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10 Houseplants You Can’t Kill

Posted by on Nov 6, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

houseplant

A home packed with healthy houseplants says a lot about the person who lives there. They’re nurturing, knowledgeable, responsible.

Or maybe they just know how to pick plants that can thrive without a lot of attention.

If you’re looking for low-key houseplants, this list is for you. These 10 varieties will fill your home with green — even if your thumb isn’t.

Aspidistra

It withstood Victorian England’s coal soot, cold drafts and depressing lack of light, so surely “cast iron plant” can survive in your home. (more…)

Renters’ 5 Biggest Nightmares

Posted by on Nov 4, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Your biggest rental fears are what really keep you up at night. From creepy-crawlies to scary neighbors, renters face unique challenges in their homes that are sometimes out of their control.

Here are a few tips to help you face your biggest renting fears, and prevent things from going bump in the night in your home.

  1. Your home has been infested with roaches and/or other pests.

Unfortunately, pests can be an all-too-common occurrence for renters. They can hide in your drains, in your kitchen cabinets and sometimes even on your bed.

To prevent pests in the first place, experts suggest keeping your home clean, and properly storing all food. There are also many DIY remedies to get rid of pests, such as boric acid for roaches or apple cider vinegar for flies.

  1. Your neighbors are noisy, or nosy, or worse

(more…)

Do You Really Need to Rake?

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Bad news: It’s time to get your act together and clean up your garden before winter makes the task more difficult. But the good news is, fall garden chores don’t have to be a pain. You might find you enjoy picking up branches or raking leaves in the brisk autumn air.

Whether you love or hate fall chores, here is a checklist of tasks and ways to make them easier.

Make a compost bin

Composting sounds like a lot of hard work, but it’s actually a perfect solution for lazy gardeners. Have a bunch of weeds, grass clippings and branches to get rid of? Don’t bother bagging it up and hauling it to the curb — just throw it in a pile and mix it up every month or so. Then surround the pile with landscape timbers or chicken wire to keep everything from blowing all over the place.

Rake leaves — or don’t (more…)

5 Biggest Home-Buying Fears

Posted by on Oct 28, 2015 in First Time buyers, Home Buying, Insurance, Real Estate | 0 comments

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Buyers’ biggest real estate fears sometimes hold them back from buying throughout the year. The scary thing is, these fears are sometimes well-founded.

Here are some of the issues that commonly keep home buyers awake at night, and what you can do about them.

“The house has a cracked foundation, dry rot, or a leaky roof”

Renovating, fixing and repairing are on few buyers’ wish lists. When faced with the home of their dreams, they fear the inspection. What if there is dry rot, or a roof or foundation issue? (more…)

Why You Shouldn’t Hate Your Homeowners Association Dues

Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in Home Buying, Insurance, Real Estate, Tips | 0 comments

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If you buy a house in a planned development, a subdivision or a gated community, you’ll likely have to join a homeowners association (HOA). Which means you’ll be faced with the prospect of paying annual dues. Condo owners often face these fees, too.

No one expects you to be happy about these payments, especially when they often come due right after the holidays. And it’s true that the dues can be spent for seemingly trivial events such as neighborhood parties, and that management fees for the associations can be steep.

The HOA can make and enforce rules such as what colors houses can be painted, what types and sizes of pets are approved, whether holiday decorations are allowed on properties — even what types of mailboxes are allowed. And it can enforce these rules with fines and threats of foreclosures.

These associations say their rules and methods are necessary to keep property values up and maintain or increase resale values of the homes in the community. HOA dues also can benefit you greatly, in ways that you can see and in ways that you might never think about. (more…)

Will the New Mortgage Disclosure Laws Delay Your Home Purchase?

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Beginning October 3, new documents will add time to the closing process. Here’s the one thing you need to know so you can write offers that will close faster than competing buyers.

Beginning October 3, 2015, home buyers applying for a mortgage will receive new rate and fee quote forms from lenders.

These federally required consumer disclosures, which go by the name TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (or TRID), will make it easier for you to understand rate and fee quotes from lenders. However, they will also slow down your home-buying process.

Lenders must not only deliver these new rate and fee disclosures to you twice during the home loans process — after application and before closing — but also must comply with disclosure timing rules in the beginning and end of the loan process.

Loan estimate disclosure and timing rules (more…)

How to Stage your Home for Fall Showings

Posted by on Oct 16, 2015 in First Time buyers, Home Buying, Home Decor, Real Estate, Tips | 0 comments

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Staging a home is like vacuuming before company arrives: You might not notice it when it’s done well, but you definitely notice when it isn’t.

Fall’s biggest buyers are millennials with a sharp eye for detail and empty nesters looking to have some space to themselves, so it makes even more sense to set your home up to show well to these demographics. Since autumn is an especially homey time of year, it’s easy to add a bit of cozy comfort while keeping your place ship-shape for showings.

Set the scene (more…)

Buying a Home That Will Age With You

Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in Home Buying, Retirement | 0 comments

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When you’re in your 40s and 50s, it may seem too early to worry about what life will be like post-retirement. But if you are shopping for a place to settle down, the home you choose today will impact your options years down the road. Here are some factors to consider before buying your next home.

Is the neighborhood walkable?

The best homes for aging in place are centrally located and allow you to either walk or take public transit wherever you need to go.

A walkable neighborhood is safe for pedestrians, with well-maintained and well-lit sidewalks. It is close to retail stores, restaurants and grocery stores. Bonus points if it is near your doctor and pharmacy. As you age, you will love not having to drive everywhere. (more…)

Mold, Termites and Your Home Insurance

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

Mold samples from students' environments.  1 hour settle plates (PDA+strep) after about 1 wk incubation

Are you covered if one of these sneaky menaces invades your home?

Nothing’s worse than finding unwanted visitors in your home. A surprise appearance by a spider is enough to make you want to move out altogether. However, some house guests are even worse — you can’t crush them or spray them to get rid of them. Two chief culprits: mold and termites.

Silent intruders such as these can be costly to fix — not to mention a major headache to deal with. Even though standard home insurance policies cover a wide variety of perils, you may not have adequate protection for damage from certain pests.

While you should review your specific policy, here’s a quick breakdown of how mold, termites and other pests typically are covered (or not covered) by standard home insurance policies. (more…)

5 Tricks for Sneaking Storage into Small Spaces

Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 in Real Estate | 0 comments

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Whether they live in large or small homes, most people wish they could find a little “extra space.” This is especially true of those whose closets, cabinets or rooms are on the small side.

One way to create more space is to practice the new trend called minimalism, which involves a clear and decisive focus on keeping what we most value and eliminating anything that distracts us.

To live like a minimalist demands rigorous review of our purchases, as well as what we create, receive and keep. Because we live in a world of “Free, free, free!” and “Buy, buy, buy!” it is very difficult to avoid collecting more things in our homes.

Think vertical (more…)

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