Paul Swingle's Blog
How long has it been since you've deep-cleaned your home attic? The attic is one of the most overlooked spaces in the home. It is important to shake out the dust ever so often before your attic becomes a source of germs and allergens in your home. Here are some tips to help you keep your attic clean and fresh all year round.
The easiest room to clean is an empty one. For attics not cleaned in a long time, it is best first to remove everything inside. Thorough cleaning allows all the nooks and crannies to be open and the cleaner to check for defects, leaks and other structural damages that may have occurred over time. Removing everything also helps to sort everything kept there to throw away whatever is no longer needed.
Vacuum, then sweep
If you find plenty of dust and waste materials in the attic, using a broom will cause dust to go into the air. Make use of a vacuum cleaner to suck up debris and dirt from the attic. High-efficiency bags or filter canisters work most effectively for these. Be sure to wear protective face masks when cleaning attics because of allergens and other particulates that could be in the dust.
Check for moisture and mold growth
Attic insulation is one of the most common sources of mold in the home. Inspecting an empty attic after cleaning will reveal if there is mold. If you find mold in your attic, call a professional attic cleaning company to come and take care of it. They will also ensure to identify the root cause of the mold and remove it. Failure to take care of mold growth in an attic leads to respiratory problems like asthma and allergies.
Donate anything no longer needed
Attics typically provide storage, and after a while, most of the things stored there are no longer useful. Sell whatever in your attic that is still in good condition, or donate it to a local charity. Cleaning up an attic is also an excellent way to get many items for a yard sale which could sometimes raise enough money to pay for the professional cleaning service for the attic and any repairs that you need to carry out.
Box and label before replacing things
After cleaning and repairing your attic, the last thing is to restock everything there. This time, box everything properly and label with a tag or a clear marker so that things are easy to find. Maintaining some organization in the attic helps to make subsequent cleaning easier.
For a professional attic cleaning and repair, call a local company for quotes.
We've all been there. You're excited to put life into your home with houseplants. The problem is that they keep dying. Whether you have a jet black thumb or just a brown thumb, it is hard for you to find plants that will last long enough to get their benefits. There are different things to take into consideration with this challenge, including watering and soil type and quality, but lighting is specifically one of them. Here are a few ideas that do not require much light.
Also called Swedish Ivy (it is neither a creeper or an ivy; instead it is a trailer), this plant may be among one of the most forgiving for plant novices and those with black thumbs. Creeping Charlie plant thrives in a variety of conditions including light, water, and soil combination making it very low maintenance. Another special thing about this plant is that it grows very well in hanging planters giving you options on where to put it.
Many different fern plant options
Ferns thrive in low light conditions. A couple of varieties of fern are the Maidenhair and Silver Lace. The Maidenhair fern has small, delicate leaves that set it apart from the typical house plant with the usual broad, thicker blade. The Silver Lace has a leaf that is long and skinny with a graduated light color to it.
Mosses are great options for low light as moss varieties are known for thriving in low light conditions. If you have a place that you want to put a plant that only gets glimpses of sunlight, then this could be perfect for you. This type of plant can go into terrariums that you can get pre-made, in a kit or you can put together yourself.
If your kitchen is where you are looking to put a low light plant mint might be just the thing for you. You will be able to harvest fresh mint for teas and such. Plus this plant gives off a pleasant scent to brighten the room.
All the benefits with the expertise of a professional to help you
Plants give the advantage of a little life, fresh air and pleasant aroma that can help make your house feel like a home. If you need answers or additional help finding the plant that will be right for you and your home, visit a local garden center where they will be able to assist you.
If you're currently renting an apartment or house, it makes good financial sense to consider becoming a homeowner in the foreseeable future. There are pros and cons to owning your own home -- and it's not for everyone -- but for most people, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
An exception would be if your job requires you to relocate frequently. In that scenario, the potential benefits of building up equity in a home would be greatly diminished.
On the other hand, if you plan on staying put for more than a few years, then the tax benefits and investment value of owning real estate could put you on a stronger financial track than if you continued shelling out your hard-earned money to a landlord. You've probably heard the argument before: "If you pay rent, you have nothing to show for it at the end of the year". However, when you buy a home, an increasing portion of your monthly payments is applied to your actual ownership of the property (as opposed to how much you owe the bank).
Tax Advantages of Home Ownership
In most cases, you can deduct all of your home mortgage interest from your federal tax returns, according to the IRS. More specifically: "The only costs you can deduct are real estate taxes actually paid to the taxing authority, interest that qualifies as home mortgage interest, and mortgage insurance premiums."
However, since everyone's financial situation is different and there is no "one size fits all" approach to financial management, it's always best to consult with an experienced CPA, enrolled agent, or knowledgeable tax preparer. There may be other tax benefits you could qualify for as a homeowner, too, including getting tax credits for installing a solar energy system. The government's Energy Star program says tax credits on new solar energy systems are available through the year 2021.
Getting the Process Underway
Two key steps to becoming a home owner are finding out your credit score and meeting with a mortgage lender to determine how much of a real estate loan you could qualify for. An experienced real estate agent can also provide you with a wealth of guidance and information on how to become a homeowner. They can fill you in on many of the exact steps, requirements, and advantages of buying your first home. A buyers' agent can also help you assess your readiness to take the plunge into home ownership.
In addition to finding out your credit score, which will impact your mortgage interest rate and the type of loan you may qualify for, other vital information can be gleaned from a detailed personal budget. Although the amount of rent you now pay will provide some insights into your potential house-buying budget, there are a lot of variables which will impact how much of a mortgage you could comfortably afford.
If you want to buy or sell a home, hiring a real estate agent is a must. With an expert real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble getting the best results.
A real estate agent can teach you the ins and outs of the housing market and ensure you can make informed buying or selling decisions. In addition, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you throughout each stage of the homebuying or home selling journey.
Although many real estate agents are available nationwide, it is important to remember that not all of these housing market professionals possess the same communication skills. And if you hire a real estate agent who is an ineffective communicator, you may miss out on opportunities to buy your dream home or get the best price for your current residence.
Ultimately, there are many signs that a real estate agent is a great communicator, including:
1. A real estate agent keeps in touch with clients via emails, phone calls and texts.
A real estate agent who understands the importance of effective communication will be able to stay in contact with you via emails, phone calls and texts. This housing market professional is happy to work with you in any way possible, and as such, is ready to lend a helping hand time and time again.
Furthermore, a great communicator understands the importance of timely, accurate messages. This means a real estate agent who strives to maintain open lines of communication should have no trouble keeping you informed throughout the homebuying or home selling cycle.
2. A real estate agent listens to your concerns and questions.
Let's face it – buying or selling a home can be stressful, particularly if you're operating in a competitive housing market. Lucky for you, a real estate agent who acts as a great communicator can listen to your concerns and questions and help you alleviate stress.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to assist a homebuyer or home seller. He or she also recognizes the importance of active listening and respond to your concerns and queries instantly. That way, this housing market professional can do whatever it takes to help you remain calm, cool and collected as you buy or sell a home.
3. A real estate agent is unafraid to be honest.
Although the homebuying or home selling journey should be simple, problems sometimes may arise. However, a real estate agent who serves as a great communicator will provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you overcome any challenges.
A real estate agent is proud to assist his or her clients. At the same time, this housing market professional is unafraid to deliver bad news. Therefore, a real estate agent who is an effective communicator can share good and bad news with clients, provide consistent support and help clients mitigate homebuying or home selling problems as quickly as possible.
Employ a real estate agent who is a great communicator, and you can work with a housing market professional who can help you overcome the challenges associated with buying or selling a home.
Buying a house is arguably the most expensive purchase most people will make in their lives. With real estate prices steadily rising year after year, many Americans are finding ways to save on housing.
At the same time, rent prices too are increasing, especially around metro areas where many young Americans are entering the workforce. With costs rising and wages stagnating, it can be hard to find an affordable place to live while still building equity that can be used later on down the road.
One option that many Americans are considering is the fixer-upper route. However, it takes know-how and a lot of hard work to make this method a good choice to save you money. In this article, we’ll tell you how to make certain buying a fixer upper is a good idea and what costs you can expect along the way.
Adding up the costs
Buying a house that needs work means you’ll need to spend a good amount of time calculating costs and getting quotes from professionals. Even if you’re familiar with several home maintenance tasks, there are some jobs that are safer if left to the pros. This isn’t only a matter of physical safety, however. If you start a job that you aren’t qualified to finish you could end up paying much more than if you had just hired a licensed professional to do the job in the first place.
When estimating costs for reparations and renovations, aim high. It’s better to plan for it to be more expensive and have more left over than to underestimate your projects and go over budget.
Get an inspection report
If you aren’t sure whether or not you want to go through with a deal, make sure you have an inspection contingency clause in your contract. This will enable you to back out if the home inspector makes you aware of any costs that you weren’t told about by the seller.
Don’t forget added costs
There are several closing costs you’ll be responsible for as a buyer. Make sure you keep tabs on how much you can expect to spend closing on the home. If you’re going through a mortgage lender, they are required to give you an estimate of closing costs.
Once you know the purchase price of the home and the closing costs, make sure you account for other aspects of your renovations, such as getting required permits.
If you do plan on taking out a loan to cover the cost of renovations, be smart with how you get and pay back that money. One option is the FHA 203(k) loan or renovation loan.
Renovation loans help you save on closing costs and simplify the lending process by giving you one loan that accounts for the cost of the renovations and of the home itself.