A new study from Google shows that prospective home buyers get serious about searching 6-12 months before buying and 2 out of 3 research agents “extensively” online. (http://bit.ly/VPIz6W) How did you find your Agent?
There can be a big difference between a well maintained and a well polished home. This difference can sometimes mean the difference between a sale and a potential buyer walking away. If you prepare your home for a showing, there are a few r
ules to keep in mind.
- Clutter-Free Zone: It is very important that a home feel comfortable, so it is not necessary to remove everything that makes it feel lived in. The important focus on making sure each room is clean and tidy. However, the sleeker your rooms look, the more spacious your home will feel.
- First Impressions Count: The exterior of your home is the first thing a potential buyer will see. Consider adding a fresh coat of paint to your front door: it’s an inexpensive and quick addition that can make a lasting impact. Make sure your lawn is kept cut and edged, while flowerbeds and hedges are trimmed and pruned. In the winter, keep walkways and driveways clean.
- Beige& White Are Not All Bad: Your bright purple den that you have always loved may not appeal to in the same way to a buyer. Consider neutralizing strongly colored walls with beige or off-white paint. This is a quick update that can change someone’s entire perception.
Update The Spaces: Do you have a kitchen that you think could use an entire overhaul or a bathroom that needs a lot of work? Try installing new cabinet knobs and drawer pulls, adding fresh, fancy towels or different curtains: the change can help reinvent the space.
- Honey Do List: Your leaky kitchen faucet has always nagged you, now is the time to replace it. The same goes for broken windowpanes, cracked molding and any damage to wall. Fix anything a buyer might notice!
Almost every dorm room has similarities: they never have enough space, there are restrictions on how much you will be allowed to customize and it needs to be multi-functional. This does not mean your dorm room has to be boring! It is a place that you bill be spending a lot of time, so you need to enjoy your surroundings. We have some tips for making the most of your home-away-from-home.
1. Not A Lot Of Space. The area needs to serve as your bedroom, living room, kitchen, closet and library. Organization is crucial and you must think creatively by using under your bed and above your closet and the back of your door cleverly. Consider investing in some storage boxes, so you can stash your clutter fashionably.
2. It’s Your Space! Remember you will be spending a lot of time in your room. It is essential that you make it somewhere you want to be. Customize your bedding and do not forget to add art that you love. Remember to bring plenty of framed photos of family and friends to help keeping homesickness away
3. Remember The Restrictions. A lot schools will actually charge you damages if you do not follow their decorating rules. 3M has a lot of products that do not leave blemishes on the walls! Use their picture hangers for frames, hooks to hang lights or to act as impromptu storage and remember that wall decals are also a great option.
4. Creativity. Washi tape seems to be everywhere on the internet. This paper-type tape is easy to use and (more importantly) easy to remove. From decorating bland doors to creating easy frames, this product is versatile enough to be used throughout your room, but cool enough to still make an impact.
5. What Did Other Do? Particularly for your first year, it’s hard to know what you should and shouldn’t bring with you to school. Everyone has a different opinion and different advice, so ask around! Your experience will be unique, but you can definitely pick up some gems of knowledge by asking older friends and family
House hunting can be a difficult and tiring process. If one is in a position where you have to bring your children – it just adds to the stress level Whether you have crying babies, active toddlers, or moody teenagers along for the ride, there is no doubt a house hunt with your kids can present a whole extra set of challenges.
If you are on a time crunch or are in a new town and have not set up child care, here are a few ideas to assist in the process of attending showings and open houses with your kids with you.
Need To Do Your Homework.
Try spending a little extra time exploring the properties that interest you online before you load up the car and hit the road to look at homes. If you can eliminate some of properties that don’t match your criteria, you’ll save yourself a lot of time. Prioritize your “must haves” and do some online research so that you can exclude any homes that don’t have what you need or want.
Avoid viewing all of the properties on your list in one day, spread out the showings over several days or even weeks. Trying to cram all the showings in one day can cause the mature to become irritated, so just imagine what it could do to your kids.
Let The Kids Know What To Expect
It is important that the children know what the home search process will be like. Setting rules for respectful behavior while looking at the homes and letting them know that in most cases, another family is still living there. Remind them that they probably would not like strangers being disrespectful to their favorite belongings. Laying down the law with regards to running and fighting!
Supply Kit Needed
On the day of your home search, refreshments and entertainment options are a must. You know your children, attempt to tailor your plans to their tastes. Also, think about taking breaks so that the children can re-charge. Consider stopping at a neighborhood park to play for half an hour, this is also another way to check out the location while keeping the kids happy.
The Key Is Organization
Find ways to remind yourself about the best (and worst) features of each property you visit has to offer, so that you know which homes you’ll want to see again and which ones do not make the cut. This could include photographs and note taking. The finer points of multiple properties are hard to remember and doing it with one eye on the kids will make it even harder.
Including the children in your home search doesn’t have to be stressful especially with a little planning. This is a family experience and the end of the process, you will have a wonderful new place to call home.
10 – Is familiar with the area.
This may seem obvious, though I can’t tell you how many times I have come across other agents who didn’t do their research. You should never work with an agent who isn’t familiar with the location you are researching. If you get the slightest concern that your agent doesn’t know the town, speak up and address the issue. I’ve had clients who wanted to look in areas I didn’t know well and in those cases I bring along another agent (who I compensate) to help out. Good agents do this all the time and should never feel embarrassed if they don’t know something. The bigger embarrassment comes when they get caught pretending they know an area.
9 – You get along with.
Some house-hunting searches take months (if not years), so you could end up spending a ton of time with your agent. Make it easy on yourself and find someone that you get along with. There are tons of great agents out there, so don’t worry if the first person you meet doesn’t fit perfectly with your expectations. This is a major transaction and shouldn’t be taken lightly; so don’t look for a new best friend, look for someone that can get the job done without driving you mad.
8 – That is experienced in the industry.
I’m not going to place a ton of weight on this item, though it should be addressed. In many cases, going with the young aggressive agent (especially if you are selling your house) can pay off handsomely. You can get a level of attention that many lifelong all-star agents simply don’t have the time to give you. That being said, going with the tried and true is always the safe bet. This is a hard job that isn’t for everyone and it takes years to prove that.
7 – That is familiar with your type of property/price range.
The town I work in, Greenwich, CT, has an extremely broad range of houses on the market. You can spend $30 million (seriously) or $300,000 on a house. Due to this diversity, it is very smart to find an agent that knows your price point and what you are looking for. There are many agents who cover the whole range and are extremely good at it. Those agents are great to work with and prove that it is ok to cover the entire range. The issue comes up for those agents who don’t know certain areas/price points.
6 – That is honest.
This is another obvious item, though many clients take it for granted that their agent is honest. Just like any other profession, there are many real estate agents who for some reason choose the dark side and don’t really come truthful with their clients.
5 – That is familiar with your situation.
There are real estate agents out there who only rent. I don’t get it, but it’s true. There are some real estate agents out there who live in a city and sell in the suburbs. Find an agent that lives in the town you are looking at and one that has actually bought what they are trying to sell.
4 – That is accessible.
Ok, some real estate agents are so busy that they can’t answer phone calls for days. In that case they should have an assistant. Either way, you should always be able to get a hold of your agent or their assistant within a couple hours. Period.
3 – That is aggressive and will fight for you.
Would you rather pay 100 Apples for a house that you love with an agent who you really get along with or would you rather pay 70 Apples for the same house with an agent who you can’t stand? See why this is item 3, not item 9.
2 – That is respected by their peers.
Your agent isn’t going to accomplish much if the other agent (selling or buying) agent they have to work with doesn’t respect them much.
1 –That has ENERGY!
Get out on the road and pound some pavement. Your agent should be working for you and not waiting on your call.
Few people use lard anymore, and the very mention often evokes unfavorable reactions – a shrug, a wan smile, or a wrinkled nose. Most cooks long ago replaced lard with more convenient substitutes or more healthy alternatives such as vegetable or olive oils. Today, this solid form of animal fat is saddled with a bad rap. Nutrition conscious eaters shun it for its devastating effects on our arteries; and though you can still buy preservative rich lard at the grocery, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who still supplies the fresh unprocessed version. Lard has become a four letter word. But for old time Smoky Mountain residents, lard was the grease that kept the wheels of life smoothly turning.
The manufacturing of real lard necessarily starts with butchering hogs. This was a time honored activity in the mountains, because nearly every farm had a few hogs. Pork, after all,, was the meat of choice of nearly every mountaineer. They left their pigs wander the woods most of the year, fattening up on chestnuts and acorns. After the first freeze in fall, usually sometime in November, they chose on or two the animals to butcher.
Usually on butchering day or the day after, the lard was rendered or melted. They cut it into small pieces about the size of a hen’s egg or smaller. These chunks were put into a big iron pot or wash kettle with just enough water to keep from sticking together, then simmered over a low fire. For those who might want a more accurate measure, one book says optimum temperature for thorough rendering should not exceed 255 degrees.
Lard had a few other hand uses around a farm other than cooking. Soap making was an important one. Wood ashes, preferably from hickory, were gathered in the hopper, and water was dripped through the ashes to produce lye. That was mixed with cold water and lard and cooked into a worthy “lye” soap. Lard had a few medicinal purposes too. Mixed with turpentine, it was rubbed on the chest to treat pneumonia.
Foods fall in and out of favor. Perhaps we moderns will someday again sing the praises of lard fresh from the pig. Maybe, just maybe…or maybe not!