Thinking SPRING 🌷REFRESH?! Try out this QUICK idea on your air vents. Simply pull them up and apply a SNAZZY NEW metal spray paint to achieve a CLEAN, CRISP, FRESH look 👀 JUST IN TIME FOR SPRING! 😉
50Apr 6, 2018
The LATEST in home security! Why YES that is 2 dogs on the roof! 😂#nobetterplacetolivethantn
113Feb 14, 2018
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40Nov 4, 2017
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30Nov 4, 2017
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20Oct 21, 2017
After finding a REALTOR®, being pre-approved for a mortgage is one of the most critical steps potential homebuyers should complete. This is essentially an assurance from a lender that the buyer is qualified to borrow up to a specific amount of money at a particular interest rate. It makes the buyer look more serious to sellers and, in a competitive market, can make a buyer stand out among a multitude of offers.
Buyers will need to collect at least two years of tax returns, several months of pay stubs and bank statements, as well documents that show any additional sources of income, like social security payments or alimony. Buyers should also check their credit report to make sure everything is accurate and take steps to correct any errors, as that could affect their interest rate or if they can even qualify for a mortgage.
Accomplishments — even little ones — go a long way toward a sunny outlook. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy, quick home repair chores you can do when you’re mired in the thick of winter.
For max efficiency, make a to-do list ahead of time and shop for all the tools and supplies in one trip. On your work days, put the basics in a caddy and carry it from room to room, checking off completed tasks as you speed through them.
#1 Sagging Towel Rack or Wobbly TP Holder
Unscrew the fixture and look for the culprit. It’s probably a wimpy, push-in type plastic drywall anchor. Pull that out (or just poke it through the wall) and replace it with something more substantial. Toggle bolts are strongest, and threaded types such as E-Z Ancor are easy to install.
#2 Silence Squeaky Door Hinges
Eliminate squeaks by squirting a puff of powdered graphite ($2.50 for a 3-gram tube) alongside the pin where the hinge turns. If the door sticks, plane off a bit of the wood, then touch up the paint so the surgery isn’t noticeable.
#3 Stop Creaky Floor Boards
They’ll shush if you fasten them down better. Anti-squeak repair kits, such as Squeeeeek No More ($23), feature specially designed screws that are easy to conceal. A low-cost alternative: Dust a little talcum powder into the seam where floorboards meet — the talcum acts as a lubricant to quiet boards that rub against each other.
#4 Remove Rust on Shutoff Valves
Check under sinks and behind toilets for the shutoff valves on your water supply lines. These little-used valves may slowly rust in place over time, and might not work when you need them most.
Keep them operating by putting a little machine oil or WD-40 on the handle shafts. Twist the handles back and forth to work the oil into the threads. If they won’t budge, give the oil a couple of hours to penetrate, and try again.
#5 Repair Blistered Paint on Shower Ceilings
This area gets a lot of heat and moisture that stresses paint finishes. Scrape off old paint and recoat, using a high-quality exterior-grade paint. Also, be sure everyone uses the bathroom vent when showering to help get rid of excess moisture.
#6 Fix Loose Handles and Hinges
You can probably fix these with a few quick turns of a screwdriver. But if a screw just spins in place, try making the hole fit the screw better by stuffing in a toothpick coated with glue, or switching to a larger screw.
#7 Replace Batteries on Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
If you don’t like waking up to the annoying chirp of smoke detector batteries as they wear down, do what many fire departments recommend and simply replace all of them at the same time once a year.
#8 Test GFCI Outlets
You’re supposed to test ground-fault circuit interrupters them once a month, but who does? Now’s a great time. You’ll find them around potentially wet areas — building codes specify GFCI outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, and for outdoor receptacles. Make sure the device trips and resets correctly. If you find a faulty outlet, replace it or get an electrician to do it for $75 to $100.
Another good project is to replace your GFCIs with the latest generation of protected outlets that test themselves, such as Levitron’s SmartlockPro Self-Test GFCI ($28). You won’t have to manually test ever again!
#9 Clean Exhaust Filter for the Stove
By washing it to remove grease, you’ll increase the efficiency of your exhaust vent; plus, if a kitchen stovetop fire breaks out, this will help keep the flames from spreading.
#10 Clean Out Clothes Dryer Vent
Pull the dryer out from the wall, disconnect the vent pipe, and vacuum lint out of the pipe and the place where it connects to the machine. Also, wipe lint off your exterior dryer vent so the flap opens and closes easily. (You’ll need to go outside for that, but it’s quick.) Remember that vents clogged with old dryer lint are a leading cause of house fires.
#11 Drain Hoses
Inspect your clothes washer, dishwasher, and icemaker. If you see any cracks or drips, replace the hose so you don’t come home to a flood one day.
#12 Check Electrical Cords
Replace any that are brittle, cracked, or have damaged plugs. If you’re using extension cords, see if you can eliminate them — for example, by replacing that too-short lamp cord with one that’s longer. If you don’t feel up to rewiring the lamp yourself, drop it off at a repair shop as you head out to shop for your repair materials. It might not be ready by the end of the day. But, hey, one half-done repair that you can’t check off is no big deal, right?
It’s the contractor you pick that makes — or breaks — your remodeling project. Finding the right contractor for your job will determine the quality and timeliness of the work, and the amount of emotional and financial stress you’ll have to deal with. To make sure you’re getting the best work from a contractor, here are five questions to ask the candidates. Tip: Listen for how prospective contractors answer your questions. Difficulty communicating now means difficulty communicating on the job later.
1. Would You Please Itemize Your Bid?
Many contractors prefer to give you a single, bottom-line price for your project, but this puts you in the dark about what they’re charging for each aspect of the job. For example, if the original plan calls for wainscot in your bathroom, but you decide not to install it, how much should you be credited for eliminating that work? With a single bottom-line price, you have no way to know. If you get an itemized bid, it’ll show the costs for all of the various elements of the job, including:
That makes it easier to compare different contractors’ prices. If you need to cut the project costs, you can easily figure your options. Plus, an itemized bid becomes valuable documentation about the scope of your project, which may eliminate disputes later. Contractors shouldn’t give you a hard time about itemizing their bids. If they resist, it’s a red flag for sure.
2. Is Your Bid an Estimate or a Fixed Price?
Some contractors treat their bids as estimates, meaning bills could wind up being higher in the end. Be sure to request a fixed price bid instead. If a contractor says he can’t offer a fixed price because there are too many unknowns about the job, then try to eliminate the unknowns. For example, have him open up a wall or examine a crawl space. If you can’t resolve the unknowns, have the project specs describe only what he expects to do. If additional work is needed, you can do a change order — a written mini-bid for new work.
3. How Long Have You Been Doing Business in This Town?
A contractor who’s been plying his trade locally for five or 10 years has an established network of subcontractors and suppliers in the area and a local reputation to uphold. That makes them a safer bet than a contractor who’s either new to the business or planning to commute to your job from 50 miles away. Ask for:
4. Who Are Your Main Suppliers?
Contractors are networked with their suppliers. You can tap into information on your contractor’s reliability and level of quality by talking to proprietors of:
Ask about a contractor’s professional reputation, whether he has left a trail of unhappy customers in his wake, if he’s reliable about paying his bills — and whether he’s someone you’ll want to hire. Your contractor should have no qualms about telling you where he gets his materials if he’s an upstanding customer.
5. I’d Like to Meet the Job Foreman — Can You Take Me to a Project He’s Running
Many contractors don’t actually swing hammers. They spend their days bidding new work and managing their various jobs and workers. That makes the job foreman — the one who’s working on your project every day — the most important member of your team. Meet the foreman in person and see if his current job is running smoothly. Asking to meet the foreman on the job gives your general contractor an incentive to assign you one of his better crews, since you’re more likely to hire him if you see his A Team. If your contractor says he’ll be running the job himself, ask whether he’ll be there every day. He’ll want to give you a positive response — something you can hold him to later on.
The process of moving into a new home has many steps, and after all the paperwork is signed and boxes unpacked, the process is over right? Not so fast! There are additional steps new homeowners should take to make sure that their home is clean and secure.
Changing the locks is the first thing a new homeowner should undertake. There is no way to know who has the keys to a house, so switching out the locks ensures that the new homeowner is the only person with access to the house. Also, before all the boxes are unpacked, the house should be deep cleaned. Steam clean the carpets, wipe down all of the doors and cabinets, and clean the toilets and sinks. This will let the owner start fresh in their new lifeand in their new home.
For many, homeownership means having a yard. Having an outdoor space and landscape to tend to is a dream come true for many previous apartment dwellers. However, for someone who has never had to care for a yard before, it can be easy to make costly mistakes. Overusing fertilizer is one of the most common mistakes made by amateur gardeners. Too much fertilizer can stunt plan growth and burn, or even kill, grass. Cutting grass too short is another prevalent problem. While it may keep homeowners from having to mow as often, cutting grass short means it cannot absorb the sunlight it needs to thrive, effectively starving it.
Check out HouseLogic’s article on the ways new homeowners accidently ruin their yards. Speak with a gardener for the most appropriate lawn care techniques for the climate in your area. Chat with a REALTOR® about what qualities homebuyers look for in an outdoor space.
Winter is coming! It is only a matter of time before most of us will be spending a lot more time indoors, so it is important to make sure that your house is clean for you and prepared for any cold and snow. So what can homeowners do to prepare their homes for the coming cold?
Vacuum your entire home - vacuum under furniture, behind your refrigerator and in any place you typically overlook during a standard cleaning. No one wants to be stuck in a dusty home in the middle of a snow storm. Make sure that your gutters are cleaned out well before the temperature drops. Clogged gutters can lead to backed up, stagnant water that attracts insects as well as causes water damage to your home, and cleaning a gutter in the fall is significantly simpler than cleaning a frozen gutter in the winter. Also, change out air filters. They should be changed at least every sixty days, no matter what, but it’s even more important in the winter months when families spend so much more time inside.
Check HouseLogics’ suggestions for preparing and decorating your home for the winter months. Speak with a handyman in your community about crucial or overlooked tasks homeowners should complete before the first snow storm and ask homeowners in your area about their winter weather hacks and tips.
Moving, no matter your family situation, can be stressful. However, moving with children provides a whole new set of issues and stressors to take into consideration. In school districts across the country, kids are beginning to return to school, meaning that families that hope to move and be settled by the start of the fall semester are rushing to find homes in a low inventory market – a problem hitting families with children particularly hard. “Buyers with children have a slightly harder time finding the right property, likely because of their desire to purchase a home that best meets their family's needs or is in their preferred school district; 53 percent of families with children cited finding the right property as the hardest step in the buying process compared to 50 percent of buyers without children,” said National Association of REALTORS® President Tom Salomone recently.
The information in this report comes from NAR's Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, and is about the characteristics of families with children who are buying or selling a home.