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HOW TO FIND THE PERFECT NEIGHBORHOOD.

Either that you are a family guy searching for a place to live, or that you are a college student who needs a place to stay, it doesn’t matter, you just need to find that perfect neighborhood for you. What does perfect mean?! A neighborhood that should match your lifestyle and your life-stage too. Specialists’ state that even though this might seem scary at first, if you follow certain guidelines and steps it should be easier. So, let’s discover these steps together!

First of all, you need a community that meets your demands and your budget too. There is no place for you to dreamabout something you can’t afford; take your time and analyze everything objectively! The most likely conclusion you’ll get – you need to compromise and be realistic!

Making sure you end up in the perfect house, firstly requires to determine if the house is situated in a good neighborhood. In other words, it doesn’t matter if the house is excelling if the location is terrible. It will ruin everything… After all, you don’t intend to move from one place to another! It’s not a hobby, is it?

You live how you choose to live!

How can you decide what is right for you? Well, it’s not that problematic as it might appear, but you have to get a clear picture of what you really need and what stands as a silly ambition. Figure out what exactly you intend doing in the future and then start scrutinizing the market. Next, once you have a list of, let’s say three neighborhoods that might work for you, then try to get a snapshot of how you’ll be living there. Which fits you better? Expose your wish list properly to your real estate agent and then take a big breath and choose!

While you may think moving is exciting at first sight, well in the end you’ll probably get to a common conclusion – ‘It’s extremely stressful!’ Here are some of the things to consider when trying to find the perfect neighborhood!great neighborhood

Steps in finding the perfect neighborhood!

Step 1 – Set your priorities

You need to have a clear picture of what matters the most for you and what things you can compromise on. Before a real estate agent can help you, firstly you need to establish what type of community might meet your requirements. For instance,

To read the rest of this article please go to: http://tourwizard.net/blog/find-perfect-neighborhood-steps-take/

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TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE THIS WINTER

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of    regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”                         – Jim Rohn

Residential fires take their toll every day, every year, in lost lives and destroyed property. The fact is that many conditions that cause house fires can be avoided or prevented by homeowners. Taking the time for some simple precautions, preventive inspections, and concrete planning can help prevent fire in the home — and can even save your life should disaster strike.

  • All electrical devices including lamps, appliances, and electronics should be checked for frayed cords, loose or broken plugs, and exposed wiring. Never run electrical wires under carpet or rugs as this creates a fire hazard.
  • Wood-burning fireplaces should be cleaned by a professional chimney sweep each year to prevent a dangerous buildup of creosote, which can cause a flash fire in the chimney. Cracks in masonry chimneys should be repaired, and spark arresters inspected to ensure they are in good condition and free of debris.
  • When using space heaters, keep them away from beds and bedding, curtains, papers — anything flammable. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Space heaters should not be left unattended or where a child or pet could knock them over.
  • Use smoke detectors with fresh batteries unless they are hard-wired to your home’s electrical system. Smoke detectors should be installed high on walls or on ceilings on every level of the home and inside each bedroom. Statistics show that nearly 60% of home fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Many municipalities now require the use of working smoke detectors in both single and multi-family residences.
  • Children should not have access to or be allowed to play with matches, lighters, or candles. Flammable materials such as gasoline or kerosene should be stored outside the house.
  • Kitchen fires know no season. Grease spills, items left unattended on the stove or in the oven, and food left in toasters or toaster ovens can catch fire quickly. Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing, especially with long sleeves, around the stove. Handles of pots and pans should be turned away from the front of the stove to prevent accidental contact. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher within easy reach.
  • Have an escape plan. This is one of the most important measures you can take to prevent death in a fire. Your local fire department can provide detailed recommendations on escape planning and preparedness. In addition, all family members should know how to dial 911 in case of a fire or other emergency.
  • Live Christmas trees should be kept in a water-filled stand and checked daily for dehydration. Needles should not easily break off a freshly cut tree. Brown needles or lots of fallen needles indicate a dangerously dried-out tree, which should be discarded immediately. Always use non flammable decorations in the home, and never use lights on a dried-out tree.
  • Candles should be placed in stable holders and placed away from curtains, drafts, pets, and children. Never leave candles unattended, even for a short time.
  • Christmas or other holiday lights should be checked for fraying or broken wires and plugs. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when joining two or more strands together, as a fire hazard could result from overload. Enjoy your indoor holiday lighting only while someone is home, and turn them off before going to bed at night.

Your local Pillar To Post office wishes you and your clients a happy and safe holiday season.

A big thank you to Karl for sending this article my way.

Karl Spitzer
karl.spitzer@pillartopost.com
www.pillartopost.com

IF YOU ARE A “FOR SALE BY OWNER” THEN YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS!

IF YOU ARE A “FOR SALE BY OWNER” THEN YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS!
“He is happiest, be he king or peasant who finds peace in his home.” –  Goethe

Many homeowners believe to maximize their home sale they should sell it themselves. At first glance, they feel selling a home is simple. Why would they pay a broker free for something they could do themselves? In fact, close to 25% of all the homes sold last year were sold For Sale by Owner (FSBO).

However, close to half of the FSBOs said they would hire a professional next time they sold. Thirty percent said they were unhappy with the results they achieved by choosing FSBO. Why?

Many FSBOs told us the time, paperwork and everyday responsibilities involved were not worth the amount of money they saved in commissions. For others, the financial savings were even more disappointing. By the time they figured the fees paid to consultants, inspectors, appraisers, title lawyers, escrow and loan officers, marketing, advertising, they would have been better off to have paid the broker’s fee that would have included many of these charges.

Selling a home requires an intimate understanding of the real estate market. If the property is priced too high, it will sit and develop a reputation for being a problem property. If the property is priced too low, you will cost yourself serious money. Some FSBOs discovered that they lost money as a result of poor marketing decisions. In the final outcome, this far outweighed the commission they would have paid.

Before you decide to sell FSBO, consider these questions and weigh the consequences of assuming the responsibility versus employing a professional. A little time spent investigating now could pay off tenfold in the end.

Questions To Consider

  • Do I have the time, energy, know how, and ability to devote a full forced effort to sell my home?
  • One of the keys to selling your home effectively and profitably is complete accessibility. Many homes sit on the market much longer than necessary because the owner isn’t available to show the property. Realize that a certain amount of time each day is necessary to sell your home.
  • Am I prepared to deal with an onslaught of buyers who perceive FSBOs as targets for “low balling”?
  • Another challenge of selling a home is screening unqualified prospects and dealing with “low ballers.” It often goes unnoticed that much time, effort and expertise is required to spot these people quickly. Settling for a “low ball” bid is usually worse than paying broker commissions.
  • Am I offering financing options to the buyer? Am I prepared to answer questions about financing?
  • One of the keys to selling, whether it’s a home, a car.. anything, is to have all the necessary information the prospective buyer needs and to offer them options. Think about the last time your purchased something of value, did you make a decision before you had “all your ducks in a row?” By offering financing options, you give the home-buyer the ability to work on their terms. You’ll open up the possibility of selling your home quicker and more profitably. A professional real estate agent will have a complete team for you to profit from… lenders… title reps… inspection companies… they’ll be completely at your disposal.
  • Do I fully understand the legal ramifications and all the necessary steps required in selling a home?
  • Many home sales have been lost due to incomplete paperwork, lack of inspections or not meeting your state’s disclosure laws. Are you completely informed of all the steps necessary to sell real estate? If not, you may want to consider consulting with a professional.
  • Am I capable of handling the legal contracts, agreements and any disputes with buyers before or after the offer is presented?
  • Ask yourself: “Am I well-versed in legalese? Am I prepared to handle disputes with buyers?” To avoid any disputes, it is wise to put all negotiations and agreements in writing. Many home sales have been lost due to misrepresentations of what was negotiated.
  • Have I contacted the necessary professionals… title, inspector (home and pest), attorney, and escrow company?
  • Are you familiar with top inspectors and escrow companies? Don’t randomly select inspectors, attorneys, and title reps. Like any profession, there are inadequate individuals who will slow, delay and possibly even cost you the transaction. Be careful!

My hope with this report has been to educate you and help you avoid the pitfalls many FSBOs go through. I hope you found the ideas valuable and if there is every any way I can be of service to you or anyone you care about, please contact my office. Your initial consultation is always completely free and you’re under no obligation of any kind. I’d love to hear from you!

Sincerely,
Jocelyne Grandjean-Brown
RE/MAX Professionals
352-870-9929

WHAT MAKES PEOPLE MOVE?

WHAT MAKES PEOPLE MOVE?
“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” –  George Moore

Do you have a new job? Want more space? Want to own your own home? Move closer to relatives? Want a change of scene? How about – do you want to move away from your relatives? Believe it or not, moving away from relatives was the number three reason cited for moving according to a new Internet survey.

Clyde and Shari Steiner, authors of The Complete How-to-Move Handbook, compiled a comprehensive survey targeting people who pay for their own moves. The Steiners are self-styled moving experts having been through 15 relocations themselves. They gathered the information to use in their book, and it is available to read at their site, http://www.movedoc.com

“You would expect leaving friends and family would deter people from moving, but 75 percent more in our nationwide survey said they wanted to escape instead of moving closer,” comment the authors.

The survey information was self-selective, and the results were calculated on the collective data gained from a total of 432 moves. The top three reasons for moving were to take a new job (8.18%,) get a better home (7.55%,) or to move away from friends or relatives (7.55%.) Only 5.66% wanted to get closer to family and friends.

The number one reason people gave for leaving their present home was too little space (45.8%). Dangerous neighborhoods or noise prompted another 29.2% to leave, and 29.2% others blamed a long work commute for their desire to move.
The biggest advantage to moving, according to the survey results, is the change of lifestyle, with the second biggest advantage cited – making new friends.
Of the respondents, 45.8% owned their own home.

The Steiners admit that their results are far from scientific, yet the results are still intriguing.

For example, 83.3% of respondents were women. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR,) over 18% of homebuyers are single women compared to only 9% of men, a huge leap from a generation ago. Could the Intern et and the housing industry be overlooking a potentially large demographic – the Internet-surfing female nomad? Who knows? AR, over 18% of homebuyers are single women compared to only 9% of men, a huge leap from a generation ago. Could the Internet and the housing industry be overlooking a potentially large demographic – the Internet-surfing female nomad? Who knows?

According to the bi-annual home buying and selling survey released by the NAR, 42% of homebuyers came from rental situations, and 36% owned a single-family home and another 6% owned a shared wall residence, closely approximating the Steiner survey.

The NAR lists the number one reason buyers made a housing change is to own a home of one’s own (37%.) The majority of home buying appears to be voluntary. Only 15% of home buyers chose their new home because they were relocated, and no statistic exists which suggests that the move may have been forced by other circumstances such as debt.

According to other results, 16% of home buyers wanted more space because of marriage or a growing family, 8% wanted a larger home for investment, tax deduction or a more upscale neighborhood. Only four percent wanted less space. Five percent of buyers wanted to be closer to jobs/schools/relatives.
But do families buy homes to move away from their relatives? We don’t know – that question is missing from the NAR’s survey.

What’s your reason for moving?

Related Articles:
Americans Are On The Move
Rate of Moving Is Beginning To Slow

Written by Blanche Evans
March 25, 1999

    

WILL MY UTILITY BILLS BE PRO-RATED IN ESCROW?

“If a man has money, it is usually a sign too, that he knows how to take care of it; don’t imagine his money is easy to get simply because he has plenty of it.” – Edgar Watson Howe

At close of escrow, certain expenses will be pro-rated, giving the Buyer and Seller any credits they may be due or paying any unpaid expenses owing from either party. The pro-ration of these expenses divides up the expense fairly between the parties, determined by the length of time each party owns the property.

The typical expenses which are pro-rated are the property taxes, interest, insurance premium, rents, homeowners dues or maintenance charges. These are expenses which, if unpaid, could become a lien on the property. Utility bills, on the other hand, are not typically attached to the property but rather to the person’s name alone. Although they typically do not become a lien against the property, there are some states where this is the exception.

In some states, utility charges may become a lien against the property and thereby encumber the title. Water, sewer, and propane charges follow the title of a property and can become a lien if left unpaid. When closing a transaction, the closing agent will be very careful to verify the status of these utility bills, determining if they are paid or unpaid, and any remaining balance due. The charges will be determined and the Buyer and Seller’s proportional share will be pro-rated in escrow at the time of closing.

Verify with your closing agent if utility charges will be pro-rated in your state. If you are the Seller, providing your closing agent with your utility bills early in the escrow will save time and clear up any uncertainties at the time of closing.

If you are the Buyer, ask to verify the utility pro-rations which appear on your escrow instructions and closing statement and be certain that all unpaid bills will be paid at the time of closing. You don’t want any surprises after the close of escrow or to find an unpaid water or sewer bill that could attach to the property and become a lien against your title.

WHAT DID I FORGET TO CHOOSE FOR MY NEW HOME?

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WHAT DID I FORGET TO CHOOSE FOR MY NEW HOME?

“Bureaucrats: they are dead at 30 and buried at 60. They are like custard pies; you can’t nail them to a wall.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright

An upgrade #5 carpet with a #2 pad. Some extra telephone and TV outlets. The den option with the double door entry. The list goes on and on. You have just completed the upgrade selection for your new home and feel pretty good about it. The option list given to you from the builder’s design center looked thorough enough, and you just plowed through it, choosing everything from flooring, to plumbing to electrical enhancements.

Once the builder has started on the house, he informs you that it is too late to make changes, except at a big non-refundable expense. Your builder has budgeted out his costs and everything has been ordered. But are there any upgrade choices the builder’s representative didn’t present because you forgot to ask about it? It seems as if this is every home buyer’s worst fear when selection time is over. Suddenly all kinds of advice and new ideas come pouring out from well-meaning friends and relatives.

If you have exceeded the cut-off times for adding anything more to the house at this point, there isn’t too much you can do. This advice, then, is for those thinking of going down that home buying path, but haven’t made their final decisions on upgrades. There always seem to be some upgrades and enhancements that can be added to your list that the builder may not offer you because, although they may be available, the builder does not have them as standard, pre-priced options.
The most common items I can think of that get overlooked by buyers and design center personnel alike are items that aren’t visually evident in the home. A biggie is insulation. Ask your builder about the thickness of the insulation they use in walls and between floors. If noisy living areas are not far from bedrooms, you may want to inquire about upgraded insulation to muffle the sound. Insulation is also important to energy efficiency. Is the new home a model of energy efficiency, or is there more that you can do through the builder to improve it?

What exposure is your new home? If one side of the home will experience brutal sun exposure, is there something you can do to add tinted or higher grade windows to that side, such as triple paned or the new “low-e squared” glass? What about more doors to the backyard, or a French door off the master to a deck or balcony? When asked, builders may be willing to add them or at least put in headers over windows that can be used for door openings later on, when the “hole in you pocket” syndrome is behind you.

And then there are what we in the industry lovingly call “pre-plumbs” and “pre-wires”. These are builder preparations for systems you intend to install later on. Pre-plumbs can be stubs for gas log-lighters in your fireplace, Jacuzzi tubs, central vacuüm systems, or a utility sink to your laundry room or garage, to name a few. They remain as behind-the-wall goodies you can use when you wish to add the full system later on. Pre-wires are for electrical enhancements for later on. An extra garage door opener, speaker wire in your family room ceiling, an intercom, or a security system.

Some buyers don’t think in terms of “extras” with some items they choose and regret it later on. A larger fireplace, more burners on the cook top, extra cabinets in the laundry room, more fans in bathroom areas, more security lights in the backyard, and even an outlet for Christmas lights in a place you don’t have to risk life and limb to get to, for instance.

Although new home builders have finally started to offer extra “flat work” (extra concrete for walkways or patios) to buyers, design center personnel may not be the experts in suggesting or designing it, so it may be something you have to inquire about. It’s not that the builders don’t want to make more money by permitting you to add these things; they sometimes don’t present them as part of their normal option package. What happens, all too often, however, is that by the time a buyer thinks of adding them, it’s too late in the construction process.

There are few buyers I have met that haven’t thought of something they would have added when choosing their options and upgrades, if they had the chance to do it over again. My advice would be to become the squeaky wheel when you are about to make these important decisions. Ask the sales person to give you examples of what others in the neighborhood have chosen for their new homes that isn’t evident on the builders’ standard option list. Then make a list of all the “behind the walls” additions you may want to opt for to take with you on that confusing, but exciting trip to the design center.

SETTLING IN: PRE-MOVE POINTERS FOR TAKING STOCK

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SETTLING IN: PRE-MOVE POINTERS FOR TAKING STOCK

“Even a minor event in the life of a child is an event of that child’s world and thus a world event.” – Gaston Bachelard

Despite all of the hassle moving represents, when the anxiety is gone and the dust has cleared, most of us have to admit that it’s a liberating experience. It forces us to rid ourselves of the clutter accumulated in the house we’re leaving. Whether or not you buy new furniture for your new residence, the motions of packing up and heading for different surroundings is a positive experience for most movers. It’s an opportunity to start over.

Before you move, it’s a good idea to take inventory of your belongings and consider what place they’ll have — if any — in your new home. After all, when you moved into your current home, your family’s needs were different. Since then, its occupants have become older, hobbies have been abandoned, tastes have changed, and now, suddenly, items you once thought you’d die without don’t seem that wonderful anymore.

* Taking stock of your furniture is a good place to start; after all, if you decide to get rid of a piece or two, you can save yourself the considerable expense of moving them. In addition to your furniture, take a good look at your lamps, rugs, pillows, and other accessories — particularly the ones you’ve stored away for months — and decide whether they really reflect your tastes anymore. Some of them may serve little purpose other than to clutter your closets and collect dust. Rid yourself of them, while reminding yourself that everything you pack means more boxes, more packaging and labor costs, and more to unpack later.

* An effective strategy is to draw on paper the floor plan of your new home. Sketch in the designated spots for your furniture, making sure you’ve noted where such obstacles as fireplaces, windows, built-in shelves or desks, etc., are located. Remember where your electric outlets, telephone jacks, and television hookups are located, and make sure you’ve considered the direction in which your doors open. If you’re looking for a more exact plan, with square footage taken into account, take a note from Better Homes and Gardens Online, which suggests using graph paper to draw your rooms to scale. Each square translates to one foot of available space.

Here’s where your creativity takes over: After measuring the size and shape of each major piece of your furniture, draw them on graph paper using the same one-square-per-foot scale as you did for the rooms in your new home. Then cut the shapes and arrange your miniature furniture within your various room floor plans. Once you’ve made a decision about what suits you and where, attach the shapes onto the page.

While this process requires a little patience and a little more creativity, planning ahead enables you to avoid either moving heavy furniture yourself, long after the movers have left; or having your movers pause upon entry into a room, shouldering a heavy load as you decide where that 300-pound dresser should be placed. (Of course, you’d be lucky to find such a tolerant mover.) You’ve got a plan of attack that makes your life and your movers’ lives easier. You can point them in a direction and move on to the next item. The bottom line is that you’re paying by the hour, and a little sketching and cutting now will save you labor costs later. Take the trouble to draw only your major pieces of furniture; your smaller items and accessories can be placed anywhere for now, until you have time to consider the perfect spots for them.

This strategy also allows you to experiment with various arrangements that you may have considered in the past, but abandoned because it seemed like too much effort to pursue. And trying out new configurations is a consolation for not being able to purchase new furniture. Even if you’ve resigned yourself to a sofa that doesn’t thrill you anymore, arranging your furniture in a different manner may provide you with a completely new outlook on belongings that once seemed tired. That variety, combined with a new place of residence, is bound to inspire you. And don’t restrict your furnishings to the rooms in which you’ve traditionally placed them. For example, the chest of drawers sitting in your bedroom might look even better in your new living room. This move is your big chance to experiment — and you don’t even have to move the furniture yourself.

And while you’re laying out your plans on graph paper, you might want to determine the focal point of each room first — a fireplace, a large window, anything that grabs you when you first enter the room. Then arrange your furniture around that focal point. And while it’s a given, it’s well worth repeating that you should consider how each room is going to be used before you design its layout. For example, when you’re planning your living room, if you plan to spend a lot of time entertaining there, you’ll want to place chairs and/or sofas close together and provide plenty of walking room, as well.

After you’ve taken inventory of your current home, take stock of your home-to-be, starting with the kitchen and its appliances. With any luck, you’ll have ensured that all of those kitchen appliances are in good, safe, working order long before your move. Make sure the hot water system is both working and the correct size for your family’s needs. If the answer to either of those questions is no, replacing the unit will save you both considerable energy and money. Then investigate your new home’s heating and cooling system, which is going to represent a predominant percentage of your monthly energy expenses. To figure out if it’s running in top condition, determine the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating for your air conditioning and heating unit. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system. A rating under 8 is considered relatively inefficient. Also check your ductwork to ensure that its size is appropriate and that it’s clean. Finally, make sure your thermostat and controls are operating correctly.

Home owners often forget that clothes washers and dryers eat up energy, particularly when stackable units are involved. Because users can’t fill them with much clothing, they’re forced to run more loads though the units, resulting in increased energy consumption and subsequent expenses. On the other hand, units that are too large may use excess water or heat. Regardless of the type of unit in your new home, make sure that the washer drains properly and that your dryer is vented out of your home.

And speaking of energy consumption, study all doors, windows, vents, and other passages to the outside for cracks. If you see any gaps or if you feel any air streams, seal them either with caulk or weather stripping. And check your windows to find out if they’re double-paned and fit tightly.

Finally, if you can’t paint your new home’s interior prior to your move-in date, don’t unpack until you do. And be sure to consider the direction of light in your home — where it hits the walls and the shadows it creates. Painting your dining room a deep shade of forest green, for example, could backfire on you if your lot is heavily treed, or if the room generally doesn’t receive much sunlight. The color that seemed vibrant in the can may leave you simply depressed once it’s covering the walls of an already dark room.

Written by Courtney Ronan
May 27, 1998

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