Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 12/11/2017

You've found your dream home Ė at least, you initially thought you discovered your ideal house. But following the home inspection, you're starting to have second thoughts about whether you want to purchase a particular residence.

A home inspection is a valuable opportunity for a homebuyer. It enables a buyer to receive expert insights from a property inspector about a house's age and condition. Thus, if a home inspection reveals myriad problems with a residence, a homebuyer still has an opportunity to walk away from a home sale.

Ultimately, there are many factors for a homebuyer to evaluate after a home inspection, including:

1. The Home's Condition

When it comes to evaluating a home's condition, there may be more than meets the eye. Fortunately, a home inspection enables a property inspector to take a deep look at a house's interior and exterior and provide detailed findings.

If a home's condition fails to match your expectations, don't hesitate to walk away from a home sale. By doing so, you can reenter the housing market and begin your search for the perfect residence once again.

On the other hand, if a home's condition is not a deal-breaker, feel free to move forward with a home sale. And in a short period of time, you'll likely soon be the owner of a great house.

2. The Home's Age

A home's age may dictate whether substantial home repairs or improvements may be needed down the line.

For example, a home's furnace usually needs to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. If a 30-year-old residence still has its original furnace in place, this device may need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

A home inspection should provide clear-cut insights into potential home improvements that you may need to perform in the near future. Use these insights to your advantage, as they may help you if you try to renegotiate the price of a house.

3. Long-Term Home Improvements

Spend plenty of time with a home inspector and don't hesitate to ask this professional plenty of questions. Remember, he or she is available to help you make an informed homebuying decision. And if you learn about potential long-term home improvements now, you may be able to avoid severe home problems down the line.

If a home inspector discovers roof problems or other substantial house issues, take his or her recommendations seriously. That way, you can avoid the danger of buying a "money pit," i.e. a house that may prove to be more trouble than it's worth.

Lastly, if you need help at any point during the homebuying journey, reach out to a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the best home inspectors in your area and allow you to minimize stress throughout the homebuying cycle.

Ready to make your homeownership dreams come true? Consider the aforementioned factors after a home inspection, and you can move one step closer to purchasing a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 12/4/2017

Making your own candles is a fulfilling endeavor to take. Youíll learn about the art of candle-making, get the chance to make something for your home yourself, and reap the rewards once you get to burn it and diffuse whatever (if any) fragrances you choose to use.

Many people are surprised to learn that it isnít all that hard to make a candle. However, to make one that will burn well and smell nice can be tricky.

In this article, weíre going to walk you through how to make your own candle for your home.

Chandlery

In the times when households werenít yet powered by electricity, candle-making or ďchandleryĒ wasnít just a fun skill to have--it was downright useful.

Since the earliest times in recorded history humans have been making candles. First from tallow, or beef fat, and then of beeswax and other animal-produced substances.

Today, however, the most common candle wax base is paraffin, due to it being the cheapest base. As a petroleum byproduct, many people are concerned with potential health risks of paraffin and have elected to use alternatives. The two most common are beeswax and soybean oil.

The wax base you choose is up to you, but youíll likely find that soy is a good middle ground between quality and price.

Gather your supplies

Once youíve decided on a wax, youíll need to think about a few other ingredients--namely your wick, container, and any oils youíd like to add for fragrance. Youíll also need a way to melt the wax, such as a double boiler.

When it comes to wicks, itís easiest to buy them pre-assembled. However, you can buy a roll of braided rope and tabs to make and cut them yourself. When cutting your wick, leave an inch or two extra so that you can cut the wick to the proper size later on.

In terms of a container you have several options, some of which might be laying around in your house at this very moment. You could reuse an old candle container, use mason jars or coffee cups, and most other heat- and flame-resistant containers. If you plan on making several, buying a pack of candle tins of mason jars online is an economical way to go.

Finally, youíll need to choose some fragrances if you want your candle to smell like anything. There are hundreds of essential oils to choose from. However, they donít all go nicely together. Itís best to do a bit of research and find out which oils make good pairs. Some examples: Cedarwood and bergamot, lavender and rosemary, orange and lemongrass.

Making your candle

Put water in the bottom of your double boiler and add roughly Ĺ lb wax to the top pan. Heat slowly until the wax melts, stirring and chopping up the larger chunks throughout the process.

Once the wax is melted, take your wick and dip the tab into the wax, then carefully press the tab into the bottom of your container. Use a pen or other tool to do this to avoid burning yourself on the wax.

Next, add your essential oils to the double boiler. A pound of wax typically requires only an ounce of oil. Then, stir it for a minute or so to distribute the oil throughout the wax.

Then, pour the wax into your container with one hand. With your other hand, keep the wick held in the center of the container.

Finally, youíll need to keep the wick in the center of the candle until the wax dries. You can do this by tying or taping the wick to a pen or pencil and resting the pencil on top of the container so that the wick stays in the center.




Tags: DIY   candles   fragrance  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 11/27/2017

There are few things more frustrating than finding out that the plants youíve been tending to all summer have been overrun with insects and arenít producing any fruit. Perhaps even worse is when you find a trail leading into your pantry where your food has been compromised by a tiny army of ants.

Keeping the pests out of your home and garden is a difficult task made even harder if you want to do it without using harsh chemicals and pesticides. However, there are ways you can effectively keep your food safe. In this article, weíll show you how.

Protecting your garden from pests

The most important tool you have at your disposal when it comes to protecting your lawn, flowers, and garden from pests is your own vigilance.

In the garden, take note of the condition of your plantsí leaves. Look on the underside of them for small, yellow or brown dots. These are often insect eggs that will soon hatch and result in your plants being devoured before they can produce crops.

As a last-ditch effort to keep the bugs away, you can try spraying your plants with a homemade insecticidal soap spray. These sprays are usually 95% water and then a small amount of  pure castile soap or vinegar. Be sure not to use too much or this can harm your plants or soil.

Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or in the country, there are likely to be some furry creatures who see your garden as a food source. One way to keep many away is by framing the garden with a simple metal wire fence.

If itís flowers youíre worried about, try planting them in mulch and keeping the leaves dry when possible. This will avoid excess moisture which can cause plant-killing diseases. Using a watering can rather than a hose will help you target the base of the plant and keep the leaves dry.

Keeping the bugs outside

Regardless out whether your home is old or new, youíll likely someday find yourself with an insect problem. Some are lured in by warmth in the cold seasons, others are seeking a food source.

Letís begin on the exterior of your home. Check for cracks in your foundation and along doors and windows and seal these cracks up. Next, if thereís a space under your door, install an aluminum door threshold if there is a gap between your door and the floor. While youíre there, make sure the weather stripping on your door is in good condition.

Next, make sure all of the screens in your doors, windows, and other ventilation areas are in good condition. Even the tiniest tear can be enough to let in flies and other insects. 

The final step in keeping the bugs out of your home is to remove whatís luring them there in the first place. Store your food in airtight storage containers within your cabinets. Not only will this keep bugs away, but it can also make organizing food easier, especially things you might not use often, like flour or a large bag of sugar.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 11/20/2017

If you plan to buy a home in the upcoming days, weeks or months, it often pays to learn about the real estate market. By doing so, you can understand various best practices for purchasing a house and streamline the homebuying process.

Ultimately, there are several best practices for buying a house, and these include:

1. Become a Homebuying Expert

What differentiates a buyer's market from a seller's market? How do you submit an offer on a house? And what should you expect during a home inspection? These are just some of the questions that you'll need to consider to become a homebuying expert.

As a homebuying expert, you'll be better equipped than others to plan a successful homebuying journey.

Typically, a homebuying expert asks lots of questions and devotes the necessary time and resources to learn about the housing market. This individual also is open to expert homebuying advice and recommendations and will do whatever it takes to discover the right house, at the right price, regardless of the real estate market's conditions.

2. Get a Home Loan

For those who plan to buy a house, it helps to save money in advance. That way, you can shop for a house and have sufficient funds available for a sizable down payment.

Furthermore, you should start searching for a home loan as soon as possible. Because the sooner that you secure a home loan, the sooner that you can kick off a home search with a budget in hand.

To obtain a home loan, you should meet with several banks and credit unions. These lenders will evaluate your credit history, income and other financial factors and make a home loan offer.

After you accept a home loan offer, you can officially start your home search. And if you find a home that you'd like to buy, you can submit an offer without having to scramble to get a home loan at the last possible moment.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to buying a home, hiring a real estate agent is essential. In fact, a real estate agent will provide plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey, ensuring that you can discover your dream house without delay.

A real estate agent first will learn about your homebuying goals. Then, this housing market professional can help you narrow your home search.

In addition, a real estate agent will set up home showings, submit home offers on your behalf and keep you up to date on homebuying negotiations. Perhaps best of all, if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them at any time.

Buying a home can be a quick, seamless process, particularly for those who work with a real estate agent. Reach out to a local real estate agent today, and you can move one step closer to making your homeownership dreams come true.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 11/13/2017

If you live in an older home or neighborhood thereís a good chance your house holds a rich history within. Aside from talking with the previous owners, most people donít look much further into the stories their house might have.

If youíre curious about your family history there are resources available so you can find long lost relatives and discover where your family lived over the years. Most people donít think to do the same research for their home, even though they might spend years in it.

?Why should I research the history of my home? 

There are many reasons why someone might want to learn more about the history of their home. The main reason is because itís fun and interesting. Your search will bring you to places youíve likely never been before, whether itís federal records on the internet, or to dusty microfilm archives in your basement.

Aside from the fun of researching, your work could also bring to light useful information. You might be able to add to resale value by discovering additional details about the home. Similarly, if you come across old photos of the home you could attempt to restore some architectural and design details to their original form. Whether you do this to stay true to the roots of your home or to attempt to add value is up to you.

Where should I begin?

Like most research projects, the internet is probably your best place to start. To learn more about the property your home sits on you could search the National Archives land records. These records detail when a piece of land was transferred from the U.S. government to private ownership. In other words, you might be able to find information about the first person to ever own your home.

A good place to head from there is to run a title search on your property. You will most likely need to visit the town clerk or your local courthouse to access titles. This will paint a fuller picture of who the people who owned your home were.

Now that you know who, learning about the home itself will be much easier. There are several genealogy sites online (some free, others paid) which will help you learn about the previous inhabitants of your home. Feel free to Google their names, especially if they were a public figure. You might even find photos of your home.

What to do if you canít find any information

Just because you canít find any photos or details online doesnít mean they donít exist. You might need to reach out to relatives of previous owners to find out more information. 

Another option is your local library. Not only do libraries have a local history section complete with town records, but the librarians are also trained researchers who will be able to help you navigate the stacks. You could discover books containing details like population, town meeting notes, and new ordinances, including building codes.

Once youíve learned a bit about the history of your home, see if you can spot the changes that have been made to it over the years.




Tags: home history   home   history   research  
Categories: Uncategorized