Posted by Marie Presti on 9/9/2018

Whether new or old, many homes can have issues that aren’t obvious from photos. Many of the most common problems in a home have to do with the plumbing system. Since water can be so damaging, it’s especially important to get these issues out in the open prior to sale.

Some sellers might be aware of their plumbing issues, others may have no clue at all. Oftentimes, if a home was previously occupied by only one or two people who didn’t entertain many guests, they may not be aware of the strain that a larger family could have on things like the septic system.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common plumbing issues that a home has and help you identify these issues before you buy a new home.

The small fixes

Let’s start with some problems that are common and simple to address. When touring a home or performing an inspection, test all of the home’s faucets. Dripping faucets might not seem like a big issue, but the cost of wasted water can add up on your utility bill.

Leaking pipes are another issue that is seemingly harmless, but can lead to bigger problems that could cost thousands of dollars to repair. Check ceilings, floors, and underneath cabinets for signs of water damage.

Flush the toilets in the house to see if they continue running. Toilets that continue running water is often a simple fix, like replacing the chain or flapper in the tank. However, a leaking toilet could be symptomatic of a bigger problem that could include having to replace the toilet.

Sewer line and septic systems

Ask the owner about the history of the sewer or septic system. Find out if they’ve had problems recently and when the last time they were taken care of. If there is a septic tank or field on the property, look for signs of issues such as the grass having been dug out, water pooling in the yard, or foul smells in the area.

When it comes to septic and sewer issues, always reach out to a professional. They will be able to give you an accurate assessment and estimate of costs.

Inspect the pipes

Spot-checking the pipes in the home will tell you a lot about the state of the plumbing. Pipes that are old, worn, and lacking insulation are signs that plumbing issues could be coming. Rust is a major red flag. The water lines that lead out of the house for lawn faucets should also be wrapped to avoid freezing in the winter months.

Hot water heater

Just like the septic system, you’ll want to ask about the history of the home’s hot water heater. If it’s over ten years old, you might have to replace it soon after purchase.

You should also consider the size of the hot water heater. You’ll want to be sure it can accommodate your expected water usage. If children are in your future, having a bigger hot water heater might be something you want to plan for to avoid cold showers in the morning.





Posted by Marie Presti on 9/2/2018

If you plan to buy a house in the near future, you should try to map out the property buying journey. By doing so, you can identify any potential homebuying hurdles and resolve such issues.

To better understand what to expect when you pursue your dream home, let's take a look at three key questions that every homebuyer needs to consider.

1. Where do I want to live?

There is no shortage of high-quality houses available in cities and towns nationwide. As such, it sometimes can be tough to determine exactly where you want to live due to the sheer volume of available homes.

As a homebuyer, it helps to consider your future plans before you kick off a house search. For example, if you intend to enroll in continuing education courses at a university in a particular city, you may want to focus on homes near the city itself. Or, if you prefer to raise your family in a small town, you should plan your house search accordingly.

Don't forget to craft a list of homebuying criteria too. This list will help you further narrow your home search and focus on properties that have features that match your needs.

2. What can I afford to spend on a house?

Buying a home may prove to be virtually impossible if you fail to obtain a mortgage. Lucky for you, many banks and credit unions offer mortgages to homebuyers and can teach you everything you need to know about home financing.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. That way, you can analyze a broad range of mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.

In addition, it may be beneficial to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Once you are pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.

3. How can I achieve my desired goals?

The homebuying journey can be tough to navigate, regardless of whether you're a first-time or experienced property buyer. But if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can achieve your desired results in no time at all.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to discover the right house, at the right price, regardless of the housing market's conditions. He or she will allocate time and resources to learn about your homebuying goals and ensure you can purchase a great residence at a budget-friendly price.

Also, a real estate agent will help you streamline your house search. This housing market professional will set up home showings and keep you up to date about open house events. And when you find your ideal home, a real estate agent will make it easy to submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

Take the guesswork out of the homebuying journey – work with a real estate agent, and you can receive comprehensive guidance as you pursue your dream home.




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Posted by Marie Presti on 8/26/2018

If you live in a relatively safe, low-crime area, then that's definitely something to be thankful for! However, very few -- if any -- neighborhoods are 100% crime proof, so it's always a good policy to "err on the side of caution."

By integrating some basic, common-sense home security measures into your daily routine, you can dramatically increase the chances that you and your family will remain safe. While each home has different security needs and potential vulnerabilities, there are several steps you can take to thwart burglaries and help prevent home intrusions.

  • Be security conscious: Good habits are one of the cornerstones of keeping your home secure. If you get in the habit of locking doors every time you leave the house, then you're making it a lot less convenient for an intruder to enter your home. Even if it's just a neighbor, relative, or friend who might innocently let themselves in through an unlocked door, there might be personal papers on your desk, a private letter left out, or a sink full of dirty dishes that you'd prefer they didn't see! Locking your doors when you're not at home can help protect your privacy, as well as your security.
  • Avoid leaving ladders out when you're not using them. One of the cardinal rules of home security is don't make it inviting and easy for a burglar to gain access to your home. Leaving your garage doors open when you're gone or allowing your first-floor windows to be covered by overgrown bushes are two other security breaches that many homeowners overlook.
  • Create the impression that someone is home -- especially at night. Leaving lights on or having them come on automatically at a designated time is one smart strategy for discouraging break-ins and home intrusions. Outdoor illumination, such as lamp posts and motion-activated spotlights, are other easy-to-implement techniques for making your home more burglar resistant.
  • Secure first-floor windows. Since homes can get pretty stuffy if you leave your windows closed all the time, it's nice to let fresh air circulate, whenever possible. Although opening your windows on a regular basis can be highly desirable to maintain comfort and indoor air quality, remembering to close and lock them when you're sleeping or away from the house is of even greater importance.
  • More ideas to consider: If home security is a major concern of yours, it may pay to look into options like deadbolt locks, stronger doors, window and door sensors, and high-tech security systems that you can control from a mobile device.

While it's beneficial to make your entire family aware of the importance of home security, it's often a good idea to designate one person as the resident security chief, so to speak. When the "buck stops" with one specific person -- preferably an adult -- then there's less of a likelihood that important precautions will be forgotten or overlooked. Since every family's security needs are unique, creating a customized checklist for your own individual situation is the best solution.





Posted by Marie Presti on 8/19/2018

When you think of making improvements to your home, you probably often turn to the inside of your home to bring the value of your home up. The outside of your house provides the same type of opportunities and adds value at the same time. People not only like to live in the indoors of their homes, but the outdoors as well. Maximizing the outdoor space allows for entertainment opportunities and increased living space without maximum costs.


Spruce Up Your Garden And Landscapes


The landscape of your home is a revolving battle. You’ll need to continually maintain these areas of the home. Choose your plants based on the climate you live in. Keep the grass looking green, or plant a drought-tolerant yard. Adding trees for shade, shrubbery for beauty, and other types of plants not only helps increase the curb appeal of your home, but plants and trees can lower energy bills and keep your home cool at the same time.      



Build An Outdoor Space


Building something like a deck or a patio to your home can really be effective at adding living space and value to your home. Whether you decide to go all out and attach a deck to your home for you to step out on, or do things a little more simply and pave a patio, you’ll find a return on your investment. Most homeowners look for a nice outdoor space to hang out on, so this improvement can make a big difference. 


Curb Appeal Matters


The curb appeal of your home is what it looks like when people pull up tot he front of the house. Having a better looking home from the outside can increase the value of your home and the future appeal it has to buyers. Your home will be more inviting by doing improvements like repaving the driveway or adding a stone wall. Whatever you think the front of your home needs to make it more inviting should be done not only if you’re planning on selling your home, but for your own enjoyment as well. 


Add Other Touches


There are certain luxuries in a yard that can make a big difference. Add a small waterfall or a fountain to add a lot to a yard. Along with your deck or patio area, you should also consider adding a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace. These items attract people for their immense enjoyment. The design doesn’t even need to be elaborate. These can be some of the biggest, yet most inexpensive improvements that you can make to your yard. 


Remember that no matter how you want to spruce up your yard, it’s all about enjoyment and the ability to make use your yard. Add the personal touches that you know will make your yard special and purposeful.




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Posted by Marie Presti on 8/12/2018

Curb appeal, the illusive secret weapon that enamors potential buyers from afar and draws them into your home. There have been several attempts to nail down the “secret formula” for curb appeal.

In reality, the best approach to improving your home’s presentation from outside is to take the time to consider what fits.

In this post, we’ll give you some budget ideas to help you find the curb appeal boosters that will match with your home.

1. Fresh paint

One well-known curb appeal strategy is to repaint some of the notable components of the outside of your home. The places that have to most impact?

  • Front door - a front door that pops, but that also fits with the style of your home and complements its main color will make your home stand out from the neighbors.

  • Shutters - repainting your shutters is another inexpensive area to add some color to your home. However, be wary of choosing bright colors for your shutters if they’re going to clash with or disrupt the overall style of your home.

  • Mailbox - a neglected, dented, and a dirty mailbox is a huge turn off for potential buyers. Buying a new one, or adding a fresh coat of paint to your old one that matches one of the highlight colors of your home, can be a great way to add a sense of continuity to the exterior of your house.

2. Sparse decorations

Just like the inside of your home, less is often more when it comes to decoration. There are a number of things to add to your yard that will improve its overall presentation. But, just be sure that it doesn’t appear out of place or tacky. A single, small, and brightly colored bird house in a tree is usually a safe bet.

3. Simple landscaping

There’s no need to hire contractors for elaborate landscaping or to purchase expensive plants and shrubbery. A well-manicured yard is enough to make your home stand out. And, remember that potential buyers will most likely be looking for a home that is low-maintenance. A simple lawn and walkway say just that.

Also be sure to trim and prune your current trees, bushes, and flowerbeds. You might find that a cleanup is all they needed to be impressive once more.

4. Pressure washing

Most of us grow accustomed to how our home looks and might not notice the accumulation of dirt on the siding. By hiring or renting a pressure washer for a day, you’ll be able to update a number of aspects of curb appeal. From siding and decks to walkways and driveways, you can cover a lot of square footage with a pressure washer.

One note on pressure washers: the better ones can be dangerous. That means hiring a professional could help get the best results for your money. Also, while you can buy a pressure washer, you might find that for the amount you use it, it’s easier just to hire or rent every few years.




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