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Posted by Lea Nabipour on 10/15/2018

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Although basements can be extremely useful, in terms of providing storage space and work area, many homeowners don't take full advantage of it.

Sooner or later, the following statement applies to nearly everone: Unless an organizing system is put into place -- preferably within the first year of moving in -- your basement will begin to take on the appearance of a junk repository!

When your belongings are haphazardly heaped together, it not only becomes difficult to find things you want and need, but items you've cast aside gradually occupy more and more of your valuable space.

The ideal scenario -- from a storage standpoint -- is to buy a house that already comes with built-in shelving and cabinets in the basement. A feature that's almost as good is when the previous owner took the time to set up (and leave for you) enough metal shelving in the basement to meet your storage needs. Although metal shelving doesn't have a lot of eye appeal, it is extremely sturdy and functional.

Cost Effective Solutions

If aesthetics and functionality are what you're looking for, consider these ideas: 1) picking up bargains on shelving, cabinets, and other cheap furniture at garage sales. 2) hiring a reasonably priced carpenter to custom-build some nice shelving and cabinets in your basement.

Of course, if you happen to be handy with a hammer and saw, yourself, then building your own storage shelves might be a satisfying (and money saving) weekend project. However, if your carpentry skills are a bit on the "marginal" side, it would probably be worth it to find a reasonably priced and competent craftsman! Asking friends, relatives, and neighbors for recommendations can often yield the name of the perfect -- and often affordable -- person for the job.

Basement Organizing Tips

Once your shelving is in place, you might want to purchase some inexpensive bins, baskets, or boxes to neatly store you belongings, seasonal supplies, and items you're not exactly sure what to do with. Labeling all containers will improve efficiency and help you avoid frustration down the road.

Designating a section of your basement for hand-me-downs, future garage sale items, and/or charitable donations will make it easier to categorize and move things out when the time comes. Another aspect of keeping your basement organized and free of clutter is to consider throwing away items that are obsolete, irreparably broken, damaged, or incomplete. While "one man's junk is another man's treasure", some things are simply of no value to anyone! For items that fall into that category, the choice usually boils down to one of three options: restore it, recycle it, or have it professionally disposed of.

A well organized basement can potentially be a good place to store things you want to save, protect, and keep in good condition for future use. Preserving anything that's delicate, valuable, or easily damaged requires a lot of safeguards, including -- but not limited to -- keeping them adequately covered, sometimes in airtight containers, and maintaining a dry, climate-controlled environment. Relatively humidity should be carefully monitored and, in most cases, maintained between 30% and 50%. When moisture in the air approaches 60%, mold and mildew tend to thrive.





Posted by Lea Nabipour on 10/8/2018

Buying a vacation home is an important goal and milestone for many Americans who want to make the most of their holidays and plan for retirement.

Vacation properties neednít be lavish or expensive to still be a perfect way to enjoy the winter months at your home away from home. Furthermore, owning a vacation home can prove to be an excellent financial asset that increases in value over time, as more people seek to scoop up properties in your area.

In todayís post, Iím going to talk about some of the most important things to look for in a vacation home to help you kick off your search. Whether youíre months away from buying a home or the idea of a second home is still a far-off dream, this article is for you.

1. Consider locations

The most important aspect of any vacation home is that itís located in the perfect place for you to enjoy. Whether thatís a remote getaway in the mountains or a beachfront property in Florida, your plans for the home should be your number one priority.

If itís your ultimate goal to retire and move into your vacation home someday, consider what it would be like living in that location full time. Is it close to amenities like grocery stores? Or, if youíre moving to a coastal area, will the traffic drive you crazy?

On the other hand, if you donít intend to ever move into your vacation home full-time, it might be wiser to choose a location that will suit your familyís vacation needs while remaining a great asset to sell down the road.

2. Spend a week at your destination before buying

Some homeowners have a dream of buying a vacation home in a place theyíve always wanted to visit or have simply heard is a great place to own a vacation home in. The problem with this is that you might find, once you arrive, that you donít want to spend several weeks or months there after all.

It might get too crowded during vacation season or you might decide that there isnít enough to do that will keep you busy for extended stays.

To prevent buyerís remorse, spend a week or two in your planned vacation home destination to make sure it really is the best spot for you.

3. If you plan on renting, know what to expect

Many Americans purchase a vacation home with the intention of renting it out while they arenít using it to earn extra income. While this can be a great way to generate income, you will need to be prepared for becoming a landlord.

Look up local rental laws in the area to make sure you understand your responsibilities. Furthermore, understand that renting out a property part-time takes work; youíll interact with prospective renters, filter out those that you think arenít suited for your home, and handle problems with the property as they arrive.

If you keep these three things in mind, you should be able to find the perfect vacation home for you and your family.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Lea Nabipour on 10/1/2018

Determining the fair market price for your house can be a challenge for even the most diligent home seller. As such, it is important to conduct plenty of research before you add your house to the real estate market. Home sellers who perform comprehensive research into the real estate market can find out how similar houses are priced and plan accordingly. Furthermore, home sellers will be able to assess the real estate market in general and get a better idea about how homebuyers may view their residences. Ultimately, it is paramount for a home seller to consider a number of factors to ensure he or she lists a residence at a fair price, including: 1. The Home's Condition A two-bedroom home that requires extensive repairs likely will sell for less than a similar two-bedroom house that has been well maintained over the years. As a result, you'll want to look closely at the condition of your house, and if necessary, complete any home repairs before you add your residence to the real estate market. To fully evaluate your house's condition, you may want to employ a home appraiser to evaluate your residence. This appraiser can help you identify potential home issues that may prevent you from maximizing the value of your house and ensure you can fix these problems quickly. 2. Your Timeline Are you looking to move out of your current residence and into a new house immediately? If so, you may want to consider a below-average price that helps your home stir up interest among a wide range of homebuyers. Conversely, if you're looking to optimize the sale price of your house, you may want to spend some time improving the interior and exterior of your home. By doing so, you'll be able to boost your chances of generating widespread interest in your residence among homebuyers. Consider your timeline as you prepare to list your residence. And remember, if you are in no rush to sell your house, you may be able to wait out homebuyers and ensure you receive an offer that fulfills your needs. 3. Potential Negotiations There are no guarantees that a homebuyer will offer you the asking price of your house, regardless of how long your residence has been available. But if you price your home and are willing to negotiate with a homebuyer, you may be able to improve your chances of a fast sale. For instance, a home seller who leaves is open to negotiations may be willing to settle for less than his or her initial asking price under the right circumstances. And if you work with a real estate agent, this professional could help you find many interested homebuyers in a short period of time. A real estate agent can help you handle any negotiations and ensure you are fully satisfied with any offer you accept. Therefore, this professional can play an important role in the home selling process and enable you to determine the best price for your residence as well. Dedicate the time and resources necessary to price your house, and you should be able to improve your home's chances of garnering interest from homebuyers far and wide.





Posted by Lea Nabipour on 9/24/2018

Household recycling has become easier than ever. Many towns and cities offer free recycling pickup, and even private waste management companies are implementing recycling programs.

There are a number of advantages to recycling. It helps protect the environment by reducing the amount of waste and making it easier to reuse raw materials. But, recycling is also advantageous to homeowners who donít want to pay hefty fees for trash pickup when they can often recycle for free.

One of the more difficult aspects of household recycling is the learning curve of actually learning what is and isnít recyclable. Homeowners might think something is recyclable because itís made from plastic, only to find out later that itís a specific type of plastic that canít be recycled. On the other hand, you might be throwing some items in the garbage, filling up your bin each week when you could be recycling it instead.

In this article, weíre going to talk about some of the lesser known items you could be recycling. Weíll also cover some items you shouldnít throw in your recycling bin, and give you tips on how to tell which is which.

Things that shouldnít find their way into your recycling bin

Itís easy to assume that just because something looks like paper, plastic, or glass, that it can be tossed into your recycling bin. However, that isnít always the case. Look out for these items that may not be recyclable in your area.

  • Used paper food containers. Pizza boxes are one of the biggest culprits that end up in recycling bins when they shouldnít be. Items like paper food containers, use paper towels, and paper plates are all soiled with grease and other food residue making them ineligible for recycling.

  • Those glossy drink cartons made from unknown materials. Thereís a good chance that if you canít find a recycling logo on it somewhere it canít be recycled. However, a growing number of cities are accepting milk cartons, so be sure to check on the rules in your area.

  • Plastic shopping bags. Those flimsy bags that you get from the supermarket? You canít recycle those. As a result, many cities and stores are encouraging the use of reusable shopping bags. If you forget your bags at home, however, fear not: many supermarkets now accept your used plastic bags to be recirculated.

So that eliminates a lot of common household waste from being recycled. However, there are plenty of items you might not be aware of that can be tossed into the recycling bin.

Lesser known recyclable items around the house

Even if something isnít eligible for curbside recycling doesnít mean you should just toss it into the trash. There are many items that you can drop off or donate. Here are just a few items that are likely sitting in your house right now:

  • Old cell phones and electronics. Our gadgets are becoming obsolete at an ever-increasing rate. That means many of us have a lot of old tech junk sitting in boxes in our basements. The good news is that several stores accept free drop-offs of old electronics for reuse and recycling.

  • Mattresses and furniture. Large items like mattresses and old furniture are a pain to get rid of. Theyíre also likely useful to someone out there. For mattresses and box springs, try contacting retailers to see if they reuse them for materials. Furniture that is still in usable condition can be placed on Craigslist or donated to a thrift store like Goodwill or Salvation Army.

  • Oil and ink. Run out of ink in your printer? Online retailers will often pay you for your old cartridges. Also, if you recently changed your oil, drop it off at an auto parts store to be recycling into other automotive materials.




Tags: Recycle   recycling   household  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Lea Nabipour on 9/17/2018

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial milestones youíll reach in your life. If youíre a first-time homebuyer, it can be scary to take the plunge and make a down payment on your first home.

Down payments are one element that makes up the factors which determine your monthly mortgage payments, and in turn, how much youíll be paying toward your home in total. So, itís important to understand just how much to save for a down payment.

In this article, weíll talk about down payments, why they matter, and your options for saving up for a down payment.

Why down payments matter

A down payment is simply the amount of money a buyer pays at the time of closing on the house. Down payments help assure lenders that you will make your monthly mortgage payments because you have invested a substantial amount of money into the house and therefore risk losing your down payment if you fail to pay the mortgage and your house is foreclosed on.

If youíre eager to buy your first home, you may want to make the smallest down payment possible so you can move in sooner. However, a smaller down payment typically means a larger monthly mortgage payment. Thatís because your mortgage payment depends on several factors.

When a lender determines how much they will lend you towards your home and how much your monthly mortgage payments will be, their formula takes into account your down payment, your credit score, and the value of the property. The higher your credit score and the higher your down payment is, the less your monthly payments will be.

Mortgage types and down payments

Many first time home buyers cannot afford large down payments on their first home (20% or more). As a result, there are loan types insured by the Federal Housing Administration that are offered for as low as 3.5% of the mortgage amount.

If you arenít approved for an FHA loan but plan on making a down payment of less than 20%, you can still buy a home with private mortgage insurance (PMI). With PMI you pay a monthly premium for your insurance in addition to your monthly mortgage payments.

How long and how much to save

So, how much should you save? The short answer is as much as possible. However, if you need to move soon because of life circumstances, it isnít always an option to hold off on moving for long periods of time.

If youíre currently renting each month at high prices, it might make more sense to put that money towards your first home, an asset which will likely increase in value, rather than spend it on rent which you get no return on.  

One of the best ways to save for a down payment is to set up a new cash savings account that will automatically deposit a portion of your paycheck each week. Having an off-limits account is a great way to save without the temptation of spending it on luxuries if the money would normally be sitting in your checking account.

Another option is to start investing. If youíre in no rush to buy a home and have the financial resources, investing pays off much more than a savings account does when it comes to increasing assets.

Regardless of how you choose to save, the most important takeaway is that you take action now to start saving and you donít deviate from your savings plan for any reason.




Categories: Uncategorized