Planning to buy a home for the first time can often feel like a daunting prospect, after all, it is one of the biggest investments you can make. Its important, then, to start with the right people helping you and finding a real estate agent is one of the first steps. Here are a few suggestions to help you find a real estate agent that will fit your needs:
There are many great real estate agents out there so you may feel it doesn’t matter who you decide on but, just because someone comes with a lot of experience this does not mean they are experts in every type of real estate. To illustrate, a realtor may be an expert in selling high end luxury housing but have little experience in finding low budget fixer uppers so, its important to find someone skilled at finding the type of home you require.
Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to before deciding who to go with. Include questions such as: How much experience do you have with the type of properties I’m looking for? What makes you different from other realtors? Etc. Ask for specific examples instead of accepting general answers. Some other helpful information to find out would be if the real estate agent owns property of their own. This might help with their ability to guide you through all the steps of home buying and they may be able to offer good advice. You may also want to ask them whether they work full time or part time in real estate. A full-time realtor may be a little more up to date with the property market as well as new rules and regulations.
As we can see, it is very important to find a real estate agent who fits your individual needs and budget, someone who can guide you through the home buying process.
You may have been told that having a radon test performed in your home would be a good idea and this is true but, maybe you are unsure about what radon is or why a home needs to be tested for it. If it is found, what then? Should you be concerned about radon?
To help answer those questions, please enjoy this short video which will help you have a better understanding of what radon is and why it can be hazardous if found at high levels. Radon is not detectable by sight or smell which means radon could be present in your home without you even knowing it. If you have some concerns that radon could be an issue in your home, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Buying a home for the first time is a big decision and requires a lot of planning. One crucial aspect of home buying is applying for a loan, without this, it’s likely all hopes of owning your own place will be crushed. To find out if you are a financially responsible person, a lender will generally look to your credit report. This report contains information about whether you have debt and if you have a history of paying bills on time etc. A lender can determine if you should be approved for the loan based on the report. Clearly, it’s a good idea to work at maintaining a good credit report but, what are some ways of doing so?
Have you acquired a variety of different credit cards over the years? Go through them and look if there are any you no longer use, then call the credit cards company to cancel them. Too many credit cards may not reflect well when applying for a loan as it can give the lender the idea that you allow yourself too much available credit and will easily put yourself in economic peril. On the other hand, if you keep your longest held credit cards, this will show a longer history of credit which can work in your favor.
Were you aware that a late payment can show up on your credit report? It can be easy to do if we do not remember the payment due date so, to remedy this, set up an automatic payment plan that will at least cover the minimum due. This way you will not only work at maintaining a good credit report but also eliminate those expensive late payment fees
Why not request a copy of your credit report so that you can view it before a lender does? You are allowed a free copy every year so take full advantage of it. A credit report, on occasion, contains an error which could affect your loan application. Obtaining a copy beforehand will allow you to look through it and, if there are any errors, have them fixed.
When we are young we don’t always think about maintaining a good credit score but, doing so will help increase our chance of loan approval in the future.
There are a number of reasons why sewer gases can enter a home. Perhaps one of the most common reasons is that plumbing fixtures and traps start to dry out. Plumbing traps have water barriers to stop sewer gases from escaping back into the home. If this dries out, there is no barrier to prevent those gases from entering the home. You could find this happening with periods of dry weather or with bathrooms that are not used often.
Some other reasons for sewer gas leaks are cracks forming in plumbing drains, foundations and ventilation pipes. If plumbing vents have been placed too close to air intakes, this can also cause sewer gases to enter the home. You might even find that the smell of sewer gas in the home is caused simply by the air flow around the building.
While these are some of the reasons why you might be smelling sewer gas in your home, is it something you should be concerned about? Depending on the levels of sewer gas in your home, this can cause a number of dangers. There is a danger of fire, explosion or even risk of asphyxiation from sewer gases displacing the homes oxygen. There is also the risk of hydrogen sulfide poisoning which could be lethal. Then there is the smell which is difficult to cope with. If you are worried about sewer gas in your house, its best to have the cause of the problem identified by a professional. The health and well-being of the homes occupants always comes first.
Being more conscious of the amount of waste that enters landfills and waste management facilities is something we all need to keep in mind. There are numerous ways to reduce the amount of waste we produce at home. One of those ways is with a kitchen garbage disposal unit. This is because, instead of throwing food scraps into the garbage can, they can be placed down the garbage disposal, ground up and flushed into a sewer or septic tank. However, there is a need for caution as very often the homes garbage disposal unit is not used correctly, resulting in the need for extra maintenance. So, how should this useful kitchen appliance be used?
A garbage disposal unit should only be used for small scraps of food. This doesn’t mean that simply because its small it can go down the unit. Certain items should never be placed down it, for example, nonfood items such as bottle caps and aluminum foil and wrappers should not go down the garbage disposal. You may feel this is an obvious point, but these are items that often find themselves in the sink with the food scraps. Other garbage disposal no no’s are; chemicals, grease and oil. This is especially important if you have a septic system.
What about food items? Are there any that should not go into the garbage disposal? Yes, some foods are very fibrous (think corn husks and potato peels) which can create problems and clog up the garbage disposal. If you need to put items like these down there, make sure they are in small amounts and that the water is still running for a while after the food scraps have flushed through it. Other food items like bones etc. should not go into the unit either.
By following these small suggestions, you will do a lot to extend the life of your kitchens garbage disposal system.
With February already upon us, perhaps we’re longing for those hot summer days. While we may not feel like it now, we will be grateful for air conditioning as the weather gets warmer. So, it might be time to start thinking about spring cleaning our central air conditioning system. Its important to have a professional perform a yearly check on this, but there are some basic maintenance steps that a homeowner can carry out to ensure a well-maintained a/c system.
One of the first steps to take is checking the filter. Give it a good cleaning or, if it looks too bad, replace it. This is important because an air filter that is dirty will reduce the air quality in the home and also put a strain on the unit’s motor.
Throughout the wintertime, dirt and debris can build up around the outside unit. The area should be cleared of all leaves, branches, spider webs etc. You will most likely find that when you remove the cover of the a/c unit, a lot of dirt will have accumulated there also, and this will need cleaning. The inside of the unit has hundreds of metal fins that surround coils of piping. Some of these fins will most probably have bent but they can be straightened using a tool called a fin comb.
Drainage lines are fixed to the a/c unit and are designed to drain away condensed water. These lines can become clogged which will mean the unit cannot function properly. Have a check of them and make sure they are not blocked and are fixed firmly to the unit.
If you feel the motor needs oil, check the operating manual first to make sure the right type of oil is used.
While it may be a little early to think of summer, good planning of spring cleaning and maintenance will ensure some enjoyable time around the home during the warm months.
There are so many nature lovers out there who love to see various kinds of wildlife in their backyards. While observing nature can be a very enjoyable experience, there are times when it can become a nuisance. For example, how do you feel after spending hours working hard on your yard, only to have it ruined by an animal or rodent? Perhaps the first option you think of is using some type of chemical deterrent, but, before you do that, why not try some possible alternatives first. Here are just a few you could try:
One of the first steps to take is identify what kind of creature or animal is causing all the damage. By doing this, you will be able to find the best type of deterrent for it. Generally, animals are drawn to a yard because of a food source, it might even be certain plants or shrubs that are in your yard. If this is the case, you might want to remove whatever plant life or other food source that is attracting them.
Another method you could try is some type of barrier around the perimeter that is designed for keeping out wildlife. It could also be a visual deterrent or even a sound that frightens them away.
If you do not find these methods are working, a last resort is to capture the offender and relocate it somewhere else. Before you do this, though, ask the advice of your local wildlife agent or animal control center who will be able to advise you. Lastly, after looking at all your options, you may realize that the creature is not that bad after all and decide to do nothing at all. Either way, you have options.
While we live in hope that we can find our dream home at a bargain price, the reality is that does not always happen. What if you do happen upon that perfect property but find out there are already multiple offers on it? With a property in such high demand, you probably want to do all you can to be the one to acquire it in the end. Maybe you feel that, in order to sweeten the deal for the seller, you could offer to skip certain aspects of the home buying process like the home inspection, for example. Is this wise though? Is the home inspection just an added optional extra?
This brief video will help you see why this isn’t the case, why the home inspection is there to protect you as the home buyer and why its never something that should be skipped, even with a home that’s in high demand. Remember, this is a big investment so it’s important that you do all you can to ensure it stays a great investment.
Maintaining your home well is the key to avoiding expensive home repairs later on. While some repairs jobs seem obvious, others might not be so apparent. One area that a home owner should be aware of is the possibility of wood rot also referred to as wood decay. Not to be confused with the damage caused by carpenter ants or termites, wood rot is caused by a fungus that flourishes in warm, damp environments. However, it is pretty hardy and can survive in even more extreme temperatures and humidity.
What are some areas of the home that would be more susceptible to wood rot? Well, lets think about what it needs to survive: oxygen, moisture and a food source. Many areas of a home can provide these things. Here is a few of the places you might find wood decay:
This is just some of the places around a home where you should look out for signs of wood rot. As a homeowner, perhaps you are worried about this being an issue in your home. In order to help you identify possible signs of wood decay, why not have a home inspection performed? In this way, you can know what you should look out for and be advised on what to do if you do find it.
If you have recently relocated to a new area and need to find someone to work on your home, perhaps you’re wondering how you can find someone trustworthy, who will do a thorough, professional job. What are some ways to find out if the person you want to hire will be honest and not try to rip you off?
One thing that is good to remember is that a professional trades-person will have no problem answering any questions you have and will not mind if you ask them for their credentials and whether they are insured for the work. Be wary of anyone who is pushy and who wants an immediate decision on hiring them.
It is expected that you might be required to put down a small deposit for the work but never pay the whole amount up front and be weary of anyone wanting a large deposit. Also, make sure you get a fixed price for the job and have it down in writing. That way, you will not be responsible for those unforeseen “added extras” that very often come up after a quote.
Try not to give out your address before you have been quoted a price over the phone or email. Sometimes, depending on how affluent an area you live in, you might be quoted different prices based on where you live and not on the actual job.
While there are many honest workers out there, remember to ask questions about previous jobs, their experience and their exact address etc. An honest person with nothing to hide will have no problem providing this information.
Devereaux Van Dyne, Certified Professional Home Inspector