Archive for June, 2017


Apartments, One Man’s Dream Is Another’s Nightmare

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Apartments. Usually somebody’s first home after getting married. Can’t really say they’re relatively cheap anymore. Depending on where you live, apartments can run you anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars a month.

So what does one do when looking for an apartment? Believe it or not, there are many different types, styles, and pay plans involved. We’ll try to cover the basic types in this article and what you can expect to find with each.

Starting off small there is your basic studio apartment. A studio apartment is usually 1 room with a kitchen and bath. Let’s first off define what a room is when getting an apartment. A room is any room other than your kitchen and bath. Bathrooms do not count as rooms at all because they are required by law. Kitchens are a little different. Most walk in kitchens are considered a half a room. If the kitchen is simply an area in the apartment that is not cut off from the other rooms then it is not counted as a room. So a studio 1 room would have a kitchen area that’s part of the 1 room, meaning it probably comes with just a refrigerator and a stove and sink. A studio 1 1/2 room would have a kitchen that is actually separated from the rest of the apartment by a wall and has a doorway. Most studio apartments are 1 room.

Studio apartments, contrary to what most people think, are not cheap. A studio in New York City can cost you $1000 a month. In some areas you can get a studio for about $500.

Then there are your basic apartments that are normally 3 or 4 rooms.

A three room apartment has a living room, dining area and 1 bedroom. Again, the difference between a 3 and a 3 1/2 room is the kitchen being either part of one of the rooms or cut off.

A four room apartment usually has a living room, dining area and 2 bedrooms. If a family needs a third bedroom the dining area is usually converted. The problem with dining areas is that they don’t normally have doors to separate them from the other rooms. So to ensure privacy some kind of sliding door is usually installed. Actually most 4 room apartments, because of the extra room are really 4 1/2 rooms because in almost all cases the kitchen is cut off from the other rooms.

In apartments there is seldom a basement. Most apartments are assigned a basement area in a main basement used for the entire complex. In some cases each apartment section or group of apartments has a basement nearby.

Aside from the number of rooms there is also the issue of layout. Most apartments are single level, meaning all the rooms are on one floor. But in some cases there are apartment complexes that are what they call duplexes. These are two apartments side by side in each complex and each apartment is two floors as opposed to the 4 apartment complexes where each apartment is on a single level. In two level apartments the living room and dining area are usually downstairs with the bedrooms upstairs. Most two level apartments are 4 1/2 rooms.

Then there is the issue of what services come with the apartment and what services have to be paid for separately.

In some apartments your gas and electricity and water utilities are included in the cost of the rent. In other apartments only the water is paid for and your gas and electric are paid to your local public service company. Some apartments don’t cover any of your costs. So when you get an apartment make sure you find out just what your rent covers. The reason for this is that an apartment for $900 a month with all utilities paid may actually be a better deal than an apartment for $750 a month if the latter apartment doesn’t include any utilities at all.

Finally, in securing an apartment many require a security deposit equal to the rent of the apartment. Some require one month security and some require two months. This is paid back to you when your lease expires if you decide to leave. Breaking a lease will usually mean forfeiture of your deposit.

Which brings us to apartment rules. This is why there is nothing like owning your own home. Most apartments allow no pets. Playing music after a certain hour will bring complaints from your neighbors. The list goes on and on but I’m sure you get the point. Your freedom to do what you want in an apartment is limited.

Some people love the idea of not having to worry about repairs, as the super usually takes care of that, and live in apartments their whole life. Others can’t wait until they can get into their own home. That’s the wonderful thing about this world. One man’s dream is another man’s nightmare.

 

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PODCAST Commission and How to pick your Realtor

Friday, June 30th, 2017

On to days episode we discuss what commission should be paid, and how to pick your Realtor.

When meeting with different real estate agents, there are several questions you should ask to make sure you’ve found the right real estate agent for you:

• How long have you been a real estate agent?
It’s important to know their experience level, and whether they work full- or part-time. If they only work part-time, they may not have their finger on the pulse of current market conditions.

• What are your credentials?
A real estate agent is required to have a state license. Are they a Realtor? A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors, which requires ethics training and has a code of ethics.

• How many houses have you sold in the last year?
This will tell you their sales track record, and also how much experience they have with the entire process and paperwork.

• What’s your schedule?
Check that the real estate agent you are considering hiring is flexible, and works around your schedule.

• Where do you usually work?
You’ll want them to know the community you are looking in, especially if you are moving somewhere unfamiliar. They should be able to advise you on the types of inspections required for the area.

• What kind of commitment will you give me?
See how fast they plan to return phone calls, give you information, and how often you are able to go look at houses.

• What’s your fee?
Know upfront what percentage their fee is going to be, and ask if it’s negotiable.

• May I have some referrals?
Ask your real estate agent if they have former clients you could speak with to get a better idea of how they’ve worked in the past.

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Evaluating the Offer for Your Home

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

People work tirelessly to generate interest in a home they are trying to sell. Once they get an offer, however, they often are not sure how to evaluate it.

Evaluating the Offer for Your Home

You have read every book under the sun. You have read more internet articles than you can imagine. You have cleaned up your home, made repairs and put out your marketing. At this point, you feel like you are an expert in the process. Suddenly, you get an offer on the property. Now what?

The first thing to do is relax. Do not make the mistake of rushing to evaluate it. An offer is just that – an offer. It has contingencies and all kinds of little quarks in it. Although you have lived in the home for a lengthy period of time, you need to realize you are now in a business transaction. Once you have caught your breath, it is time to consider the offer.

The first issue is always the offered purchase price. The price will never be what you are asking for in the listing. It will be below the number, perhaps shockingly lower. At this point, you may feel the urge to pick up the phone and give the buyer a piece of your mind. Don’t! This is a business transaction. The buyer is merely throwing out a bit of bait to see if you are going to bite. If you do, they get a great deal. If you do not, they will evaluate any counter offer you make. If you do not counter, they can always submit a higher offer. Remember, this is a business transaction, not an affront to your pride!

A second issue concerns items in the home the buyer may want included in the sell. I have seen brawls break out over a lamp that would make a biker blush. Maybe that lamp is an heirloom that you can’t part with, but it probably is not. Only you can decide how valuable it is and whether it is worth losing the sale, but try to be objective and coherent when making the decision. Yes, it has been a loyal lamp, but really now…

After this, you need to evaluate any additional costs associated with the offer. The buyer may want allowances for painting and so on. It is usually fairly easy to bypass your emotions on this one, but you need to make some basic financial calculations. Take the offered price and subtract all costs for the transactions. One you have the net revenue figure, compare it to the bottom line number you decided on when you first decided to sell. This will tell you if it is an offer you should accept.

Homeowners often get so focused on the selling process, that they are caught off guard when an offer actually rolls in. Stick to your guns on your bottom line and you should be fine.

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Beware of Being Fooled By Home Staging

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

According to a report just out, it is too easy to be fooled by home staging. Home staging is a term that we are gradually becoming familiar with. It is the idea that we try to create the best impression of our home when selling the house. It used to be just run the vacuum over it and do the dishes but nowadays there is a whole set of rules to follow!

The idea is, that a staged home stands out from all the others and therefore gets sold more quickly. It certainly can be carried to extremes with reports of sellers hiring storage units to cart their junk off to. Larger items of furniture are encouraged to be put into storage by professional ‘home stagers’ so that the house looks bigger and more spacious

Another instruction is to remove anything personal like photographs, so that the prospective buyer can visualize the house as their own. Closets are de-cluttered so that they look more spacious and all bathroom paraphernalia is supposed to be gone from the counter top! Garbage bins are even removed and hidden from sight.

However it has been suggested that home staging can also be deliberately used to hide a multitude of sins!

The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA, who solely represent buyers in the realty business) has suggested that as much as 82% of buyers are sidetracked from the important issues by a well-staged house. This organization also concedes that home staging nets more cash and faster sales – so it works!

Some of the underhand tricks used in staging can include using smaller furniture to make a room look larger, placing rugs over damaged parts of the floor, or using curtains to hide rotting sills. Also specified is the practice of putting a cheap paint job on to cover defects. Your realtor is legally obligated to let you know of any defects, but only if he actually knows about them!

Buyers are urged by the National Association Of Realtor to be cautious and to remember that when the house is sold, the stage is taken away. The tricks of home staging do not improve the floor plan, or the square footage of the home or the quality of the neighborhood, and these are the qualities that you will be re-selling at a later date.

 

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A Checklist For Moving

Monday, June 19th, 2017

MOVING! The very thought of it can send chills down our spine and can cause us to break out into a cold sweat. Experts say that any kind of “change” creates “stress”. Moving, (and especially if we are relocating to a new city or state), represents a huge change and naturally brings a great amount of stress along with it. This can be a double whammy, because stress can lead to a lack of energy and motivation. Many of us tend to procrastinate during stressful periods of our lives. This is one time, though, when we must rise above that. When preparing for a move we need to put the pedal to the metal and get a lot of things done. This checklist contains many suggestions that may seem like “no-brainers”. However, the very act of printing out these simple suggestions and reminders can become a significant security blanket as the dreaded time approaches. Moving and relocating calls for being proactive, grabbing the bull by the horns and actually completing certain chores well in advance of their deadlines. Hopefully this little paper will help you to accomplish that. In this particular article we are leaving out the “big things” such as finding the best moving company, researching your new neighborhood’s transportation, parking, employment, etc. Those are for other articles on another day. Today we are concentrating on the basics of planning and preparation.

Get rid of what you don’t need.

Many of us are “pack rats”. One thing that we can accomplish immediately is going through all of our “stuff” and getting rid of what we don’t need anymore. Moving unwanted clothing and bric-a-bracs from one place of residence to another is a great waste of time and effort. It is surprising how much more in control we feel once we start narrowing down our “inventory” to what we actually need to keep. Getting rid of the unwanted items can be done by having a garage sale long before moving time and then donating the leftovers to the Salvation Army or other charitable groups.

Get all important papers and documents together and secure them.

Since moving is hectic, to say the least, we need to be aware of the exact location of all of our important items. Things that we absolutely must not lose or misplace should certainly be hand carried, not put in a box for the movers:

Address Books, Birth Certificates, Bank Statements, Checks, Credit Cards and Statements, Home Movies, Irreplaceable Memorabilia, Insurance Policies, Marriage Records, Medical and Dental Records, Military Records, Passports, Photos and Photo Albums, Resumes, School Records, Stock Certificates, Tax Returns, Telephone Numbers, Valuables, Vehicle Documents, Wills.

Prepare well in advance for living at your new location.

There are many things that we can do at our new location well in advance of our move that will help smooth out the bumps and grinds of our relocation process when the actual event occurs: Open up new bank accounts. Open up a new Safe Deposit Box. Contact the new area utility companies and arrange for your new services. These can include Cable TV, gas, electric, oil, telephone, water and Internet access. Arrange for new medical providers. If you are moving to a new state, contact the DMV and get forms necessary to re-register your vehicles. Contact your insurance companies and find out if your car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, etc. can be transferred. If not, find an Insurance Broker in your new area and discuss your needs and requirements for new policies. Go to the post office and get a moving kit. Prepare change of address forms for all of your correspondents; credit card companies, other credit accounts, banks, insurance companies, current utility companies for final statements, magazines and other subscriptions, family, friends, and any other persons or businesses that you correspond with on a regular basis.

As the time approaches, get a nice new legal pad.

As moving day approaches and when the moving process actually begins, you don’t want to be hunting for phone numbers in wallets, purses, or address books. Have a nice new legal pad ready with all important phone numbers written clearly and legibly for both your old and new contacts: Banks, Doctors, Emergency contacts, Family members, Friends, Landlords or Real Estate Brokers, Movers, Pharmacies Schools, Storage Facilities, Utilities.

With proper planning and preparation the moving process, though never fun, can at least be sane. With proper planning and preparation the utilities at your present address can be disconnected the day after you move and the utilities at your new address can be connected the day prior to your arrival. With proper planning and preparation you will not be frantically searching for a new doctor or pharmacy, if that unfortunate need arises. With proper planning and preparation you will have all of your important documents at the tip of your fingers at all times. With proper planning and preparation your mail will start arriving the day after you move in to your new abode and your life will endure a minimum of chaos and clutter.

Good luck with your move and good luck in your new home or apartment.

 

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Sony DSC-HX80 Best vlogging Camera?

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

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Tips to sell your home FAST

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Checkout my latest Podcast on, some of the best tips to sell your home at top dollar in the shortest amount of time.

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