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Easy Spring Cleaning Tips

By Virtual Results

Easy Spring Cleaning TipsThe arrival of spring typically signals that it’s time to give your home a good cleaning. After a long winter indoors, spring cleaning helps your home feel fresh and ready for the coming season. But we understand that not everyone gets excited about the list of chores that come with the start of spring. That’s why we’ve compiled our best tips for making an easy job of your spring cleaning. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Go room to room

Don’t feel like you need to clean the entire house in one day. That’s just an invitation to put off the task indefinitely. Instead, think about cleaning one room at a time. Start with the room that needs the most attention. Maybe you practiced being a home chef this winter and your kitchen could use a deep cleaning. Or perhaps the kids took over the living room the last few months and now there are crumbs and toys everywhere. When you begin with the room that needs it most, you’ll get a bigger payoff. And that could encourage you to tackle other rooms once you see the results. And it’s OK to skip rooms that you recently cleaned like the guest bedroom or the dining room.

Streamline your cleaning products

Marketing professionals are good at making us think we need a specialized product for every task. But that can make spring cleaning feel overwhelming and more expensive than it needs to be. Not to mention that more cleaning products mean more clutter, which we’re trying to avoid. Instead, invest in one or two good multi-purpose cleaners that can be used on most surfaces in your home. Opt for natural varieties that don’t contain harsh chemicals. You can even make your own with staples you already have on hand.

Enlist your family for help

Who says you have to be the only one responsible for deep cleaning your home this spring? The job will go much faster if you enliWho says you have to be the only one responsible for deep cleaning your home this spring? The job will go much faster if you enlistst your family or roommates to help. Even young children can lend a helping hand. Choose chores that are appropriate for each child’s age and reward them when they complete each task. This will help to teach your kids how to clean and make them feel included in the process. A good place to start is to have each child tidy up their bedrooms.

Declutter

Even if your home is technically clean, it can feel dirty if you have clutter. As you’re spring cleaning your home, keep an eye out for items that you no longer need or want. Determine which of those items can be donated or sold and which ones should be thrown out or recycled. The simple act of decluttering can make your home feel cleaner and more spacious almost instantly.

Make a schedule

Finally, don’t try to do your spring cleaning all in one day, or even in one weekend. Instead, consider making a schedule. Aim to clean for 15 minutes each day, going room by room. Once you’ve completed your spring cleaning, keep the momentum going by spending 10 or 15 minutes every day tidying up and cleaning. When you do a little bit every day, you’ll no longer need to invest major time in seasonal cleaning every year.

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Defining What You Want in a Home

By Virtual Results

Defining What You Want in a HomeSearching for a new home can be a very exciting process! But it can also be daunting, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. That’s why it’s so important to spend time thinking about what you want before you begin browsing. Not only will this save you time and energy, but it will also help to ensure that you find the perfect home for your needs. Here are some excellent tips to help you determine what it is you’re looking for in a home.

Make an exhaustive list

Brainstorming is an effective tool when approaching any problem that needs to be solved. What are all the possibilities? Think of your home search as a problem and begin to brainstorm solutions. Ask yourself – what it is that I think I am looking for in a home? How many bedrooms would I like to have? Do I need a home office? Am I hoping to entertain family and friends? Is a good school district important to me? How close would I like to be to amenities such as shopping and nightlife? Imagine yourself in your new home – what would you like to see? Begin writing all of these things down. Don’t leave anything out. Make an exhaustive list that contains everything you’d like your new home to be.

Determine if each item is a want or a need

Now that you’ve got your list ready, it’s time to take a closer look at each item. This is a crucial step in the process and one that should not be overlooked. Consider each item and whether or not having it or not having it would be a dealbreaker. Is a three-car garage essential, or would it simply be nice to have? Do you need a home office because you work from home? If you’re purchasing a home with a partner, then make sure that everyone’s needs and wants are accounted for.

Think about the future

As you’re determining your needs vs. your wants, consider the future. How long do you anticipate living in your new home? If this is your first home, then you may only live in it for a few years before you’re able to upgrade. But if you’re an empty-nester who is downsizing for retirement, then it may be the home you live in for the rest of your life. Think about what your future self will need when you’re narrowing down your list.

Apply what you’ve learned

Now that you’ve got your list, it’s time to apply what you’ve learned to your home search. It can be exciting to tour homes for sale. But you’ll soon get exhausted if you decide to look at every single one. Narrow down your choices to the ones that meet your needs and some of your wants. This way, you’ll find the right home for you more quickly and easily.

Work with a professional

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, then it can be tricky to figure out exactly what you’ll need in a home. After all, you’ve never done this before. That’s one of the many reasons why it can be so helpful to work with a professional. When you partner with a trusted real estate agent, then they can help you understand your options and narrow down the possibilities. If you’re in the market for a new home, then contact us today!

Compliments of Virtual Results

Budget Patio Ideas

By Virtual Results

Budget Patio IdeasAre you already dreaming of summer barbecues in your backyard? Having outdoor space to enjoy is one of the perks of being a homeowner. But if your backyard patio leaves something to be desired, then it’s time to spruce it up. Though you can certainly spend a fortune on a patio if you have the funds, don’t let that stop you if you’re on a budget. There are many amazing DIY transformations you can accomplish on a dime. Here are some of our favorites.

Create a patio with pavers

If you’re starting from scratch, then you may feel a little daunted about creating the backyard patio of your dreams. But a little know-how and some muscle can easily transform your outdoor space. If you don’t currently have a patio, then you can make one of your own with pavers. Start by spreading gravel and sand. On top of this base add concrete or stone pavers from your local home improvement store. A little bit of time and effort and your part can pay off big, without spending tons of cash.

Upgrade your seating

Having a backyard patio is like adding another living space to your home. Comfortable furniture is a plus, whether it’s a dining table and chairs to dine al fresco or a hammock for lounging the afternoon away. If your patio furniture is looking a little worse for wear, then you can easily upgrade it. Start by giving it a fresh coat of paint. Add new colorful cushions and throw pillows to complete the look.

Add lighting

Extend your enjoyment of your patio by making it cozy at night. All you need to do is add inexpensive lighting to create a welcoming vibe. Solar lanterns are an economical way to add lighting to your patio if don’t have an electrical outlet nearby. Visit sites like https://a-lumination.com/ if you want to add an electrical outlet for lighting. You can also add string lights to help define the space. Candles are also an excellent option – especially those that contain citronella which will help to repel biting insects.

Build a fountain

Is there anything more relaxing than the sound of running water? Adding a fountain can make your backyard patio that much more enjoyable. But buying a ready-made fountain can cost hundreds of dollars – or more. The good news is that you can easily build a fountain at a fraction of the cost. All you need to do is to put an inexpensive pump inside a large ceramic planter or another container. Fill the container with water, turn the pump on, and voila! You now have your very own, one-of-a-kind patio fountain. You can even create a fountain with no electricity nearby by using a solar-powered unit. Just make sure your fountain is located in the sun so it can function properly.

Add plants

Finally, to put the finishing touch on your budget patio, be sure to add some colorful plants and flowers. You can go big by planting trees, shrubs, and perennials next to your outdoor space. Or you can do it on a smaller scale with potted varieties. If you don’t have a green thumb, then you can even go faux! Many faux plants that are available today look just like the real thing.

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Get Your Yard Ready for Spring

By Virtual Results

Get Your Yard Ready for SpringSpring is officially here! Are you as ready for longer and warmer days as we are? Now is the time to start thinking about your home’s exterior and getting it prepared for the months ahead. From trimming trees and bushes to planting annuals and vegetables, here’s what you need to know about getting your yard ready for the season!

Clean debris

Many homeowners are now waiting until spring to clean fallen leaves from the previous autumn. This gives beneficial insects a place to overwinter so they’re available to help your garden out in the spring. If you haven’t already, clean up leaves and other debris that has accumulated since last fall. However, be aware that you should wait until the soil has dried out, especially if you’ve had a wet winter. Walking on wet soil can compact and damage it, so postpone cleaning until water has had a chance to evaporate.

Trim trees and shrubs

Spring is also an excellent time to turn your attention to trees and shrubs. Hire a crane service for tree care and use it to trim out any dead or damaged branches from trees. These early days of spring can be a great time to trim some bushes before they begin their spring growth. Just be aware that some bushes, such as rhododendrons and azaleas, should not be trimmed until after they’ve bloomed. Otherwise, you run the risk of having fewer flowers this year.

Weed

Think back to all those summer weeds that were nearly impossible to remove. It’s no fun trying to pull weeds that have become established over the spring and summer. That’s why weeding now in early spring is such a good idea. Weeds are extremely easy to spot and to pull out at this time of year. With shallow roots and small growth, you’ll make quick work of this particular chore.

Transplant perennials

Early spring is also an excellent time to transplant many of your perennials. If you have any perennials that have gotten too big or have started to die out in the center, then it’s time to divide and conquer. Digging these plants out and splitting them can give your garden a huge boost. Not only will your plants look healthier, but it will also save you money. It’s like getting free plants!

Make repairs

Your yard can take a beating over the winter months. Take a walk through your garden and notice what repairs need to be made. This could include fence posts that have come loose, screens that need to be replaced with a more durable Lattice Screening, trellises that are leaning, or planters that have cracked. Spring is a good time to tackle these projects before you get busy with other garden chores.

Clean and sharpen tools

Finally, take some time to clean and sharpen all your garden tools. Having clean and sharp tools make garden maintenance so much easier. This includes hand tools such as loppers and pruners as well as mechanical tools like lawnmowers. You should aim to sharpen your lawnmower blade every year before you begin cutting the grass. A dull blade will tear the grass instead of cutting it, which can cause disease down the line. If you’re unsure about how to sharpen your lawnmower blade, then take it to a professional to have it done.

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Saving For Your Down Payment

By Virtual Results

Saving For Your Down PaymentSaving money for a down payment on a home can seem like a daunting task – especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. While we’ve all saved money for big purchases like cars and vacations, saving for a home is a different ball game. While it may seem out of reach, it’s more attainable than you may realize. If you’re hoping to buy a home soon, then follow these tips for saving money for your down payment.

Adjust your expenses

First of all, now is the time to take a hard look at your monthly expenses. If you have a habit of dining out most days of the week, then consider making more meals at home. Do you like to splurge on coffee on the way to work? Make it yourself instead. Other places you may want to cut back include streaming services, nights out with friends, and travel plans. You don’t have to cut back forever. But reigning in your spending for a few months can add up.

Automate your savings

It’s easier than ever to automate your life, and that includes putting money into a savings account. Check to see if your bank offers automated saving programs. This relieves you of having to think about it every month, and soon you’ll see your savings grow without any extra effort on your part.

Get an extra gig

The gig economy is stronger than ever. You can use that to your advantage while you’re saving for a down payment. If you want to fast-track your savings, then consider getting a side hustle such as driving for a ride-sharing company, delivering food, or selling your handmade crafts online.

Ask for a raise

Don’t leave money sitting on the table at your current job, either. If the time is right, then ask for a raise at work. When you do get the raise, have the extra money diverted to a savings account.

Pay down high-interest debt

High-interest debt like credit cards can make it challenging to save money. When you’re paying so much extra money each month in interest, it can feel like you’ll never reach your savings goal. That’s why you should consider paying down high-interest debt. You can also try refinancing current debt so you pay a lower interest rate.

Save your tax refund

Are you expecting a tax refund this year? Then earmark that money for your down payment so you won’t be tempted to spend it elsewhere. Your savings can see a huge boost this way, and it can inspire you to double down on your efforts.

Sell unwanted items

When was the last time you decluttered your living space? Chances are you have unwanted items that are just sitting around your home. Turn them into cash by having a yard sale or selling your items online. Having fewer things will also make it easier to move once you do buy a house!

Look into all your options

Finally, be aware of all the options that are available to you as a homebuyer. Many down payment assistance programs are available to help first-time homebuyers. You should also shop around for a mortgage. While conventional mortgages often require a down payment of at least 20 percent, loans backed by the federal government often require a down payment of as little as three percent. Some even require no down payment at all!

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Staging a Kid’s Room When Selling

By Virtual Results

Staging a Kid’s Room When SellingIf you’re selling your home, then you know how important it is to stage it. Staging makes your home look polished and will help it stand out to prospective buyers. But it’s also important to know who those prospective buyers may be – including whether or not they have children. Buyers with young families will want to see what kind of living spaces will be available for their kids, including the bedrooms. If you’re in the process of staging a kid’s room, then here are our best tips to make it shine!

Declutter and depersonalize

One of the cardinal rules of staging your home for sale is decluttering and depersonalizing. This goes for kids’ rooms as well. Nobody wants to see toys strewn on the floor or highly personalized decor such as photographs, awards, and trophies. Remove all personal items and any furniture that isn’t needed. Box these items up and keep them in storage until you move.

Keep it neutral

We know how much kids love themed rooms with bright colors and their favorite characters. But when you’re selling, you should keep the decor on the neutral side. Repaint the walls in a neutral color and replace the linens, curtains, and other accessories if needed. When the room has a more neutral appearance, buyers will be able to envision themselves living there more easily. And a neutral room will still be appealing for those prospective buyers who may not have children.

Keep privacy in mind

It’s fun to personalize your child’s room with decor that features their name. But you should keep privacy in mind when you’re selling. If you have any items that display your child’s name, such as wall decals or art, then remove them before buyers visit your home. Not only will this help to protect your child’s privacy, but it will also make your buyers feel more comfortable. They won’t feel like they’re trespassing in someone else’s home and can instead imagine themselves living there.

Let in the light

Light is incredibly important when staging your home, especially in your kid’s room. Buyers will want to know that the room is a pleasant place for your child to spend time and light plays a key role in that. Let in as much natural light as possible. Replace heavy curtains or drapes with something lighter and make sure the window treatments are open during a showing. Supplement natural light with table lamps, floor lamps, or wall sconces. Painting the walls a light color will also help to reflect light in the room and make it feel more spacious.

Prepare for showings

If you’re living in your home while you’re selling, then you may think it will impossible to keep your child’s room looking show-ready. We admit it may be more difficult to keep things under control, but it is doable. It can be helpful to have a few empty totes stashed in the closet. That way, if you get a request for a last-minute showing you can quickly toss any clutter that has accumulated in them. Tuck the totes in an out-of-the-way place like the attic, or take them with you when you leave.

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Why a Mortgage Pre-Approval Is So Important

By Virtual Results

Is 2022 your year to buy a home? Congratulations! Becoming a homeowner is a major life milestone, and this year is a great time to buy a home. But it’s crucial that you prepare as much as possible before you make the big leap. That includes getting pre-approved for a mortgage. But what is a pre-approval and why is it so important? Let’s find out.

What is a mortgage pre-approval?

In a nutshell, a mortgage pre-approval is a letter from a lender stating that you are qualified to borrow money to purchase a home. This letter will include how much you have been pre-approved for as well as the interest rate. Just be aware that the mortgage rate can change as the market fluctuates. To qualify for a pre-approval, the lender will look at things such as your income, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio. The better off you are financially, the more money you’ll qualify for.

It lets you know your budget

House prices can vary widely, even in the same neighborhood. To make your home purchase go more smoothly, you should know what you’ve got to work with. There’s nothing worse than getting your heart set on a home only to discover it’s out of your reach. When you get a pre-approval, you’ll know what your budget is. This will allow you to tailor your search to homes that fit within that price range. This will save you time and stress.

It shows sellers that you are serious

The real estate market has been incredibly competitive for buyers over the last couple of years. The pandemic has created an intense demand for homes, and there may be many other buyers out there interested in the same home as you. If you want a seller to take your offer seriously, then you must get preapproved for a mortgage. When you don’t have a mortgage pre-approval, it’s very unlikely that your offer will beat out any others. In a market like this, it’s essential to submit a pre-approval letter with your offer.

It will give you more wiggle room

Negotiations are a part of any real estate deal. You’ll be better able to negotiate with a seller if you get pre-approved for a mortgage. That’s because the seller knows you’re likely to close on the mortgage and may be more willing to make repairs or concessions on the listing price. If you want to have more power at the bargaining table, then a pre-approval is a must.

It will help you close faster

Getting approved for a mortgage takes time. Your lender will go through an underwriting process after your offer is accepted in order to approve your loan. You’ll be required to submit detailed information about your income, work history, financial obligations, credit history, bank accounts, credit cards, and more. When you’re getting pre-approved, you’ll be submitting the same paperwork that you will need for your final approval. That means you’ll save valuable time during the closing process because you’ve already gathered what you need.

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What Do Home Inspectors Look For?

By Virtual Results

What Do Home Inspectors Look For?A home inspection is one of the most critical steps during the process of buying or selling a home. As a buyer, a home inspection can alert you to possible problems that you should be aware of before making such a big financial commitment. As a seller, the inspection will let you know what may need to be repaired before you can close on your sale. But what, exactly, do home inspectors evaluate? Let’s take a closer look.

Plumbing

Plumbing is a vital component of any home and the inspector will check showers, tubs, toilets, sinks, and waterlines. They will also inspect the pipes outside your home as well as the components of your water heater installation to determine which plumbing services you will need. In addition, if you need water damage restoration, professional plumbers are here to help you.

Electrical systems

Your home inspector will look at the wires that go into the home from outside and make sure that there is nothing interfering with them such as trees or shrubs. Then the inspector will check the electrical panel, the main breaker, and the wiring. They’ll also test wall outlets and light switches.

Heating and air conditioning

A home inspector will evaluate the property’s HVAC system including the air conditioner, furnace, thermostat, heat pump, and ducts. They’ll perform both a visual inspection and then check the systems to make sure they function properly. They will also check for carbon monoxide or gas leaks. If they find a fault in your unit, then call services like these ac services available in Burleson, TX or this AC repair in Rockwall to repair yours. Mac-Vik Plumbing and Heating suggests that you get it checked ASAP.

Foundation

A home must have a good foundation. Your inspector will look at the foundation from outside the home first, looking for cracked steps, leaning chimneys, or sinking porches. Once inside, the inspector will look for cracks, uneven floors, and doors or windows that are tough to close. They’ll also check for mold.

Windows and doors

Windows and doors will be checked to make sure that they function properly. The inspector will also check that each bedroom has one window that opens, as this is critical in emergencies such as a house fire.

Roof

It’s vital that your home inspector check the roof of the home, as roof repairs can be costly. You don’t want any expensive surprises after you’ve closed on the home. They will visually inspect the roof including the gutters and flashing and they will check for missing shingles as well as leak detection. They may or may not go on the roof – it depends on the weather and how safe it is. Therefore, protect your home’s foundation and call for gutter installation or contact a contractor like Bondoc Roofing to repair it before inspection.

Basement and attic

If the home has a basement and/or attic, then they will also be inspected. In the basement, the inspector will look for uneven floors, mold or mildew, wall damage, or musty smells, as this can indicate water damage. They will also look around basement windows and doors to make sure water can’t get in. In the attic, the inspector will evaluate the condition of the insulation, ventilation, water damage, and fire damage. They will also assess the roof and framing.

Grounds

Finally, a home inspector will also look at the grounds and landscaping. They will check for puddles and standing water as this can indicate a drainage issue. They may also check trees and shrubs, walkways, railings, retaining walls, and sheds.

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How To Stage a Closet

By Virtual Results

How To Stage a Closet

When many people think of staging a home, they focus on the bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens. While these are important areas to address when staging your home to sell, there is one space that is often overlooked – your closets. Closet space is extremely important to many home buyers and should not be glossed over when you’re staging your home. Here’s what you need to do to stage your closets like a pro.

Do one closet at a time

You’ve probably got more than one closet in your home. In fact, when you start thinking about tackling all the closets you have, then you may start to feel a little overwhelmed. Take it one closet at a time. Start with an easy one first, like a linen closet, so you can get the hang of it before attempting to stage the walk-in closet in your master bedroom.

Remove all items from closet

The first thing you’ll want to do when staging your closet is to remove everything from it. Yes, we mean everything. As you remove items, decide what you want to keep, what you want to donate, and what can be tossed. Have boxes nearby for those things you want to get rid of so you can easily move them out of the house.

Aim to reduce items in each closet by half

Buyers want to see spacious closets. Your closets will not look very big if they are completely stuffed with your personal items. Aim to reduce the number of items in your closet by at least half. When you’re staging your closet, you want to demonstrate how the closet can be used. Only keep universal items in the closet, like clothes and shoes. The closet should be more like a blank slate so potential buyers can imagine their own belongings inside. After you’ve determined what items you want to keep but don’t want to use for staging, box up those items and put them in storage.

Clean and paint

Before returning any items to the closet, it’s time to thoroughly clean it. Think about it — when was the last time you vacuumed or wiped down the shelves? Once you’ve finished cleaning, you should paint the closet in a bright, neutral color like white or beige. Let the closet air out and replace any burnt-out light bulbs.

Arrange items neatly

Now the fun part starts! When you’re staging your closet with the remaining items, you want to keep things as tidy as possible. You should always be able to see the back of the closet wall when you look inside, so don’t stuff things in there. Keep the floor as clear as possible — no shoes or tote bags should rest on the floor. Use matching hangers to hang clothes and keep at least one inch of space between each hanger. Make sure all hangers face the same way. Arrange clothes and linens by color and style and use baskets to corral smaller items like belts and scarves.

Well-staged closets are a home-run with today’s buyers. Don’t forget this important step when you’re staging your home to sell!

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Neighborhood Amenities To Look For When Buying

By Virtual Results

Neighborhood Amenities To Look For When BuyingWhen you’re buying a home, you’re not just buying the house itself. You’re also buying the neighborhood. The community you live in has a big impact on both your quality of life and the value of your home. That’s why it’s important to choose a home with great neighborhood amenities — even if you don’t plan on using all of them. These are the neighborhood amenities you should look for when buying a home. In my case, I looked for a Realtor near me like eXp Realty to make sure I had counsel during the process.

Schools

Regardless of whether or not you have school-age children, you should consider the quality of the nearby schools when you’re buying a home. Good schools have a positive effect on home values. They also tend to be in neighborhoods with high community engagement.

Parks and green spaces

Another neighborhood amenity that you should look for are parks and green spaces. These are great places for kids to play, to engage in exercise, and to experience nature. They’ve become especially important since the pandemic began, giving people a chance to safely get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air. If you’re someone who’s looking for a house that has beautiful green spaces and gardens, you should check out houses for sale Crewe.

Markets

Being close to the grocery store is another amenity that you should consider when buying a home. Unless you regularly have your groceries delivered, going to the market is something you’ll probably do at least once a week. Having access to quality food nearby is a desirable perk for most homeowners and can affect your home value.

Fitness centers

Are there places to exercise near the home you want to buy? If fitness is important to you, then you’ll want to check out the local gyms, especially if you don’t want to exercise outside. Being close to a state-of-the-art gym can be attractive to many buyers down the line when it’s time for you to sell. I also saw some fantastic sprung flooring for a gym recently, so if you need such flooring then check that out.

Transportation

How easy is it to get to the home? You’ll want to look at how close the house is to major roads. For many homebuyers, easy access to the freeway is very important. You’ll also want to consider public transportation options that are nearby. Is the home close to bus routes or subway stations? And don’t forget about airports. If you get the itch to travel, then you’ll want to be within a reasonable distance from a commercial airport.

Nightlife

Do you like to get out of the house at night and mingle? Then take a look at how close the home is to bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. Knowing that you can easily walk or take a rideshare to local hotspots can be favorable to many buyers.

Cultural attractions

In addition to nightlife, what kinds of cultural attractions are nearby? Having access to world-class destinations can be exciting for many homeowners, and provides endless opportunities for recreation. Research what museums, aquariums, amusement parks, theaters, and other venues are nearby when you’re buying a home.

HOA perks

Finally, if you’re looking at a home or condo that’s part of a homeowners association (HOA), find out what kind of perks that you’ll have access to. This could include a community pool, playground, golf course, or clubhouse. Just remember that you’ll be paying monthly dues when you live in this kind of planned community in order to access these perks.

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