Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 6/19/2017

Move to anew house and you could step into job security. Relocating when the division you work with moves to a new city or state can signal to your employer that you're dedicated, loyal and steadfast. But, buying a new house solely because your employer is relocating comes with risks. These three points can help to reduce risks associated with buying a new house that's directly linked to a job move.

Job move could lead to a new house

Employment contract - Many jobs are at will, meaning that you can leave the job at anytime. With an at-will job, an employer can also bring your job to an end for any reason, as long as the reason does not violate employment laws. Before you move and buy a new house to follow an employer to another town, check your employment contract. See if your employer will offer you a written, guaranteed bonus if you move. If the bonus covers three months or more of your annual salary, it could give you time to find new employment should you get laid off after you relocate.

Housing assistance - Check with your human resources representative to see if you'll receive housing assistance if you relocate. Generally, the employer must ask you to relocate to get housing assistance. You also may have to move 50 or more miles one way to receive housing assistance. Housing assistance can cover closing costs, transporting your household goods to your new home, temporary housing costs and fees associated with selling your current home. The amount of housing assistance that an employer offers varies. Get a good housing assistance package with your relocation and you could significantly trim the amount of money you spend out-of-pocket on your move. Get all housing assistance agreements in writing.

Buying a new house due to a job move requires honesty

Ripple effects of moving to a new house - Move to a new house and you're children could be forced to go to a new school, you could put hundreds of miles between your family and you could have to learn a new culture. You could also have to get accustomed to a new climate. Reduce the risks of moving to a new house during a job relocation by talking openly with your family, including your young children, about the move. Get everyone in your family's buy-in. Also, ask your employer and human resources representative how your role will change after you relocate. If possible, negotiate a move when interest rates are low and the costs of houses in the area you're moving to are low to competitive.

Pack and move when your employer ask you to work in a division that's moving to a different region of the country and you could forego a layoff. The fact that your employer ask you to move is a sign that your employer values your talent.Another way that your employer values your talent is to offer you relocation assistance. Accept this assistance before you agree to move. It could save you closing costs, equity and help with your down payment.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 6/12/2017

At times, trying to organize and declutter seems like a never ending task. You may have made attempts to declutter without many results. The truth is that with a plan, even the most disorganized among us can get on track to organization and freedom from clutter. Follow some of the tips below to get your home in order. 


Have A Goal


If your organizational attempts never seem to go anywhere, you may just need a goal. The idea is to pick one area and complete it. Organizing a little here and there wonít make any kind of a dent in your organizational needs. It will also look like you havenít done anything to improve your mess. Work on one room, one area at a time and youíll be on your way.


Utilize All Of Your Shelves


Many times the bottom or the top shelf of a closet or utility unit ends up getting unused. The problem could be that the shelves are so tall that no one can reach them and they go unused. You can fix this problem by simply moving the shelving or placing rarely used items up there that can be accessed by a step ladder.


You Have Too Much Stuff And Nowhere To Put It


Rather than buy a bigger house, you might want to go through your stuff. Between you and your children, youíre bound to have quite a few items that can be either sold or donated to a good cause. Consider setting up a donation pile in your house, where family members can put items that they no longer need or use. As an extra tip, donít let the items that are for donation sit there. When the bin is full, put it in your car and head off to the donation center.  



You Have A Lot Of Little Things With Nowhere To Place Them


This is a problem that can be solved by the right containers. If you can find a container thatís best suited for what you need to store, it will be much easier to find and access these items.  


Things Have Sentimental Value


Itís nice to have a few things that you cherish and bring back good memories, but sentimental value items can really get out of hand. If you think of when you last looked at something or how much memory an item truly holds for you, it can be easy to get rid of a lot of things when you put your mind to it. You can ask a friend to help you go through things. An outsider can advise you on what to save and what you should get rid of.


Your Refrigerator Is Gross


If youíre finding a lot of spoiled food and moldy leftovers in your fridge, donít fret. Just develop a clean out schedule to help you get rid of any food that is past its prime. Make it a point to have a designated day of the week to clean out all of your leftovers and expired food to keep the clutter that can spoil at bay.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 6/5/2017

When pests come into your home, thereís no creepier feeling that you may have as a homeowner. You may turn to your house insurance for assistance if the problem gets really bad. Letís say that termites have taken over your home and gotten into your walls or foundation. Maybe mice have gotten into the walls of your home, or a squirrel has caused some major issues in the attic. Whatever the problem is, you want to remedy it quickly. It might be an expensive fix no matter what, but it has to be remedied for you to continue to live comfortably in your home. 


The Truth About Homeowners Insurance


Unfortunately, homeowners insurance doesn't cover pest infestations. It doesnít matter if the termites have literally eaten you out of house and home, the insurance companies consider pests to be an avoidable problem. Even though you may wonder how bugs can be considered ďavoidable,Ē itís simple. The insurance company believes that regular maintenance and checking of your property can help to prevent bug infestations. This is why itís so important to take care of your property and not neglect it. 


Collateral Damage


There are a few exceptions to the rule. If your ceiling caves in and it was caused by some of the pest damage, your insurance may cover the cost of the repairs to the ceiling. They may not cover the materials that are needed to repair the ceiling itself. Insurance claims can be tricky, so youíll need to ask a lot of questions if these problems do occur for you.


What Homeowners Insurance Covers


Thereís nothing more frustrating than paying an insurance premium to find out that it doesnít actually cover anything that you need at a certain point and time. As a general rule, homeowners insurance policies cover things that are considered accidental. This would include natural disasters like hurricanes, hailstorms, or high winds. If a tree falls on your home due to a windstorm, there was really no way of preventing that from happening. Your insurance would cover this. Damage that happens over an extended period, like that of a pest infestation or an aging home generally is not covered by house insurance. 


Separate Policies


Some insurance companies do offer separate policies to cover damage from certain types of pests like termites. There are several varieties of insects that cause damage to wood structures, so these policies may be more general stating that they provide ďwood destroying insectĒ coverage. If you live in an area thatís prone to termites, thereís a few options available to you including something called ďtermite bonds.Ē


Your best course of action as a homeowner is prevention. Keep up with regular maintenance around your home and inspect your home regularly for any problems that you may find.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 5/29/2017

After you accept an offer on your house, what happens next? Ultimately, there are several steps that will need to be completed to finalize a home sale, including:

1. Completing a Home Inspection

A home inspection may be completed only a few days after you accept a homebuyer's offer. This evaluation enables a homebuyer to conduct a thorough examination of all aspects of your home, and if necessary, rescind or renegotiate a proposal.

For home sellers, it is paramount to maintain a direct, upfront approach with homebuyers. If you are honest with homebuyers from the get-go, you may be able to avoid problems when it comes time to complete a home inspection.

With an experienced real estate agent at your disposal, you should have no trouble establishing realistic expectations for your home. Plus, your real estate agent will offer recommendations for home repairs and upgrades, ensuring that you can complete the necessary home improvement tasks before you add your residence to the real estate market.

2. Performing Home Repairs and Upgrades

If a homebuyer discovers major problems with your house during a home inspection, he or she may request home repairs or upgrades. In this scenario, you may be required to perform various home improvement tasks to finalize an agreement.

Home improvement tasks can be expensive and time-consuming, but they sometimes are necessary to ensure that you can reach the finish line of the home selling process. If you ever have concerns or questions about home repairs and upgrades, your real estate agent should be able to respond to your queries at any time.

Furthermore, if you feel like a homebuyer's home repair and upgrade requests are unwarranted, you can always decline these requests. If you choose this option, however, the homebuyer could rescind his or her offer on your home, and you may need to restart the home selling process from stage one.

On the other hand, you can always try to negotiate with a homebuyer. For example, if you offer to lower the price of your house after an inspection, you may be able to speed up the home selling cycle and avoid making a significant time investment to perform property repairs and upgrades.

3. Packing Up Your Belongings

After a homebuyer finishes an inspection and agrees to purchase your home in its current condition, you'll be able to set up a closing date. You'll also need to consider where you'll go next and plan accordingly.

Packing up your belongings is essential, and you may want to put various items in storage if you plan to live in temporary housing in the foreseeable future. In addition, you'll want to set up plans to get all of your belongings out of your residence before the closing date to ensure that the homebuyer can move into the house on schedule.

Selling a home may seem tricky, especially for those who are uncertain about how to navigate the home selling process. Luckily, your real estate agent is happy to support you in any way possible. As a result, you can work with your real estate agent and guarantee that the home selling process is completed quickly and effortlessly.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 5/22/2017

Preparations that you take to get your house up to code standards, improve its functionality, cleanliness and appearance could yield a successful home sell. Give yourself enough time to complete the preparations identified below. It could shorten the time that it takes you to sell your current house.

  • Clean up. Toss out unnecessary items, old furniture, accessories, old clothes and gadgets that are only taking up space. If you havenít used a product in two years or more, you probably donít need it.
  • Perform necessary repairs, such as sealing cracks, replacing bubbled floor tiles and repairing leaking pipes. Be honest and repair areas of your home that potential buyers may not spot or focus on. This includes insulation, wiring and roofing issues. Treat potential buyers to the same respect and care that you want when you start shopping for your next home.
  • Paint. Apply neutral colors to your walls. Loud colors might highlight your personality. But, they could also turn away buyers.
  • Get your house inspected. Ensure that you have made all necessary repairs and that your house meets local coding standards. Use the fact that your house has been inspected and meets code standards as a marketing tool.
  • Find a licensed and experienced real estate agent to partner with. The more the real estate agent knows the area where you live, the better. That expanded knowledge will help the realtor to alert potential buyers, particularly people who are venturing into a new area for the first time, to dining, entertainment, academic, historic and other highlights in or near where you live. Partnering with a real estate agent who has an active license gives you the confidence that youíre working with a realtor who is current on regulations impacting the industry.
  • Save time and commissions fees by working with the same real estate agent who sells your house to find your next home. Avoid taking on two mortgages.
  • Research the market. Talk with friends and colleagues and, of course, leverage your realtorís knowledge to set a price on the house that youíre selling. You want the price to be competitive for buyers yet profitable for you.
  • Advertise your home online and offline. Ask your realtor to tell you good places to advertise that your house is for sale. Itís an interactive world. Take advantage of this and create a walk-through video of your house. Donít forget to show pictures and videos of the outside of your home as well.
  • Stage your home similar to how apartments stage their model units.
Practice patience. As tempting as it is to accept the first offer, you may be able to get a better deal. Stick as close as you can to the price that you set for your house early in the home selling process. Also, make sure that the amount you sell your house for covers any outstanding debts that you owe your mortgage lender. Repairs and upgrades that you make to your house could position you to recoup enough from the sale of your house to cover closing costs and a portion of the down payment on your next home.