Buying a house can be a daunting process. From the initial search to meeting with realtors, lenders and all the paperwork that goes with it there is just a lot to keep organized. This isn’t just true for first time home buyers, things change and the processes can be different even in the next neighborhood over. That’s why its so important to find the right realtor to help you along. Finding one who knows the market well can help you find the right homes for sale that you are interested in buying without wasting any of your time.
For instance, when I was looking at homes for sale in Charlottesville I had an hour long meeting with my first realtor (which I later fired before hiring McLean Faulconer) explaining my tastes and preferences including must haves. She canceled our first two meeting and by the time we could arrange to see the houses for sale I really wanted to view they had already been sold. Then she insisted to take me across town and look at a few more houses but none of them were even close to what I was looking for.
I was trying to downsize a bit but with an open floor plan from my 5 bedroom. I wanted to be able to entertain but didn’t need all the bedrooms as the kids had moved out over the past few years. But instead of this, I was shown even larger houses that were run down and needed a lot of work one after the next. Highly discouraged and feeling like I hadn’t been listened too I switched real estate companies and had much better results. It just goes to show how important the right agent is when you go to buy a home.
Recently I have been shopping around for my first home but without much luck. The move in ready houses seem to get snapped up extremely quick as everyone these days are too busy to put the time into making a house livable that doesn’t have the amenities or look they want right away. This is something I was looking for at first too until I started realizing homes that needed just a little bit of work were going for much less money and staying on the market longer making it easier to negotiate an even better price.
Most of these homes were in even better areas than the more expensive ones that had more work done on the inside and were often better built as well because they were older. You know what most people say, they don’t make things like they used to. This saying definitely holds true with houses as well. So what I did was shop around for a home remodeling contractor at the same time I was looking at houses because I knew it was my best bet in the end to have a house I would love if I bought one to fix up.
It didn’t take me long to find a solid house in a great neighborhood that had been overlooked by lots of other potential home buyers in the Richmond area. The home had previously been owned by an older couple and you could tell. But looking past an outdated kitchen and some old fashioned wallpaper I knew that with the help of BNW Builders I could make it the modern home I wanted. All that it really needed was the kitchen remodeled and a wall torn down between the dining and living rooms to open up space. The sale went successfully and just a few months later along with new replacement windows the place is well on its way to becoming a home I can be proud of.
How I found the right home and carpet cleaning service
Moving to a new city can be difficult for more than a few reasons. Even after you settle in you need to figure some things out about your area and also need to find a new company you have never used before each time you need a service like plumbing or electrical work. This time I really wanted my carpets cleaned in my home but had no idea who to call.
So I made a list about what I thought was most important to me in when it comes to carpet cleaners and I set out to find a new go to company. Here is what I wrote down.
Because I have had bed experiences in the past, it was a priority of mine that the carpet cleaning service offered a guarantee on their work. I at least need to see the carpet is visibly cleaner and stains are dramatically less noticeable. Spoiler alert, I found great local carpet cleaners that offered such a guarantee on their cleaning services and even checked them out on the Better Business Bureau before using them.
I found this out the hard way too one time when I hired a friend to clean the carpets in my old home. He was well meaning enough and tried to provide my carpets and rugs a deep clean but the cleaning equipment he had simply wasn’t up to the job. When searching for the right service I knew the more heavy duty of machines they could provide the cleaner my carpets would be all else equal.
Because of my busy schedule, I need to be able to quickly and easily schedule an appointment. Nobody enjoys being on hold for extended periods of time or having to work around somebody else’s schedule. I was able to contact my new go to company both online and found out they also offered convenient online scheduling.
Everyone wants a home the can be proud of. But most well decorated homes look like a million bucks because they probably cost as much. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case and you can have a great looking home without spending a fortune on remodeling, expensive new purchases and decorations.
Below are my top 5 ways to improve your home on a budget.
- Paint – Nothing can improve the look of the home dollar for dollar like a new coat of paint can. Whether you are simply touching up and recoating or are going with a completely new color consider fresh paint when you want to spruce up the look of your house.
- Organization – Clutter can seriously harm any sense of order or clean look around the house. Simply organization by investing in a new cabinet, baskets or just throwing things out can de clutter your home and make a dramatic improvement.
- Appliance repair – Call Mr. Appliance when any of your household appliances are malfunctioning or broken. Because we use our appliances on a daily basis, you can’t afford to be without these helpful machines in top working order.
- Lighting – A dark and dreary home is not an inviting space. Sometimes all you need to do is replace light bulbs around the house. If you need more lighting, you can often find inexpensive options at the hardware store to illuminate your home.
- Landscaping – Get outside and go do some work on your yard. Flowers and other plants are surprisingly inexpensive and can add a lot to the curb appeal from your home, letting you enjoy it from both the inside and out.
- BONUS: Frugal Nation just got picked up by MSN’s “Money” section and is well worth keeping an eye on.
There are lots more ways to improve the look and feel of your home. Think about what’s important to you and make goals about what you want to accomplish each week or month. By doing little, inexpensive improvements on a regular basis you will be surprised how much you can accomplish in the long run.
Home Owners in areas where the seasons are ever changing, need to be concerned about the quality of their windows. It’s an expensive undertaking, having your windows replaced, but it’s necessary to keep your home safe and it will be cost effective for you in the long run.
Most home owners notice an increase in their energy bills, and the windows are overlooked as the main reason. This is especially true with the Massachusetts climate. It’s not your heater or your air conditioning that’s causing the energy loss, but the fact that your windows are old and no longer effective.
Knowing when it’s time for replacement windows is not easy. But there are ways for you to check. First, how old is your house? If it’s more than 15 years then it’s time to check if they’re still functioning correctly.
Check the operation of your windows, if they’re still opening and closing easily. Windows need to be easily locked and secured, and also easily opened. It’s a way out of your house during emergencies. If your house is old you may still be using Single Pane glass which are really outdated and is not energy efficient at all. Dual pane glasses are the in-thing nowadays. You may want to upgrade. Dual pane also keeps the noise from filtering into your house. This is necessary when you live near the street or an airport.
How easy is it to clean? For multi-level houses, cleaning the upper floor windows can be such a chore; you may even need to hire externally to get the job done. There are windows today that have features where you can clean the outside from the inside by tilting the windows inward. That’s a lot of convenience.
What about storm windows? If you live in areas where storms or season changes are normal such as Massachusetts in the Northeast, you need to have windows that are energy efficient. It not only lowers your energy bill but can also protect your furnishing and most of all your family.
If you are new to an area, Google the local “.gov” site to get some helpful information. I used http://www.mass.gov for mine.