Thinking of renovating? Or maybe you’re getting ready to stage your home for sale? Before you bring out the hammer or start buying new items, check out these innovative apps to help with planning and design phases.

Start Your Planning

These apps help you design from the palm of your hand!

  • Magicplan: Recreates your room and furniture to scale before moving anything around.
  • Home Design 3D Outdoor/Garden: Design your perfect patio by creating a 3D scale model. Add furniture and with easy drag-and-drop features.
  • DecorMatters: Choose from a wide selection of furniture, art and lighting from your favorite stores in augmented reality (iOS only).
  • Pantone Studio: Using augmented reality, identify color palettes from your saved images to create a color swatch (iOS only).

Find Inspiration

Check out these websites to gather inspiration for your project.

  • Pinterest: Save the images you like to a board to keep all of your ideas in one spot.
  • Houzz: Create “ideabooks” for your projects to share with professionals.
  • Apartment Therapy: A design blog with the latest design trends

Your Mobile Toolkit

  • Compass App: Determine where light hits during the day.
  • IHandyLevel: Transform your phone into a level for hanging wall items.
  • Photo Measures: Take a picture of your space and get the measurements right away.

Ready to Start?

You don’t have to tackle your project alone! I can connect you with an excellent contractor who can make your renovation dreams a reality in a healthy and safe manner. Contact me today to find out more.


House model with agent and customer discussing for contract to buy, get insurance or loan real estate or property.

Is now the right time to sell your home? Thanks to the pandemic, we are facing uncertainty in many facets of life. You may be wondering if now is a good time to sell your home. The answer, right now, is YES!

Understandably, home sales were down earlier in the year. However, in May 2020, home sales shot up 44.3%- the highest month-over-month jump since 2001. Now is the perfect time to sell or buy a home (with record-low interest rates). Perhaps you’re still a little hesitant and that’s completely okay. Let’s navigate through some common misconceptions in real estate during 2020 and take a look at what’s really happening.

  1. MYTH: It is a difficult time to sell a home

“… the general sentiment [among some home owners] is that now is not a good time to sell your home,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at “Yet, so far, the data suggests the opposite-that buyers outnumber sellers in the housing market, which means it’s better to be a seller than a buyer.” Buyers outnumber sellers which lead to more offers for each listing. And it shows the housing market is hot.

  1. MYTH: Home prices are dropping

Per the National Association of Realtors (NAR), home prices are actually rising. The national median price for single-family homes grew 7.7% during the first quarter of 2020, to $274,600. Why is this happening? Record-low mortgage rates are bringing buyers out of the woodworks. Increasing home prices combined with low mortgage rates are creating a fantastic atmosphere for selling a home.

  1. MYTH: We should wait for a market comeback

According to ShowingTime, which measures showing traffic per residential property for sale by agents and brokers, showings in the United States are up dramatically from earlier in the year. The data shows an outstanding 60.7% increase since July 2019. And homebuyer traffic across the nation continues to grow. The myth that now is a terrible time to buy or sell a home is a misconception across the United States. We can’t be sure how much the market will continue to go up from here, or if and when it might cool off. If you’re looking to sell, now is the time.

For my local clients, I am available to help you buy or sell your home in Northern Nevada, including the Tahoe area. I’m also privileged to be a part of the greatest referral network in the country, so if you are moving into or out of the area I can connect you with someone I know and trust for your real estate needs. Contact me by phone at 775-309-7979 or by email at to take advantage of the expanding real estate market today.

When people ask me why I love what I do, I always smile. Being your real estate agent means I get to help you through some of the most exciting decisions of your life. It gives me immense pleasure when I see you walk into a house and I can see that sure feeling of “I’m Home” spreading across your face.

But it’s more than just making you happy as you’re buying or selling. I care deeply about learning the stories behind each and every one of my clients. Knowing why you are making the choice to buy or to sell, and really getting to know you on a more personal level, allows me not only to guide you through a large financial decision, but allows me to guide you through the emotional aspects of the process as well.

When I truly know the whole story behind a person, like I got to do with Teresa whose testimonial I will share next, I am able to take the reins in a way many agents never get deep enough to do. If all I knew about Teresa was that she was selling the home of a family member, I would not have been able to deliver the level of attention and care that she needed. As she mentioned in this sweet note to me, getting to know her and becoming a part of her life allowed me to serve her with the support she really needed during a trying time.

Teresa was a recent client of mine who needed help prepping and selling her late mother’s home. After a quick and smooth sale, she sent me this note: “I want to thank you for the smoothest and most efficient house sale I have ever had, and I mean that sincerely. Communication was superb, and any questions or concerns were addressed quickly, which was truly appreciated. Your support staff and other personnel you used to help with various issues—from the initial photography to handyman services to last minute housecleaning, and so on, were also great, as were your contacts at the title company. You clearly had a great working relationship with all of these people, and I’m sure that contributed to such a hassle-free transaction.

“Past experiences with buying and selling have been less than smooth, and I honestly felt throughout this process that I was in capable hands and, ‘Ginger would take care of . . .’ anything that came up. Which you did! And it was doubly important to me because I was suffering emotionally from the loss of my mother and having to sell her home. So, my sincere thanks for everything! I will happily recommend you wholeheartedly should I hear of anyone else looking to buy or sell real estate in your area.”

Life is not always a straight path, and the decision to buy or sell doesn’t always come simply. There will be numerous gifts along the way and obstacles to overcome and that can drive your decision, whether it be downsizing, upsizing, losing a family member, or gaining one. I fully believe that navigating these twists and turns in life requires a helpful hand along the way. That’s why treating you with care and diligence is my highest priority. Selling a home is no easy task, which is why I strive to create and maintain relationships with the most qualified people in the area to help me do what I do.

Thank you for such kind words, Teresa. It was a privilege to help you along this complex journey. Going through the loss of any family member is a task one should never face alone. I encourage all of my clients to use me as a resource. I will be there to learn and understand your story throughout the process, so that I can serve you with the exact level of support you need (and then some).


Step one
What Plants Work in Your Region?

Stroll around the neighborhood to get an idea for what plants work in your region.

step two
Pick the Plants That Work for You

Factor in how much work you’re willing to do, since some plants require more maintenance than others.

Roses, jasmine, honeysuckle or fresh herbs can provide a fresh, floral scent in your yard. Fruit trees can be fun to harvest and stay with the property, increasing its value. Try lemon and orange trees in warmer climates and plum, pear or apple trees further north.

Step three
Choose Your Planters

Make them pop, but keep them within the style of your home.

step four
Hang Up a Hummingbird Feeder

to create a colorful, more vibrant garden. These birds spread pollen to help your flowers grow more easily.

Step five
Maintenance Is Key!

Take some time each weekend to water the plants, remove any weeds and keep the yard space beautiful!


Building credit can be difficult to master. Understanding your credit report can be even harder.

What is considered in a credit score, anyway? Well, between FICO and VantageScore, there is no single way to calculate your credit score. These top models are similar but scored slightly differently.

FICO is the most common credit ranking for users.  This model has a range from 300 to 850 and is categorized into five major sections:

  • Payment History (35%): Why does this category determine so much of your credit score? According to Barry Paperno, a credit scoring expert, “FICO’s research has shown that a person’s payment track record tends to be the strongest predictor of the likelihood that the individual will pay all debts as agreed in the future.” In other words, borrowers with a history of paying on time tend to have solid credit scores.
  • Credit Utilization (30%): Experian, a major credit reporting company in the U.S., recommends borrowers keep their total credit utilization rate below 30%. Your credit balance should be far below your total limit. This shows credit scorers you’re underspending and properly managing your credit responsibilities.
  • Length of Credit History (15%): This section is simply the amount of time each of your credit accounts have been open. A longer history of accruing credit is a better indicator of your financial behavior.
  • Credit Mix (10%): Per, Credit Mix is simply a culmination of the different types of credit you have. Meaning, FICO considers different accounts (credit cards, auto loans, student loans) and assesses how you handled them.
  • New credit and recently opened accounts (10%): Simply put, don’t open a lot of new credit accounts over a short period of time. This will negatively impact your FICO score.

The VantageScore 3.0 model varies just a bit from FICO. Developed by the major credit reporting bureaus, this model is used by a lot of free credit report sites. Payment history (41%) and credit utilization (20%) are also categories considered in this model. Yet, there are other factors to consider using this credit ranking.

  • Duration and Type of Credit (20%): Lenders prefer to see long-term and established lines of credit. Having different types of credit (credit cards, auto loans, etc.) is also considered in this section. This category is similar to FICO’s Credit Mix.
  • Recent Behavior (11%): This section is similar to FICO’s new credit section. Scorers consider new credit accounts like personal loans or credit cards.
  • Total Balances (6%): Per CreditKarma, this category refers to the total amount of recently reported balances on your credit accounts.
  • Available credit (2%): Try to only take out credit that you need. This will help boost your overall credit score.

As your personal real estate agent, I’m always here to help. If you have any further questions about how lenders view your credit score, feel free to reach out to me at 775-309-7979.

My mentor, Brian Buffini, has a favorite quote from Coach John Wooden: “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.”

Racecars on a trackBrian likens opportunity to NASCAR. Here’s what he says: “We’re using the analogy of the rolling start from NASCAR. When they have the car wreck everything comes to a screeching halt. They clean up the road, they get everything organized, then they put the pace car out in front and bit by bit warm up the tires, warm up the engine, get the engine revving. Go around the track a couple of times, and then when pace car pulls away, you’re going full speed.”

As interest rates remain low and the economy begins its recovery, we are in that rolling start, and it’s time to rev the engines.

Opportunity is, if not here already, it’s coming. Don’t be too late to prepare. Here’s how you can get ready to sell your house and find your dream home.

  1. Get a pre-approval letter from your lender. Pre-approval shows you are serious about finding your new home. It lets sellers know you are conditionally able to purchase a house, and may help you with your offer. It also narrows your field to what you can afford to look at and may speed up the purchase process.
  2. Get your current house on the market: Especially if you are doing a contingency offer. The market is great, but it’s tight, so you’ll need to be able to move quickly.
  3. Find an experienced REALTOR®: An experienced REALTOR® will know which neighborhoods are trending up or down, and help you get the best possible price on the property you want.
  4. Identify your prospective new home: Check the listings in your price range, make a list and drive by the homes you are interested in. This will help you select your new neighborhood and save you time while touring properties.
  5. Be selective: only look at properties you’ve selected during your drive-bys. As we ramp our economy back up, sellers may be nervous about letting people view their homes. Make sure you’re only looking at properties you’ve pre-selected.

Maybe your house is too big now that the kids have moved on, or maybe you want to live near your grandchildren. Whatever the reason, now’s the time.

Prices are not falling, mortgage interest rates are low, and inventory is moving quickly. If you have been thinking about selling your house and looking for your new dream home, give me a call at 775-309-7979.

And if you are a homeowner, you should definitely listen to Brian’s latest chat with National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun.  Topics discussed include why home prices are remaining steady, how agents are navigating the process and completing transactions, why real estate provides a hedge against inflation, and why the house is still a valuable asset in high demand.

Many of you know my mentor and friend, Brian Buffini, hung the moon for me. This more true today than it has been throughout my career.


As a REALTOR® and a human, Brian’s no-nonsense, ever-encouraging and down to earth counsel has guided me through the ups and downs of the economy, in my professional development, and he has provided great wisdom and advice, even in just plain life.


Throughout the pandemic, Brian has stepped up his game to help us navigate these uncertain times and uncharted waters by adding bonus episodes of his regular weekly podcast. I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you. These are recent episodes that speak to your peace of mind, your sense of control in uncertainty, and give you comfort in our economy.


Take Control of your Financial Future with Chris Hogan: Chris Hogan, author of “Every Day Millionaires,” is a renowned speaker on building wealth and retirement finances. In this episode, he shares his thoughts on how to manage your finances in this current environment, and how to regain or retain control of your faith,  outlook, attitude, and actions.


The Pursuit of Happiness in Uncertain Times with Shawn Achor: Shawn Achor is the bestselling author of books including “Before Happiness,” The Happiness Advantage,” and his latest, “Big Potential.” You may have heard his Ted Talk, “The Happy Secret to Better Work.” I love this entire episode, but if you could walk away with only one thing, it would be this: “Optimism, social connection, gratitude, perceiving meaning, that’s feeling like our contribution to the world matters. Those are the things that restart forward progress…” – Shawn Achor


This Too Shall Pass – an Interview with Dr. Lawrence Yun: Dr. Yun, is like the Warren Buffet of real estate to me. He’s a top economist who happens to be the Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of REALTORS®.  This episode in particular is good news for all of us in uncertain economic times. I encourage you to hear Dr. Yun’s words for yourself. I won’t do them justice, and you’ll feel relieved to learn the difference between where we are financially today, and where we were just 12 years ago during the Great Recession.


Looking to sell, or know someone who is? Call me today! (775) 309-7979.


These are uncertain times, to be sure. Many of us who experienced the Great Recession and the mortgage and housing crisis of 2008 remember that time with anxiety. But this time is different in so many ways.


Here are the reasons we have confidence in our housing market today.


  1. Housing prices, while still rising, are not nearly at the levels we saw prior to the 2008 crash, where we had home values galloping way ahead of the curve, often with double-digit appreciation. Our appreciation levels over the past six years have held relatively steady, around 5% or so. In February, our housing market was on solid ground with home sales comfortably above one year ago, and home prices had risen for more than 90 consecutive months on a year-over-year basis. Home prices, unlike the stock market, do not move in a quick fashion one way or the other.


  1. Mortgage lending. At the peak before the crash, mortgages, especially sub-prime mortgages, were readily available to just about anybody. Today, the Mortgage Credit Availability Index measured monthly by the Mortgage Bankers Association indicates mortgage credit has been carefully tracked over the past several years and has remained low.


  1. Supply and demand. When the market crashed in 2008, we had more homes for sale than people were buying and builders were overbuilding in what’s known as a buyer’s market. Today, we are in a seller’s market – there are more people looking for homes than there are homes for sale, and builders are under-building, creating an inventory shortage.


  1. Home equity has increased. More than a third of homes in the U.S. are owned free and clear, and more than a quarter of homeowners have at least 50% equity today. During the mortgage crisis, people owed more than their homes were worth, making it easy for them to give up and walk away.


  1. Other economic downturns. In the early 1980’s recession, when the unemployment rate climbed to 12%, real estate prices kept rising. During the 1990’s recession, home prices rose. Even following the tragedy of 9/11, we had a short recession, but home prices still increased.


Housing market experts are predicting that the real estate and housing markets could very well pull us out of an economic slowdown caused by COVID-19. One of my favorite experts on the economy, Dr. Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of REALTORS®, sat down to chat with my hero, Brian Buffini, in a podcast recently about the housing market. Take a listen here, and be reassured!


Looking to sell, or know someone who is? Call me today! (775) 309-7979.

Home appraisals are important and generally are part of the buying/selling process. I get asked a lot of questions about home appraisals and my clients often get nervous awaiting the appraisal report.


What is an appraisal?

It’s an expert assessment of the value of something – for real estate, it’s your home. Appraisals come in the form of a report by a licensed appraiser; anything else is just a price opinion. Lenders most likely require appraisals to assure the value of the home is not less than what they are lending, but sometimes these can be waived.


Appraisals can be used for purchasing, refinancing, estate planning, estate settlement, and tax assessment.


For what reasons can an appraisal be waived?

This is up to the lender. Generally, lenders like to have an appraisal done on a home you are purchasing. However, while refinancing your home, you may not be required to have an appraisal. It really depends on the lender’s requirements.


How much does an appraisal cost?

Here in Northern Nevada, an appraisal generally costs around $500, sometimes more. If you have an exceptionally larger home, it may take longer to appraise and cost a little more. Or if the home is in a rural/remote location there may be extra costs for drive time and mileage.


Who pays for the appraisals?

In a real estate transaction, the buyer pays for the appraisal, but sometimes it can be negotiated to be paid for by or split with the seller, usually paid as a reimbursement at closing.


How does an appraisal work?

An appraisal is the due diligence of the buyer and lender and tells the buyers the value of the home, and how much you will spend on the home. Once an offer is accepted by the seller, the contract then begins, the lender will order an appraisal of the home, and the buyer’s agent will schedule for any inspections.


What is a home appraiser looking for?

An appraiser verifies measurements and home specs, such as basements and attics, indoor and outdoor features, and additional buildings. An appraiser looks for upgrades and compares to comparable homes, establishes how your home stacks up with comparable sales in the neighborhood, checks the debits and credits back and forth between the comparable sales until they arrive at a final value.


How to prepare for a home appraisal?

Sellers should clean before the appraisal like you would for a showing. Don’t take on any major projects that won’t get completed before the appraiser arrives. Make any repairs to maintenance items such as light switch plates, fixtures, broken or damaged windows, missing electrical plates or leaking faucets, and tend to any home safety and health issues. These minor things don’t necessarily count against the home value but it can give the overall impression the home has not been maintained. Have a list of any repairs, updates or renovations that have been made – new roof, windows, upgraded HVAC, finished basement, kitchen remodel, flooring or carpet upgrade/replacement, bath remodels. These things can add value to your home.


An Appraisal came in lower than purchase price…now what?

By far, everyone’s biggest fear.


This doesn’t happen often but if it does, look for errors (use your agent to help), comb through the appraisal report, and make sure all looks good. Check the comparable sales. If they make sense, again, lean on your agent to help as they have access to MLS and the data appraisers use for comparables. Request another appraiser and get a second opinion if things look wrong, not just less than you hoped.


Renegotiate the contract, the appraisal is the reason expert pricing is important in the beginning of a real estate transaction. If you have your house priced too high, you might be looking at an appraisal that contradicts your pricing opinion. This is a great reason to trust that your agent is accurately pricing your home and not feeling pressed to list it higher because you think it should be worth more than the market can bear.


Appraisals are a common step of the process. An appraisal doesn’t have to be scary and it should be pretty easy to navigate. However, if problems arise, your agent can help!!