If you are preparing to buy your first home its important to choose the right team of people to help you with the process which, at times, can be very stressful. Maybe you are looking to hire a real estate agent to help you find the perfect home but, does it matter which realtor you choose? Are they all the same? Let’s consider the answer to those questions:
Different real estate agents all bring different qualities to the table, your challenge will be to find one that fits your specific requirements. By way of example, it would not be a good idea to choose a realtor only skilled at selling expensive homes if you want to purchase a cheaper property to fix up. So then, what are some things you can find out to help you make the right choice?
Prepare a list of questions in advance to ask a potential agent. Include questions such as: What are your credentials? What type of experience have you previously had with my specific needs? What types of properties are you used to selling? And, what makes you stand out from other agents? Don’t just be content with a generic answer but ask for specific experiences. Its good to ask a lot of questions to find out if they would be someone who would work well with you and what you want.
Other things that are good to find out are if the real estate agent own property themselves. This would be helpful because they would have firsthand experience of what its like to buy and own a property. You might also want to know if they work part time or full time in realty. Someone who works at this full time may be more familiar with updated laws and guidelines and should have a good idea of the current local market.
So, as we can see, it does matter which realtor you choose to help you find your home and not all real estate agents specialize in the same field which means its important to find the right one.
Sometimes when we are young we are not always as responsible financially as we ought to be. While this might not have many immediate ill effects, it could affect you in the future. One example of this is when you want to buy a home for the first time and apply for a loan. A lender will usually take a look at your credit report to see how financially responsible you are such as; do you have a history of paying bills on time? And, how much debt do you have? To improve your chances of being approved for a loan, here are a few suggestions on how to maintain a good credit report:
If you have acquired numerous credit cards and have some you no longer use, call the companies to cancel them. Even though you may not use them, too many credit cards give a lender the impression that you are not responsible financially because you give yourself too much available credit and could put yourself in danger economically. Keep your longest held credit card accounts, though, as this shows a lender that you have a long credit history.
Its vital that you never miss a credit card payment. This will be noted on your credit report and you will end up paying a fortune in late payment fees. If you find remembering to make a payment before the due date, why not set up an automatic payment plan that covers at least the minimum due? That way you will eliminate the problem of late payments.
Obtain a copy of your credit report so that you can look for ways to improve it. You are entitled to one free copy every 12 months, so take advantage of what’s available to you. Occasionally, a credit report will contain an error, having the report before a lender sees it will give you the opportunity to fix the issue before they see it.
As we can see, a bad credit report could affect your chances of being approved for a loan so think about improving it with these suggestions.
Every year we seem to be experiencing bigger and stronger natural disasters. It’s easy to see, then, the need to be prepared for one and doing so in advance is one of the keys to staying safe. So, what are some things that can be done ahead of time in case of a disaster?
Make sure everyone in your household is aware of the steps to take in an emergency situation. Some things to discuss together would be the location of meeting points and evacuation routes etc. Have an emergency go kit. This, easy to grab, kit should contain all that you need to survive for a few days, be sure to include medications, important documents and some cash as well as food and water supplies.
While it really depends on the type of natural disaster, the home can sustain a lot of damage. Although it would be difficult to prevent some damage, there are things you can do ahead to minimize it. Trimming back trees that are close to the house is one way to stop branches and tree limbs falling on a roof or power lines. Keeping gutters and downspouts clear of debris will help water to drain away from the house easier. Doing small roof repairs such as fixing loose shingles will also help. Securing any loose items around the property that might become projectiles during high winds is another good idea to do ahead. Another important thing is to be aware of the shut offs to the home’s utilities. Turning off the electricity, water and gas before a disaster strikes will make the home less hazardous when you return.
Hopefully you will never have to deal with the effects of a natural disaster but, being prepared for one in advance will contribute greatly to the safety of you and your household.
If you are considering the purchase of a home, there are a number of factors to consider. Of course, you want the right location and it needs to be a price to fit your budget but, what other factors need to be taken into consideration?
The history of the home is one of those factors. For example, has the home been involved in any type of disaster that might have compromised it in some way? One problem the home may have experienced in the past is flood damage. How big of a problem is this?
The following video will help you with the answer to that question. It shows how the problems you could encounter will largely depend on the source of the flood as well as how the damage was addressed. Being fully aware of these types of issues before you decide on the purchase of a home is crucial to making a sound investment.
If you are renting your home, one important way of protecting your possessions is by purchasing rental insurance. This kind of insurance is intended to cover a person who is renting their property against any unexpected calamities that might happen in the home. Although the types of coverage vary depending on what you choose, among the things that are generally covered under renter’s insurance are personal possessions which, if damaged or stolen, are replaced. Personal liability is also covered, so if someone has an accident while they are in your home or damage occurs to a neighbor’s property, then your insurance will cover it.
While renter’s insurance is an essential way to protect your possessions, many tenants still do not have it. What are the reasons for this? Well, some people believe that it will be too expensive. The reality is, though, that renter’s insurance is very affordable with and average price of around $17 per month. Another reason many do not have it is because they think they are already covered under the homeowner’s insurance policy. They also may think that their possessions aren’t worth much. But, if you think about how much you would need to spend to replace those belongings, its clear to see how beneficial being covered for them really is. It could also be that a tenant does not even realize that renter’s insurance is available to them.
As we can see, renter’s insurance is an important and low cost way to protect yourself against loss of personal possessions or damage caused to another person.
It’s a sad fact but each year thousands of elderly ones are injured from accidents within their own homes, with the majority of these accidents occurring from simply doing everyday tasks. The more common kinds of accidents are caused from slipping and falling. So, what are some ways you can help prevent these types of accidents in your loved one’s home? While there are many items around a home that could cause an elderly person to slip and fall, we’re just going to mention a couple of those things.
Have a walk around the home and think of how easy it is for someone with limited mobility to get around it. Are there electrical cords stretched over walk through areas? This would have the potential to, not only cause someone to trip and fall, but depending on the appliance its connected to, it could also become a fire hazard. If there are not enough electrical outlets where they are needed, it might be better to arrange the furniture differently so that electrical cords do not need to extend too far. It might also be a good time to check that electrical wires and power cords are in good condition and not becoming frayed or have exposed wires.
A lot of elderly people enjoy the comfort that carpet brings in their homes. Carpet, however, also has the potential to be a tripping hazard especially if it starts to become raised up or if the carpet adhesive starts wearing out in places which would cause the carpet to loosen in some areas. Rugs are another big slipping hazard. Make sure a rug will stay in place by ensuring it has a good rubber backing which will keep it firmly in place.
As we mentioned, this is just a few suggestions to helping prevent falling accidents at home. We’re sure that as you go through the home, you will notice other areas that need improving as to safety.
Anyone who has experienced sewer gas leaking into their home will likely not forget the terrible smell that accompanies it. While this is an obvious side effect from a sewer gas leak, its important to have a professional look for the cause of the leak. As well as the offending odor, there are a number of other risks associated with sewer gas leaks. Some of those risks are potential for fire or explosion, the risk of hydrogen sulfide poisoning which can be extremely dangerous and asphyxiation due to sewer gases displacing the homes oxygen.
Its important, then, to identify the reason sewer gas is leaking into your home. There are a number of possible causes for this. One common reason is dried out plumbing fixtures. If plumbing traps become dry, they can no longer stop sewer gases from backing up into the home, this is due to a lack of water barrier. This could also happen with sinks, showers and toilets etc. that are not frequently used or during periods of dryer weather.
You could also find sewer gas leaking into the home from cracks in plumbing drains or vent pipes. Cracks found in ventilation pipes, while harder to identify, should be checked as they can be the reason for the leak. Other reasons for sewer gas to leak is cracks in the home’s foundations, plumbing vents situated too close to air intakes and simple air and wind flow around the home. The safety of your household is of utmost importance, so If you are smelling sewer gas in your home, don’t ignore it but have it checked out.
A good number of accidents which occur in the home are a result of poor home maintenance. One area where this is often the case is on and around the stairs. Staircases can be particularly hazardous for small children and elderly or handicapped residents so its vital that they are in good order and well maintained. What are some ways to do this?
As a homeowner, there are simple things you can do to make sure the staircase does not become a danger to the household, for example, if the stairs are wooden, be careful not to over polish them and make them slippery. If you have carpet, make sure it does not start to become loose. Check the handrail also for any wobbling or loosening. Do you have good lighting on and around the stairs? This is important especially for members of the household with failing eyesight.
It is not just the interior stairs that should be checked, exterior stairs need to be in good order and not uneven or insufficiently graded as this could cause water to start pooling on the steps. While the contractor that built the home should have abided by all building codes and regulations, its good to familiarize yourself with these standards. Bannisters must not be spaced too far apart, which could allow a child to get their head trapped and stairs must all be of the same height in order to prevent a tripping hazard.
These are some simple staircase safety checks to do but they may go a long way in preventing a stair related accident or injury.
Are you in the process of buying an older property? While an older home can be full of charm and character, it can also contain toxic substances which were used in construction materials years ago. One such material is lead which was often used in paint and piping. Although the dangers of lead have come to light in more recent years, what should you be concerned about when it comes to finding it in the home?
As we have mentioned, lead is often found in old paint which was used for both the interior as well as exterior of the home. This becomes a problem when deteriorating paint starts to chip and even becomes dust. If this happens on the exterior of the home, you will likely find lead in the surrounding soil. Lead paint chips or paint dust can cover any surface of the interior of the home, making it especially hazardous. We know lead is particularly dangerous for babies, young children and even unborn babies. Because young children like to crawl and climb on everything, it is more likely that they will inhale lead paint dust or chips if they are found in the home.
It is also worthy to note that even if your home is new, you could still have lead in the home. If you are someone who enjoys antique furniture you may well find that it contains lead paint.
As we stated earlier, lead can also be found in an old homes piping system which meaning that lead could be found in drinking water.
So, from this short review we can see that if you are about to buy an older home, you might want to make sure that lead does not pose a health risk for you and your household.
Water, as we know, is essential to life. Its vital, then, to have a reliable and safe supply of water within our own home. However, is this always the case? What do we know about where our homes water supply comes from and how safe it is?
It’s a good idea to find out more about your homes water supply, for example, what is the waters source? This has a lot to do with the kind of area you are living in, if it’s a densely populated area or more rural. Much of the time a large town or cities water comes from a reservoir. However, this reservoir wont necessarily be located close to the city, it could be some miles away. This kind of water source is referred to as a “surface” water source. On the other hand, if you live in a rural area, you will most likely have well water which is supplied by an underground reservoir, or aquifer.
Determining the safety of your water, however, involves a number of factors, not just the water itself. The body of waters surroundings must also be analyzed. What is the land surrounding the body of water used for? Is it industrial? Or, is it farmland? The land surrounding this water is referred to as “the water shed”.
While this article is just a general overview about where your water comes from, perhaps you’re wondering how you can find information specific to your location. Since 1999 all community water supply companies are required to make available an annual report for its consumers. This report gives details such as where the water comes from and any contaminates that may be found in it.
PARKER AND WEST ENGINEERING, PLLC.