Dec. 28, 2020

Home Business Tips

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How to Take Your Home-Based Business to the Next Level


As a small business owner working from home, you are probably well aware of the advantages and drawbacks of running your business out of your house. From the efficiency of your workflow to the design and layout of your home office, you want to make sure you are set up for success. To get started, here are a few types of improvements from the Sonya Francis Team that can help you take your business to the next level.


Consider Forming an LLC

An LLC, or limited liability company, is a hybrid business structure that combines the best features of a corporation, partnership and sole proprietorship. It’s a good idea because it provides personal legal protection for you in case your business is ever sued. It also has a significant tax benefit because your business income won’t be taxed before it’s distributed to you — in other words, as Intuit Turbotax explains, iit avoids double taxation. In addition, an LLC:


  • Allows modifications to your operating agreement as your needs change
  • Entails less paperwork than a corporation
  • Doesn’t require a lawyer


You can avoid attorney fees by completing the process yourself online or by using a formation service to help you. Either option is simple and inexpensive. The rules for forming an LLC vary by state, so make sure you check your state’s regulations before moving ahead.


Assess Your Marketing Strategy

Are you utilizing the right tools to get the word out about your business? Research shows that social media marketing is a necessary part of any business’s promotion strategy. Likewise, frequent content creation on your website, blogging and search engine optimization all attract attention to the products or services you offer. You can hire a digital marketing specialist or improve your own marketing skills through free or low-cost training courses available online.


Design a More Productive Space

Your home office should be an optimal work environment for you, which can be challenging if you regularly have family at home during the day. If the size, layout or current location of your office is getting in the way of your productivity, it may make sense to consider either redesigning your work and living spaces or buying a new home that meets your needs. If you’re ready to look into buying a new home, follow a few important steps:

  1. Use a mortgage calculator and input your household income, debt-to-income ratio, credit score and approximate down payment to determine how much you can afford.
  2. Apply for mortgage pre-approval with a bank offering the best interest rate. 
  3. Find a real estate agent who is knowledgeable about your desired area, price point and requirements as a home-based business owner.
  4. Search online to see what homes are available.


Develop or Expand Your Network

Networking is all about building relationships and establishing connections, and as Neil Patel points out, there are many ways to accomplish this. Even if you are a sole proprietor working from home, your business network can still be quite extensive. There are both online and in-person networking groups in which you can share experiences, give and receive referrals and even offer support. Social media communities exist for every niche you can think of, and many of these groups are tight-knit and extremely effective at helping attract loyal fans and customers. You can join an existing group or start your own. Be creative in your networking efforts!


What would it take to make your home-based business all it can be? Reexamine your vision and purpose; allow yourself to dream bigger. Everything doesn't need to happen now or all at once, but even small changes can have a big impact on the quality and success of your business.


Connect with the Sonya Francis Team for more information on how they can help you with all your real estate-related needs!

Oct. 13, 2019

Preparing Your Home for the Colder Months

Preparing Your Home for the Colder Months 


Now that the warm summer months are behind us, it’s time to prepare for winter. Regardless of whether you expect to see sub-zero temperatures this season or you live in one of the warmer climates, preparing your home for colder weather can save you money and hassle this winter. So before you dig out your fall sweaters, take a weekend and prepare your home for the cold weather to come. 

Save Energy

Fall is a great time to seal drafts in the home which can suck energy out. Check around doors and windows and replace worn weather stripping and caulking. If you use your fireplace for warmth during winter, this is the right time to have the chimney cleaned and checked for safety. Arrange a furnace tune up complete with replacing the filter and vacuuming the vents to make sure you are warming your home efficiently.

Outdoor Tasks

Before the chill turns to freezing, head to the yard to winterize the exterior of your home. Check gutters for clogged leaves and other debris and examine the roof and siding for any repairs which could create leaks or drafts in the cold. If the gardening season is at its end, drain water from outdoor faucets and garden hoses. Make sure the sprinkler system is off and reinforce any exposed pipes which could burst with the cold. Fall is here. Along with the smell of baking and falling leaves, you can ensure your home is ready for winter by taking a few steps now to prepare. Save energy and the hassle of an unexpected repair by getting some routine maintenance done before the cold months come.


Sept. 13, 2019

4 Reasons to Sell this Fall

4 Reasons to Sell this Fall

Traditional lore says that the best time to list your home for sale is spring and if it hasn’t sold by the end of summer, you’re out of luck. Along the same lines, homeowners across the country are often advised not to list in the fall and wait until after the holidays to list. The truth is that a great home will sell at any time of year and in fact there are some very good reasons to list in the fall, while everyone else is busy doing other activities.

4 Reasons to Sell this Fall

1. Less Competition – As mentioned above, most sellers list in spring so as a seller, fall provides you less competition which increases the opportunity for buyers to view your home.

2. Serious Buyers – Home buyers in fall often have a timeline to move before the holidays. They tend to take the home search seriously and move to write offers faster and avoid wasting time.

3. Curb Appeal – Fall is a beautiful time of year and homes always seem cozier as the weather turns. Fall colors in the trees and the scent of baking entice buyers to feel “at home” which encourages offers.

4. Closing is Easier – The pace of home sales slows during the fall; as such lenders can move faster and the process tends to take less time.


The last and best reason to sell this fall is that it’s the right time for you and your plans. Regardless of whether you are relocating, moving up or scaling down, if this is the right time to sell, then this is the best time to sell. 

Aug. 13, 2019

Is the Investment to Make your Home a "Smart Home" Worth it for Resale?

Is the Investment to Make your Home a "Smart Home" Worth it for Resale?


Over the past few years, smart technology has really blossomed into a huge market. With more-and-more devices offering connectivity and lower prices, almost all households have some kind of smart device in their home. While some smart devices are simply “nice to have,” many can actually increase the value of the home; if you are considering a move in the future, learning which smart upgrades will increase your home’s value is important.

Here are a few of the best smart home upgrades:

 Smart Thermostats – Energy saving smart thermostats can sense when the home is occupied and vacant to control the temperature while saving energy costs.

 Smart Smoke Detectors and Security Systems – Life saving smart security can alert you and the authorities automatically if there is a problem in the home.

 Smart Door Locks – Either as part of the security system or stand alone, smart door locks allow you to control access to your home. Using Wi-Fi to unlock doors remotely and program unique codes for family, guests, housekeepers etc., you will always know by whom and when your home is accessed.

 Smart Moisture Sensor – Mold has become a huge problem. Smart moisture sensors detect water leaks, humidity and temperature changes to protect your home from moisture damage.


These are just a few of the great smart home products available to make your home more attractive to potential buyers. Most starting under $250, these smart choices will not only protect your home, but add value when listing for sale. 

Posted in Home Tips
April 7, 2019

Shred Event

March 22, 2019

House Hunting Online

Top Tips for House Hunting Online

Blog May (12)

Hunting for a new home online a is a great place to start your search but keep in mind that you don’t see everything. Real estate agents are great at highlighting the features of a house listing online but to make the most of your time, keep these three things in mind:

Identify your Housing Needs

Preferences are important when house searching. A house may not have everything you want but it will have most of the things. Be realistic about pricing and keep in mind the must-have items that will definitely be needed because this will help narrow your search.

Stay up to Date

When you start your search, make sure you go to sites with up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service. Realtors post their most current homes for sale through this. Many sites fail to remove listings that are already off the market, and this can lead to you trying to sort through them and find the recent ones.

Pictures can be Deceiving

Photographers capture listings at their best. They use different strategies and tools to boost the appeal of the home like creative editing and expensive camera equipment known for its effects. What they don’t show is unappealing parts, like an undone bathroom or small closet.

Go See The Listing After

After you have chosen a house that’s appealing to you, schedule a showing with your real estate agent. This is the opportunity to see every part of the house in person and see if it’s a good fit. Searching online is a great way to learn more about the house you’re looking for. Even if you’re still unsure about moving, house hunting online gives potential sellers the basic information.

March 8, 2019

Tips For Buyers Considering a Fixer Upper

Tips for a Buyer of a Fixer-Upper


blog april


Over the last few years weekend warriors have been delighted to find an abundance of television shows devoted to fixing up homes. More specifically, they show viewers how to take a fixer upper and turn it from an ugly duckling to a special property that they can call home. It sounds so easy but before you grab a sledge hammer and head out to buy that cheap bankowned building on the corner, there are things to consider. First and foremost, how handy are you really? Fixer-uppers can vary from cosmetic paint and carpet, maybe changing a countertop or fixtures; then there are fixers which have electrical problems and slab leaks. It’s important to understand what you are capable of handling – either yourself or supervisory level. 


Tips for a Buyer of a Fixer-Upper

 Do Your Research – Don’t assume anything. Check for local ordinances and zones to make sure the plans you have for the property are truly available to you.

 Hire a Professional – Regardless of your level of “handiness” you need professional help. Start with a professional home inspection and understand the true condition of the home.

 Know Your Limits – A great deal is only a deal if you can take on the project. Be honest with yourself. If you need to, hire a General Contractor to handle the renovation.


Fixer-uppers can be great investments. These properties can be converted to beautiful homes or flipped for quick profit, but either way, handled well these ugly ducklings will live up to the best episode of HGTV. 

Feb. 22, 2019

Choosing A New Home Builder



You’ve found the perfect patch of land and now you’re ready to build your new home, from scratch. The right home builder is the key between a beautiful custom home and a project filled with delays and extra costs – a money pit. If you don’t have a great builder on speed dial, how can you find a good new home contractor? Here are a few tips for making sure you get the best builder for your project. 

• Build a List of Options – The first step is to find local builders who create homes which suit your lifestyle and taste.

• Do Your Homework – Ask for references and take your time in doing your due diligence. Ask for past clients who will be willing to meet with you and show you the actual homes they have built. Ask about the process and if they finished on time. Ask about problems and find out how the builder solved them.

• Learn About the Subcontractors – A strong builder works with the best craftsmen in the area. Ask about the subcontractors and interview them and check their references as well. 


Learn all you can about the builder and their projects. Make sure the homes are built with solid materials and construction techniques. Before you choose anyone, you should feel completely assured they will create a great home and completely understand your vision. 


Feb. 15, 2019

8 Things Buyers Notice as Soon as they Walk In


Buyers notice everything – good and bad. From the moment they walk in the front door, they are trying to determine if this is the right home for them and their family. If you have your home listed for sale, paying attention to what the buyers notice can mean the difference between an offer and a missed opportunity. 8 Things Buyers Notice as Soon as they Walk In

1. Light – A bright home is inviting. Make sure you fill your home with lots of natural light or a soft evening glow.

2. Smell – Nothing is less inviting than a strong odor. Even candles and air fresheners can be overwhelming. Less is more and make sure nothing unpleasant is lingering.

3. Space – Remove any unneeded furniture and offer a spacious home which flows.

4. Ceilings – Of course you can’t make your ceilings higher, but make sure they are free from water stains because buyers will look up.

5. Pictures and Personal Items – Remove personalization as much as possible so the buyers can imagine their family in the home.

6. Outdated Furnishings and Fixtures – If your home is filled with hand-me-downs, consider a professional stager. Old wall paper or outdated paint colors should be replaced as well. 7. Dirty, Grimy Rooms – Most important, clean everything thoroughly. Nothing is less appealing than a dirty home.

Feb. 8, 2019

How to Know When it's Time to Move?


Most people dread the thought of moving, yet those same people love it when they move. Why? Most likely it’s emotional attachment and nostalgia for a beloved home. It’s understandable but yet a home that just doesn’t fit your needs any longer can make even the most loved home uncomfortable.

Are you wondering if it’s time to move? Here are 6 telltale signs that you should consider putting the “for sale” sign up in your front yard.

1. Your Home is Too Small – One of the most common signs is that you’ve outgrown your home.

2. Your Home is Too Large – Life changes! Empty nesters often find the home too large and it’s maintenance too much when they finally have time to travel and relax.

3. Your Home is Too Expensive – Are you spending all your extra cash making repairs or do you want major upgrades to suit your lifestyle?

4. The Neighborhood is Losing Value – Neighborhoods do change over time, if yours is declining consider a move.

5. Changing the Weather – Have you finally tired of shoveling snow? A move to a warmer state could be the right move.

6. Change is Good – The last great reason to move is to try something new. Different style or location, if the home isn’t making you happy any longer, time to move.