Scary Real Estate Red Flags

old-manor-1231905The things that go bump in the night may be a very real concern, unfortunately you may not find out about them until you’re moved in and spending time in your new home. No, we’re not talking about restless spirits – although hopefully that’s in the disclosure statement somewhere! – we’re talking about the hidden boogies in your new home that may cause REAL nightmares.

Now, of course hopefully, you’ve done due diligence and worked with a professional REALTOR® who no doubt insisted you have the home inspected before any serious offers were made….right? No? *queue scary music*

If you’re already in your own Amityville horror these tips may be too late, but if not there are a few things you can do to spot likely problem areas in the homes you’re looking at to bust those bad listings! Here’s a few key things to look for:

Mediocre Maintenance
Chance are if there’s plant life growing out of the gutters there are other maintenance and upkeep items that may have gone unchecked. Look for signs like these to determine how much of a headache you might have in store.

Fractures
Especially in the foundation of the home. Visible signs of walkway warping and out-right cracks in the foundation wall are a big concern as repairs of that sort can be extremely costly.

Trust Your Nose
It could just be something funky. Everybody’s house has a different smell after all…but trust your nose. Musty, lingering odors can be a sign of a bigger hidden problem like mold or even resident vermin.

Faulty Wiring
You’re not an electrician probably, but go through and make sure to look at all the wall sockets as well as turn lights on and off in all the rooms. Any popping sounds or flickering could be a sign that there’s more going on.

Fresh Paint
Seems like kind of a weird warning sign, right? Especially since it’s pretty common to slap on some new paint when getting ready to sell a home. Fact is however it’s also a great way to hide flaws and problem areas! Hole in the wall? Cover it with construction paper and paint over it. Mold? Paint will cover those stains as well. Look for stains bleeding through, sagging ceilings, or even just ask why they painted the room.

So be conscious of potential hidden problems when out looking at homes, you can eliminate a lot of potential problem homes before you get your heart set on the location. Always, always, always get your potential new home inspected by a professional with a history of experience — your agent should know several.

4 Ways to Bring More Nature Into Your Home

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It’s not just hippie Earth mother stuff!
Scientific studies have shown that flowers and plants can help reduce stress as well as improve our moods. Believe it or not some 27% of people who buy flowers but them for themselves!

With that in mind, why don’t we have more of what’s outdoors indoors where we can appreciate it more? Often it’s time, or know how, or just that keeping plants living and thriving can be a lot harder than most people think. Regardless, if it’s something that you’re interested in doing here are some ideas to help do it well!

Start Small
Start a container garden! Grow small flowers and plants that don’t take up a lot of room or commitment. They are easy to put in a vacant window sill and they can really brighten your view! Simple containers are easy enough to buy at any dollar store and dirt…well, it’s DIRT cheap!

Pick a Corner
Pick a corner of your room or desk and consider these plants which do well indoors:

Spider plants – work well for hanging baskets and is very low maintenance.

Lemon Balm – a great low growing herb with a wonderful scent!

Philodendron – lush and green…and almost impossible to kill, a real bonus for the negligent gardener.

Peace Lily – how zen! A fairly low maintenance plant that loves shade. Perfect for nurturing the greater good!

Bees and Butterflies
If you plan on keeping your flowery adventures outdoors, like on a patio, think about welcoming some fluttering guests! Plant flowers that butterflies and bees enjoy in order to have a few extra guests to look forward to. Plant things like lavender and russian sage further from your home to encourage bees to keep a fair distance. When attracting butterflies think color! They’re usually attracted to red, yellow, pink, purple and red. To keep butterflies around, stagger your plants so that when one stops blooming, another one starts.

Flowers on Demand
Well. Not everybody has a green thumb. If you find yourself unable, or unwilling to grow your own plants and the ones from the store just keep dying you can always just order flowers from the shop. Make a nice area for them and change them regularly, or consider alternatives like silk flowers or a hard bonsai to bring a little nature inside!

What A Little Paint Can Do!

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Many people are quick to tell you that a fresh coat of paint is an easy and cheap way to make your space seem brand new; to some extent that can be very true! You can really change the whole way that a room makes you feel by changing up the color palette…but that’s where the cheap part of the equation falls away, as anyone will tell you buckets of color don’t exactly come for free these days!

 

 

So here are some ideas that you can try that only use a single can!

Be BOLD.
Rather than paint an entire area, consider stripes! Even more brave? Go PLAID! Think patterns, think visual interest; you just may be surprised to find that you’re a trend setter!

Fuchsia It.
Whoa nelly! Them’s strong words! FUCHSIA?! In a day and age where everyone cautions you to play it safe, stay with neutrals, which may be good if you’re thinking of selling soon, but otherwise why not punch up the palette a little?

Make Mold.
No, not bread mold.
Consider crown molding, or if you’re lacking on install skills or budget paint it in instead. You can add an amazing amount of depth and texture just using paint in the right places.

Go Retro.
You might not want to get involved in a full on paint project for the entire room, so consider just hitting up some of the furniture instead. You can create some really nice distressed looks or change the focus of the room by giving an old dresser or wardrobe a new look.

Hit the Roof!
A starry ceiling looks great in the kids room; just laying some contrast color on the ceiling of a room can really turn the look around.

These ideas should get you on the fast track to claiming your space without spending a lot of cash! Hop on Pinterest and search out even more great ways to bring a little more color into your home!

Think You Don’t Need a REALTOR? Think Again!

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Even with the amazing amounts of information online today regarding real estate, buying and selling homes, and market conditions real estate is still a complex industry; it is imperative to make sure you are not attempting to go it alone. It is crucial to find an honest, competent, agent who will represent your best interests throughout the entire process.

Here are some good things to keep in mind no matter which brokerage you choose:

Experience
Despite huge amounts of on-going education, like many industries, agents in real estate simply will not know how to deal with unusual situations without some experience. Therefore having an agent that has been out working in the market for a little while is only to your advantage. All real estate transactions are complex so having one that has been through the process itself numerous times is a real asset – be sure to ask your prospective agent how many transactions they’ve closed in the last year; ask about their general amount of time in the industry.

Availability
Real estate agents often have to handle multiple clients and offer scenarios at once. It is important that while you want an experienced agent that you don’t pick one that simply may have “too much going on” to help you with your needs. Especially if you are a first time buyer or seller it is important your chosen agent be able to spend a little extra time with you, educating you about the transaction process.

Knowledge
Not just knowledge about the type of house you want to buy, but also the info on the kinds of amenities in the area, schools, and what things are important to the way of life you are looking to lead. An agent knowledge should extend well beyond just the correct procedures in negotiating and shuffling papers. Make sure you work with an agent that knows the area!

So do some homework before you settle on an agent. Remember, chances are your home will be the biggest financial decision you make in your entire life. Having a qualified professional to help you navigate through the transaction will be absolutely necessary for success. Beyond that, trust your gut. Make sure the agent you select is someone you can trust and who you feel will be great at providing you with just the right service!