Judy Korzenowski's Blog
"Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!" That saying (and old song) has been around for generations, but it's as true today as it was a century ago. Almost everyone would agree that your home should be a refuge from the calamity and dangers of the outside world.
A related saying which has been repeated for even longer is "A man's home is his castle." That age-old concept not only emphasizes that fact that we all deserve to be safe and secure in our own homes, but it's also the basis for certain legal principles. Unfortunately, the mere existence of our rights as homeowners does not prevent burglaries, break-ins, and criminal intrusions from happening, so it's necessary to take steps to help protect your home and family from crime.
The good news is that there are literally dozens of things you can do to make your home a safer, more secure place. While it can be costly (but often worth it) to implement an elaborate, high-tech home security system, there are plenty of inexpensive measures you can take to discourage burglars. Here are a few crime-prevention tactics which can greatly reduce the chances of a break-in or intrusion taking place at your home.
Be security minded: If you live in a low-crime area, it's easy to let your guard down and become complacent. When it comes to keeping your property, family, and possessions secure, though, it's much better to "err on the side of caution." One regrettable mistake many people make is to leave their doors unlocked when they go out to "run a few quick errands." Not only can errands take longer than originally planned, but experienced burglars can be in and out of your home in minutes. By being consistent with locking doors and securing your home before you leave, you'll significantly reduce the chances of becoming a crime statistic. Instilling that awareness and those habits in your children is also an important element of any effective home security strategy.
Simple security solutions: Although glass panels alongside a front door can be an attractive design touch, it can provide potential intruders with a glimpse of the inside of your home -- including its layout, a view of valuables left out in the open, and whether your security system is activated. There are several ways you can obscure the view people have of your home's interior, including frosting the glass using a special spray, temporarily attaching a decorative window film, or installing etched glass. Customized window blinds may also do the trick.
Innovative ideas: Burglars generally tend to target homes that appear vacant or unsecured. Half the battle is creating the impression that someone is home, even if you're not. While you've undoubtedly heard about the technique of hooking up timers to your lights to make them go on and off at designated times, here's an interesting variation on the theme: You can purchase a device for $20 or $30 that simulates the flickering light that a TV gives off when it's being watched. While this is not a standalone or foolproof technique, it can be a low-cost part of an overall home security strategy.
When moving with children, or with family planning in mind, house hunting goes beyond finding the right house. You want to also find the right neighborhood and community to raise your child in. You want to find the right place for your child to happily and safely grow up.
Here's your guide to choosing the best neighborhood for your kids.
When you start house hunting draw up a list of towns and neighborhoods that catch your eye.
Having a list of priorities will help to make the house hunting process in each neighborhood much easier. Decide on your top 3 neighborhoods and towns in addition to your non-negotiable house features.
Many couples start to be researching the town’s schools. Look into the budget, what extracurricular activities are available, and if there are any recent news articles profiling the school.
Don’t just look into the kindergartens and elementary schools - look at the middle and high school as well. What are their reputations?
Visit the community center and library to find out what groups and activities are available. This is a great place to find out how involved the community is. Pick up any local newspapers or magazines and spend time flipping through the pages.
Search Meetup.com and local Facebook groups to see what kind of involvement community members have. This is also a great way to connect with other parents and ask them any questions you might have.
Take a drive through your potential neighborhoods at different times of the day. This will help you to see what each neighborhood has to offer. Are there lots of younger children at pickup and drop off times at bus stops? Or are there older children riding their bikes around?
Are there playgrounds and parks within walking distance? If your child is in extracurricular activities, or you plan for them to be, are there dance or martial arts academies with good reviews in the area?
It’s also important not to discount the importance of proximity to family and friends. We’ve all heard the saying it takes a village to raise a child. Keep distance and travel time from family in mind when making your choice.
Take the future cost of raising a child into consideration while drawing up your budget. Finding the right neighborhood and community is a process of checks and balances. You might have to be willing to compromise in some areas to check off those non-negotiables. This could look like finding a slightly smaller house in a nicer neighborhood or living further away from the city.
Knowing what your priorities are before you begin house hunting and what to look for in each neighborhood will make the process much smoother. It can be a lot of pressure to find the perfect home but when we define our own version of perfect things can fall together much more easily.
The homebuying journey should be fast and seamless, but problems may arise that prevent you from accomplishing your desired goals. For example, if a buyer with a poor credit score fails to get financing before submitting an offer to purchase a house, this individual may struggle to acquire his or her dream residence. Or, if a buyer fails to evaluate various housing market data, he or she may miss out on opportunities to purchase the right house at an affordable price.
There is no need to worry about homebuying crises. Lucky for you, we're here to guide you along the homebuying journey and ensure you can mitigate problems that otherwise may make it difficult for you to buy your dream house.
Avoid homebuying crises – here are three tips to help you minimize the risk of encountering problems during the homebuying journey.
1. Learn About the Local Housing Market
The housing market is complex, regardless of whether you are pursuing residences in small towns or big cities. Fortunately, plenty of housing market data is available to help you understand real estate patterns and trends. This information can help you map out your homebuying journey based on the current housing market's conditions.
Typically, it helps to look at the prices of recently sold houses in your preferred cities and towns. This information highlights whether house sellers are receiving offers at or above their initial asking prices and may help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one.
You also should examine the prices of available houses that match your homebuying criteria. That way, you can hone your home search and accelerate the homebuying journey.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Believe it or not, it usually does not take long for a homebuyer to get pre-approved for a mortgage. In fact, banks and credit unions can quickly teach you about different home financing options and ensure you can make an informed mortgage decision.
If you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget. Then, when you discover your dream house, you can submit an offer to purchase with home financing in hand.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a must-hire, especially if you want to limit the risk of potential crises during the homebuying journey. With a real estate agent at your side, you can identify homebuying problems and resolve these issues before they escalate.
Generally, a real estate agent will support you at each stage of the homebuying journey. He or she first will learn about you and your homebuying goals. Then, a real estate agent will create a personalized homebuying strategy to help you accomplish the optimal results. And if you have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.
Prevent homebuying crises – use the aforementioned tips, and you can increase the likelihood of a successful homebuying experience.
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There are a number of reasons you may want to sell your home quickly. Whether you’re hoping to avoid making two mortgage payments, or if you are moving a long distance and have a limited time to close on your old home, it can become imperative to sell quickly.
Many homeowners in a rush to sell their home are at a loss for what they can do to increase their chances of selling quickly without substantially lowering the price.
If you’re in a competitive buyer’s market it can be even more difficult to make a quick sale. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help expedite the selling process. In today’s article, we’ll show you how to do just that.
Read on for tips on selling your home faster so you can move on to focusing on your new home.
To give yourself the best chance of attracting buyers, you’ll want to focus on cleaning and staging your home.
Many sellers leave their belongings in the home and simply fill up their closet and basement while selling their home. A better approach is to rent a storage unit to keep your belongings in. This will make sure you can showcase the size of your closet and other storage areas in viewings and in your photography.
When it comes to photography, using high quality photos that show off the lighting and spaciousness of your home will attract more leads on your home. Spending money to hire a photographer for the day can save you valuable time and give you quality, marketable photos of your home.
Rethink your pricing
If you need to sell quickly, the easiest way to do so is to make sure you’ve priced your home reasonably. Many sellers have a tendency to aim high, thinking that they will be haggled down by a buyer.
However, fewer people will reach out if your home is outside of their budget. Set your home price close to its market value and make adjustments accordingly.
Add quick curb appeal
Curb appeal is the measure of how welcoming and desirable your home looks upon driving by or pulling into the driveway. This can be achieved with landscaping, paving the driveway, and cleaning the house’s siding.
However, you don’t have to spend thousands to clean up the outside of your home. Sometimes simply mowing and edging the lawn and adding fresh mulch goes a long way toward improving curb appeal.
Another thing to consider is the best time to take outdoor photos of your home. If you have a great view or sunsets, try taking photos at different times of the day to show off all your property has to offer.
Remove personal items
You want your home to appear livable--not lived in. Make sure family photos and other personalized items have been removed for real estate photography, open houses, and viewing.
Similarly, if you have any rooms painted colors that others may find jarring, re-paint them in a neutral, calming color. And, if any of your walls are painted a dark color, brighten them up to make the room appear larger.
This approach stands true for the driveway and garage as well. You want potential buyers to imagine how they could use the space--not how you’re currently using it. Make sure your vehicles and outdoor equipment are out of sight in your photos and during showings.