Nothing makes me happier than being a guest blogger. Maybe it’s because I can preach my home loving heart to other corners of the online world. Needless to say, I was pumped when JB from Building Moxie asked me to throw a guest post his way. Maybe I’d write about a recent furniture rehab? Or toss a few savvy real estate tips into the mix? I could knock this out in no time!…or so I thought. JB threw a curve ball my way and wanted me to dig a little deeper than paint thinner and upholstery tacks. He wanted me to share a story about what it is that got me to where I am.”

Live the Home Life Blog HeaderWhere I am? You mean like at my dining room table typing away? In real estate? Oh boy. Time to switch my brain into a different gear.

As the daughter of an architect dad and a DIY queen of a mother, I think I truly had no choice but to become a home enthusiast. From growing up watching my parents demo and redo every room in our childhood home to taking on home projects of my own in my 20-something life, I’ve collected a few rules to live by over the years….

My Remodeling Rules:

1. Be smart, not scared.

What’s the old Gordon Gekko line from “Wall Street?” Every battle is won before it is ever fought. Words to live by. The more planning you do on the front end, the better off you (and your budget!) will be.

2. Know your limits.

Tackling a project DIY style while ignoring that little voice inside your head screaming Call a professional! often only results in a loss of time, money and patience. Know your limits, which change over time, so reassess before each project and honestly ask yourself Can I do this?

Editor’s Note: Part of our Essential Skills series – How to Know when to Call a Pro.

3. Stay organized.

Outline your budget in a spreadsheet. Keep a file for all estimates & receipts. Staying on top of your plans and expenses helps keep your head on straight and blood pressure down.

4. Ask questions.

Lots of questions. Take advantage of your electrician/plumber/tile guy. Tell them that you value their knowledge and use it as an opportunity to learn. Always ask with a smile. No one likes a stick in the mud.

5. Laugh at yourself.

The world will not end with one plumbing setback. Learn from it and move on.

Whether going after a weekend home project or a major overhaul, the unexpected always rears its ugly head. Just remember to think smart, stay calm and keep your eye on the finish line.


Note from the Hosts:  We’d like to thank Cara for digging deep on this one. Sound advice collected from years of doing and just making it happen.

Cara can be found blogging at Live the Home Life.  With her husband, Eric, Cara is one part of the Little Rock Realtor team at the Charlotte John Company.

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Cara was Tagged for this project by her friend and fan Alycia Wicker. For essays from the Tagged series, please see our category – Essays.