Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/27/2017

One to two guests visiting you at your home probably won’t cramp your rooms. However, depending on the size of your home, three or more visitors easily could. If you have young children, you could send them out of their bedrooms to sleep downstairs on the sofa. But, that may not work for many more years. Your guests also may not feel comfortable knowing that, because of their stay, your children had to give up their bedrooms. A few simple, temporary designs (these are easy to implement) could keep your children in their bedrooms and your guests comfortable. Pull out a sofa bed – This bed has a long tradition of meeting the extra sleeping space needed. Sofa beds come in leather, fabric, sectionals and three to four-seater styles. The range of colors is as broad as with a traditional sofa. A sectional adds seating and sleeping room. Pull the bed out at night; push it back in the morning. Add a daybed – Daybeds have improved over the years. They’re designed with storage drawers at their base. You could keep a daybed in your basement or attic. You could also keep a daybed on a screened in porch. Border the daybed with tall framed pictures or potted flowers when guests aren’t visiting to enjoy the furniture with your family. Get the rollaway bed out of the basement – Be especially kind to your guests if you opt to let them sleep on a rollaway bed, as these beds are not well padded. You may want to add a layer of foam beneath the mattress and the springs for added comfort. Give up your master bedroom – Add a sofa bed to your master bedroom for permanent design and temporary sleeping space for guests. If your guests are only going to be staying with you for a week or less, consider giving them your master bedroom, and you sleep on the sofa bed in the living room. Place bunk beds behind curtains or room dividers – This option offers privacy. Decorative privacy screens with a tri-fold design also work well. Another option is to place bunk beds behind sliding doors. When guests aren’t visiting, simply close the sliding doors. Make good use of your attic – Don’t forget your attic. Place a queen sized bed, dresser, mirror and chair in your attic and you have a full sized bedroom. Before you let guests stay in the attic, make sure that insulation is good, so your guests stay warm during winter and cool during summer. Hooray for the finished basement – You could add an office, bathroom and a full sized bedroom with a seating area in your finished basement, depending on how large the space is. Regardless of which options you choose, give your guests two pillows, fresh folded sheets and fresh towels to make them feel welcomed. Show your guests where stores, public transportation, restaurants, parks and bookstores are if your guests are going to be staying with you for an extended period. It’s a great way to help make them feel at home.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/20/2017

For home sellers, it is essential to dedicate the necessary time and resources to streamline the process of adding your property to the real estate market. In addition, you should prepare for any challenges that you may encounter after your home is listed. By doing so, you can avoid many costly mistakes.

Ultimately, there are numerous costly mistakes that may prevent a home seller from optimizing the value of his or her residence, including:

1. Underestimating Your Closing Costs

Closing costs may put a major dent in how much you obtain for your house. Fortunately, you can calculate your closing costs before you sell your home.

Consider all of the expenses that may be included in your closing costs. From attorney and other professional fees to excise tax expenses, you'll want to account for any and all costs that may impact how much you'll earn for your house.

Also, if you ever have concerns or questions about closing costs, be sure to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can explain how closing costs work and help you plan accordingly.

2. Guessing Your Home's Price

What you paid for your home several years ago is unlikely to be what the same as what your house is worth today. Thankfully, you can meet with a home appraiser to determine the true value of your property.

A home appraisal offers a great first step to determining the right price for your home. Meanwhile, a home appraiser may be able to help you identify home problems that you can correct prior to adding your home to the real estate market.

Furthermore, don't forget to check out the prices of comparable homes that are available in your area. This will provide you with the housing market data that you need you to price your home competitively from the get-go, boosting your chances for a quick home sale.

3. Letting Your Emotions Get in the Way

Let's face it – listing your home can be stressful, particularly for a first-time home seller. However, it is important to do whatever you can to prevent your emotions from getting in the way of selling your home.

Setting realistic home selling expectations may enable you to remain calm, cool and collected after you list your property. Luckily, real estate agents are available to guide you along the home selling journey and ensure that you are fully supported at every stage.

Your real estate agent will offer expert tips and recommendations, allowing you to understand the ins and outs of the real estate market. He or she also will negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf, keep you up to date about offers on your residences and host open houses to promote your residence to a broad array of homebuyers. Thus, your real estate agent can help you avoid the stress and anxiety that is commonly associated with selling a home.

Avoid the aforementioned home selling mistakes, and you should have no trouble maximizing the value of your residence.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/13/2017

As we age, the majority of people would like to do so in their own home. With a bit of planning, the home can be modified so that we can age in place, making our homes work for us as infirmities limit mobility. Modifications for aging in place do not have to make the home appear “institutional”. No one wants his or her home to have the décor of a nursing home or hospital. Today’s advances in smart home technology and new innovative designs and products allow homeowners to have a stylish home that incorporates features that improve safety and comfort without sacrificing style. Stairways The most important safety addition to home stairways is the installation of motion detection lights that come on automatically. Falls are one of the biggest causes of disability and injury in the elderly. Falls can be avoided if all stairways including the entryway, interior stairways, basement steps, back porch, or patio are equipped with motion detection lights. Bathroom Modifications The bathroom is the room in the home that often requires the most modification to enable seniors to live independently. A fully fitted bathroom on the ground floor that provides easy access for persons with limited mobility is the best solution. If is not feasible to add a full bathroom downstairs, a downstairs toilet is essential. If you plan to remodel or refit your bathroom, make sure to include wide doorways that make the room accessible for persons in a wheelchair or walker. Make sure the bathroom is designed with enough room for a wheelchair to navigate safely. Install sturdy handrails adjacent to the tub, shower and toilet. If the walls are not strong enough to support the weight of a person, make sure to add reinforcement blocking. Make sure that the toilet is installed at a suitable height that accommodates easy and safe getting on or off the unit. If feasible, when remodeling include a low-level sink in the bathroom for accessibility when sitting down or in a wheelchair as well as a regular height basin so there is no need to stoop when standing. Let In Some Light If your home interior is dark and dreary, let in some light with the installation of skylights or new energy-saving windows. As we age, budgets are stretched with the high cost of living. Any remodeling or modifications to the home that save energy and save money help seniors moderate their expenses and afford to stay in the home. Ramps One of the most helpful remodeling or modification projects for the home is changing a challenging set of front or back porch steps into a spacious landing area and a ramp for wheelchair accessibility to the home. Before you start a major renovation of senior friendly home modifications, visit your medical supply store, local building supply store and home and garden shows for inspiration and ideas.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/6/2017

As a homeowner, you're constantly faced with a variety of spending decisions, many of which could improve the quality of your life or just put a strain on your budget. The challenge is to monitor your cash flow, anticipate your family's needs, and avoid spending more than you can afford. There's a goal that's much easier said than done! Although managing one's budget is based on personal priorities and financial resources, it's often useful to consider feedback and perspectives from other homeowners. The following thoughts are based on the experiences of one such homeowner.

  • Tool sheds are not an absolute necessity for most people, but they can be extremely helpful in protecting your yard equipment and keeping your property looking neat. If you own a riding mower, for example, there may not be space in your garage to store it. For those who own a backyard swimming pool, a shed can be very useful for storing pool chemicals, maintenance equipment, and pool toys. While a tool shed can set you back a few hundred dollars or more, getting one on your property will make your yard look nicer and keep your tools, chemicals, and machinery in a safer, more secure place.
  • Many people are aware that a basement dehumidifier can remove excess moisture and help prevent the growth of mold. This is especially important if you're storing anything of value in your basement, such as old books, important documents, clothing, framed art, or collectables. Since basement humidifiers vary in price from a couple hundred dollars to well over $1,000, some homeowners postpone buying them. However, when you factor in the potential cost of mold remediation and having to throw away belongings that get damaged by moisture and mold, the cost is much more justifiable. If you're fortunate enough to have a dry basement with a humidity level of less than 50%, then a dehumidifier may be an unnecessary purchase. If you want to be sure, though, you can buy a cheap humidity gauge for $10 or $20 -- either online or at a local hardware store.
  • A ceiling fan may seem like a frivolous expense for a screened in porch, but you'll be mighty glad you have one on hot, humid days! You might think that large window screens would provide ample circulation for an outdoor porch, but unless there's a breeze -- either natural or man made -- then that hot air will often just sit there and linger, much like a guest who has overstayed their welcome! A ceiling fan can pull that uncomfortable air away from you and stir up some much-needed circulation. Ceiling fans, which typically cost between $100 and $200 (plus installation) -- create both the look and feel of a cool, breezy environment. They also help reduce air conditioning costs inside your home.
Since everyone's personal needs, budgets, and lifestyles are different, there are a lot of factors that come into play when deciding whether to purchase (or postpone) any of these three items. Hopefully, this blog post has provided you with some helpful insights on making those decisions!




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 2/27/2017

Let's face it – buying a home is rarely simple. As such, you may need extra help along the way to ensure you understand the ins and outs of purchasing a house. So what does it take to become an expert homebuyer? Here are three homebuyer education options that are available to homebuyers nationwide: 1. Family Members and Friends Did a family member or friend recently purchase a house? If so, you may be able to lean on this individual for support as you explore the real estate market for the perfect home. Typically, a family member or friend can serve as a reliable source who can share his or her past homebuying experiences. This individual also might be able to recommend a real estate agent who provided outstanding support to him or her in the past or suggest areas where you may be able to find a home that fits your budget. Family members and friends, of course, can help you minimize stress throughout your search for the right home, too. Thus, you should be able to rely on them for a helping hand as you explore the housing market. 2. Networking Groups and Workshops Did you know that networking groups and workshops may be available that can empower you with insights you need to find the right home immediately? That's right, and in many cases, there are no costs to participate in these groups and workshops as well. Usually, a networking group serves as a collection of homebuyers with a common mission – to discover a great house at an affordable price. It is important to note that networking groups are scattered across the country. And in order to find the right networking group, you may want to search websites like Meetup and Facebook. Homebuyer workshops occasionally are held at various locations nationwide by homebuying experts who are happy to share their knowledge. In many cases, cities and towns also will host free homebuyer workshops, enabling you to learn what it takes to purchase a house quickly and effortlessly. 3. Real Estate Agents When it comes to becoming an expert homebuyer, there may be no better resource at your disposal than an experienced real estate agent. Because with the right real estate agent at your side, you'll be able to explore a broad assortment of high-quality houses any time you choose. To hire the right real estate agent, you should be prepared to meet with several real estate professionals and discuss your homebuying needs with them. By doing so, you'll be able to find a real estate agent who you are comfortable working with and possesses the skills and expertise needed to ensure you can find your dream home without delay. Purchasing a house can be a stressful, time-consuming process, but receiving homebuyer education from multiple expert sources ensures you are better equipped to buy a house that fulfills your needs. Utilize the massive collection of homebuyer educational resources that are available, and ultimately, you can improve your chances of purchasing a home that you can enjoy for years to come.