The Fine Homes Group International's Blog
It may be tempting, when buying a home remotely, to jump at the first great deal that fits your checklist. But, number of beds and baths aren't everything. Location matters, too. So does the school district if you have school-age children. Don't be afraid to delve deeply into a property that you're thinking of buying sight unseen, because failure to do so could lead to some serious buyer's remorse. Here's the checklist of items to cover and questions to ask before you buy a home long-distance.
Neighborhood Crime Statistics
Sites such as ADT.com and Cityrating.com can help you learn about crime rates in your potential new neighborhood. The local police department or sheriff's office is a good resource, too. All are easy to find online once you know the address of the home or county in which it's located. Find registered sex offenders living nearby and whether your new neighbor has a collar for burglary.
Costs of Getting There
If you're searching remotely for homes that are close to your new job location, ask your employer about job relocation assistance. Sometimes employers have packages in place to help with the logistics involved in relocating for work. A package might include financial assistance for multiple items, including:
Having financial help to get you and your family settled in before your first day of work at your new job is a great perk. It goes a long way toward alleviating the stress of relocation.
Homeowner's Associations can be beneficial in keeping housing values steady in your target area, but they can be costly, as well as restrictive. Is your new home governed by an HOA? If so, expect to pay monthly dues, and read up on the restrictions before you commit. If you plan to change the color or layout of your new home, you may have strict guidelines you're required to follow.
Reputation of the Local Schools
Parents of school-age children should also be concerned with the school district they're moving into. Your real estate agent should be a good resource for the best schools in the area, but it never hurts to Google. The best schools have a low student-to-teacher ratio, strong test scores compared with the rest of the state and plenty of support programs in place for students and parents.
A little homework done from the comfort of your home office can help you score the remote home purchase of your dreams. Don't be afraid to play investigator throughout your new target neighborhood.
Some leaks are obvious -- coming home to a soggy rug or soaked floor is a pretty good indicator that you have some plumbing trouble -- but others are more discreet and can lead to a costly water bill and home damage if you don't catch them. Mold and mildew can develop in days, so a slow or hidden leak can also lead to a health hazard. Use these tips to track down those less than obvious leaks and prevent damage to your home:
- Listen: If your toilets are constantly running, then you are using up water you are not getting any benefit from. Turn off all electronics and bathroom fan and listen -- you should not hear any running water. If you do, you should investigate further and repair the problem. Use the same technique to catch drips and leaks in other areas -- if you can see or hear a drip, it is wasting water and costing you money.
- Look at your bill: While your water bill likely varies every month, a sudden spike of 10% or more should be investigated, particularly if you know you haven't done anything different. If you repeatedly filled a kiddie pool or know you forgot and left the sprinklers on, then the higher than normal bill has a reasonable explanation, but if you didn't do anything out of the ordinary, you have a leak somewhere that needs to be tracked down.
- Take a walk: Walk around the yard around your sprinkler system -- if the ground is soggy and it has not rained (and you haven't been excessively watering) then you could have a bad sprinkler head. You should also check outside faucets and hoses for leaks for the same reason.
- Investigate odors: If your home suddenly smells moist and mildewy, you may have a leak somewhere. Check in all cabinets that house sinks and pipes, behind and around toilets and fixtures and around your washing machine and hot water heater. There should be no visible water, no mold and no moisture. If you spot any of these, you need to take further action.
- Head to the attic or basement: Both of these areas could house pipes or equipment you never see or think about, until they cause a problem. Make it a point to visually inspect these areas as part of a home maintenance routine. Ideally, schedule this when you test your fire alarms and swap out HVAC filters -- checking these areas takes just a minute, but can save you thousands in repair work if you spot a problem early.
Make a quick visual inspection of your water heater, sprinkler system and under sink areas a part of your seasonal maintenance routines and you'll catch any moisture before it has a chance to permanently damage your home.
Those men and women from the millennial generation are now the largest segment of first-time home buyers. A full 66 percent of people who are purchasing their first home fall into this age group. Not only that, but millennials also comprise more than one-third -- 34 percent -- of the overall home buying market. It's crucial that you learn how to appeal to them.
1. Opt for an Open Floor Plan
Today's millennials love to entertain and have guests in their homes. In order to accommodate their desire to offer people the best chance to mingle and get to see everyone, they prefer an open floor plan to separate spaces. This is especially true when it comes to the kitchen, living and dining areas.
2. Updated Bathrooms and Kitchens
Millennials prefer that the home they purchase has already been updated instead of them having to do it themselves. In many cases, this generation will have to use nearly all of their savings in order to put the down payment on their new home. This will leave them with little money to make any updates or improvements.
3. Low Maintenance
While opting for low-maintenance features has always been a driving force for many home buyers, there is no generation that has embraced this concept more enthusiastically than millennials. Instead of spending their free time doing chores and home maintenance jobs, millennials would rather be entertaining or exploring their neighborhood's amenities.
4. Add Home Office Space
Remote work isn't just the trend of the future. It's the way many millennials advance their careers these days. Carving out a dedicated space means that these young home buyers can simply move it and set up their work station without any lag time.
5. Invest in Home Technology
Not surprisingly, millennials tend to be very comfortable with technology. Not only that, but they expect to connect with technology at every juncture in their lives. Opting for smart home features can help them save money, keep tabs on their investment and enjoy access to Wi-Fi throughout the home.
6. Aim for Energy Efficiency
Millennials want to save money while also protecting the environment. Solar panels and smart thermostats are just two ways to help them do that.
Many of the above tips will also make your home more attractive to nearly everyone who is in the market for a new home. However, they'll hold particular appeal for those who are millennials.
Caring for indoor succulents is not as intimidating as it may seem. Even though growing them can be a challenge, there are lots of care tips that could make things easier. Succulents are not the ideal plants to grow indoors but that should not stop you from growing them. With the right care, they can flourish to their full potential. Keep reading to learn about a few ways to care for your indoor succulents.
1. Choose the Right Succulents
Even though succulents are cute, they may not all be appropriate to grow indoors. Go for succulents that can grow well in the absence of full sunlight. Indoor succulents that thrive are suited to shady areas. Avoid brightly colored succulents thrive in direct sun which may be difficult to attain indoors. Some of the best options include Gasteria and Haworthia.
2. Water More but Less Often
Watering is one of the biggest challenges when growing succulents indoors. They require lots of water to grow but you should not water them as often as other indoor plants. They thrive when you use the ‘soak and dry’ method.
3. Pick the Right Container
When repotting your succulents, use a container with a drainage hole. It should be one to two inches bigger than your nursery container. Do not use glass containers as they could cause root rot over time. Go for containers that allow the roots to breathe.
4. Pay Attention to Lighting
Succulents naturally need lots of light, a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight every day. When growing them indoors, place them close to windows in the brightest parts of your home. If you notice that your succulents are stretching, they may require more light. Move them to a brighter area.
5. Fertilize Them
Fertilize your indoor succulents at least once annually. The best time to fertilize them is in the spring. You may fertilize them again towards the end of summer. Since they are dormant in winter, you don’t have to fertilize them during that period.
6. Water Correctly
The correct way to water your succulents is directly into the soil. Use enough water to soak the dirt. Avoid watering succulents with spray bottles as it could cause moldy leaves.
7. Eliminate Bugs
Indoor succulents rarely attract bugs. However, they may be a problem in rare circumstances. Gnats are the most common bugs that may affect succulents especially if the soil is too heavy. One of the simplest ways to fix it is by having a proper drainage system.
Indoor succulents add color and texture to your home. They have minimal requirements and they can improve the energy in any room. Have fun with the process of growing them and do not put too much pressure on yourself. After all, succulent gardening should be a relaxing and fun process
A home seller may face a variety of dilemmas as he or she tries to get the best price for a residence. However, a seller who prepares for potential problems may be better equipped than others to enjoy a fast, profitable property selling experience.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready for potential home selling dilemmas.
1. Upgrade Your Residence
You may believe your residence will sell quickly, but the housing market offers no guarantees. Fortunately, if you allocate time and resources to upgrade your residence, you could differentiate your home from comparable houses in your city or town.
Removing clutter will make it easy for you to show off the true size of your home's interior to prospective buyers. Furthermore, you should clean each room of your home. If necessary, you may want to hire a professional home cleaning company too.
Don't forget to trim the hedges, mow the front lawn, repair cracked or damaged siding and perform other home exterior upgrades, either. If your home boasts amazing curb appeal, potential buyers may fall in love with your residence as soon as they see it.
2. Establish a Competitive Initial Asking Price for Your Home
If your home's initial asking price is too high, you risk alienating potential buyers. But if you analyze the real estate market closely, you can use housing sector data to establish a competitive initial home asking price.
Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town, as well as the prices of available residences that are comparable to your own. This information provides a glimpse into the current state of the housing market and can help you determine how to price your residence.
It may be beneficial to conduct a home appraisal as well. In fact, a home appraisal report includes a property valuation that you can use to set a competitive initial asking price for your residence.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands what it takes to sell a home in any housing sector, at any time. As such, he or she can offer expert guidance to help you identify and overcome home selling dilemmas.
Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you, find out why you want to sell your house and craft a personalized home selling strategy for you. He or she next will list your residence and promote it to prospective buyers. And if you receive an offer to purchase your house, a real estate agent will help you determine how to proceed with this proposal.
A real estate agent also is ready to provide immediate responses to your home selling concerns and questions. That way, you can receive plenty of support as you navigate the home selling journey.
Ready to add your house to the real estate market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble addressing potential home selling dilemmas and enjoying a seamless property selling experience.