Rita Horvath's Blog
If, on the other hand, you adopt more of an isolated lifestyle, then the experience of home ownership may be a lot less fulfilling.
Taking the time to have a friendly chat with your neighbors, once in a while, can produce both immediate and long-term advantages. While not everyone has a gregarious, outgoing personality, making the occasional effort to say hello can open the door to a variety of benefits.
Home Security: The best neighborhoods are those in which everyone looks out for one another. When you know your neighbors on a first-name basis, they'll be a lot more likely to keep an eye on your house and let you (or the police) know when they observe any suspicious activity. It's also nice to feel comfortable enough to be able to ask your neighbors to watch your property while you're away -- either for the weekend or when you're on vacation. Even in low-crime areas, burglaries and vandalism has been known to happen, so it's in everyone's best interest to know their neighbors and be ready to help. Although Neighborhood Watch groups are not active everywhere, there's no reason why people still can't be alert and responsive to loitering, trespassing, or other questionable activity.
Networking Benefits: You may not need a plumber, electrician, or a reasonably priced HVAC technician, right now, but sooner or later, you will -- guaranteed! There may also come a time when you need emergency child care or fast help jump-starting your vehicle. You're probably not going to approach your neighbors for help if you don't know them, but there's a good chance you will if you do have a rapport. By sharing information, resources, and recommendations with neighbors, you'll be paving the way for a mutually beneficial relationship. While you may or may not become best friends, it's nice to know that there's someone nearby you can count on for support and help.
Feeling of community: Although some neighborhoods have a more friendly, close-knit feeling than others, it's often easy to break the ice with neighbors when you're outside -- either doing yard work, walking your dog, or going for a stroll. By taking the initiative to welcome new people into the neighborhood, you'll not only have a positive impact on their lives, but you might even forge a new, long-term friendship. You can also make social connections by chatting with people at yard sales, block parties, or by joining and being active in neighborhood Facebook or Nextdoor groups. While it may feel easier to just keep to yourself and avoid venturing outside of your comfort zone, becoming part of a larger community in your neighborhood (and beyond) is often much more rewarding!
It goes without saying that buying a home is time-consuming.
First, there’s the financial planning to determine when you’re ready to buy a home. Then you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage and start looking for homes. After viewing several homes you finally find the perfect home. Then comes the difficult process of making an offer and negotiating the cost of the home. If all goes well, your offer is accepted and you get to enter the lengthy mortgage closing process. However, your work is not yet done. You’ll have to move out of your current residence and into your new home. All of this while juggling your work and social life.
After all of this, it might seem like the only thing left to do is relax in your new home. While it may be true that you certainly deserve a break, there are some things you should do sooner rather than later when you move into your new home.
In this article, we’ll cover ten things you should do right away once you move into your new home.
1. Home security
Your chief consideration when moving into your new home should be making sure it’s safe. The best first step to take is to change all of the locks on your house. In spite of how trustworthy the previous homeowner may have seemed, you can never be 100% sure who had spare keys to their home. Changing locks is quick and inexpensive, especially considering what’s at stake.
Another important step in home security is to put new batteries in and test all smoke detectors, make sure fire extinguishers are up-to-date, and ensure air filters are cleaned.
2. Set up your utilities
One of the first things you have to do when moving into a new home is to call your utility companies and transfer services into your name. Make a list of the services you’ll need to set up (electricity, water, garbage removal, internet, home security, heating, etc.). This is also a good time to set up online accounts and autopay for these services. It will save you time each month and make it easier to keep track of your bills if you simplify this process from the get-go.
You should have already had the home inspected by a professional prior to closing on the house. However, things can change in the time that someone moves all of their belongings out of a home and you move all of yours in. Wiring can be damaged, pipes banged, windows cracked, and so on. Do a thorough inspection of your home to check for leaks, broken wires, and fire hazards to be sure that your home is in good condition.
4. Deep clean
It might be tempting to just move your belongings into their new places once you arrive at your new home. However, the best time to clean a room is when it’s empty. Before you set up your furniture or fill your cabinets, give them a thorough cleaning.
5. Familiarize yourself with circuit breaker and water valves
When disaster strikes, you’ll want to be ready for it. Get to know your circuit box before the first power outage. Store flashlights in easily accessible places and make sure they have fresh batteries. Similarly, familiarize yourself with the main water shutoff valve in case you have a pipe burst. If the former homeowner lived alone and you have a large family, there’s a chance that the sudden surge in power and water usage could reveal issues with plumbing and wiring that the former owner wasn’t aware of.
Buying a new television can be a daunting task. With technologies changing so rapidly, it can seem like you need to take a new crash course in the latest tech trends every time you buy a new product.
However, a TV is an investment that you’ll get a lot of use out of if you and your family spend a lot of time in the living room. And, since most new televisions come equipped with apps like Netflix and Hulu, it’s worth taking time to learn which one is suitable for your family and that fits within your budget.
In this article, we’ll give a brief breakdown of the latest trends to help you choose the right TV for your living room.
At one time, the size of your television was the best indicator of price. But these days you’ll find TVs that are the same size but vastly different prices. That’s because TVs now contain a number of features related to audio and video quality, and smart TV capabilities like apps and games.
However, screen size still does matter when it comes to video quality, fitting the layout of your living room and your personal preferences. If you aren’t sure what size you’ll need, try visiting an electronics store and standing as far back from the tv as your couch or sofa. You can also try this at a friend’s house who has a similar setup to you.
Remember that having a huge TV isn’t always the best option if you’re in a small room. For most living room setups, the ideal size is somewhere between 55 and 65 inches.
Many of us have a collection of DVDs somewhere in our house that we save for a rainy weekend. It might surprise you to know that the quality of a DVD is lower than most streaming videos on the internet these days.
Video quality is based on a few factors and one of them is resolution. Screen resolution has improved exponentially in the recent years. What resolutions are available?
4K or Ultra HD - The current gold standard of screen resolutions is 4K, which contains a whopping 8 million pixels.
1080p or HD - Still one of the most common resolutions, 1080p can be found in many recent models and can look at sharp as 4K televisions.
720p - Only the smallest and most inexpensive televisions are still using 720p resolution sizes. However, if you only use your television for watching cable channels, it should be noted that many major networks broadcast in 720p.
To effectively “future-proof” your TV, 4K is your best option. It is slowly becoming the standard for video and will last the longest without looking antiquated.
There are other aspects of picture quality than resolution. The way the TV is lit os one consideration. Most TVs on the market today are LED-based. In LED TVs, a backlight produces the light for each pixel. One exception is OLED TVs in which each pixel is producing its own light.
The jury is still out on which is better, but OLED seems to have a leg up on LED.
The other things you’ll want to consider are a curved screen, Smart TV capabilities, BlueTooth, and the number of HDMI ports. These are all dependent on your preferences, but it should be noted that as TVs evolve, you might not have access to some newer apps.
Whether you're 25 or 65, one thing's for sure: Home ownership, raising a family, and having enough money to retire comfortably takes a lot of money! Surprisingly, a high percentage of people of all ages have not accumulated a sufficient nest egg for their future needs.
What many homeowners (and aspiring homeowners) don't stop to realize is that there are many opportunities to save money, reduce expenses, and keep more of your hard-earned cash where it belongs: in your pocket, bank account, or retirement plan. While it may seem like your money flies out the window as fast as you can earn it, you may be overlooking some key strategies for holding on to more of it. One of the most powerful tactics for saving and making more money is learning how to negotiate effectively.
Practicing the Art of Negotiation
Virtually "everything is negotiable," especially in real estate transactions. Fortunately, you can rely on a good real estate agent to look out for your interests and get you the best deal. However, it is generally to your advantage to have a basic understanding of negotiating principles and the possibility of winning concessions from the other side.
Perhaps the number one thing to keep in mind when attending an open house or touring a home you're considering buying is to choose your words carefully -- particularly if you're in the presence of the seller's agent or the home seller, themselves (Note: If you're just viewing the house with your buyers' agent, you don't have to worry about weighing your words or being too effusive.) As an example, if you blurt out "This house is absolutely perfect!" or "This is exactly what we're looking for!" then you're putting yourself at a strategic disadvantage when it comes to making an offer on the house. It pays to "play things close to the vest." That expression, of course, originated from the game of poker, in which it's a tactical error to let your opponents see your cards.
There are dozens of situations in life where negotiating skills can help you gain hundreds, if not thousands of additional dollars from a transaction. Examples range from negotiating a raise or a starting salary to buying or selling real estate or automobiles. By developing your negotiating skills and practicing them at every opportunity, you'll find yourself gaining financial and other advantages that wouldn't otherwise be available to you. As the poem "My Wage" by Jessie B. Rittenhouse reminds us, if we bargain with life for pennies, then that's exactly what we'll get in return.
By negotiating the best possible deal in real estate transactions, automobile purchases, home improvement contracts, employment opportunities, credit card interest rates, and dozens of other situations, you can build up a larger retirement nest egg, help your kids pay for college, and achieve a greater measure of financial security.
Selling a home in a buyer's market may seem like a major struggle, particularly for those who are listing a residence for the first time.
Fortunately, we're here to help you streamline the process of selling your house so you can get the best price for your residence, even in a buyer's market.
To better understand how to succeed in a buyer's market, let's take a look at three factors that every home seller should consider before they list a residence.
1. Your Home's Condition
What is the current state of your home? Ultimately, your home's condition will play a key role in how quickly you can sell your house, regardless of whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market.
Before you add your residence to the real estate market, it often is a great idea to complete a property appraisal. This evaluation will allow you to learn about your house's strengths and weaknesses and prioritize home improvement projects.
Furthermore, there are many quick, easy ways to enhance your home's interior and exterior.
Removing clutter from your home offers an excellent option for those who want to free up space inside a residence. Or, you can always trim the hedges, remove dirt and debris from walkways and perform other home exterior tasks to bolster your house's visual appeal.
2. Your Timeline
When do you need to sell your home? If you're in a hurry to sell your home, you'll need to proceed cautiously, especially if you're operating in a buyer's market.
In this scenario, you'll want to establish a competitive price for your home from the get-go. This will require you to analyze the prices of similar homes in your area so you can better understand how your house stacks up against the competition.
If you have several months to sell your home, you may be able to wait out a buyer's market. In the meantime, you can always complete assorted home improvements to upgrade your house both inside and out.
3. Your Housing Market Expertise
How do you intend to get the best price for your home in a buyer's market? You may need extra help along the way. Lucky for you, a real estate agent is happy to provide you with the assistance you need to succeed.
A real estate agent is a housing market expert who understands what it takes to sell a home in a buyer's market. He or she will be able to help you prep your home for the real estate market so you can speed up the home selling journey.
Usually, a real estate agent will promote your house to potential homebuyers, keep you up to date about offers on your house and negotiate with property buyers on your behalf. This housing market professional also can provide honest, unbiased home selling recommendations at each stage of the home selling cycle.
Remove the guesswork that is commonly associated with selling a home in a buyer's market – use these tips, and you should have no trouble generating plenty of interest in your residence as soon as it becomes available.