Staying Sane During a Remodel

It is always fun to give your home an update, but sometimes that face lift can be more than what you bargained for. Before you start down the path of remodeling, it is important to know what changes you want to make to your home. Take time to really give this some thought, ask family members what they like and dislike about the home, explore magazines for ideas, and think about the traffic patterns of your home.13e9bf62-2c0e-4596-9ece-ebee7a374599

Hiring a qualified professional can be a daunting task. Ask around and see who’ve others would recommend or if there is no one to ask the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) offers a directory of finding someone near you. Use some of these tips for saving money during your remodel.

Before hiring a contractor, it is important to ask what their schedule is. This will give you time line that outlines the tasks and when they are expected to be completed. Some other important questions to ask are: who will be there every day? How will they protect your property? How will they communicate with you? What areas of your home will be off limits to workers? Does your house have an alarm system? Will workers need a key or will someone always be there?

Hold a pre-construction meeting so everyone is on the same page. This allows your contractor to clarify procedures, answer your questions, and explain the whole job process. Remember to establish guidelines for the renovation crew and understand the hours of work, impact on neighbors, and parking and bathroom facilities are all considerations.

One other great tip to keeping your sanity during this whole process, regardless if it is a full-scale remodel or a single room, take a moment to admire and celebrate the process. As writer Chantal Eustace of Tsawwassen said of her renovation: “When a window is installed, admire it. Don’t focus on the exposed insulation beneath it or the unfinished flooring below. Embrace the improvements, one nail at a time.”

What are some questions you would add? What do you wish you had asked before your remodel? Would you do it again?

8 Health Hazards To Avoid In Your Home

Protect your home from health hazards by keeping these 8 areas of your home free of germs:

light-bulb-3229-830x5501. Bed linens. These can hold germs, grime, and allergens. Wash at least once a week using the hottest washer and dryer settings. It takes extreme heat to kill most bacteria.

2. Pet toys. These can be a source of staph, as well as coliforms, yeast, and mold. Hard toys should be cleaned once a month with hot soapy water, rinsed, disinfected with a mild bleach solution, then rinsed again. Sanitize soft toys with laundry on the hot water cycle.

3. Refrigerator ice and water dispensers. A recent study found these can be loaded with yeast and mold. Clean the ice dispenser monthly. Turn off and wash the bin with dish detergent and warm water, then dry with a clean towel. Every six months, pour 3-4 cups of distilled white vinegar into the water supply tube and let it run through to sanitize. Wipe water spout once a week with cotton swab and a dry cloth.

4. HVAC ducts. In a year, a 1500 square foot home’s ducktwork can collect 40 pounds of dust containing allergens, bacteria, dirt, fungi, mold, and about 40,000 dust mites per ounce. When you turn on the system, all this circulates, causing fatigue, sinus problems, and asthma. Have a NADCA-certified company clean ducts every 2 years.

5. Sponges. Unless disinfected, a sponge is a prime place for germs to grow, and then spread around the kitchen. Clean a nonmetallic sponge by completely wetting it and placing it in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. Throw out sponges after two weeks. Better options are towels, dishcloths, and rags you can sanitize with bleach in your washing machine’s hot water cycle.

6. Ceiling fan blades. These are home to dust mites which the fan then circulates. Put a pillowcase on each blade and pull it off while wiping the dust into it. Empty it outside, and then launder the case inside out on your hottest washer and dryer settings.

7. The dishwasher. Mold can form here when moisture lingers after the heat cycle ends. Run your dishwasher only when you can empty it soon after it stops.

8. The washing machine. Mold and staph can grow here. Once a month, use the self-clean cycle or put a cup of bleach in an empty machine and run on the hottest setting. Leave the door or lid open when not in use.

What would you add to the list? Do you have an pet peeve when it comes to cleaning your home?

This information was provided by Danene Strand (NMLS# 442493) with Veritas Funding.

Is Selling Your Home Without an Agent Wise?

When it comes to selling your home, it might be tempting to do it yourself, but is it really the wisest move? Having the knowledge and experience of a good agent is important, but with the Federal Government continuing to taper bond purchases and mortgage rates, the need for using a real estate agent is growing.

Ehome-1396359864NY1ach state has their own regulations and paperwork for selling and purchasing property. The rules and requirements are constantly changing which makes it a wise move to have an agent who can help you navigate through the entire process and answer your questions.

Negotiation is another key element. Having a professional on your side can really give you an advantage. The National Association of REALTORS announced, “the typical FSBO (For Sale by Owner) home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 among agent-assisted home sales.” Are you willing to take the risk of losing out on your homes profitability?

With all the information out there, do you really know what is really going on in the market? What are the mortgage rates like in your area? How much should you offer on your dream home without paying too much? A real estate agent has knowledge of these things and is here to help make your buying/selling experience go as smoothly as possible.

What have been some of your concerns about hiring an agent? Have you sold your home on your own before? Would you do it again?

Home Maintenance for the Spring

Spring is here and you know what that means, it is time to start doing some maintenance on your home. Some things might be obvious, like giving your AC a look over, but what about some of these other things like:

Review your roof. Now is the perfect time to check your shingles to ensure none are loose or broken after the cold, icy winter.

Clean out your gutters. After the winter storms, leaves and twigs could easily get clogged in your gutters and downspouts. Make sure things are running smoothly to protect your home from any water damage from these spring rains.

Declutter your home. This is a great time to get rid of all those items you no longer want. Plus, take a moment to open your windows, shake out your rugs, and wash your electric blankets.

Share your tips with me. What are some things you inspect in the spring?

Before You Buy, Ask Yourself These Questions

Buying a new home can be exciting, but extremely stressful at the same time. There are so many things to take into consideration; knowing what you can afford, getting pre-approved, and finding a qualified real estate agent to help you through the whole process. Then of course there is finding your dream home and knowing exactly what you want and don’t want.Ranch_style_home_in_Salinas,_California

Before buying a home, take a moment to ask yourself some important questions. If you know where you stand, you will have an easier time moving forward with purchasing your next home.

    1. Don’t buy if you can’t stay put. If you can’t commit to staying in a home for at least a couple of years, buying is probably not the best decision for you.
    2. Aim for a home you can afford. Make sure you know how much you can afford, don’t stretch yourself too thin.
    3. Get professional help. A professional real estate agent can help you find the perfect home and assist you strategize the bidding process.
    4. Choose carefully between points and rate. When choosing the right mortgage for you, if you are planning on staying in the home for a long time it is usually better to take the points for a lower interest rate in the long run.
    5. Do your homework before bidding. Know what the sales trends are in the area so you have a clear estimate on what to bid. Your real estate agent can help you here.

For first time homebuyers, there are some further, basic questions to ask yourself such as, how to choose a home, how to make an offer, and transitioning from being a renter to an owner which can help make the home buying process easier.

When moving forward with buying a home, it is recommended to put a down payment of 20% on your home, although it is possible to get a loan with less down. Regardless to how much you can afford to put down, it is important to know how much house you can afford.

Dave Ramsey has some great advice for potential home buyers when making the decision to buy a home along with 3 mistakes to avoid.

Share your thoughts. Is there anything you would add? What do you wish you’d known when you bought your first home?

How to Deal with Bad Neighbors

Image at The Daily Touch

If you are lucky, dealing with difficult neighbors are only stories you hear about. Unfortunately there are times when we get a neighbor who is a nightmare. How do you deal with the annoying and obnoxious neighbor? Communication is important when trying to work with someone with different views ~ with the exception of those who are doing something illegal, then it is best to involve the police. Some tips when dealing with a bad neighbor is:

Get to know them better. It is easier to work out your problems with someone when you are on friendly terms with them instead of strangers.
Deal with problems before they are problems. Are you planning a party? Why not invite the neighbors to join the fun or give them a card with your phone number. That way if the party gets too loud they can give you a call instead of the cops.
Document the problem ~ keep notes with the dates, times and photos, if necessary. This will allow you to look at the whole picture (it is really that big of a deal?), give you back up when you address your neighbor about it and, if push comes to shove, you have something to give to the authorities.

Remember it is not always easy to deal with people, but it is important to take the high ground.

Have you ever lived next door to a difficult neighbor? What are some of the things you did to work it out?

Make Your Money Work for You

It seems like wherever you turn people are talking about saving money, but when you feel like you are living paycheck to paycheck, how do you start saving for your future?SM160H

First of all, if you company offers a 401(k) plan enroll in it and if they match that is an extra bonus.

Another habit to develop is pay yourself first ~ not sure where to start? Try the 52 Week Money Challenge where you put $1 in a jar the first week, $2 in the second week and so on. If you maintain this self-discipline by the end of the challenge you will have saved $1,378.00 ~ just think what you could do with that extra money. By getting in the habit of paying yourself first, you will:

  • Create sound financial habits
  • Build your nest egg
  • Establish a strong mental mindset when it comes to financial empowerment

For more idea to saving your money check out Martha Stewart’s tips and make a plan to be free of credit card debit.

What are some of your money saving tips?

Creating Good Habits and Leaving the Bad Habits Behind

We all have our little vices we would like to break—big or small. How do you move forward with changing your habits though and creating new ones that will support you in a more positive pen and paperway? The Chopra Center breaks down the process for building better habits in six steps:

  • Identify the Obstacle ~ what do you want to change?
  • Present Moment Awareness ~ how do you feel when performing the unwanted behavior?
  • Clear the Space ~ set a date for ending the habit
  • Filling the Void ~ replace the unwanted behavior with a supporting one

What are some of the techniques you have used to overcome an unwanted behavior?

Get Outside This Summer

sunbeds-by-the-poolAlthough the summer months are here, it is easy to feel like you are spending more time indoors cleaning, then you are outside enjoying the fresh air. To help you keep your home clean and yet still have time to play outside, here are some things you can do to cut down on the clutter and be more preemptive when it comes to keeping your home tidy.

When it comes to decluttering your home, some great ideas come from the spacial arrangement of Feng Shui. One aspect of feng shui that appeals to me is the principle of looking at the items in your home that no longer makes you happy and throwing them out.

Taking time to organize your laundry room, sort your mail (throw out the junk mail immediately), and making your bed (check out this awesome tip for folding a fitted sheet) are a few things you can do to make sure your home stays tidy longer.

What are some things you do to keep your home picked up? Share some of your tips here.