Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 11/12/2018

Household recycling has become easier than ever. Many towns and cities offer free recycling pickup, and even private waste management companies are implementing recycling programs.

There are a number of advantages to recycling. It helps protect the environment by reducing the amount of waste and making it easier to reuse raw materials. But, recycling is also advantageous to homeowners who donít want to pay hefty fees for trash pickup when they can often recycle for free.

One of the more difficult aspects of household recycling is the learning curve of actually learning what is and isnít recyclable. Homeowners might think something is recyclable because itís made from plastic, only to find out later that itís a specific type of plastic that canít be recycled. On the other hand, you might be throwing some items in the garbage, filling up your bin each week when you could be recycling it instead.

In this article, weíre going to talk about some of the lesser known items you could be recycling. Weíll also cover some items you shouldnít throw in your recycling bin, and give you tips on how to tell which is which.

Things that shouldnít find their way into your recycling bin

Itís easy to assume that just because something looks like paper, plastic, or glass, that it can be tossed into your recycling bin. However, that isnít always the case. Look out for these items that may not be recyclable in your area.

  • Used paper food containers. Pizza boxes are one of the biggest culprits that end up in recycling bins when they shouldnít be. Items like paper food containers, use paper towels, and paper plates are all soiled with grease and other food residue making them ineligible for recycling.

  • Those glossy drink cartons made from unknown materials. Thereís a good chance that if you canít find a recycling logo on it somewhere it canít be recycled. However, a growing number of cities are accepting milk cartons, so be sure to check on the rules in your area.

  • Plastic shopping bags. Those flimsy bags that you get from the supermarket? You canít recycle those. As a result, many cities and stores are encouraging the use of reusable shopping bags. If you forget your bags at home, however, fear not: many supermarkets now accept your used plastic bags to be recirculated.

So that eliminates a lot of common household waste from being recycled. However, there are plenty of items you might not be aware of that can be tossed into the recycling bin.

Lesser known recyclable items around the house

Even if something isnít eligible for curbside recycling doesnít mean you should just toss it into the trash. There are many items that you can drop off or donate. Here are just a few items that are likely sitting in your house right now:

  • Old cell phones and electronics. Our gadgets are becoming obsolete at an ever-increasing rate. That means many of us have a lot of old tech junk sitting in boxes in our basements. The good news is that several stores accept free drop-offs of old electronics for reuse and recycling.

  • Mattresses and furniture. Large items like mattresses and old furniture are a pain to get rid of. Theyíre also likely useful to someone out there. For mattresses and box springs, try contacting retailers to see if they reuse them for materials. Furniture that is still in usable condition can be placed on Craigslist or donated to a thrift store like Goodwill or Salvation Army.

  • Oil and ink. Run out of ink in your printer? Online retailers will often pay you for your old cartridges. Also, if you recently changed your oil, drop it off at an auto parts store to be recycling into other automotive materials.




Tags: recycling   recycle   household  
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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 11/5/2018

Believe it or not, buying a condo can be a quick, easy process, particularly for those who understand their homebuying needs.

Ultimately, there are several factors to consider before you purchase a condo, including:

1. Your Budget

How much can you afford to spend on a condo? You should evaluate your homebuying budget closely to ensure you can cover all of the costs associated with condo living.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage usually is ideal. With a mortgage in hand, you can browse a wide range of condos and find one that matches your budget perfectly.

Furthermore, don't forget to account for homeowners' association (HOA) fees before you buy a condo. HOA fees will vary depending on the condo community, and you should learn about them in advance so you can budget accordingly.

2. Property Size and Location

How much space do you need to accommodate your family? Consider the short- and long-term ramifications of a condo purchase, and you should have no trouble finding a condo that is the right size for you.

If you're uncertain about how big of a condo that you'll need, don't hesitate to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market expert will learn about your homebuying needs and help you narrow your search for the ideal condo.

Also, be sure to consider the location of a condo. If you want to find a place to live near school or work, you should search for condos that will help you cut down on your commute time.

3. Condo Rules and Regulations

Condo living is different from living in a traditional house. In a condo community, you'll have your own property, but there may be numerous condo rules and regulations in place that you'll need to follow at all times.

For example, many condo owners cannot modify a property's exterior without first getting approval from an HOA board. This means if you want to paint your condo bright pink or upgrade the property's windows, you'll need to ask the HOA board for permission.

Examine a condo community's rules and regulations prior to purchasing a condo. This will enable you to review the HOA board's mandates and determine whether you would feel comfortable following these rules and regulations.

When it comes to finding a condo, there is no need to look for a property on your own. Conversely, if you work with a real estate agent, you can take the guesswork out of searching for a top-notch condo.

Finding a real estate agent with condo experience is essential. This real estate professional will set up condo showings, keep you informed about new condos as they become available and negotiate with property sellers on your behalf. That way, this real estate agent will make it easy for you to acquire a first-rate condo at a budget-friendly price.

Kick off your search for the perfect condo today, and you can move closer to securing a condo that will serve you well for an extended period of time.




Tags: buyer tips   Buying a home   condo  
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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 10/29/2018

You likely aspire to sell your house as quickly as possible. However, you may not need to set a deadline for selling your residence to achieve your desired result. In fact, there are lots of things you can do to speed up the home selling journey, including:

1. Boost Your House's Curb Appeal

A home that boasts amazing curb appeal may draw buyers' attention as soon as it becomes available. Lucky for you, it may be easy to bolster your house's curb appeal in no time at all.

To improve your home's curb appeal, you may want to complete assorted home exterior upgrades. Mowing the grass and eliminating weeds, for example, could make your front lawn stand out to buyers. Or, if you have cracked or damaged home siding, you can always devote time and energy to repair it.

Of course, if you need help with home exterior enhancements, you can reach out to home improvement professionals. If you have home improvement pros at your side, you can accelerate the process of upgrading your house's curb appeal.

2. Establish a Competitive Initial Asking Price

The initial asking price of your home should account for the age and condition of your residence, along with the current state of the real estate market. That way, you can set a price for your home that falls in line with buyers' expectations.

Generally, it helps to conduct an appraisal before you list your residence. An appraisal report is based on a wide range of factors, including the prices of comparable homes in your city or town. Therefore, if you perform an appraisal, you could receive a property valuation that helps you determine how to price your home competitively.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

As a home seller, it never hurts to receive expert support as you navigate the property selling journey. Fortunately, real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can offer great insights into what it takes to quickly sell a house.

A real estate agent first will learn about you and what you hope to accomplish. Next, a real estate agent will develop a plan designed to help you achieve your home selling goals. You and your real estate agent then will put this plan into action and adjust it as needed. Perhaps best of all, if you receive an offer to purchase your home, a real estate agent can help you decide whether to accept, reject or counter this proposal.

Furthermore, a real estate agent can help you bolster your home's curb appeal, establish the optimal initial asking price for your home and much more. And if you have any concerns during the house selling journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them right away.

For those who want to speed up the home selling journey, it helps to prepare. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can list your home, ensure it generates significant interest from buyers and move quickly to finalize a house sale.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 10/22/2018

If you ride through the suburbs of America, youíll likely notice that the houses just seem to get bigger and bigger. Like our taste for large trucks and SUVs, Americans tend towards the idea that bigger is better.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are people who feel quite the opposite. From this minimalist mindset has emerged the ďtiny house.Ē What exactly is a tiny house?

There is no exact definition. However, most tiny houses are built on wheels--to adhere to local building code--and typically donít exceed 500 square feet in size.

You might be thinking thatís a bit extreme. And you wouldnít be alone--Americans have taken advantage of small homes in the form of modular homes, and cottage-style houses for decades.

With the cost of heating and powering a home rising year after year, itís beginning to make sense to downsize.

So, in this article weíll talk about what it means to live in a smaller home to help you decide whether itís a good choice for you.

Barriers to building small houses

If itís your dream to someday build a small house on a hilltop in your hometown, you might have to face-off with the local zoning committee first. Some of the biggest barriers to building smaller houses are local regulations involving minimum house sizes.

This isnít a new problem, with towns struggling with the idea of minimum square footage as far back as the 1970s. In spite of this barrier, small house and tiny house proponents have been finding loopholes.

One such workaround involves simply building your house on wheels. However, that isnít easy to do and it doesnít always look great either.

Living simply

Depending on your hobbies and philosophy, living in a small house can be a good or a bad thing. Those who seek to become more minimal in their belongings often find that small houses help them achieve this.

The more things we own the more we have to worry about storing and maintaining them. However, if you value experiences more than objects, living in a small house could save you money and therefore leave you with more funds for traveling and other experiences.

Family is another thing to consider when living in a small house. If you have a large family or pets, living in a small house can be difficult. However, there is something to be said about growing up in a small house (it makes it harder for kids to avoid their parents by playing video games in their room or the basement!).

How to decide if you can manage living in a small house

If youíre downsizing from a larger home it can be scary to lose all of that extra space you were used to. There are a few ways to see if you can adapt to a smaller home, however.

You could rent a small apartment while you search for a new home. This will allow you to acclimate yourself to living in a smaller environment.

If you donít want to go through the trouble of signing a lease, thereís always renting a small property through AirBnB or a camping cottage for a few weeks. Then youíll have time to notice what you like and dislike about the smaller space and will be able to plan for how to want to deal with those changes if you decide to move into a smaller house.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 10/15/2018

For those who want to sell a home sooner rather than later, there is no time like the present to start preparing for the home selling journey. Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the home selling journey and ensure you can enjoy a fast, profitable house selling experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you put together a home selling strategy.

1. Learn About the Local Housing Market

The real estate market is in constant flux. Thus, a housing sector that favors buyers today may shift into seller's favor tomorrow, or vice-versa.

If you learn about the local housing sector, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market. Then, you can map out your home selling plan accordingly.

Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. If you find that homes are selling at or above their initial asking prices, this may be a sign of a seller's market. Or, if houses are selling below their initial asking prices, the current real estate sector likely favors buyers.

Furthermore, examine how long houses stay available before they sell. If you discover that residences linger on the real estate market for many weeks or months before they sell, you will need to prepare to enter a buyer's market. On the other hand, if houses are selling as soon as they become available, a seller's market may be in place.

2. Find Out What Your House Is Worth

Conduct a house appraisal Ė you'll be glad you did. If you perform a property appraisal, you can obtain an accurate valuation of your house and price your residence appropriately.

Typically, a home appraiser will examine your residence both inside and out. This property expert also will evaluate assorted housing market data. After a home appraiser's work is complete, he or she will provide you with a property valuation.

With a property valuation in hand, you can establish an aggressive initial asking price for your residence. This price will help you stir up interest in your residence as soon as you list it.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to work alone as you try to navigate the home selling journey. Thankfully, you can hire an expert real estate agent who can take the guesswork out of selling any house, at any time.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to sell a home in a buyer's or seller's market. He or she will help you establish an aggressive initial asking price for your house and promote your residence to dozens of potential buyers. Plus, if you receive an offer to purchase your home, a real estate agent will help you assess this proposal and make an informed decision.

When it comes to getting ready to sell a home, there is no need to stress. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can craft an effective home selling strategy.




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