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Home Buying Mistakes to Avoid

When purchasing a home it’s best to avoid the following:

1) Don’t buy a house if you are planning to move withing a few months. If you may be moving, and you aren’t prepared to be a landlord (or don’t know if you will get enough rent to MORE than cover your mortgage, since you have to plan for repairs, potentially for a property management professional, possible hike in taxes or insurance…) then it may be a good idea for you to rent instead of buying.

2) Don’t make yourself house-poor. You still want to be able to live your life. Do you enjoy eating out? Viewing sports games? Your best bet is to sit down with a mortgage professional to go over your financial options. (I can recommend several if you need a good referral) The goal is to find out how much you can afford. What you may be able to do “on paper” may not be in line with feasibility within your lifestyle. What is the point of owning a home if you can’t furnish it or enjoy it?

3) Don’t put the least amount of money down as a downpayment, if you have more. If you can put more down, you may be able to get better interest rates and not have to deal with private mortgage insurance (PMI). Also, if you are in a multiple contract situation where you are competing against other offers, more money down may appeal more to a seller than a smaller down payment.

4) Don’t skip inspections. Even if a house you are in love with looks perfect and beautiful, inspections are almost always a good idea. Why? There may be things you can’t see and you may be concerned about them when you learn about them later. Inspectors can also teach you about the house llike the furnace filter size and how often to change it. They can also inform you the location of the water and gas shut off valves.

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Need Extra Closet Space
It’s not difficult to add a closet but doing so will probably be more costly than reorganizing an existing one. So, exhaust all other storage options before you take the plunge.

There are several ways to add a closet to your home: purchase a freestanding wardrobe, build in a wardrobe, opt for an open closet, frame out a new closet or create one from “found” space. The path you take to adding a closet depends upon the amount of space you can afford, the amount of money you wish to spend, and whether or not you need a permanent or temporary solution.

A freestanding wardrobe is a quick and easy way to add a closet; like cabinets, freestanding wardrobes come with the sawing and finishing already done. Small units are only a few feet wide, while multiple units may be used side by side to achieve greater width. Heights range from 6 to 8 feet, but custom units may of course be built taller.

Freestanding Wardrobe
Freestanding wardrobes, typically constructed of plywood or fiberboard, can be real space savers. While a conventionally framed closet devotes 4 or 5 inches to studs and drywall on three sides (occupying at least 6 or 7 cubic feet), freestanding units waste almost no space on construction. In addition, they can be positioned either against a wall or several feet into a room — in divider fashion — effectively creating a walk-in closet.

Built-in Wardrobe
Built-in wardrobes are a more permanent solution. They may be carcass-built (like one or more large cabinets), frame-built or built behind a wall of sliding doors. Built-in wardrobes tend to make better use of available space than freestanding wardrobes but are more expensive as well. Multiple built-ins can be arranged in rows or at angles. If used at right angles, plan ahead in order to use corner spaces with maximum efficiency.

Framed Closet
Conventionally framed closets are permanent and are designed to look like part of the house. Stud walls are erected from floor to ceiling, skinned with drywall, and painted. The opening is fitted with the doors of your choice, while the trim and door hardware are selected to match the surrounding room.

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It’s Time for the BIG MOVE

Moving can be exciting, overwhelming, chaotic and exhaustive. This is definitely one time when you need a good plan.

Make a few decisions about how to approach moving based on how far you are going and who will be assisting you with the move. What will work to get you moved and how much time do you have to pack up? Professional movers, family and friends, who will be helping you pack and load the truck? Get a couple of estimates from moving companies and truck rental companies.

Now is when you start realizing you have accumulated stuff you may no longer want or use. It is a good idea to plan a yard or garage sale, donate to you local thrift shops and give charities any items they could use.

Gather up boxes, bubble wrap, newspaper, packing tape, markers, index cards (to list the contents of each box) and any other packing materials you intend to use. Old sheets, towels and blankets can make good padding for some items.

Think about the floor plan of your new home and make a chart so that with a little luck on moving day items will go to the right room.

Pack the non-essential items you are going to move one room at a time if possible. Make a content list and put the destination room on each box before it gets sealed up.

Be careful not to pack up the last minute items you are going to need. Certain items will be the last things you pack and the first boxes you will need to unpack. The essentials include things like a toothbrush, toilet paper, towels, change of clothes, a few kitchen items, and a few toys if you have kids, plus the basics for your pets (dish, toy and food).

As you pack there will be items you don’t want others to move due to the risk of theft or breakage. If you are moving a short distance then you can move the art work, glass and marble furniture tops, collectables, your good dishes, and some of your electronics yourself. For long distance moves take your jewelry, important documents and as many valuables as possible with you personally.

Find out if the movers you use are insured. The mover’s liability coverage for lost and damaged items may not equal your items replacement cost and you may want to purchase moving insurance. Photos and appraisals of valuables are always a good practice.

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Worst Home Fixes for the Money

Planning a home renovation? Do it for your own enjoyment, because there’s no guarantee you’ll get all of your expenses back when you sell.

Based on national averages for time and materials supplied by skilled professionals. While some projects move the needle on home value more than others. And the six projects below typically yield less than 61 cents on the dollar.

1. Home Office Remodel
Cost (national average): $28,000
Return at sale: 48.9 percent

2. Sunroom Addition
Cost (national average): $73,546
Return at resale: 51.7 percent

3. Upscale master suite addition
Cost (national average): $224,989
Return at resale: 56 percent

4. Upscale Garage Addition
Cost (national average): $82,311
Return at resale: 58.4 percent

5. Bathroom Addition
Cost (national average): $38,186
Return at resale: 60.1 percent
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6. Upscale Bathroom Addition
Cost (national average): $72,538
Return at resale: 60.6 percent

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Boost Your Curb Appeal for Under $50

Whether you are getting ready to sell your house or just looking to make it appear nicer from the outside, you want to consider these inexpensive tips to instantly boost your homes curb appeal.

1. Invest in new House Numbers
Switch out the old numbers for few updated ones. House numbers can be glued or screwed in easily.

2. Upgrade the Front Door Hardware
I it’s easy and cheap to replace things like door bells, doorknockers, keyholes and knobs at hardware stores and flea markets. Choose accents with the same finishes and make sure they match your home’s stylistic design.

3. Repaint or Stain a Wood Door
If it’s not in your budget to buy a new door, just update your existing one. Remove the door, sand and dust the surface, then add primer and paint (or stain and varnish).

4. Tidy up the Landscape
Trim overgrown hedges, edge walkways, pull up weeds and plant new flowers. Mulch is also great to put around the base of trees or flowerbeds for a fresh new look.

5. Replace Light Fixtures
New lighting can go a long way. It can highlight landscaping and other great things you’ve done to your home. Try wireless solar lights to save energy and they are easy to install.

6. Upgrade the Mailbox
Changing the mailbox can instantly add personality to a home. A mailbox (whether freestanding or door-side) should cost you less than $50 and all you have to do is dig or drill a hole.

7. Dress up (and Clean) the Windows
Cleaning windows can massively improve the view. All you need is dish detergent or vinegar and a rag to get the job done.

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