay you search, the closer you’ll be to all the Google innovation. But there are lots of other great neighborhoods and towns in the surrounding areas, too. Downtown Mountain View has lots of shops and restaurants, or you might find more affordable options in Old Mountain View or Castro City.

Nearby Towns Offer Amazing Lifestyles

You don’t even have to live in Mountain View to reap the benefits of the Google campus. Nearby towns, like Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, or Los Altos, offer beautiful homes, amazing amenities, and top-rated schools. It’s no surprise all of these towns rank among the best places to live in the Silicon Valley.

Searching for Your Dream Home in the Silicon Valley?

If you’re thinking of buying a home in the Silicon Valley, then it’s time to contact Gary & Robert. As your guides to real estate and lifestyle throughout the Valley, we’re here to help you explore the area, discover its neighborhoods, and find the perfect home for sale.

A Quick Guide to Tax-Deductible Donations in Your Home

Coffee cups protected by paper in a cardboard moving box.In the season of giving, many local organizations and businesses often accept donations of clothing, household goods, and other gently used items to help those in need.

Homeowners looking to downsize or preparing for a move (or just clearing up some space at home) can not only pay it forward by donating to a local charity, they can also take advantage of tax deductions. We’ve created this handy guide to tax-deductible items to help you know what to donate and how to write off your contributions.

Belongings and Household Items That You Can Donate

Most organizations have guidelines about the specific items that they accept, but in general, you can donate these kinds of items to local charities:

  • furniture, such as beds, desks, tables, and chairs
  • clothing, such as shirts, shoes, and new underwear
  • appliances, such as heaters, working TVs, and A/C units
  • vehicles, such as cars or boats
  • building materials, such as doors, windows, and wood flooring

How to Deduct Your Contributions

Dozens of suitcases, duffle bags, and boxes packed into a tiny attic.The IRS allows homeowners to take itemized deductions on charitable contributions on their tax returns. If you have an attic full of items that you don’t use or have several boxes of items that you don’t want to move to your new home, don’t just throw them out! Here’s what to do instead.

1. Find a Charity That Qualifies for Deductible Donations

The IRS’s Exempt Organizations Select Check tool is a great place to start. You can search by city or state to find a list of organizations that qualify for tax-deductible contributions. It’s important to note that donations to individuals aren’t tax deductible.

2. Determine the Value of Your Contributions

Knowing the monetary value of your contributions is essential to writing off your donations on your taxes. Some organizations, such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill, have helpful guidelines about the fair market value of appliances, clothing, furniture, and other household goods.

Neon sticky notes and a pen sitting on top of a document with a long list.Before you donate your items, make a list of each item and its value. You can evaluate your items by checking with the organization or, for any high-value items, having them appraised.

3. Know Your Limits

There are limits to what you can deduct for charitable contributions on your income tax returns. If your donations are more than 20% of your adjusted gross income, certain caps may apply based on what kinds of items you donated and to what type of organization.

If you contribute over $500 in items, you will need to fill out and attach Form 8283 to your return. If you make any contributions over $5,000 for items like rare art, collectibles, or real estate, you will also need to have them appraised.

4. Ask for a Receipt or Other Written Record

Once you’ve donated your items, ask for documentation, such as a receipt. Having a record of your contribution will help you know exactly how much you donated (and what to write off on your taxes).

Are You Donating Items to Prepare for a Home Sale?

Granite kitchen countertops that are free of any clutter and appliances.You’re off to a great start. Clearing out your closets, basement, attic, or other storage space is the best way to lighten the load for your move. We can help you take your preparations a step further.

Whether you’re starting to research the value of your home or are simply considering the idea of putting your home on the market, we’re here to help. Contact us and we’ll provide you with all of the information you need.

Find Your Best City to Buy a Home in the Silicon Valley

Thinking of buying a home in the Silicon Valley but not sure where to start your search? Take a look at some of these top-rated and favorite Santa Clara County cities to discover the perfect place to buy your home in the Silicon Valley.

The Best Places to Buy a Home in the Silicon Valley

best places to buy a home in the silicon valleyIf we look at the overall Best Place to Buy a Home in the Silicon Valley, Los Altos Hills stands apart. Niche.com ranks it as the #1 Best Place to Buy a Home in Santa Clara County AND in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as the #17 Best Place to Buy a House in California. It’s also ranked as the #1 Best Place to Live in Santa Clara County.

Other Top Silicon Valley Cities for Home Buyers

best city to buy a home in the silicon valleyLooking at some of the same rankings by Niche (Best Places to Buy a House and Live in Santa Clara County, Best Place to Buy a House in the San Fran Bay Area), other top cities appearing on the list include Los Altos (#4 for buying and #2 for living, as well as #8 best in the San Fran Bay area), Palo Alto (#5 for buying, #2 for living, and #11 in San Fran), and Mountain View (#7 for buying, #3 for living, and #17 in the Bay Area), as well as Los Gatos, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara.

Other studies, like this one by StreetAdvisor, name cities such as Mountain View, Sunnyvale, San Jose, Milpitas, and Palo Alto among the best Silicon Valley cities.

But Rankings Aren’t Everything…

Sure, rankings like these can give you an overall idea of how cities compare. But what if you’re looking for something specific? Instead of getting an overall view, you might instead consider comparing cities on specific criteria, such as these:

Cities with the Best Schools in the Silicon Valley

cities with the best schools in best places to buy a home in the silicon valleyBeing near top-rated schools are crucial to many buyers. These cities’ school districts rank among the best in the area, as well as the state:

  • Los Altos Hills
  • Mountain View
  • Palo Alto
  • Los Altos
  • Los Gatos
  • Cupertino

Safest Places to Live in the Silicon Valley

safest places in best city to buy a home in the silicon valleyFeeling safe in your neighborhood is definitely an important factor. So, where are the crime ratings the lowest in Santa Clara County?

  • Los Altos Hills
  • Los Altos
  • Cupertino
  • Los Gatos
  • Sunnyvale
  • Palo Alto

Silicon Valley Cities with the Best Shopping & Dining Areas

best shopping and dining in the silicon valleyBeing close to amenities, shopping, conveniences, and entertainment are also important to buyers, both for your own interests, and for your home values. Larger cities, such as San Jose and Santa Clara offer plenty of options and great downtown scenes, but smaller towns, like Palo Alto, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View also have a lot to offer.

Best Access to Convenient Transportation

cities with the best public transportation in best city to buy a home in the silicon valleyIf you’re looking for a convenient way to get to work, or a city with lots of public transit options, San Jose is the winner, hands down. Here, you’ll find access to numerous freeways, as well as public transit that includes Caltrain, ACE, the VTA lightrail, and Amtrak. A close second, Santa Clara also offers access to major freeways and public transit.

Most Affordable Cities in the Silicon Valley

most affordable in best city to buy a home in the silicon valleyAffordability is key to almost everyone, especially home buyers. So, where is your dollar going to stretch the furthest in Santa Clara County?

  • San Jose
  • Sunnyvale
  • Santa Clara
  • Mountain View
  • Milpitas
  • Palo Alto

Searching for Your Perfect Home in the Silicon Valley?

If you’re thinking of buying a home in the Silicon Valley, then it’s time to contact Gary & Robert. As your guides to real estate and lifestyle in Santa Clara County, we’re here to help you explore the area, learn more about relocating to the Silicon Valley, and find your dream home.

12 Month-by-Month Goals for Your New Home

A beige couch in the middle of an open living room.‘Tis the season — for goal planning, that is! Many people spend December reflecting on the year and creating a list of goals to aim for in the New Year, and recent home buyers are no exception.

If you’re thinking about ways to preserve that “new-to-you” feeling in your home and keep the clutter at bay throughout the year, follow our handy month-by-month home organization planner.

January: Clear Out Any Cluttered Spaces

Decluttered spaces can keep your home looking and feeling like new (even if it isn’t). While you’re putting away holiday decorations, take some time to tackle any clutter that has begun to accumulate in catch-all spaces, such as closets, the garage, and any rooms that are still full of half-unpacked moving boxes.

February: Create a Home Organization Plan

A list of things to do each day of the week.Detailed planning is a great way to stay on top of your New Year’s home organization goals. Outline a list of tasks to complete daily, weekly, and monthly. This list can include indoor and outdoor maintenance as well as fun tasks like decorating.

Be sure to pin your home organization plan in a conspicuous space, such as on the refrigerator. You can also lighten your workload by divvying up the tasks to other members of the household.

March: Deep Clean Your Home

Kick off the spring season with a thorough cleaning of your home. In all likelihood, your new home won’t need too much TLC, so just focus on the well-used areas of your house: the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and main entertaining spaces.

April: Show Off Your Green Thumb

A vase of flowers.Take a break this month. You’ve earned it. Instead of cleaning or decluttering, decorate your home with greenery to usher in springtime. Flowers, succulents, and low-maintenance plants look great indoors.

May: Focus on the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most used spaces in a home. Devote the full month to tackling any clutter issues in the drawers and cabinets, investing in space-saving organizers, deep cleaning the stove, and repairing appliances if necessary.

June: Focus on the Bathrooms

Follow the same plan as you did with the kitchen, but this time focus your cleaning and decluttering efforts on the bathrooms. Dispose of any expired prescriptions or toiletries and consider flushing out your pipes.

July: Organize the “Junk Drawer”

After a few months of living in your home, you may start to notice little spaces that collect a lot of clutter. The so-called junk drawer is often a major aggravation to homeowners. Take some time to try and find a new home for the items that have accumulated in this drawer or space.

You can also come up with clever ways to keep the clutter at bay, or at the very least look intentional. Drawer dividers, wooden trays, and small containers can transform any cluttered drawer into a well-organized space.

August: Organize Mail and Other Documents

An office desk clear of any papers.It’s easy to let papers pile up on the counter or on the desk. First, discard any junk mail that is contributing to the clutter, then sort through the rest of the papers in the pile.

If you don’t have a system in place yet, create a way to effectively manage your mail and other documents, such as a binder or a filing cabinet. Be sure to go through your old documents from time to time and shred what you need to.

September: Reevaluate Your Summer Closets

Now that summer is coming to a close, sort through your wardrobe and figure out what you didn’t wear this season. Consider donating gently used clothes and accessories to a local charity or selling them at a yard sale.

October: Reevaluate Your Organization Systems

A blank piece of paper and a sharpened pencil.Think back to the whole-home organization plan you created in February: Have you been able to keep those resolutions? Are you noticing that you need to complete certain tasks more often than others? Reevaluate your plan and make changes as you see fit.

If you’ve had trouble sticking with your organization plan, take this time before the holidays to pick up where you left off.

November: Pick Through Your Holiday Decorations

As the holiday season approaches and the year winds down, go through your collection of holiday ornaments and other decorations. Keep the ones you use most often and discard any that you have either not used or cannot repair.

December: Focus Once Again on the Kitchen

If you plan to entertain guests for the holidays, focus your cleaning and decluttering efforts once again on the kitchen. This time, instead of devoting all of your time to the drawers and cabinets, turn your attention to the fridge.

Dispose of any expired food, transfer leftovers to smaller containers, and rearrange your shelves to make more room for holiday dinners.

We Can Help with Your Home Organization Goals

Whether you’re thinking about buying a home in 2018 or have just moved in (congratulations!), we’re here to help you with everything you need. Call us and we’ll provide you with even more homeowner tips and resources.