Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 12/10/2018

Packing your entire house is a daunting task to say the least. We are always left wondering how did we end up with so much stuff?

A quick Google search will bring up ďultimate listsĒ of all of the ďpacking hacksĒ you could ever humanly think of. Making the process feel even more daunting.

Hereís your guide to packing tips youíll actually be glad to know - and none of what you wonít.

Start by decluttering as much as possible.

Get rid of what you no longer need or use. The more you get rid of now the less you have to pack up, carry or even pay to have moved to the new house. Depending on your timeline try to give yourself at least one week where you go through each room one day at a time. However, if you have even more time available you can tackle this project by sections of each room. That smaller you can break down any task the easier and more manageable it becomes.

Schedule your move date.

Schedule your move day with movers at least a month ahead of time to guarantee your perfect time slot. Planning ahead in this way also leaves plenty of room to negotiate with your moving company to find the cheapest time of the month to move. If you have a flexible schedule or able to put in for the time off ahead of time youíll open up even more possibility for snagging a great deal.

In fact, schedule everything.

Make a schedule and to do list for the moving process. Add it to your calendar, whether that be physical, digital or both! Know your disconnect times will be and when you need to bring back items like cable boxes. Call in for help at least a few weeks out so friends and family are able to make room in their own schedules to help you out.

Pack savvily.

Pack a little bit each day starting with the least essential items you can easily live without. Save money on boxes by asking your local stores, like the grocery or liquor store, for free boxes. Keep thick blankets out to wrap fragile items like your television in if your moving company doesnít offer them or youíre moving on your own. Buy different colored packing tape to color code boxes by room. Assign one room to each color and label each box well by including its contents to make unpacking a snap.

Be prepared on moving day.

Find the fastest and shortest route from your old house to the new one. While researching be on the lookout for potential tie-ups like construction or a large town event. Have extra packing tape, light bulbs, and extension cords on hand for moving day. Before unplugging all of your electronics take pictures of your cord setup to take the guesswork out of setup at the new house. Defrost and clean out your fridge at least the day before move day. Youíll avoid messy leaks and can look forward to a like-new fridge on move-in day. Keep a cleaning kit on hand and at the ready, you never know what accidents might pop up during the moving process.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 12/3/2018

When youíre buying a home, itís important to offer a good price to be able to land the property of your dreams. You also donít want to overpay for the house youíre buying. If you want to know for sure that youíre paying a good price for a home, youíre going to need to do some price comparisons. Take a look at recently sold homes in your neighborhood of choice and see what the going rate is. If all of the homes are similar in the area, it will be easy to find out how much the home youíre buying is worth. There are a few ways that you can do comparisons to make it easier for you to determine the right price for the home you want to buy. 


Take A Look At The Neighborhood


There are certain features that attract nearly everyone to certain neighborhoods. From the safety and friendliness of an area to the schools that are nearby, to the stores, and public transportation access, people are attracted to what makes their lives easier and more enjoyable. The bottom line is the more desirable the neighborhood, the higher the price of the homes in it. 



Check Out Public Records


With the Internet, itís pretty easy to access public records these days. You can take a look at what properties have been bought and sold for in recent times int the area of the homes that youíre looking at. You can even take a peek at some historic information to help you see if the area is up-and-coming.


Is The Neighborhood Going To Become Trendy?


Sometimes, you can find a great property for less in a neighborhood that hasnít quite reached itís full potential yet. If thereís a slot of new construction going on, thatís a good sign that the neighborhood is moving on up! Especially attractive features in a neighborhood are new schools, new shopping centers, or new parks.                


There Is A Tipping Point To Growth


If it seems that a neighborhood is growing a bit too much, it may actually decrease the value of your home. Huge commercial developments can actually be detrimental to the value of a property. Where thereís a lot of people, thereís also a lot of noise and traffic. Thatís usually not a desirable factor in a neighborhood.    


Meet In The Middle


When youíre looking at the price of properties, the best bet is to meet somewhere in the middle for what is reasonable. While you donít want to buy the highest priced home in the neighborhood, you probably donít want to lowest price for that neighborhood either. Working with a more average number is a good option because your home helps any home lower priced than yours, while any higher priced homes help to increase the value of your home. Itís a win-win situation when you choose a property based on price and keep this strategy in mind.    





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 11/26/2018

Deciding whether to accept a buyer's offer to purchase your house can be exceedingly difficult. Fortunately, we're here to help you assess the pros and cons of a homebuying proposal and ensure you can make an informed decision.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine whether to accept an offer to buy your home.

1. Examine the Current Housing Market

The current housing market may play a role in your ability to stir up interest in your house. In addition, the real estate sector may impact whether you're able to receive multiple home offers at or above your residence's initial asking price.

To understand the present state of the housing market, you should look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. If houses are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market. Or, if houses linger on the market for many weeks or months before they sell, you may be operating in a buyer's market.

Ultimately, a seller's market may lead to many offers on your house in the foreseeable future. If you receive an offer that fails to match your expectations when you're operating in this type of market, you may want to decline or counter the proposal in the hopes of receiving superior offers down the line.

On the other hand, it usually requires hard work and persistence to sell a house in a buyer's market. And if you receive a competitive homebuying proposal in a buyer's market, you may want to accept this offer.

2. Consider Your Home's Condition

The condition of your house may prove to be a critical factor as you debate whether to accept an offer. If you assess your house's condition closely, you may be better equipped than ever before to make the best-possible decision about a homebuying proposal.

If you feel a home offer is fair based on the current condition of your house, you may want to accept the proposal. Conversely, if you feel a buyer has submitted a "lowball" proposal based on your home's condition, you should not hesitate to reject or counter this offer.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to evaluating a homebuying proposal, it generally is a good idea to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of accepting an offer and determine the best course of action.

Typically, a real estate agent will present a buyer's offer to you and offer recommendations about how to proceed with this proposal. As you assess all of your options regarding a homebuying proposal, a real estate agent will be able to respond to any concerns or questions that you may have too.

Ready to take the guesswork out of reviewing a homebuying proposal? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the process of deciding whether to accept an offer to purchase your home.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 11/19/2018

You know when you buy a home that your credit score matters, but do you see all of the numbers that matter to your financial picture when youíre buying a home? Your debt-to-income ratio is one of the most critical figures that will influence if you can get a mortgage and what type of rate you can get. 


What Is A Debt-To-Income Ratio?


This number is exactly what it states: the ratio of debt divided by your gross monthly income. Your credit report doesn't include any of this income information. This number is actually the best way to see if youíre living within your means or not. This way, your lender will know your monthly debt payments along with your monthly income.  


If your ratio of debt is high, you may not get a loan or get less desirable interest rates than if you had lower amounts of debt. Even if you have a high credit score, your debt-to-income ratio could affect these things. In reality, a higher debt ratio will make it harder for you to pay back your debt, so itís important to you. 


How Itís Calculated


You can use an online tool to help you calculate your debt-to-income ratio. You can also use a simple formula if youíre up for doing some math yourself:


Divide your monthly debt payments by your monthly gross income then multiply that number by 100. For example:


Student loans: $400

Car loan: $300

Rent: $700

Income: $4,000 


1400/4000= 0.35 x 100= 35%


Household Ratio


You should also be aware of something called your household ratio. The household is the amount of home-related expenses which includes property taxes, prospective mortgage, home insurance, and more. These costs are divided by your monthly income to get this ratio as well. Obviously, your household debt adds to your financial commitments and is also put into consideration by your lender.    



Whatís A Good Debt-To-Income Ratio?


Itís ideal that you keep your ratio less than 36%. Your household ratio should be even lower than this. Itís great to be debt free, but in the real world, thatís not always possible. Your best bet is to be responsible with your finances and work on paying your debt down as much as you can. Then, little by little all of the critical numbers that are required to get a mortgage will fall into place.  

    






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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