Shopping For A House with Your Kids

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 thehouse hunting 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.

Time Management

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.

Find a Realtor that…

realtor10 – 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.

Lard A’Mighty

The Good Housekeeping definition pretty much tells us – it’s the fat from pigs, cooked and used as shortening in several kinds oflard foods.

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!

Reasons To Buy In Graham County

Hangover LeadWhy buy a mountain home with a view?  The answers are endless but here are a few thoughts…Incredible sunrises and sunsets highlighting the horizon with the most brilliant colors imaginable, fog mystically moving through the trees and lifting from the valley below, light green springtime oaks transforming into fall’s golden rays of sunlight streaking the Snowbird Mountains with incredible veins of gold, mother nature’s dramatic passing storms, glowing moonlight illuminating the forest, magnificent snow-capped peaks, panoramic mountaintop views spanning 360 degrees, shooting stars, lots of sunshine and crystal clear blue skies.

The Survey Is In

Recently the National Association of Realtors asked home buyers what features were the most important things when looking at a house and which of those did they get with the home they bought.  The results are quite interesting.

Universal Characteristics: The average size for homes bought was 1,860 sq. ft. and the average year built was 1996. Not surprisingly, 79% had two or more bathrooms and 78% of homes had at least a one car garage.

 The Luxuries Are Important: Of the 82% of buyers, they wanted central air (94% of them purchased homes with air).  Walk-in closets were coveted by 65% of buyers and of those 68% got it.

 The Heart of the Home: 56% of buyers stated that new appliances were a must and 76% of them got it. 50% thought an eat-in kitchen was essential and of those 89% bought home with that.  Finally 42% wanted a kitchen island and 75% got it.

Making It A Home: It seems as though that within the first three months of purchasing 53% of all buyers make improvements to their new home. Of these first improvements, 41% involved lighting and 32% involved hardwood floors.

Buyer’s Regrets: Of all the buyers, 97% were somewhat to very satisfied with their purchase. They overwhelming stated that they would have paid more for certain features such as, central air (69%), new appliances (69%), walk-in closets (60%), granite countertops (55%) and hardwood floors (54%)

Let Our Team Show Your Family the Way Home

The home buying process is a life changing decision and it is full of moving parts. This is not easy and we at Southland Realty understand that, but we can help make it simpler. Every day, we help our clients find their dream homes but we also help them figure out how they are going to pay for and insure those homes. Southland Realty is in the unique position to offer our clients a full team of experts to help them through the process from their first search to getting them pre-approved to closing on time.image0012