FINDING THE RIGHT MATTRESS

mattress

FINDING THE RIGHT MATTRESS

You’ve got more options than ever when mattress shopping these days with no shortage of brick-and-mortar and online-only retailers to choose from. Here are the factors you should consider when you’re shopping for a perfect night’s sleep.

  1. Mattress construction: The most popular types are inner spring, memory foam, and adjustable air. Each has pros and cons when it comes to durability and comfort customization.
  2. Firmness:  Firmness plays a huge role in the quality of your sleep. Mattresses that are too firm or too soft can cause aches and pains, so it‘s recommended that you test a mattress for 10- to 15 minutes in store before making a purchase.
  3. Sleeping position: Match your sleeping style (side, back, face-down, etc.). You want one that keeps your spine in proper alignment. For example, some are better for side sleepers, while others are better for back sleepers.
  4. Size: It’s not quite as simple as choosing between a king and a queen mattress. You should also consider your height, as some are a better fit for shorter people while tall people will want a longer mattress so their limbs aren’t hanging over the edge of the bed.
  5. Stability: For couples, you should consider how the mattress reacts when one person moves, so the other person’s sleep isn’t disturbed in the middle of the night.

FIVE TIPS FOR A GREAT BACKYARD

FIVE TIPS FOR A GREAT BACKYARD

backyard

Summer is here, so entertaining has made the move from the living room to the backyard. It’s the season for barbecues and campouts. Here are five ways to make sure your back yard is everyone’s favorite.

  1. Make sure there’s a place to cook! The way to your guests’ hearts is through their stomachs. You could have something as simple as a charcoal grill or as elaborate as a fully-featured kitchen, but it‘s essential that you can prepare some food outdoors.
  2. Lighting matters. At the very least you need enough lighting to keep the party going when the sun goes down. But for a back yard that really pops, add some decorative lighting to walkways, landscaping, or anything else worth highlighting.
  3. Gather around the fire. This one’s a no brainer. Everyone loves a good place to make hot dogs and s’mores—just make sure you’re not violating any neighborhood ordinances.
  4. Bring the beach to your backyard. A little water will make everything look better. It could be something as simple as fountain or as elaborate as a waterfall or fish pond.

5. Don’t forget the foliage. Trees, shrubs and flowers are all important for adding the finishing touches to your outdoor entertainment space. The trees and shrubs can provide some much-needed shade when the sun is out, and flowers add just the right amount of color.

DON’T BE A VICTIM: TRIM THOSE SHRUBS

overgrown shrubs

DON’T BE A VICTIM: TRIM THOSE SHRUBS

Crime prevention studies show that burglarized homes have less visual access (overgrown shrubs) than their neighbors who were not burglarized.

Burglars seek to victimize homes with easy access in and out, and most importantly, they don’t want to be seen.overgrown shrubs

A common thread in burglaries are homes with overgrown trees and shrubbery.

When walkways and windows are covered in green they may look great to you, but they look like “opportunity” to the would-be burglar.

When looking at your home from the street, can you see all access points clearly and easily? If not, make sure you trim the green and keep you and your family safe.shrubs

REFINANCING: THE RIGHT MOVE?

refinance

REFINANCING: THE RIGHT MOVE?

If you have an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage, consider these factors about refinancing.

The federal reserve recently raised interest rates, and if you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), it may be a good time to consider refinancing your home. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether your should refinance, so here are a few of the main considerations.

How long does your introductory rate last?
Most ARMs have a fixed rate for the beginning of the mortgage. This is an introductory period (usually 3-10 years) when your rate will remain constant before it can be adjusted. If you have several years left in your introductory period, you can monitor interest rates for a while before making a decision. But if the intro rate is ending soon, it’s a great time to explore refinancing at a fixed rate.

How long are you staying?
If you plan to sell your home soon—especially if you’re still on a fixed introductory rate—there’s not much motivation to refinance. But if you’ll be at your home indefinitely, you should consider your refinancing options. You could eliminate the stress of not knowing what your future mortgage rate and payments will be.

What’s your loan balance?
The change in your mortgage payment will of course be determined in part by your remaining balance. If you owe $100,000-$200,000, a new interest rate may not greatly affect your monthly payment. On the other hand, if you owe $500,000, a change in interest rate could lead to a much higher payment.

Other factors
The previous items are just a few of the factors that should go into a decision about refinancing. Changes in income and your current credit score should also be considered, so be sure to weigh your options and make an educated decision.

FIVE THINGS THAT MAKE US HAPPY WITH OUR HOMES

happyhome

 5 THINGS THAT MAKE US HAPPY WITH OUR HOMES

According to a recent survey conducted by houzz.com, here are five things that consistently make people happy with their homes.

  1. Big windows and comfortable furniture: Nearly 75 percent of respondents listed these two items as major difference-makers. It’s a no-brainer—people like lots of light and a good place to relax.
  2. A big-screen TV: This is more likely to be a key feature for men than women. 40 percent of men said having a big-screen TV makes them happy with their homes, compared to just 17 percent of women.
  3. Overall design and layout: 87 percent of the 6,000 people surveyed said the design of the home is a major contributor to overall happiness. If you’re unhappy with your home and there’s a project you’ve been wanting to tackle, get to it!
  4. Home cookin’: 39 percent of respondents said the scent of good cooking or baking made them happiest. Clearly, it helps to have a capable chef around the house!
  5. Keep it tidy: 72 percent of homeowners said they’re happiest when their houses are clean and well-organized. If you want to be happier with your home, try having a place for everything, and put everything in its place.

THINKING OF SELLING?

time to sell

NOW MAY BE THE TIME.

Low inventory is a problem in many markets throughout the country. In a healthy market a particular neighborhood would have six months of inventory. Many neighborhoods are seeing inventory as low as one or two months. This means home buyers are not finding the homes they are looking for.

Eric Sachs, President and Co-founder of BreakthroughBroker.com, said he speaks with Realtors throughout the country, and the main concern voiced by Realtors is that there are not enough listings.

One agent told of a recent story where a new listing had 19 offers on the first day listed. As the spring selling season ends, now is the time to list if you have thought about selling in the past or may want to sell in the future. Call your trusted real estate advisor to see if you live in a low inventory area.

MAKE THE MOVE

making the move

THREE WAYS TO EASE YOUR FEARS ABOUT MAKING A MOVE

With low inventory in many markets throughout the country, many homeowners are afraid to make the move and sell their homes because they’re concerned that they may not be able to find a new one.

This can be a real problem, but if you are seeking to sell—whether to upgrade or find a new neighborhood—there are a few ways to combat the low inventory.

Look to buy first

In most markets it is a real mistake to put your home up for sale before you start looking for your new property.  Identify the geographic area where you are interested in buying. Even if you don’t see anything on Zillow, it doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t find the right home.

Think outside the box

Be proactive! Keep in mind that there are probably many people like you who want to make a move but are afraid as well. Have your real estate agent send a letter to the neighborhoods in the geographic areas where you want to live. The letter should be heartfelt and personal while announcing that you are ready to buy a home in that neighborhood. You could find a home to buy that may not even be currently listed or for sale.

Protect yourself legally 

Each state varies in how the purchase process is conducted. Talk to your real estate professional about adding a clause in the purchase contract for the home you are selling that will enable you to not sell the home if you cannot find a suitable home to buy.

THE DIRTIEST ITEMS IN THE HOME AND HOW TO CLEAN THEM

dirty jobs

5 of the Dirtiest items in your home

Of course, one of the dirtiest items in anyone’s home is the toilet. But, that’s not the only place where dirt and germs accumulate. Here are five other dirty items and suggestions for cleaning them.

  1. Bath Towels – When you and your family dry off from your shower, your bath towel absorbs the water from your body. Then it sits all day breeding bacteria that thrive in warm, moist areas. Combat this issue by changing your bath towels out every two days and washing your dirty towels in hot water to kill anything living on them.
  2. Shower Curtain – Shower curtains easily pick up bacteria the same way bath towels do. They also attract germs from the toilet if they are near each other. Clean your shower curtain by spraying it down with a bleach-based product. Spray the rings and rod, too. Also, when the shower curtain is beyond cleaning, replace it.
  3. Doorknobs – Entryway and bathroom doorknobs are exposed to myriad germs daily. Thankfully, doorknobs are easy to clean. Wipe them down with antibacterial wipes regularly.
  4. Window/Door Tracks – Window and door tracks are harbingers of dust and dirt. The grime that builds up can make you and your family ill. You can easily clean these areas by vacuuming out large pieces of debris and then spraying the stuck-on dirt with water, letting it loosen up and wiping it with a damp cloth.
  5. Toothbrush Holders – Your toothbrush holder is likely teeming with germs and bacteria. Wash it with hot soapy water twice a week. If you can, run it through the dishwasher to ensure it gets clean and sterilized.

Price it Right

price-it-right

5 Things To Price Your House Right

When you put your home up for sale, one of the best ways to determine the asking price is to look at comparable sales. There’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area to make sure you price it right.

Here are five criteria to look for in a sales comparison.

  1. Location:  Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better.
  2. Date of sale:  It varies by location, but housing markets can see a ton of fluctuation in a short time period. It‘s best to use the most recent sales data available.
  3. Home build:  Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics.
  4. Features and upgrades:  Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price, and so can less flashy upgrades like a new roof or HVAC system. Be sure to look for similar bells and whistles.
  5. Sale types:  Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons.

Better Paint Job

painttips

How to get a better paint job

Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to give your home a makeover. Whether it’s updating an old bathroom paint scheme or adding a bold accent wall, painting can totally transform a room. But painting can be a big hassle and come with tons of prep work and clean up. Here are a few top tips to getting a better paint job, make your painting experience more enjoyable, and lead to a more professional finish.

Prep beyond tape and drop cloths

A drop cloth will protect your floors, but a thick and durable drop cloth is also a little clumsy to maneuver. For smaller, awkward items that are in danger of paint splatter, use plastic wrap. It’ll make it much less frustrating to protect a toilet or bathroom sink.

Be ready for spills and splatters

At the very least, a few drops of paint are going to end up where you don’t want them. Have a rag and some Q-Tips ready for the inevitable paint splatter, so that you can quickly wipe them off before they dry and set on your frames, countertops, or hardwood floor.

Use heat to remove tape 

Patience is key when removing painter’s tape, but it can still tear and leave splotchy edges no matter how careful you are. Hold a heat gun or hair dryer a few inches away from the tape as your remove it little by little. The heat will break down the adhesive and make removing the tape a much less frustrating task.