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How To Make a Home Inventory

By Virtual Results

How To Make a Home InventoryAs a homeowner, it can be incredibly helpful to have a comprehensive inventory of everything in your home. When disaster strikes, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ve cataloged your possessions and can provide proof to your insurance company if need be. But the thought of actually creating a home inventory can be pretty daunting. Where do you start? Let’s take a closer look at how to tackle this important project.

What is a home inventory?

Simply put, a home inventory is a list of every item in your home and its value. It’s something that will make your life much easier should you ever need to file a claim with your insurance company. Not only will the process be less stressful, but you’ll also have the money in your hands faster. It will also help you determine if you have the right amount of coverage for your home.

What should be included?

Your home inventory should include all the items that would be covered under your homeowners insurance policy. This means the items in your home as well as anything you may have in storage elsewhere. You should record a description of the item and what you paid for it. If the item has a serial number such as a computer, then include that as well. Keep copies of your receipts for all these items and take photographs of them.

What should I use to record it?

There are many different ways that you can record your home inventory, and you should choose the one that is easiest for you. Many people use a simple spreadsheet to keep track of their home inventories. There are also many apps available that can help you with the process. If either of these options seems like too much to handle, then make a walk-through video of your home. While it won’t contain as much information as a spreadsheet, it will be a good place to start.

What should I do with it?

Creating a home inventory takes time and effort, so you want to make sure you don’t lose it. Obviously, you’ll want to have a digital copy of your inventory. Store it in several places, such as emailing it to yourself, saving it in the cloud, and saving it on an external hard drive. You should also make a physical copy that you can keep somewhere else, such as at a relative’s home. You may also want to send a copy to your insurance agent so that it is easily accessible to them when needed.

How can I make this easier to do?

Unless you’re an extremely detail-oriented person who delights in making lists, creating a home inventory can sound tedious and stressful. Don’t feel like you have to tackle this project in one day. Start small. List your most expensive items first, the ones that you know you would want to include in a claim. Then take it room by room. If you’re really feeling overwhelmed by the process, then consider hiring a professional. Contact the National Association of Home Inventory Professionals to find out more.

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When You Shouldn’t Make Extra Mortgage Payments

By Virtual Results

When You Shouldn’t Make Extra Mortgage Payments

Paying off your mortgage early is a good thing, right? While we’d all love to have full ownership of our homes sooner rather than later, it isn’t always the best option. In fact, depending on your financial situation, it may be better for you to put that extra money to good use elsewhere. If you’re thinking about putting extra money toward your monthly mortgage payments, then here’s what you should be considering.

When you have other costly debt

Not all debt is created equal. Mortgages are often seen as “good” debt. This is because they are for a tangible asset – your home. And your home is something that will increase in value over time. You could sell your home tomorrow and pay off your mortgage with the proceeds from the sale – and you may even make a profit. Instead, look at other debts you may have, such as credit card balances, medical bills, student loans, or car loans. Some of this debt, especially your credit cards, may have a high-interest rate attached to it. Most likely, all of this other debt has higher interest rates than your home loan. If this sounds like you, then you’re better off using your extra money to pay off your high-interest debt first. Borrowers who need to change the terms of their loans or mortgages may benefit from seeking the services of a firm that specializes in loan modifications.

When you’re going to move

If you’re thinking about moving in the near future, then it’s also not necessarily a good idea to make extra mortgage payments. Buying a house can be very expensive, especially when you consider additional costs like the down payment and moving expenses. It would be better for you to put your extra money toward the purchase of a new home instead.

When you don’t have emergency cash reserves

We’ve all learned the importance of having an emergency fund during the pandemic. You just never know what life may throw at you. Losing a job, needing a new furnace, or having unexpected car trouble can be very stressful. Having some cash saved for these kinds of emergencies will give you peace of mind and help you when you need it most. So if you don’t have an emergency fund, you’re better off saving extra money to put aside for large, unexpected expenses.

When you’re self-employed

When you’re self-employed, your tax bill can be much higher than those who are not. One great way to save money on your tax bill is by having a mortgage. Homeownership has many perks, and one of them is being able to deduct your mortgage interest from the taxes you owe on your income. If you pay off your mortgage more quickly, then you’re losing the ability to deduct your interest payments after the loan is paid off. This is also true for anyone in a higher tax bracket. It may make more financial sense to put your extra money elsewhere.

When you’re trying to save money for retirement

Finally, think twice about making extra mortgage payments when you’re saving for retirement. The more money you can save, the more it will grow when you reach retirement age. Instead, use your extra money to max out your retirement savings. Your future self will thank you.

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How to Save Money on Moving Supplies

By Virtual Results

How to Save Money on Moving Supplies

When you buy a house, you prepare yourself for expected costs such as a down payment and closing fees. But if you want to make sure you don’t blow your budget, you should also take into account the costs associated with moving. Whether you hire a full-service moving company or take a more DIY approach, you’re going to need to set aside some money for your relocation. Fortunately, there are ways that you can save on your moving costs by not investing in supplies you don’t need or can get for free, although if you’re moving from another country is always good to get the best international movers to help you with this. Here’s what you should know.

Use what you already have

The most obvious thing you can do to save on moving costs is to use items you already have. If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve no doubt squirreled away things that can be used for your move, and if you’re doing the Moving from Merced to Modesto, you should get a professional company to help you with this. This can include plastic tubs, suitcases, backpacks, duffel bags, trash bags, and reusable shopping bags. Other items that can come in handy for your move include blankets, towels, sheets, and clothing for wrapping your things as you pack them.

Collect secondhand moving boxes

There are many ways that you can score free or very inexpensive boxes for your move. First, search online marketplaces such as Craigslist or your local “buy nothing” group for used boxes. Oftentimes, people will be happy to unload their boxes to another person after they’ve unpacked from a move. Grocery stores are another great place to find used boxes. Ask friends and neighbors if they have any boxes you can borrow or have. You may already have some of your own empty boxes in closets, the garage, or the basement that you can use as well.

Rent instead of buy

Did you know that in some places you can rent plastic moving boxes instead of buying them? This can save you quite a bit of money – and you’ll be helping the environment. In addition, you can rent other supplies that will be handy for your move including dollies and hand trucks. Your local home improvement store usually has items like these on hand that you can rent by the hour or by the day.

Buy other items in bulk

If you haven’t moved in a while, then you probably don’t realize just how much packing tape you’re going to need for your upcoming move. Get ahead of the game by ordering tape in bulk. You’ll save money on the per-unit cost and you’ll ensure that you don’t run out of tape at the very last minute. And we have also started using some new thermal pallet covers and they have been incredibly good, so look into those if you need thermal pallet covers of the best quality.

Get rid of things you don’t need or want

Finally, the best advice for saving money on moving supplies is to not take with you the things you don’t need or want. Before you begin packing, go through all of your belongings and toss, donate, or sell the items you no longer use. By doing so, you’ll be saving money because you’ll use fewer supplies. And if you’ve hired a moving company that charges by weight, you’ll save money on those costs, too.

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Styling Your Houseplants

By Virtual Results

Styling Your HouseplantsOne of the best ways to beat the winter “blahs” is to bring a little bit of the outdoors in. Houseplants provide so many benefits from boosting your mental health to purifying the air you breathe. But acquiring plants and then knowing what to do with them are two separate things. Especially if you have more than one. Fortunately, styling your houseplants is easy and fun and can give your home’s decor a wonderful refresh. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.

Understand their needs

Unless you want your beautiful green plants to quickly turn brown and die, you need to understand their needs. First, take a look at your space. How much natural light do you get? Are there any drafts? Is the air particularly dry? This information will help you to choose plants that are right for your conditions.

Pay attention to color, texture, and pattern

When you first get into houseplants, you may assume that they’re all basically the same color – some kind of green. But as you pay closer attention, you’ll soon see that plants come in an exciting array of colors, textures, and patterns. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to plants that will be happy in your environment, you can then choose the ones that have the most pleasing details. You can even begin to match them with your existing decor!

Size is important

Another factor to consider when styling your houseplants is size. Too many plants that are the same size will be visually boring. Instead, opt for plants in a variety of sizes. A large plant that is a few feet tall can become a focal point in the corner of your living space. You can also create groupings of plants that are different sizes, which will help your eye move around the space. Try placing plants at different heights around the room, or place some of your potted plants on stands or tables.

Try hanging them

If you live in a small space, then you may be concerned that you don’t have room for houseplants. So don’t be afraid to think vertically! You can have plants without sacrificing any floor space if you hang them from the ceiling or curtain rods. Macrame is making a huge comeback, and macrame hangers are a great choice for displaying plants.

Consider the pots

The containers you put your plants in will have an impact on your overall design. So choose your pots wisely. Find pots that complement your decor. You can even use non-traditional objects for pots like vintage cans, wooden boxes, or pitchers. Just be sure that whatever kind of pot you use it has a drainage hole. If not, then you could also tuck your plant in its nursery pot inside another container.

Don’t forget to water them

If you want your houseplants to look good for years to come, then you’ll need to remember to water them depending on their needs. It can be helpful to use calendar reminders if you’re prone to forgetting. You can also choose plants that require very little care or even opt for faux plants – many of them look just like the real thing!

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8 Ways to Love Your Home

By Virtual Results

8 Ways to Love Your HomeLove is in the air this Valentine’s Day! And that doesn’t just mean the love you feel for your special someone. Your love can also extend to your home. There are many ways that we can love and care for our homes so that they are a place of comfort and refuge for years to come. These are some of our favorites.

Donate unused items to charity

Nobody likes clutter. When you let things pile up, it can make your living space feel cramped and unloved. So there’s no better way to show your home how much you care about it than thinning out your possessions. Spend an afternoon going through a closet, drawer, or even a whole room. Find the items you no longer need or want and donate them to your favorite local charity.

Add plants or flowers

Adding plants or flowers to your home can make it feel cozier and more alive. If you don’t want to spend money on fresh flowers regularly, then add a plant or two to your living space. Just be sure to choose plants that are non-toxic if you have dogs or cats at home.

Deep clean a room or area

Another great way to love your home is to devote an afternoon to deep cleaning a room or area that you use frequently. Get in all the nooks and crannies – dust, mop, vacuum, and clean from top to bottom.

Make dinner at home

Going out to eat is certainly one of life’s small pleasures. But one way that you can love your home is to prepare meals in your own kitchen. It can make your house feel more like a home. Don’t be afraid to bust out the good china and light some candles while you’re at it.

Display your favorite possessions

Do you have a collection that you keep tucked away in a box or drawer? Why not display that collection instead? Whether you love buying vintage silk scarves or coffee mugs from your travels, devote some shelf or wall space to it so that you can admire it every day.

Make it smell good

We don’t always notice what our home smells like from day to day. But adding a pleasant aroma to it can make it feel special. Treat yourself to a scented candle, diffuse your favorite essential oils, or mix up a batch of stovetop potpourri.

Rearrange

Is everything you own in the same place as when you first moved in? When we look at the same things in the same places day after day it’s easy to tune them out. Show your home some love by switching things up a bit. You can go big by rearranging furniture or do it on a smaller scale by moving around some knick-knacks. It’s almost like shopping, but you’re using things you already own and not spending a single penny.

Invite people to your home

We’ve spent so much time in isolation over the last two years. If you feel safe doing so, then invite a friend or two over! Nothing makes a house feel more like a home than filling it with the people you love.

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Last-Minute Valentine’s Gifts for the Home

By Virtual Results

Last-Minute Valentine’s Gifts for the Home

Is your special Valentine a new homeowner? Then there’s no better way to show them how much you care than by gifting them something for their new place! Of course, if you’re reading this then you waited until the last minute. But not to worry! We’ve compiled a list of gifts that your homeowner Valentine will love and that you can score immediately. We’re sure they’ll find a good use for anything on the list below.

Gift cards

Obviously, gift cards are one of the easiest last-minute gifts you can buy. But with so many to choose from, which one do you pick? A thoughtful gesture could be to pick up a gift card to a restaurant or shop that’s in their new neighborhood. Or you could choose a gift card for a home-improvement store, which they’ll no doubt need to use right away. If you’re unsure of their tastes, then gift cards to large online retailers are always appreciated. Then they can choose exactly what they need for their new home.

Something cozy

Another great choice for a last-minute gift for a new homeowner is something cozy. Moving is stressful! And getting settled into a new home can be exhausting. Gifting them something cozy will help soothe some of the stress of moving in. Good choices can be a new pair of soft slippers, cozy pajamas, a scented candle to make their new place smell nice, or a comfy throw blanket that will feel like a warm hug.

Houseplants

We know that flowers are a traditional Valentine’s Day gift. But flowers quickly die. Why not gift your new homeowner a houseplant instead? There’s something about a potted plant that can make a house feel like a home. Many houseplants are known for helping to purify the air, too. However, if your Valentine also has pets at home, then be sure to choose a houseplant that isn’t toxic to dogs or cats.

Meal kit subscriptions

It can take time to get unpacked, and not having access to all the essentials can make it difficult to prepare food at home. To make things easier on your Valentine as they get settled in, give them a subscription to a meal kit service. These allow your Valentine to enjoy a home-cooked meal without all the stress of gathering and preparing the ingredients.

Spa services

Moving can make people feel frazzled. Show your Valentine how much you care about their well-being by gifting them a spa service or two. Believe us when we say that a new homeowner can definitely use a massage! Other spa services your Valentine might enjoy include a facial, manicure or pedicure, or even an hour in a salt cave or float tank. However, if you’re interested to some courses or training for advanced nail techs and beginner techs to suit your budget and potential client, then a good site place like Glitterbels has the right course for you!

A night out

Finally, moving into a new home can feel like a full-time job. So treat your special someone to a night out for Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s a meal at a fancy restaurant or simply a walk in the park, your Valentine will appreciate having a break from the stress of moving in. You may also show your love and appreciation by giving her a jewelry item from companies like Gema & CO.

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Living on a One-Way Street

By Virtual Results

Living on a One-Way StreetYou’ve found a home you love and would like to put in an offer. But the thing is – it’s on a one-way street. If you’ve never lived on a one-way street then you may be wondering whether or not it’s a good choice. How will affect your day-to-day life? Is it a convenience, or a hassle? Will it be safer, or are you more likely to get into car accidents? And will it affect your ability to sell down the line? Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering living on a one-way street.

They can be inconvenient

One of the things you’ll want to consider when buying a home on a one-way street is the convenience factor. In general, one-way streets tend to be a little more inconvenient for drivers. If you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, then living on a one-way street may cause you some frustration. You may have to go out of your way to get to where you’re going. If the street is busy during rush hour, then you may have problems backing out of your driveway. One-way streets tend to be narrower than two-way streets, which can be a hassle if you’re trying to park on the street.

They can be safer

On the flip side, while one-way streets may be a little more inconvenient than two-way streets, they tend to be safer. Traffic is only going in one direction so there’s less chance of getting hit by a car. However, there’s always a chance that someone will drive the wrong way down a one-way street, so you should always look both ways before crossing. One-way streets are usually less busy than two-way streets, which can be an important consideration if you have kids. That’s especially true in the suburbs. In quiet neighborhoods, one-way streets may often double as play areas for kids since the only traffic is usually from people who live on the street.

They are quieter but may be less accessible

One-way streets are often quieter than their two-way counterparts. If you hate traffic noise, then this can be an important consideration. You’re less likely to hear noise from emergency vehicles, large vehicles, or even garbage trucks and snowplows. That being said, if you live in an area that gets snow, a one-way street may be less accessible in the winter. Snowplows tend to plow busier streets first, so it may be a challenge to get in and out after a heavy snowfall. And if you park on the street, you’re more likely to get plowed in when the snowplow goes by.

The bottom line

If you’re considering buying a home on a one-way street, then it usually comes down to personal preference. You may decide that other factors are more important than whether or not the home is on a one-way street. Buyers will often be more concerned about the quality of the nieghborhood in general, the home’s proximity to amenities, and how good the local public school system is. As long as the one-way street isn’t a high-traffic road, it’s unlikely to affect your ability to sell down the line.

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Buying a Home as a Single Parent

By Virtual Results

Buying a Home as a Single ParentHomeownership is a dream for many Americans. But if you’re a single parent, you may think that buying a home is out of reach. While it can be challenging to buy on your own with kids, it’s not impossible. In fact, there are programs available that can help you achieve your dreams of becoming a homeowner. Here’s what you need to know if you’d like to buy a home as a single parent.

Check your credit report

Before you begin your journey to homeownership, you should get a handle on your current financial situation. This begins with checking your credit report. Lenders will be looking closely at your credit report to determine your eligibility. We recommend ordering a copy of your credit report at least six months before you begin your home search. This allows you plenty of time to check it for errors so that you can begin the process of having them removed. It also gives you time to improve your credit score. The higher your credit score the more likely you will be to qualify for a home loan. You’ll also get a better interest rate which will save you money over the life the loan.

Make a budget

The next thing you should do is to create a budget. This will help you determine how much house you can afford. When you’re making a budget, be sure to include all your monthly expenses. You’ll also want to take into consideration not only your potential monthly mortgage payments but also other costs associated with buying and owning a home. These include your down payment, insurance premiums, property taxes, HOA fees, closing costs, and moving costs.

Research assistance programs

Buying a home on your own can be intimidating. Fortunately, there is assistance available. If you’re a member of the military, then look into assistance provided through the Veterans Administration. You may qualify for a VA loan which requires no money down. You should also contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They offer housing counseling services which are offered at low cost or even for free. You may also qualify for homeownership vouchers or monthly financial assistance. Also, try contacting your state’s Public Housing Assistance program (PHA) to determine other programs that may be available to you through the state.

Understand your mortgage options

When you’re in the market for a home, it’s helpful to understand that you have many options available to you when it comes to a mortgage. Just as with any purchase, it pays to shop around. One of the biggest hurdles to homeownership is the down payment required. Conventional loans typically require at least 20 percent down when you buy a home. That can be out of reach for many people, particularly if you’re a single parent. Fortunately, there are other loans available that don’t require a big down payment. VA loans, as mentioned above, are a great choice for those in the military community. You should also check out FHA loans and USDA loans. These loans are backed by the federal government and require down payments of as little as 3.5 percent.

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What Do Real Estate Attorneys Do?

By Virtual Results

What Do Real Estate Attorneys Do?In some states, you are required to have a real estate attorney in order to buy or sell a house. And while in other states having an attorney is optional, it can actually be a real benefit. Spending money on legal fees can help you avoid breaking the law unintentionally or having your closing delayed. If you’re unsure what a real estate attorney does and how it can help you, then read on.

They prepare documents

One of the most important things that real estate lawyers like the ones from Sibila Law firm do is prepare documents. The real estate process can generate tons of paperwork, and having an attorney available to deal with that avalanche can be a real stress-reliever. They will draw up purchase contracts, financing agreements, and lease agreements. While your real estate agent can help you fill out this paperwork, only a lawyer can actually draft and revise them.

They review transactions

Another service that a real estate law firm can provide is to review transactions and give advice about them. They will look at title issues and examine any documents or contracts that are part of the closing process. A lawyer can help you spot potential problems that may otherwise go unnoticed to an untrained eye. This can help you avoid any unforeseen legal problems down the line.

They help you negotiate a better deal

Negotiating skills are another reason that real estate attorneys can be so helpful. They have expert experience with all types of transactions. A buyer or seller can ask a real estate attorney to negotiate terms for a deal, which often involves working with brokers, developers, or other lawyers. If you feel unsure of your negotiating skills, then having a licensed estate attorney in San Francisco CA on your side can be your ace in the hole.

They handle foreclosures

Dealing with a foreclosure can be a daunting experience. That’s why some real estate attorneys specialize in foreclosures. They can represent either the lender or the borrower in a foreclosure. Those that assist lenders will make sure that they proceed with the process correctly. They also may file a lawsuit on the lender’s behalf. When a lawyer represents a borrower, however, they can challenge mistakes made by the lender. This can make it more difficult for the lender to foreclose. They can also negotiate on your behalf with the lender to try to avoid foreclosure by making a settlement.

They represent you in a lawsuit

Finally, although it may seem obvious, real estate attorneys can represent you in a lawsuit. Unfortunately, not all real estate transactions happen smoothly. Some can end up in court. If you find yourself in this situation, then hiring a real estate attorney is advisable. They will draft legal pleadings that will be filed with the judge. They will also be present at hearings and at trial in front of the judge. Attorneys can also file an appeal on your behalf if necessary. Their negotiating skills also come in handy when they bargain with the other side to try to work out a settlement agreement.

As you can see, while you may not be required to hire a real estate attorney, having one on your side can ease stress. Having someone on your team who understands all the legal ramifications of your real estate transaction can go a long way toward a successful outcome.

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How to Vet a Real Estate Agent

By Virtual Results

How to Vet a Real Estate AgentBuying or selling a home is a huge financial transaction — one of the biggest you’ll make in your lifetime. It can also be one of the most complicated transactions you tackle. That’s why it can be so beneficial to work with a professional real estate agent. But not all agents are created equal. That’s why, like any large or important purchase you make, you should shop around. These are the questions you should ask when interviewing agents to find the one that’s right for you and you can find realtors near you that know the area which almost always give you a significant ROI on using them.

How long have you been an agent?

Agents that have experience are going to be better at anticipating potential problems and will have tried-and-true negotiating skills. But don’t just ask how long they’ve been an agent. Ask them how long they have been working as a full-time agent in your market. Working with someone who has established relationships and expert knowledge of your community will set you up for success.

How many homes do you close a year?

You want to choose an agent who has a proven track record of closing on homes. Look for someone who has closed more homes than the majority of agents in your area. In most places, that’s about 35 closings a year (representing both buyers and sellers).

What sets you apart from other agents?

Agents who stay current on the market will be dedicated to their ongoing education. That means they’ll likely have certifications and credentials. Ones to look for include being a REALTOR, a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), an Accredited Seller Representative (SRS), or a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES).

What’s your commission fee?

Sellers usually foot the bill for commissions, so this is an important question to ask if you’re going to list. The typical commission rate for agents is about six percent of the purchase price, which is split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent.

How will we communicate?

Real estate transactions can happen quickly, and in some markets you need an agent who is very responsive. Find out how they prefer to communicate and whether or not they’ll be your primary point of contact. Many agents work with a support staff, so find out who you will be dealing with on a day-to-day basis.

Can you provide me with a reference?

Any good agent will have many happy past clients who are willing to speak on their behalf. A good agent will have several people you can contact to get the scoop on what it’s like to work with them. Contact a few of these references before making your final decision.

Will we sign a contract?

Most agents will have you sign an exclusive contract that is good for a specified amount of time. Ask if you’re able to cancel the contract if you aren’t happy with the service you’re getting. And be cautious of an agent who makes it hard for you to get out of the contract, but easy for them. Be aware that some contracts may include a termination fee should you cancel before closing.

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