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The Rewards of Remodeling a Fixer-Upper

Three Bed Bug Removal “Tips” That Could Leave You Worse Off Than When You Started

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Bed Bug Removal “Tips” That Could Leave You Worse Off Than When You Started

If you’re seeking out bed bug removal tips, it likely means you’re facing an infestation, which is never a good time. There’s a lot of info online about how to get rid of bed bugs, but unfortunately, a lot of it is flat wrong. Here are three bed bug removal tips that could leave you worse off. #1: Bug bombs or foggers One of the first methods many people try to eliminate bed bugs is a “bug bomb” or fogger. The thing is, these products use a chemical called pyrethrin, which is great against flying insects, but not so much against crawling pests. And, even if the chemical released did fight crawling insects, these bombs often don’t reach the inner crevices where bed bugs like to hide. On top of that, it’s going to leave a pesticide residue all over, meaning that counters, bedding, pet dishes, toys, and any other exposed surfaces will need to be wiped down (a warning many people miss). A bug bomb is generally the least effective pest treatment for any insect problem, much less bed bugs. #2: Cranking up the heat Heat can indeed kill bed bugs, but the temperature needs to be a lot higher than most homes can reach – 120 degrees. And it has to be at that temperature for over an hour, evenly heated. This includes the interior of walls and closets, plus the insides of all mattresses and furniture. This just isn’t going to be feasible by turning up the thermostat. Some people trying a home heat treatment to get rid of bed bugs have brought propane heaters and even grills inside their home, which is a quick recipe for a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. #3: Throwing out the affected mattress or clothing This “tip” could leave you worse off for two reasons: you may end up not even getting rid of the bed bugs, and you may end up throwing things away unnecessarily. If you have bed bugs on a mattress, there’s a great chance they’re elsewhere in the bedroom too. Get rid of just the mattress, and you haven’t done anything to really fix the problem. In the case of infestation being only on a mattress, a mattress encasement can be use to trap them for good (meaning your furniture and clothes should be okay). Certainly don’t throw your entire bedroom on the curb as soon as you see bed bugs. If you have a bed bug problem, your best solution is going to be to trust a professional from the onset. The sooner you call the pros in, the sooner you’ll have the bugs gone and have...

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Two Things You Should Consider Before Adding An Escalation Clause To Your Offer

Posted by on Jan 19, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Two Things You Should Consider Before Adding An Escalation Clause To Your Offer

When you’re shopping in a hot market, it can be tough to beat out the competition to get the home you want. One tool some real estate agents recommend is adding an escalation clause to your offer on a home. Here’s more information about this option and two things you should consider before adding this clause to your next bid. What is an Escalation Clause? An escalation clause is essentially an automated way to outbid other people submitting offers on a house. You define the amount of money you’re willing to pay over the top amount as well as a max amount you’re willing to pay for the home. For instance, you could set up your escalation clause so you pay a $1,000 more than the highest offer and a maximum of $350,000 for the house. If someone bids $315,000 for the home, your escalation clause would automatically increase your offer to $316,000. However, if someone bids $360,000, your offer would max out at $350,000. Escalation clauses can increase your chances of having the top offer in a competitive market, which can help you secure the home of your dreams. However, there are two things you need to consider before employing this option. Not All Sellers Accept Them While an escalation clause can be a buyer’s best friend, it’s not always in the seller’s best interest to accept an offer with one. The seller can’t negotiate the price of the home via submitting counteroffers to interested parties when one of them has an escalation clause. Additionally, the top offer may be the maximum amount the seller can hope to get in that transaction. If you were willing to pay $350,000 but the seller took your offer of $316,000, that’s a $34,000 loss for them, even though they probably wouldn’t know it unless you told them. Because of these issues, the seller may be unwilling to accept your offer with the clause attached, which could kill your chances of getting the home right out of the gate. The Seller May Raise the Price The biggest danger of using an escalation clause, however, is it might trigger a greed reflex in the seller. If the seller sees that someone is willing to pay more than he or she was anticipating, the person may reject all the offers and raise the price in an attempt to get more money. In that case, you may want to reconsider whether you really want to do business with that seller. Escalation clauses can help you win a bidding war, but you need to be careful about using one. Discuss the issue with a real estate agent to determine if this is the best strategy for your situation....

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Four Small But Important Ways to Prepare Before Your House Is Shown

Posted by on Jan 19, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Small But Important Ways to Prepare Before Your House Is Shown

When you’re attempting to sell your home and receive notification that an interested buyer wishes to schedule a showing, you’ll want to devote adequate time to ensuring that your residence looks the best it possibly can. This means you’ll be scrubbing and polishing the house from top to bottom, but in your quest to complete the larger cleaning projects, you shouldn’t overlook the smaller things that can make a difference in the home’s appearance. Here are four small but important things to do before the showing.  Lubricate Any Creaky Doors While it’s true that a creaky door won’t cause a prospective buyer to lose interest in your house, small aggravations of this nature can send a subtle sign that your house hasn’t been properly cared for. Use a can of lubricant to treat the hinges of exterior and interior doors, as well as cupboard doors, throughout your home. Remember to carry a rag with you to wipe up any excess lubricant. Put Away Things on Tables and Counters The average home often has a variety of things on its tables and counters, from mail that needs to be sorted to coffee mugs and more. These items aren’t hugely problematic, but they can be a little distracting. Plus, things on the counters in the kitchen can make the available counter space seem smaller. Take a minute to put these items in your drawers or cupboards so that they’re out of sight. Relocate Clothing and Footwear Many homes have a lot of clothing and footwear that may be in the way for people attending a showing. This is especially true during the winter, when coats, snow pants, gloves, hats, and boots will be stored around the front and back doors. Take the time to stash these items tidily in the closet so that they’re not in the way. Too much apparel hanging on the hooks in the front entrance can make the space feel cluttered. Ensure That the Temperature Is Right You may be in such a hurry to clean your home that you don’t give consideration to the temperature. Before you leave, ensure that the interior temperature is appropriate. This means that the air conditioner should be running during the summer and that the heat should be on during the winter. You don’t want prospective buyers noticing the temperature either way and getting distracted from evaluating your home. For example, if a buyer is chilly during the winter, he or she may hurry through the showing. For more tips on getting your home ready for a showing, talk to a real estate agent like Donna Lasater Real Estate & Property...

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Condo Living: What to Look for in a Condominium for Sale

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Condo Living: What to Look for in a Condominium for Sale

When you live in a larger city and want to own your own home, a condo is a wonderful investment. Not only is this type of real estate often cheaper than trying to find a home in a downtown location, but you can get many perks with condo living that you wouldn’t get in a traditional single-family home. As you shop for a condo for you and your family, make sure you look for key features so you make the right purchasing decision. Amenities Many condominiums feature amenities all residents can enjoy, such as a community pool, a workout area, and even laundry facilities. Choose a condo that has these things included in your purchase. Other amenities that you may take for granted but are very beneficial include on-ground maintenance, private parking, and 24-hour security. Some condominiums even have on-site managers you can turn to for noise issues and other problems that may arise with close-by neighbors. Location Condos are usually built in high-traffic areas where people can have easy access to downtown excitement, such as restaurants, shopping centers, and more. You should also look for a condo that is conveniently located near bus routes and your employment so you can easily get to work and the heart of the city with ease. Keep in mind that the closer a condominium is to downtown luxuries, the more expensive it may be, so talk with your real-estate agent about your budget and available condos within an affordable range. Private balcony Since a condo is one home among many in a single building, you will want to make sure you choose a dwelling that offers you your own private balcony or deck. Some condominiums have a community yard that can be divided so residents can have their own space to plant a garden, build a yard for their children and pets, and so forth. Since every condo building may have its own regulations and building structure, make sure to let your real-estate agent know that you want a unit that is as private as possible when it comes to outdoor access. Living in a condo can give you and your family the freedom of home ownership without your having to leave the heart of the city. Your real-estate agent can help you find the condo of your dreams that has the right amenities and a wonderful location so you can feel more confident and comfortable in your new home. Talk to a company such as Seaboard Real Estate & Financial Services to start looking at...

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3 Signs That You Should Hire a Wedding Planner

Posted by on Jan 11, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Signs That You Should Hire a Wedding Planner

Nowadays, it is not uncommon to come across all sorts of wedding planning advice on Pinterest, in magazines, and more. This can lead you to think that most people plan their own weddings, and it’s true that a lot of people end up handling all of the wedding planning on their own. Just because this works for a lot of people does not mean that it’s the right choice for you. You should know that hiring a wedding planner can be a good option, depending on your situation. These are a few signs that you may want to hire a wedding planner for your big day. 1. You’re (Really) Busy Some people have a lot more spare time than others when it comes to wedding planning. If you work a full-time job, go to school, or have kids to take care of, you might feel as if you have a full plate already. If this is the case, you might not have all of the time to put into planning the perfect wedding. In this situation, there is a good possibility that one of two things could happen: You could find yourself feeling incredibly stressed out, which could make you dread what should be one of the best days of your life, or you might not put in the time to plan a really great wedding day, so you could be disappointed. To prevent these things from happening, consider hiring a professional to help you if you are a really busy person. 2. You Have No Idea What You Want Some people know a lot about weddings — either from researching them, attending them, or both — and already have an idea in mind for what they want their wedding day to be like. If this doesn’t sound like you and if you are having a tough time coming up with any ideas for your wedding, you should know that a wedding planner can help by talking to you about your options and helping you choose the one that is right for you. 3. You’re on a Budget You might assume that skipping the wedding planner is the best way to save money when you’re planning a wedding on a budget, but the opposite can actually be true. This is because a wedding planner is experienced at planning weddings at all different price points and can talk to you about how much you can spend, where you should splurge and where it’s okay to cut costs. Believe it or not, a wedding planner can help you plan a better wedding for your budget. As you can see, there are some situations in which planning a wedding planner can be the best choice. These are a few signs that it might be a better idea to hire a wedding planner rather than trying to do all of the planning on your...

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Buying A House? 3 Tips To Help Ensure You’re In The Right Neighborhood

Posted by on Jan 6, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Buying A House? 3 Tips To Help Ensure You’re In The Right Neighborhood

When you are house hunting, you know that you want the perfect home. You need a home that is large enough for your family and you want one that looks nice as well. However, you also want to ensure that you purchase a home that is in a nice neighborhood. The question is how do you go about evaluating a neighborhood to ensure that it is right for you? Here are a few things that you need to look at when determining whether the location is ideal for you and your family: Schools It doesn’t matter whether you currently have children, are expecting children, or plan to have children in the future, you need to make sure that you consider the local school district during your house hunting process. There are numerous ways you can get the data you need on the schools in the area. First, you can tour the school yourself by calling the main office. You could also head online and check out the school’s website. Thanks to today’s tech-driven world, you could also check out an online website known as where you can find information on schools in the school district provided by none other than parents themselves. Crime Rates Regardless of whether you have children or not, crime is always something that you need to check into. While you can get some of this information by searching online, the best source for this type of information is the local police station. Make sure to also get information about registered sex offenders living near the home that you are interested in purchasing, especially if you have children. You can get this information, along with photographs often times, by going online to Activities and Amenities Whether you are a single individual, a young couple, a retired couple or a family with children, you need to make sure that you check out all the local activities and amenities that are nearby the neighborhood. For example, families with children may need to make sure that there are karate or ballet lessons, parks, libraries, etc. nearby, while a single individual may be more interested in an active nightlife with pubs, restaurants and bars. If you have a dog, you might want to make sure there is a local dog park. For retired couples, it may be a good idea to ensure your neighborhood is actively engaged in senior citizen events.   The aforementioned items are just the beginning of choosing the right neighborhood. A realtor from a place like Fischer Homes can assist with ensuring that the neighborhood is best-suited for you and your family before you go through with a home...

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Preparing For An Open House

Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Preparing For An Open House

Selling your home can be stressful, but you can help your real estate agent help you by making sure your home is in tip-top shape before potential buyers come for a showing. Here are five areas to address before the first open house. Clean Like Crazy Your home needs to be immaculate. If buyers see that you haven’t kept up with the basics, they will be skeptical as to whether or not the bigger routine maintenance and repairs projects, like changing the furnace filter, were taken care of. Dust, polish, wash, scrub, and shine. Don’t forget the little nooks and crannies, the woodwork, and the windows. If you don’t have the time to tend to the deep-cleaning projects, hire someone to do it for you. Pay special attention to the bathroom and kitchen. No one wants to buy a home with someone else’s nasty mess. De-Clutter Every Room Prospective homeowners want to picture themselves living in the house. If it is full of your stuff, it’s hard to visualize their stuff. Jam-packed rooms also appear smaller than rooms that are sparsely furnished. Take down the wall of family pictures and children’s drawings. Go through closets and cupboards and drawers. Get rid of any over-sized furniture. Remember, you have to pack and move everything to your new house eventually, so carefully consider what you really want to haul around. Donate stuff, sell things, and rent a storage facility for anything you won’t need while you try to sell your house. Lighten And Brighten Up The Place Take down heavy, room-darkening drapes. Open the (newly cleaned) blinds. Replace missing or low-wattage light bulbs. When it comes to homes for sale, show off how much natural light comes into the house. A dark house feels depressing and oppressive; a bright house feels cheerful and energizing. Make The Home Smell Nice Before every showing, simmer some cinnamon sticks, pure vanilla, and orange rinds on the back of the stove for an hour or two. Avoid cooking bacon, garlic, or anything else that will stink up the joint in the days leading up to an open house. Light a candle that has a fresh-smelling fragrance. Rearrange The Furniture Create usable conversation areas in the main living rooms. Think about how each space could be used, not just how you use it, and go with what you think will appeal to the typical buyer. Arrange the furniture you have kept to maximize the features and space of each...

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Looking For A Fast Home Sale? Proactive Tips To Make It Happen

Posted by on Dec 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Looking For A Fast Home Sale? Proactive Tips To Make It Happen

With the holiday season winding down, your thoughts may already be racing ahead to the things you hope to accomplish in 2017. Selling your home may be one of the entries on that list. If your home is one of the more than 5.46 million homes expected to be placed on the market this year, you may already be worried about the competition and wondering what you can do to make the selling experience the best it can possibly be. While you cannot control many factors within the real estate market, such as the number of homes for sale, there are some specific steps you can take to make your home as competitive as possible and greatly enhance your chances of getting it sold within your planned timeframe. Prepare the home before putting it on the market Sellers who are hyper-focused on getting their home sold quickly often make the mistake of putting their home on the market in as-is condition. But rushing to market without taking the time to deep clean each room, refurbish tired paint or flooring, take care of needed repairs, and get rid of excess clutter can cause prospective buyers to lose interest and choose to view other homes instead. Taking a few days, weeks, or even a month or two to make sure that your home is immaculate, tastefully decorated, and pleasing to look at before putting it up for sale will save you valuable time on the market and help ensure that the offers you receive are within an acceptable range for your home. Make sure your home is always available to be shown to prospective buyers Motivated buyers often want to move very quickly, and if a home they want to see is not available for viewings, they will often move on to other homes for sale that they are able to successfully view on short notice. Sellers who want to sell quickly should take steps to make sure that their home is available for showing with little or no notice. To do this, take a few moments before leaving home each morning to pick up stray socks, load the dishwasher, and make sure the kitty litter box is freshly cleaned. Taking time to attend to tasks like these will make it much easier for you to say yes when an agent wants to show immediately and increase your chances of pleasing the prospective buyer and getting the offer you want. Price the home properly for the local market Pricing your home correctly is a critical part of catching the interest of the largest pool of prospective buyers and getting them to want to see your home. Before choosing a listing price for your home, have your real estate professional prepare a detailed comparative market analysis (CMA) using comparable homes in your area that are currently listed for sale or under contract and those that have recently sold. This type of information will help you price the home as accurately as possible to improve your chances of selling it quickly and for market...

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Going To An Open House? Always Check These Items Before Showing Interest In A House

Posted by on Dec 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Going To An Open House? Always Check These Items Before Showing Interest In A House

Preparing for an open house can be nerve-wracking if you’re in an area where houses sell quickly. However, you do need to take time to look at the house carefully — if you try to put down an offer immediately because of competition, you could end up with a house that is not terrible shape and that does not offer what you want. When you inspect a house during an open house, you have to ask several questions and look at various features. Here are some features you should check out before you express interest. If these don’t meet your needs, it may be a good idea to move on to the next showing. Water Pressure Turn on faucets, and if possible (and with permission), flush the toilet. Not all houses will have the same water pressure, but if the water flow coming out of faucets seems to be a lot weaker than you’re comfortable with, or it comes out with such force that you find it difficult to control the flow, it’s a sign that there’s either something very wrong with the plumbing in the home, or the local water supply is unreliable. It’s possible that a plumbing problem might not be enough to turn you off buying the house — after all, plumbing can be fixed — but if the local water supply is weak and barely delivers water to the house, that is a major issue that can have adverse effects on your quality of life. Window Views Sometimes you get lucky and find a house with spectacular views out of one of the windows. If you find that with this house, that’s a plus. But you should be more concerned with whether the windows in the home overlook, or look into, places you don’t want to see. Your neighbor’s bedroom, for example — you don’t want to see what goes on in there, and that also means the neighbors can see into your bedroom. Storage Space — for Everything It’s one thing to proclaim you’ll cut down on what you buy and reduce what you have. It’s quite another to have to do that because the previous owners of the home and the architects all decided you didn’t need closets or cabinets. Check out the storage space in the home, from bedroom closets and kitchen cabinets to hallway storage and garage shelving. Don’t worry about there being merely less storage than you’d like; you can always buy extra. But if there’s almost no storage — if the bedroom closets are laughably small, for example — then you would have to provide a lot more than you might be willing to pay for. That could be a real problem should you buy the house. There are obviously more items you need to look at when you buy a home, but these are some of the things that can be real dealbreakers for people. It’s better to start looking at other homes for sale rather than to put money down on one that doesn’t really fit your needs. A real estate agent like those at Mark Fox Company will be able to help you locate additional listings and open house...

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Buying Land To Build A New Home? 2 Things You Should Do First

Posted by on Dec 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Buying Land To Build A New Home? 2 Things You Should Do First

If your realtor has found the perfect land for you to purchase to build your home, you need to do some things before you sign the papers. Your realtor is your best resource on this information. It can still be helpful to learn a little about them also. Keep reading so you will have the right land to build your new house on. Land Survey One of the first things you should do is to hire a land surveyor. This is especially true if you are purchasing a few acres. The surveyor will determine the exact amount of land you are buying and what the property lines are. Knowing the property lines are important as you do not want to build anything that goes over these lines. If you do, the other landowner adjacent to your property could make you tear the structure down no matter if it is a fence or a new barn. If there are any property disputes in the future, such as if your neighbor claims they own part of your land, you can show them the paperwork from the land survey to prove you own the land. These surveys can be used in a court of law. The surveyor can also determine if there are any restrictions on the property you are buying. For example, there may be building restrictions that you must follow and local authorities may have building restrictions on structures that can be built on the property.  If you violate a zoning restriction, there could be heavy penalties and local authorities may sue you. Talk with a land surveyor in your area to learn much more information about how they can help you. Soil Test You need to make sure you are building a home on the right type of soil. Some soils are very strong and have no problem supporting the weight of something as heavy as a home. Other soils, however, are weak and compresses even under light loads. If there are a lot of houses around you that are standing this means your soil is likely good. You should still have it tested to be sure. A geo-technical and structural engineer can test your soil for you. If the soil is found to be weak, the geo-technical and structural engineers can show you many ways you can still build your home. For example, steel reinforced concrete footings can be used when laying the foundation. The structural and geo-technical engineer can go over this information with you in much more detail. Talk with a realtor like Steve Cohn – Keller Williams Realty – Petaluma about these professionals and they can get you in touch with the right...

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