Insurance Considerations for First-Time Homebuyers

With so much excitement, anticipation, and planning that coincides with purchasing your first home, it’s easy to overlook certain details that might not immediately impact you before your move-in date. From coordinating inspections to dealing with financial negotiations, you are probably trying to just get through this process—rather than think about ways to protect yourself and your assets in the future. In order to help you best prepare for what lies ahead, you can review the following considerations to ensure you and your family are financially secure, no matter what life throws your way.

Homeowners Insurance Basics:

Generally speaking, a homeowner’s insurance policy is necessary when you purchase a home as it will protect your residence and personal possessions if during an unfortunate event such as damage or a break-in. Should you need to leave your home temporarily due to damage, your insurance policy will help you afford to do so until your home is safe to live in. Another extremely important aspect of homeowners insurance is that it protects you if someone were ever to fall or get injured on your property. If they try to sue you, your policy will cover the costs, saving you from a detrimental financial situation.

Who should buy a homeowners insurance policy?

To err on the side of caution, it’s recommended that you purchase a homeowner’s policy if you own a home, condo, townhouse, DIY tiny house. Similarly to life insurance or disability insurance, individuals and families are not required by law to have a homeowners policy after you have paid off your mortgage. However, it’s highly advised to have a policy for the entire duration of your homeownership to protect your finances and your possessions. In the unlikely event that purchase your home with cash, you will still want to have a policy in place for your own financial protection, even if not required by law.

What does homeowners insurance cover?

As mentioned, homeowners insurance covers your home, personal property, and offers liability protection, while reimbursing you if you need to move out of your home due to damage (covered by your policy). This would typically include damage from lighting, a house fire, wind, or theft. In addition, your policy will protect your family members, spouse, or blood relatives the same way if they are living under your roof.

What does homeowners insurance NOT cover?

Now that you know what basic coverage does include, it’s important to understand what type of damage a homeowner’s policy doesn’t include to determine if you need additional coverage based on the location of your property and home. If you purchased a home in an area prone to earthquakes, sinkholes, or sewer backup, you might want to consider an additional standalone policy to protect you should you experience any of those problems. Other issues like flooding, termites, bed bugs, and infestations are not something automatically covered.

It’s helpful to know in advance what environment and climate you will be living in so that you can protect your property and possessions. Not only does doing your research on the property help you prepare, but it will help you plan for new circumstances you might have to deal with as a homeowner. Especially as a first-time buyer, you don’t want to be caught off guard when it comes to damage or issues due to the location of your home. Although there is no perfect journey when it comes to purchasing your first home, there are some best-kept secrets to help you feel proactive and stay calm while trying to avoid some potential issues in the future. There is no such thing as being overly prepared as a new homeowner, so doing your due diligence now will serve you well in the months to come.

Life Insurance Basics:

Now, let’s take some time to discuss another important and highly recommended insurance purchase that will benefit you in the case of an unforeseen event. As you have seen over the last year, life can change in the blink of an eye, which is why it’s necessary to prepare for the unexpected. Reviewing your options when it comes to the variety of life insurance policies available is recommended—especially during a major life change such as moving, purchasing a home, or having a baby.

Life insurance is a tax-free amount of money that is used to replace your income if you were to pass away. Offering peace of mind and affordable financial assistance, life insurance can help support your loved ones that rely on you should something happen to you unexpectedly. The money allotted from a life insurance policy can be used to pay things like a mortgage, car loans, grocery bills, utilities, education or tuition costs, funeral arrangements, and more.

How much life insurance do you need?

This question depends on a few things but generally speaking, if anyone in your family relies on your income it’s best to have a life insurance policy in place. Again, this can help support children, a spouse, or family members who require part of your income to pay the bills and cannot afford this entirely in your absence. It’s recommended that you plan to purchase a policy covering around 10-15 times your income, but this is just a general guideline and each person has a unique set of circumstances that will influence the amount of coverage they should buy. It’s worthwhile to shop around and use an online calculator to specifically match your circumstances with what is best for you and your family.

What are some risks of not having a policy or enough coverage?

There are many people who are underinsured or not insured at all. This is unfortunate as many of these individuals might not realize the risk they are taking or the financial burden that will be placed on them in the case of an unforeseen circumstance after the passing of a loved one. In another respect, what some individuals don’t realize is that employer-provided insurance isn’t usually enough or transferrable to a new job—so it’s beneficial to have an additional policy to cover all your basic needs.

If you have not taken the time to evaluate your coverage, a major life event such as making a large investment on a home would be a great time to do so. If you do not have coverage you are putting your family, friends, or loved ones at risk of losing their own long-term financial plan since they might be unable to keep up with daily expenses. If you have a mortgage that is far from being paid off, they will have to take over this costly investment, possibly leading to major financial repercussions in their future if they do not have the funds. During a difficult time, the last thing you want your family to take on is financial stress that could have been prevented in the first place by obtaining an affordable life insurance policy. 

Other insurance considerations:

In order to make sure you have secured all your financial assets and can support the future of your loved ones under any circumstance, there are few other insurance options you might want to evaluate during this time. If applicable, you might consider the following options to help you maintain the most peace of mind.

Auto Insurance:

Moving or purchasing a home is no time to lose sight of your auto insurance needs. Since you will be driving to a different location, possibly moving areas, and communing at different capacities, it’s important to make sure that your automobile is financially protected. It’s recommended that you reevaluate your auto insurance needs as there is a good chance you might be able to save some cash by bundling home and auto or revisiting your coverage needs. In addition, a new home calls for a fresh new start! Take the time to make sure all your financial needs are aligned and properly allocated.

Pet Insurance:

For most people, pets are entirely part of the family, but like most things in life, they come with a cost. With all the time, energy, and attention you put into your pet, it’s likely that you’ll want to keep them happy and healthy for a long time! Pet insurance reimburses you for expenses should anything bad or unexpected happen to your pet (similar to health insurance if something happens to you). Pet insurance can save you from paying the big bucks when it comes to vet bills, so if your pet was injured or become ill, you don’t have to panic over the monetary implications of this event. There are certain instances where pet insurance might be really helpful for your financial situation, in which case you can determine if pet insurance is necessary by talking through your options with a professional representative.

Purchasing your very first home is such an exciting time for you and your family. Although it can feel overwhelming emotionally and financially, there is light at the end of the tunnel and working hard now to prepare for the future will allow you to fully enjoy this investment for all its worth.

Where is the Best Place to Get Started in Real Estate?

If you’ve been thinking of working in the real estate industry, you’re going to enjoy every moment. This field is exciting with flexible working hours and the opportunity to meet and interact with customers from different demographics. Statistics indicate that there are close to 1.2 million realtors currently working in the US. That’s a clear indication of how a career in real estate is a viable option.

Consider this example: The average sales price for houses in 2019 was $299,400. If you’re working on 6% commission, a single sale gains you $18,000. It’s not surprising that many professionals working in other spheres opt to show houses as a second job, eventually moving on to taking up the career full time. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, here’s how to get started.

Get Licensing to Work as a Realtor in Your State

The first step is to check your state real estate commission’s website where you can get detailed information about the licensing requirements applicable in your state. You’ll also find a list of accredited pre-licensing agencies that offer training in the mandatory courses. You have the option of taking the course online or in person. Expect to train in the legal aspects of the business along with gaining an understanding of real estate practices like how to assess a property’s value. You’ll also learn about terms like “encumbrance,” “lien,” and “escrow,” among others.

The required number of hours vary by jurisdiction and state. For instance, if you intend to get licensing in Oregon, the mandatory hours is 150, including 30 hours of Real Estate Law, 30 hours of Oregon Real Estate Practices, and 20 hours of Real Estate Brokerage. On the other hand, California realtor licensing requires a total of 135 hours of training, including 45 hours of Real Estate Practices and 45 hours of Real Estate Finance.

Having completed your training, you’ll take the state licensing exam for a fee of $100 to $300. Expect to answer 60 to 100 multiple-choice questions that test your knowledge of general real estate principles and both state and federal laws. The pass rate is typically 50%, so it helps to take preparation seriously. Take the California Real Estate license practice test as many time as you need to evaluate your competency and raise your chances of passing. Once you clear the exam, you’ll get the necessary licensing to work as a realtor.

The Real Estate Industry is Multi-Faceted and Interesting

Once you gain adequate experience working as a realtor, you can consider specializing in a particular area. If you’ve always thought that real estate was all about helping clients buy and sell property, that’s not exactly accurate. You can choose careers such as:

Property Management

If you also have a degree in finance, think about working as a property manager. Such professionals can work for a company or as a freelancer. Your job description includes taking care of property issues for owners who don’t have the time or expertise. For instance, overseeing maintenance and repair tasks, marketing the rentals, collecting rent on schedule, dealing with evictions, and responding to complaints and problems that the tenants may have.

Apartment and House Sales and Purchases

Many people approaching retirement like to move to locations where the weather is warmer. They often seek a lower cost of living, or they just to be closer to family and friends. Others prefer to move into smaller apartments that are more economical and easier to maintain. You could assist senior citizens moving to Eugene, Oregon, starting with finding a good buyer for large houses and purchasing compact apartments or assisted living facilities.

Retail Leasing

Realtors who specialize in retail leasing have an extensive database of prime properties that become available for leasing. You’ll find locations ideal for your retail company clients to set up their business. Helping with the legal requirements and preparing the necessary paperwork for renting the property are all a part of your job in retail leasing. Most such professionals work over the weekends and after hours to identify viable options that their clients might like.

Real Estate Appraisal

Since determining the value of a particular property is a part of your training as a realtor, you could find a job with a business broker in NJ. When finalizing deals for mergers and acquisitions, one of the key elements of the process of due diligence is conducting evaluations of the partnering companies’ assets. Your job involves checking for the validity of the lease or ownership deeds and whether it is necessary to retain the property for ongoing operations.

A real estate appraisal can be critical to the outcomes of the merger deal since its value can influence the status of the balance sheets. Accordingly, your expertise may also be needed to check for the site’s profitability if it is sold, leased out, or used as is.

Real Estate Development

As a realtor, you’ll find and identify properties that have the potential for bringing attractive ROI for their buyers. Such buildings may be run-down, empty, or obsolete. Your job is to evaluate the cost of repairing the structures to make them fit for living, leasing, or accommodating a running business.

If you’re planning to work as a specialist realtor, you might need to get additional training and licensing. Check for the regulations in your state when choosing the career that interests you most.

When Is It Time to Replace Your HVAC System?

Striking a balance between good maintenance and replacing the HVAC system can be hard. You do not want to invest in a new system if the old one is perfectly good. But you also don’t want to wait too long to replace your HVAC. Luckily, there are some signs that indicate it might be time to get a new unit.

Higher Utility Bills

Your energy bills can fluctuate throughout the year depending on the weather. But if you notice that the cost of cooling or heating the property is much higher than the same time last year, then it might be time to get a new system.

As a system gets older, its efficiency will drop about 5 to 10 percent. However, if your energy bills suddenly spike, you might need to have a company come out to evaluate it. You may need extensive repairs to keep the system running, and it may be a better option to replace it with another model.

The efficiency of your system decreases over time because of normal wear and tear. As corrosion occurs inside and dirt builds up, a greater loss of efficiency can occur. A very cold or hot season might cause the cost of energy to go up, as well.

Older System

It is a good idea for you to replace the HVAC system every 10 to 15 years. Many times, the units made today are more durable than the ones that were made in the past. However, some of the major components might still deteriorate as time goes on. You can expect a typical lifespan of an HVAC system to be around 10 years. But if you do regular repairs and maintenance on it, you can often extend the lifespan of the system.

Another thing that can influence how cost-effective it is to replace an HVAC system is the kind of refrigerant that some older systems use. Because of federal regulations, the component R22 has started to be phased out since it could have a negative influence on the environment. This means that any existing R22 would have become much more expensive. If you have R22 in your older HVAC system, it might be too expensive for you to replace the refrigerant. In this case, you may decide that it is worth getting a new system.

Increased Repair and Maintenance

Many HVAC systems need regular maintenance to continue to operate well. You might need to have certain parts replaced, such as the electrical switch or capacitor. But if the system begins to leak refrigerant or the compressor no longer works well, you might need to have extensive repairs that could make keeping the unit not worthwhile.

Instead of paying high repair bills, you might find that it is better to replace the system altogether. When you call in an HVAC company, you can get both a replacement quote and a repair quote, so you can make a more informed decision about when you need to replace your system.

Poor Climate Control

If you notice that one room in your home seems too warm but another one is very cold, you may need to replace your system. In some cases, aging systems do not have a high enough level of power to heat or cool the home efficiently. When this happens, energy costs can rise since your unit will need to run more to do the same amount of work.

Of course, the temperature is not the only important thing that your HVAC system controls. If the unit is not effective, there can be issues with too much dust left in your air. Or the humidity might increase in your home. Too much humidity can cause mildew and mold. If you notice these issues, you also should assess your home for inadequate insulation or air leaks.

Closing Thoughts

When it comes to replacing your HVAC system, knowing the signs to look out for can help you to make a better decision. That way, you can save money by not having unnecessarily high energy bills. At the same time, you will also not end up paying to replace a system that can still be repaired.

How to Design Small Kitchens for Easy Use

A small kitchen can be challenging to use efficiently and can easily end up cluttered or cramped. However, with the right eye for design, it’s possible to turn your kitchen space from a nightmare to a thing of beauty. Our article shares some tips on how to streamline your kitchen design for convenience.

A vast, spacious kitchen is the dream of most serious home cooks. However, a small kitchen does not mean the end of your dinner party dreams. In fact, smaller kitchens can be cozy and convenient spaces with the right interior design. In this article, we look at some ways you can arrange your kitchen to make the most of your space. We’ll also take a look at the best tools to own if you’re working with limited storage.

Common Problems with a Small Kitchen

Usually, when people complain about limited kitchen space, they refer to one of three things. They complain that their kitchen is dark, easily becomes cluttered, or is impossible to cook in comfortably. Lack of storage space and minimal room for furniture and appliances are also common concerns.

Many renters and buyers can even be put off by properties with small kitchens as they worry that they will never make the space work. If this is something you worry about – or if you currently live with a small kitchen – it may be time to reconsider your space. With some simple interior design hacks, you can change a cramped, dingy kitchen into a delightful nook where you love to spend time.

Small Kitchen Interior Design Tips 

  1. Lighten Your Walls

One of the best interior design tips for making a small space look larger is to tone down any dark colors on your walls, ceiling, or cabinets. While dark shades will close a space down, painting your walls a lighter color will help them reflect light and create an airy, spacious feel. Pale tones, like white, cream, or light blue, are ideal for this.

You don’t need to paint your whole kitchen stark white to get the benefits of this either. Instead, choose light, complementary shades for cupboards and backsplash to inject some personality into your design. Monochromatic or patterned tile stickers are also a great option if you want to brighten up your small kitchen without repainting the whole thing.

  1. Use Wall Space

Rather than opting for cupboards or bulky cabinets in your small kitchen plans, shelves and empty walls can be handy places to store cookware and utensils. A magnetic wall panel is perfect for storing knives within easy reach of your stove and preparation surfaces. You can also use pot racks with hooks to hang pans, mugs, and other kitchen equipment. These handy space savers can be attached to the ceiling or can hang above the stove or countertops.

Shelves and drawers are also better space-saving options than cupboards. Consider choosing shelves that have hooks underneath to hang utensils from or that have an in-built wine rack. You can also easily add shelves to any unused nooks or wall spaces without having to overhaul your small kitchen arrangement totally.

  1. Easy to Stash Furniture

Chunky or antique furniture may be fashionable in many dining rooms, but it is totally impractical if you only have a small cooking and dining space. Small kitchen tables and chairs need to be neat, compact, and easily stored away when not in use. If your home has a small kitchen, hideaway furniture or pull-down countertops are excellent safe saving options.

Choose stools that can easily be piled up or stashed underneath counters, and that don’t take up too much room. A fold-down table or food preparation counter is another great option if space is extremely tight. Make the most of space underneath countertops too and opt for a roll-out table that you can store once you’re finished eating.

  1. Be Smart with Lighting

Dark kitchens make it hard to do your best work. It can be difficult to see what you’re cooking and hard to get surfaces and appliances clean if your space is gloomy. Attaching LED light strips to the undersides of cupboards or shelves can make small kitchens feel brighter and make cramped areas easier to use. You can also have spotlights fixed inside glass-fronted cupboards to double up on wall space, or mount sconces on your walls for a warm, cozy vibe. Ceiling spotlights are also a great solution for smaller kitchens as you can space them out, meaning that light spreads further than with a traditional single bulb.

  1. Buy Small or Multipurpose Appliances

When designing small kitchen layouts for refurbishment, or if you’re moving in somewhere new, it’s important to think about how your appliances will fit into your kitchen. After all, you don’t want a huge fridge if it’s going to take up all your floor space. Try to organize appliances so that they can be kept underneath counters or so that one appliance has multiple functions.

For example, a combined washer and tumble dryer is an ideal choice for a small kitchen. Small kitchen trends also commonly feature microwaves built into the wall or cabinets, freeing up vital countertop space below. Remember to find places to store portable appliances when you’re not using them so that they don’t clutter up your surfaces.

Conclusion

Living with a small kitchen does not mean that your cooking space needs to be dowdy or infuriating to use. Even the smallest of spaces can be trendy and effortless with a few design tweaks. We hope these small kitchen ideas have given you food for thought!

Final Call: Do you live in a house with a tiny kitchen? How do you arrange your cooking space for convenience? Do you find it cozy, or wish you had more room? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Author’s Bio:

Kevin is a content writer for about 3 years. He studied Design and Arts at College in Pennsylvania. A fan of home interior design and, he has taken it upon himself to spread his love for decorating homes by informing people on some of his ideas through his articles.

Things to Consider Before You Buy a House that Needs a Lot of Work

Most people want to make a few changes to a property when they buy it, to make it their own, and bring it to their particular standards. However, if you’re planning to buy a fixer-upper, be aware of what you might be getting yourself into.

While a renovator project is going to be less costly to buy upfront than an already refreshed place, you must do your due diligence to ensure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Consider and research a variety of factors before you sign on any dotted lines.

Know What You Can Afford

Many people think that buying a fixer-upper for a lower price then doing a few renovation tasks will have them seeing profits in no time. However, in reality, remodel work tends to be both more time consuming and more expensive than expected. As a result, it’s easy to get into a situation where you’ve spent much more money than planned or perhaps can even afford. Sometimes buyers can’t even finish their project because they’ve run out of funds.

To avoid landing in this situation, get clear on exactly how much money, in total, you can afford to spend. Have a set allocated figure, and work back from there. Anytime you look at properties, you subtract the likely purchase price from your budget and see if you’ll have enough funds left over to renovate adequately.

When factoring in financial elements, try to allow for every cost that could arise. This means more than simply the purchase price of the home and laborer and material fees. Don’t forget things like realtor and legal fees, demolition and removal charges, insurance costs, home warranty to cover appliances and other home systems, inspection costs, and so on.

Be Clear on Goals and Expectations

Be clear on your goals for the project, too. That is, are you buying a house to do up to your personal specifications and live in for years? Or are you tackling the task to flip the home ASAP after you’ve renovated it? Perhaps, alternatively, you’re planning to refresh a property so you can rent it out for a top dollar? No matter what you plan to do with the home after its facelift, you need to know what you hope to achieve. Let this guide you when shortlisting properties.

Know your expectations, too. With so many home-renovation reality shows on television now, many people think the process is straight forward and always results in a profit. However, believing you’ll get the same outcomes as the people on TV who usually have years of experience and a vast support system behind them can set you up for failure. Try to have reasonable expectations and plans in place for how you’ll deal when things go wrong.

Organize Inspections

One of the top tips for buying a fixer-upper is to invest money in proper inspections conducted by licensed, experienced, and adequately trained contractors. Before you commit to purchasing a property, know what you’re getting. Some houses look fine on the surface, like they only need a few inexpensive cosmetic touches, but when you start to get into the renovation work, you discover all sorts of more significant problems.

Some of the checks to consider include roof certifications, pest inspections, engineering reports, sewer line inspections, and building reports. Be on the lookout for fundamental, structural, and costly issues that people bring to your attention, such as roof or gutter replacements, shoring up foundations, building garages or additions, and pouring concrete for new driveways.

Other expensive work includes complete kitchen or bathroom remodels and replacing electrical wiring, sewer lines, and plumbing systems. Plus, think hard about buying homes that require you to outlay money on installing replacement windows throughout the house, getting rid of asbestos, mold, and mildew, and replacing or installing HVAC systems.

A fixer-upper home is always going to need work, which takes time and money, but it’s vital to separate extensive rehab needs from more affordable cosmetic tasks. At the end of the day, though, the rehab you can afford and want to do comes down to your specific situation and preferences. Speak with builders and contractors to get quotes on work (and add extra for unforeseen costs), so you can work out if you have the potential to make enough of a return on investment or not.

Buying a rundown property and turning it into something fresh, appealing, and updated is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Give yourself the best chance of success by considering the factors listed above before you sign any purchase contracts.

Backyard Party Tips for New Home Owners

There are so many exciting firsts as a new homeowner; the first family home-cooked meal, the first holiday, and of course, the first back yard party! By now, you’ve probably realized that there are a lot of things you might not have considered as you move into a new home, and throwing your first party may leave you feeling unprepared.

Not to worry! We’ve compiled this list just for you so you can make your first back yard festivity one to remember for years to come.

Make your guests comfortable

Spend some time hanging out outside in the days leading up to your backyard party to get an idea of how your guests may feel. Pay attention to things like shaded space, muddy spots, and bugs. There are often simple solutions for these small annoyances, like adding a pop-up tent or buying extra bug spray, so it’s best to realize them ahead of time!

Get mealtime just right

When planning the menu, you’ll first want to reach out to your guests to see if there are any allergies or food restrictions you should be aware of. Next, plan ahead to make sure you not only purchase enough food for everyone but that you also have ample fridge and freezer space to store everything.

In the event that you do happen to run short on food, snacks, beverages, or even household essentials, have a mobile delivery service ready to go on your phone so you can get what you need delivered to your backyard party within minutes!

Make your home tour-ready

It’s a given that friends and family will want a home tour the first time they come over so make sure you take the time to get your entire house guest ready. From the obvious spots like bathrooms and the living room to the not so obvious like your closets and master bedroom–guests are going to want to get the full scope of your new layout!

Be sure to vacuum, dust, clean windows, and wipe down all surfaces. Provide an added touch by using a room spray or lighting a candle (only where it can be supervised, of course!).

Don’t stress over the big projects

When moving into a new home, it is likely that there will be many lingering projects like painting, removing carpet and even full-on renovations. Don’t stress over trying to get it all done before your friends and family come over. While giving the home tour, let your guests in on your plans
and visions for updating the space in the near future. You may get some great feedback and ideas you haven’t considered or even a few offers to help.

There’s no need to feel anxious about hosting your first get together as a new homeowner. Keeping these simple tips in mind will make this celebration, whether it’s large or small, one to remember for years to come!

9 Tips to Declutter and Organize Before Selling Your House

First impressions last, which is why you must declutter and organize your home before selling it.

By decluttering, you’re removing any items that aren’t needed to create more space. You need to remove anything that would say that you owned the house, giving way to new buyers.

Sometimes, this job can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re sharing nine great tips you can follow to organize your home.

Have the Right Tools

Decluttering and organizing your house before selling it is like a project. And to make any task more manageable, you need the right tools.

The first on your list should be storage bins for organizing your items. Anything that you would no longer currently need while you’re preparing to move out should be kept here.

Stack these bins in your storage area and observe the huge difference for your buyer. At the same time, you give them an idea of how much stuff they can store in the place.

Label markers and sharpies are essential for labeling the storage bins, so by the time you move to your new home, you already know what’s inside of each.

At Maid Sailors Cleaning Services NYC, we encourage our clients to use this time to throw away what you don’t need. So, trash bags are essential.

Try to choose to types or colors, where one bag is for donation and the other for throwing away.

Clear Up the Pathway

Your pathway or entrance is the first thing buyers see when they visit your home. It’s also their impression of it that usually lasts. This is why it must be clear of clutter.

Start by making sure that there are no shoes scattered by the doorway. It’s best if you have a shoe organizer on the side to remind everyone to place shoes that aren’t in use there. Then, lay a new doormat in front to create a more welcoming ambiance.

You can place pots of plants if you need to but not too much. There shouldn’t be a lot going on in the pathway to give your buyers the space they need.

Remove All Personal Items

The next thing you should do is removing any personal items. Remove collections, out of the ordinary designs, family photos, anything that would scream that it’s your home.

Remember, you’re selling your house, and buyers would want to imagine how they would look if they place their items in the areas.

With your items still all over the place, this creates a distraction for your buyers to imagine the place would look if they’re the ones living there. It’s like getting the feel of the area.

Beautify the Bedrooms

Bedrooms are where you rest after a long day, so it’s only right that you give your buyers the impression that they are comfortable.

As much as possible, the bedroom should look free.

Remove any extra furniture that occupies lots of space. Linens should be clean and fresh, closets are empty and clean, nothing under the bed, and store anything else that seems to be out of place.

Keep the colors as neutral as possible. One that makes the room brighter so they’ll be able to appreciate it better.

Keep the Cupboards and Drawers Organized

When you’re selling a house, keeping things you don’t want anybody to see is a bad idea. This is because buyers would usually check the cupboards and drawers.

This is probably the time you make use of the storage bins and remove any item from your drawers that you don’t want to be there.

Store or throw these things away and keep only what is needed or what should be put there. This will give your buyer an idea of using the cupboards and drawers for their stuff.

Spruce the Living Room

The living room should be another highlight of the house as this is usually the first one the guests see as they enter. It’s essential to keep it organized, clean, and with very minimal accessories.

Store away the magazines and place interesting books in the bookshelves. Keep throw pillows to a minimum, and so is the table decor. If you need to remove extra furniture, do so.

This way, you’re creating a much bigger space that your buyers will surely appreciate.

Showcase Your Kitchen

If you’re selling your house to another family, chances are the mother would love to see how the kitchen looks. It doesn’t matter if you think your kitchen is small or old-fashioned because most of the time, making the place clutter-free does the trick.

Clear the countertops of any extra appliances like the blender or food processor. Wipe them off clean and make sure it’s free from dust or grease. Your refrigerator should be free of magnets and notes, and your pantry tidy.

Don’t also forget to clean up anything in the kitchen. This includes the drawers, the sink, inside the refrigerator, the stove, the freezer, and whatever that needs cleaning.

Make the Bathroom Shine

We all want a clean and organized bathroom where you’re comfortable to do your stuff. That’s why it’s vital to declutter and organize everything.

Keep the countertops free from your shampoo, soap, make-up, and other personal items. Linen closets should be empty, and the medicine cabinet should only contain the basics to give your buyer an idea.

If there are any excess items in the shower or under the sink, remove them. The tiles should be clean, and drains are free from hair. Finally, replace your rug and shower curtain to keep things fresh.

Clean the Laundry Room

Lastly, keep your laundry room clean (even if this is not a usual spot for family members). Put your cleaning products away or organize them neatly.

Clean up any appliances inside the area and remove anything that shouldn’t be there. If there are pieces of clothes hanged, remove them.

The laundry room is only small, so it’s essential that it’s free from clutter to give that illusion that it somehow has ample space.

Moving to a new home is exciting, but making sure that your house would feel livable to a new buyer can be overwhelming. There are lots of rooms to organize and things to be stored away. The tips listed above can help you manage your thoughts on which areas to focus on to make things somehow easy.

Things That Make Your House a Home Without Spending a Dollar

A house is so much more than just a few walls and a roof over your head. Do you want to revive your humble abode and make it more homely? 

If the cost of interior design is putting you off, know that it’s possible without spending a single dollar. You can add a few personal touches and make some adjustments that don’t have a price tag. 

This article looks into ways to spruce up and enhance your living space with zero cost.

Make a Few Moves

Moving a few items around and rearranging some of your furniture is the easiest way to freshen up a room. Besides giving your living area a new look, it’s also a creative therapeutic process and productive use of your time.

Start with the room where you spend most of your time and pick one item or area as a focal point. Next, consider your lifestyle and the main function of the room. If it’s your bedroom, you should focus on the bed as the essence of your sleeping environment.

If your family loves watching TV together, arrange the lounge area so that everyone has a comfortable seat. Keep your kitchen area practical and functional, as this is often the heart of a home. 

If you can add a few seats to the kitchen, this will allow your loved ones to hang out with you while cooking. Hearty, homely meals will undoubtedly draw them all to the kitchen.

Fix the Faults

You don’t have to spend money to repair the basics. If your pictures or mirrors aren’t hanging straight, start by aligning them. Look at your curtains too. Are all the hooks in place, and does it hang well? 

The team at Best Online Cabinets also recommend that you check all your cupboard and cabinet doors. Pay attention to loose knobs, handles, and hinges to see if anything needs a little tightening.

Move through the rest of your house and check all your lights to see that the bulbs are all working.

Add a Personal Touch

Nothing can overpower your unique personal touch. Show off your treasures by adding family photos. 

Create a gallery wall of precious moments to add some character. It’s bound to be a talking point, plus you can always add to it as time goes by. Allow your kids and partner to choose what they’d like to add, so everyone has a choice and gets the chance to add their visual voice.

Get your favorite books out and display them on your coffee table. Or rearrange them on the bookshelf, so they’re easy to find.

You can also ask your kids to do a few new drawings and add those to your fridge collection. Why not ask them to draw your monthly calendar or a template to keep your shopping to-do list.

Give it a Good Scrub

Cleaning your entire house will not only add some sparkle. A clean home is beneficial to your health.

Spring cleaning is known to clear the dust and alleviate allergies. When you go all out and do a regular deep clean, it can lead to a stronger immune system.

Spotless and decluttered spaces are also associated with better moods and can bring relief from stress and anxiety. Your list of cleaning tasks should include carpets, curtains, and all your linen. Don’t forget to wipe down the walls and get up on a ladder to reach the light fittings and ceiling.

If you’re finding things you’ve not used for years, get rid of them. Apart from the enjoyment, you’ll get from donating your unused items to a worthy cause, you’ll be giving someone else an item they need.

Go for Greenery

Head out to your garden and bring some of the lush green goodness indoors. Fresh cut flowers and foliage from your grounds adds a beautiful touch. 

You can bring the colors of the season into your space and get creative with branches or other outdoor elements like rocks, stones, or seeds. If you don’t have a garden, you can always add a natural touch with a colorful fruit bowl or brightly colored veggies on display.

Key Takeouts

You don’t have to spend a single dollar to revive your home. Create a homely atmosphere by adding a few personal touches or making a few readjustments.

Fix the obvious eyesores, give it a good clean, and you’re set for a happy and healthy abode. 

7 Common Electrical Problems Found in Home Inspections

When buying a house, one of the steps is to have a home inspection performed so key issues are noticed and can be addressed. During home inspections, electrical problems are usually detected, and this is important because a house’s electrical system plays a major role in keeping it safe by preventing fire risks, arcing, and electrical shocks. After having a home inspection performed, it is essential to make the necessary electrical fixes that the inspector addressed because you want your family’s house to be as safe as possible.

1- Exposed Wiring

During home inspections, one of the most common electrical problems found is exposed wiring, and this is a crucial problem to have repaired because exposed wiring is a major fire risk. Because of the high risk involved, exposed wiring is one of the repairs that should always be repaired by a professional electrician instead of DIY. Exposed wiring is not a complicated repair, but it is essential that wiring is properly covered to prevent the risk of fires or arcing.

electrical problems

2- Buried Wires Not Protected

Having buried wires is acceptable, but when buried wires are installed without a covering or protection, it becomes an issue. A covering or protection is crucial because it safeguards the wiring against natural elements, debris, and rodents. When a buried wire is compromised, it poses a safety risk to the house and stops functioning at peak efficiency.

3- Receptacles Not Properly Grounded

Especially in older or historic homes, ungrounded receptacles are a common electrical problem found during home inspections. Ungrounded outlets are outlets with only two holes for the plug and no hole for the ground wire, and without the ground wire, there is a risk of fires or arcing because electricity can travel until it finds a suitable conductor source. Similar to exposed wiring, ungrounded receptacles are not a complicated repair, but they should be fixed relatively soon because of the safety risk they pose to the house.

4- Lack of Outlets

In many homes, homeowners will find a lack of outlets because many homes were built before homes experienced a surge in the number of electronic devices per household. People need to charge their phones and tablets but also plug in their televisions and lamps, and running extension cords from room to room isn’t the answer. Homes need to have enough outlets in each room so everyone can function without a fire risk.

5- Openings in Electrical Panels

For electrical panels, one of their common problems found during home inspections is openings in the panel. No gaps should be visible in the electrical panel because it would allow debris or rodents the ability to get inside which would create a shock or fire. Openings in the electrical panel can easily be fixed by installing filler plates to place over the openings so nothing can get inside.

6- Faulty GFCI Outlets

In rooms where moisture is present (kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, etc.), GFCI outlets must be installed and properly functioning. A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet is an outlet that has a protective covering to prevent electric shocks, and it correlates the inflow current on the hot side to the outflow current on the neutral side. During the home inspection, the inspector will test the GFCI outlets to ensure they are working properly and if any adjustments need to be made. In areas where there is the chance of water or moisture, having GFCI outlets is necessary because of the danger that could ensure if water seeps into an outlet while it is in use.

7- Overused Circuit Breakers

Another common electrical problem found during home inspections is overused circuit breakers. Circuit breakers are intended to only have one wire connected to one circuit breaker in the electrical panel, and when two or more wires are plugged into the circuit breaker, it poses an immense safety risk. When multiple wires are connected to the same circuit breaker, it allows connections to become looser which leads to an increase in arcing and fires. Overused circuit breakers are easy to spot, and this common electrical problem can be solved by simply upgrading the electrical panel to allow for an increase in the number of circuit breakers.

From exposed wiring to not having the proper number of outlets, many electrical problems can be found during a home inspection. The most important thing is to choose professional services for both the home inspection and electrical repairs. It might save you money to try and repair the problems yourself instead of using a professional electrical company, but in the end, it is better to have the problems repaired by a professional so you are ensured of their quality and safety. Because electrical standards and codes are changing with new improvements and procedures, it is common to find electrical issues during home inspections, and no matter what the electrical problem is, the most important part is to have it fixed promptly by a licensed electrical company.

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Valerie Cox is a contributing writer for 123 Electric Service. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and volunteering in her local community.

3 Tips to Help Homebuyers With Disabilities Find Accessible New Homes

Finding your dream home is part of the American dream. When you are living with a disability, however, finding that perfect home can be slightly more challenging. In addition to finding a home with features you desire, you also need to find a home that includes features that you need for accessibility and safety. So if you are starting your search for the perfect accessible home soon, be sure to refer to these steps to make the process a little less complicated:

Research Cities & Neighborhoods Before Homes

If you are considering buying a new home, you should start by thinking about where you would like that new home to be located and how much you can allocate to purchasing it. Using online search tools like RealtyHive, you can research locations so that you can get a feel for which areas will fit your needs and which areas will offer enough available homes. You can also use search tools to zero in on the average home sale price and features for a particular area so that you can narrow down your new home search quickly.

As you use these tools to assess different cities and neighborhoods, also look for ways to assess the accessibility of potential locations. For example, you can use public transportation apps to research the availability of public transit in potential communities, as well as how accessible those public transportation options will be for you. If you are still deciding on a specific city, and you use a wheelchair, you can also think about moving to a city with more accessibility, which will make daily life easier as you settle into your home. But any area can be accessible if you know which home and community features to look for.

Look into Average Costs for Accessibility Modifications

Once you know which city you would like to live in, you can start searching for accessible homes. You can narrow down your options to homes that include accessibility features like single-story floor plans or obstacle-free entryways. Otherwise, you may need to consider remodeling your new home to accommodate your individual accessibility needs. Some of the most common renovation projects used to increase accessibility for homeowners who are living with a disability include replacing stairs with ramps, widening doorways for more wheelchair access, or installing walk-in tubs for added safety and convenience.

Of course, with these added features can also come added expense, so be sure to get estimates for any desired home improvements so you can factor these costs into your overall home budget (for example, installing a walk-in tub costs an average of $5,000 to $7,000). Depending on your budget, buying a fixer-upper could be a good way to make renovations more affordable, or you can also look into whether you are eligible for home modification grants and programs.

Connect With a Reliable Local Real Estate Professional

Doing your own homework and assessing your accessibility needs are both smart ways to get a jumpstart on your search for a new home. Not to mention, you can do all of this from the comfort of your own home if needed. When you are ready to really get the ball rolling on your new home search, however, you should discuss your options with an experienced realtor.

While it is possible to purchase a home without a realtor’s help, doing so can make your search much more complicated and stressful. Real estate agents tend to have access to more local listings than are available online, and they should have knowledge of accessible homes in your desired location. Your real estate professional can also make negotiating your home purchase less of a hassle, so you may not want to skip this crucial step.

Finding the accessible home of your dreams doesn’t have to be stressful. Just use the tips above and enlist the help of an experienced realtor. That way, you can save yourself some headaches and find your perfect home faster.

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