Category Archives: House and home

Open House For Home Buyers

In markets where there are numerous homes and properties for sale, there are often ‘open houses’ where prospective buyers and clients would come in and check out home and property units. The practice has been one of the most usual and proven effective tactics and measures to further convince and entice buyers to transact purchase activities.

For sure you have gone to an open house. You surely have seen and checked out the interiors and exteriors of units that are currently available in the market. You could also have been enticed to buy or at least almost buy. Thus, you can be a living testimony that indeed, open houses are instrumental in making real estate and home building firms’ revenues and income concrete.

But did you know that there are studies and polls that prove otherwise? In the United States alone, a 2004 research conducted by industry body National Association of Realtors indicate that about 87% of home and property buyers really find open houses highly useful in their endeavors to search appropriate houses. However, the study has also found out that a good number of people going to such open houses are not very serious about the prospects from the activity.

Out of purpose

This brings about a new and modern perception and issue about open houses and home hunting. Some analysts and experts explain that some people are not really observing the usefulness of open houses simply because those people are in the first place not intending to buy prior to going to open houses. However enticing and convincing an open house is, if the prospective buyer does not intend to make the purchase due to lack of budget or other factors, nothing can come out of the activity.

In fact, many goers to open house activities these days openly admit that they only go to kill time or entertain themselves in a usually idle Sunday afternoon. Some people only go to check out the latest in designs, while others simply want to peek at how the neighborhoods’ kitchens look like. Still, many go with groups just to find exciting places to chit chat and have gossips.

Still effective

Real estate and home players reiterate that whatever the purpose of goers is, open houses are still serving their purpose. Sales figures and expressions of interest are already enough to prove that indeed, the market is still persuaded and eluded by modern and display units at open houses.

That is why many villages, condominiums and other home and real estate centers are still offering and conducting open house activities. As a marketing activity and tool, such sales activities undoubtedly are still among the most effective and most reliable. An open house is still a good way to break a ground and pave the ground to entering the interests and attention of the ever-demanding and discerning market.

Green House & Healthy Family

As Earth Day, April 22, approaches, it’s time to green your life, inside and out. Everyone knows about CFL light bulbs, low-flow showerheads and reusable grocery totes, but there’s lots of other ways to green up your world. Here are 10 items for the home and personal care that can make your life greener, cleaner and healthier.

Round the Green House

Good Air Day

Everyone at home can breathe easier with the energy efficient ultra-quiet Blueair Air Purifier, which continuously monitors and removes 99.97% of all airborne contaminants such as pollen, pet dander, mold spores, smoke and dust. The new E-series air purifiers come complete with a built-in digital display and remote control. Bed Bath and Beyond. Prices start at $449.95.

Green Wash

Clean your clothes using less detergent and no harsh chemicals with the Robby Wash Laundry Ball by Oransi, an eco-friendly and hypoallergenic laundry detergent ball that can do the work of 75 lbs. of traditional laundry detergent and lasts up to 12 months and is safe for baby’s laundry. Safe enough for newborn laundry. Oransi.com $32.95.

Great Good-for-You Snacks

Ice Ice Yummy

I scream, you scream, we all scream for alternatives to sugary treats and soft drinks for kids. Now there’s Power Ice, a delicious, healthy frozen snack that helps quench thirst and replace electrolytes with 0 grams of fat and cholesterol and no caffeine, high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. Lime Kicker and Orange Blast flavors come in packs of three for $1.99. Available at drugstores and supermarkets nationwide.

Happy Trails

Bear Naked Granola and Trail Mixes contain all-natural whole grains, fiber and protein for energy and nutrition that’s easily portable in two-ounce packs perfect for throwing in a backpack or jacket pocket for healthy boost on strolls, bikes, hikes or camping trips. 12 oz. mixes from $3.50 to $5, 12 two-ounce bags $15. Available at grocery stores nationwide or bearnaked.com.

Strip Up

Kids can enjoy the taste of fresh fruit wherever they are with Stretch Island Fruit Strips. They’re easy to carry along on a stroll, shopping trips, at sports games or wherever you might want a nourishing snack. For a pick-me-up for moms and dads, all natural FruitaBu Rolls Fruit Rolls by Stretch Island Fruit Co. offer a whole serving of fruit and are perfect for a healthy deskside snack. As a bonus, your purchase of Stretch Island fruit snacks helps fund The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and “Fruit Tree 101’s” which as planted 1,000 fruit trees and shrubs at schools across the country. $13.99 for a 30-ct. pack of Stretch Island Fruit Strips or $.49 each. $3.60-$3.99 for box of six FruitaBü Rolls. Costco, Kroger, Walmart, or Target.

Naturally Healthy

The Nose Knows

Everyone from Oprah to the guy in the next cubicle extols the wonders of the neti pot, the drug-free way to clear stuffy sinuses, and SinuCleanse Neti Pot has done the nasal washing vessel one better by making it a clear blue plastic so that the user can easily see if the saline solution is fully mixed for proper use. For little noses, SinuCleanse Kid’s Mist provides quick relief with a gentle nasal spray safe for infants to relieve nasal discomfort. CVS. Walgreens. Both $14.99.

Now You’re Talking Cool

When tiny tots have sore throats, Children’s Throat Cooler offers icy relief in the form of a non-medicated frozen Grape or Strawberry treats that cool and sooth with immune-boosting ingredients including pure honey and Vitamin C. Sold in multi-packs of six pre-portioned single-serve.8 fl. oz/25 ml pouches. CVS and Rite Aid. $3.99 to $4.99.

Literally Eat Us Out Of House And Home

Most people living in a warm climate have had some kind of problems with creatures that want to eat their homes seemingly right from under them. These creatures cannot distinguish in a piece of old wood or the wonderful artifact that has been handed down through several generations. Indeed, all they see is food, food and more food. To get rid of these munching machines is no easy task and it is time to call in the experts when any infestation is noted. Indeed, termite and pest control is a rather specialized subject if only for the types of chemicals that is used. Termite bait is often highly poisonous and must be kept away from where small hands or even the pets can get at it.

Probably the first sign that there is something going on is the fine dust that is noted around wooden objects. This can be furniture or cupboards, or even beams that are holding the house up. They are not really bothered what they eat as long as they have a never-ending supply of food.

Perhaps long brown earth like tubes are spotted too leading from skirting boards right up to ceiling boards. This is the above ground tunnels that the creature builds so that it can traverse the inedible part of the structure, the wall, to get to where the good stuff is in the roof space. They need to build the tubes so that their bodies do not dry out while they are going from one place to another. Of course, this is normally done underground but when it comes to above ground sources of food, then they just build what they need to get around.

One way to check to see if the infestation is active is to brush away an inch or two of the tubes and see how quickly it takes to come back. If it does, then it is obvious that there is an infestation and the experts must be called in.

Another way to check is to tap on beams or furniture to see if they sound hollow. These creatures eat the wood from the inside out. They can even eat right up to where the varnish or paint has been put on so very often people will not realize they are there until it is much too late.

Although the old method of extermination is still used, there are more modern methods on the market which seem to be much more efficient and cost-effective. This consists of sinking tubes, at regular intervals, around the building every couple of feet or so. These tubes house a ‘feeding station’ which is checked regularly. The operative keeps an eye on where the poison is being eaten and will continue to replenish the tube until there is no more activity which means that the queen has died and the colony along with her. What brings the others to this exact spot is that once a food source has been found, these clever creatures lay scent trails to show others where to eat. This, in the end, is their demise.

House and Home Security Alarm

Home Security systems

There are a lot of different home security companies, and even more different types of systems to choose from. It’s advertised as this end all solution to crime and people breaking into your home, but before you invest in such a system it is important that you make sure you use a reputable company with high standards. Also it’s nice to know what the laws are that govern how this company responds to alarms. Some advertise that they call the police immediately, but in some cases this is not true. Yes, someone will respond, but it might be private security. If this is the case, it still is not a deal breaker, but it is important that you know what security company they use and try to get some information on that companies reputation. The right private security company is just as reliable as the police, just do your homework and know who exactly will be knocking on your door when the alarm goes off.

It’s also important to know how to best utilize your alarm system. Some can be very complicated so if you’re not the type of person who gets into high tech equipment try to keep your alarm simple and easy to operate. An alarm system is only good if you know how to operate it. Usually alarms are set up with passwords and on keypads so generally speaking as long as you can remember passwords you should be good. If you have a family hold a “training meeting” so everyone in your family knows how to operate the system. Make sure your children understand what it is, what it does and that it is not a toy. It’s even more important that they understand what to do if an alarm goes off.

There are also different types of alarms; the two main ones that I think of are silent alarms and vocal alarms. There are also systems that utilize both types. Silent alarms will most likely be routed to a call center. Vocal alarms could be thought of as a car alarm. Vocal alarms are very good as scaring away intruders, but also keep in mind how annoying car alarms are when they go off because a shopping cart rolled by, then they keep going off for the next 20 minutes for no reason at all. The same thing can happen with your house alarm, and if you are not home, depending on when it goes off your going to have some very unhappy neighbors to deal with when you return. Also, depending on your area you live there can be fines for false alarms, so not only will your neighbors be a little distraught, but you might feel your wallet become a little lighter.

For the elderly an alarm system can save a life. Alarm systems can be used for much more than scaring away an intruder. They can be used for fire or medical emergency. When you’re away from home you will have the confidence that if something happens someone will be notified. The commercial with the elderly women yelling “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” is mocked over and over, but in reality its no joke, and this scenario has been played out in real life by many people who have been saved by an alarm system.

Great Way to Get Affordable Home Renter Coverage

Many individuals complain that home renter insurance is beyond their reach because of the high rent that the landlord charges. Each and every individual has right to determine the value of his or her property. If your landlord is of the opinion that the house in which you live is a valuable asset, you may be asked to pay a very high rent.

The fact that you do not earn enough to obtain home renter insurance as well as pay your high rent is definitely a valid excuse. However, you should always inculcate the tendency to never accept excuses as far as home renter insurance is concerned.

If you do not have sufficient money, then you should have to take steps to either earn more money or bring down your expenses. If none of this work, you should not hesitate to switch your house to bring down your rent. There is no point in living in an expensive house with all your possessions destroyed and with no means to repair or purchase it again. On the other hand, living in a small house with the knowledge that all your possessions are safely covered by the insurance policy is a completely different thing.

If you do not want to make such a sacrifice, then you should make use of the World Wide Web. The web is one of the best places to find affordable home renter cover. You just have to
– log on to the web,
– get in touch with the right website,
– enter the State in which you live and
– specify your insurance requirements.
You will find quotes from all well known companies operating in your State on your screen. Do not be surprised to find a significant variation between the prices that you pay and the price offered by the cheapest insurance company.

More often than not, you are unable to take advantage of this competition. With the help of multiple insurance quotes, you can make use of the competition to pay the smallest amount for your insurance. Once you have this information in your hand, you can either drive a tough bargain with your landlord and bring down your rent or pay the high rent without any financial problems.

If you are worried about the time that this process would require, then keep in mind that multiple insurance quotes operate on the web and web never shuts down. It is open all round the year. Hence, there’s nothing stopping you from getting the estimates after you come back from office or before you go to work.

Are They Eating You Out of House and Home?

We all know that at some point in time our houses are plagued with pesky little critters. There is very few of them know that do the damage that termites can inflict upon our homes. Their damage is twofold as the structure is drastically affected and then the finances to replace the damage can be hefty.

Once you have determined that termites have invaded your home, you are going to have to perform several steps in order to be rid of the problem. You are going to have to identify that it is definitely the problem. Then once you have identified it then the next thing you have to get rid of them. Then finally, you have got to make sure that you take all the preventive measures so that they cannot return.

There are several different types of termites as well so you are going to have to identify which one you are dealing with. For example could be dry wood or damp wood. If you find that, the problem is really quite severe and you are being quite overrun with these you might need to bring in professional help. This is probably the quickest and most effective way to get rid of them.

If they are not too bad then you can use barrier treatments but the problem with this is that they do not kill them right away. Then you may want to try bait stations, which you can put in an area around your home, but again they may not be as effective quickly enough for the damage that has been done.

If you decide to go the route of using a professional, make sure you find one that has a good record. Whatever you do, do not just hire them because they are cheap. You want one that is going to be able to do the job and do it effectively. If you do not end up spending the money now you most certainly are going to when it comes time to replace the damage.

You can do a lot to stop termites from accessing your home by making sure no wood touches the ground that is connected to your house. Wood that meets moist dirt is a great place for a termite to start his entry into your home.

If you are looking for potential proof that they are there invading your home then look at your porches where there’s wooden poles placed in the ground and you will more than likely get some evidence there.

Also, keep wooden debris, tree branches and even firewood away from your home because it is a very big attraction for termites. You can also buy wood that has been treated for termite infestation and probably would you be your best bet for the future when you require building materials.

Moving House and Home

You should always consider moving house with professional removal contractors, as this will be not only more efficient, but it may also reduce the risk of damage. Just think about all the precious items you’ll be removing from your family home, and you’ll realise how important it is to have a smooth and accident-free house move.

Thankfully, if there is accidental damage caused by professionals during a house move, then your home insurance policy should protect you financially. This financial protection will only exist if you are moving house to a new private residence within the United Kingdom, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. Any international house moving will not usually be covered on your home insurance.

You may also find that not all types of damage are covered by your home insurance. Any damage or loss to money, jewellery or to contents that are in storage will not usually be covered. You will also want to make sure that professional removal contractors pack the more delicate items from your home, as breakages and damage to china, glass, porcelain or any other delicate item of earthenware will not be covered unless it was packed by a professional.

You can reduce the risk of damage to your personal belongings whilst moving house by planning your move as much as possible. Make sure you have large supplies of bubble wrap and strong moving boxes, so that you don’t have to cut corners when it comes to packaging. If you’re packing the boxes yourself, you should make sure they’re all labelled clearly so there is no unnecessary movement from one place to the other. If any items inside the box are fragile, this should always be marked clearly – and where possible do not over pack boxes as this could lead to the box breaking from the strain.

Moving house can be quite a stressful experience. Whilst you can take certain measures to prevent damage, it’s best to avoid the stress of seeing your belongings damaged in the first place. Either make very detailed plans for the move yourself, or – even better – hire a professional contractor who will ensure your home is moved safely from A to B.

Protecting Your House and Home

If you live in a neighborhood where you are constantly looking over your shoulder and feeling unsafe, it might be time to invest in a non-expensive method for home protection. Home alarm systems are usually an expensive investment, but there are alternatives you can take that cost less and may work just as good. Here are the top measures for protecting your home without breaking your bank.

#1: Lock all windows and doors. Did you know that unlocked windows and doors provide the top way that burglars break into a house? And it’s still one of the top ways that a thief breaks in, simply because it’s so obvious that most people forget to do it. Get into a habit of checking all your windows and doors every night before you go to bed. If you lock your door or double check that porch window, you might just turn a thief or two away.

#2: Fake Alarm System signs. This one might not be the best one, but it actually has worked for several homeowners. The key here is to make it look professional. If you get a sign that looks just like the real thing, and add matching stickers to your windows or doors, you’ll be a little more protected against uninvited guests.

#3: Store your valuables and money in the bank. If a burglar gets wind that you have a family heirloom from Grandma worth several thousand tucked away inside your bedroom, he might be ready to stop at nothing to get it. This is an effective way to keep the burglars away. You might be surprised if you knew just how much a burglar is able to find out.

#4: Buy motion sensing devices for your lawn and yard. One cost effective measure you can use to protect your home and property is a motion-sensing floodlight. A bright flood of light instantly turning on when motion is detected is enough to scare an intruder away. For a mere $50 you can get a Designers Edge super bright LED motion activated floodlight. The sealed sensor on the Designers Edge floodlights are protected against any kind of weather condition and the LED itself is guaranteed to last for no less than 50,000 hours.

Simple Measures for Protecting Your House and Home

  • If you live in a neighborhood where you are constantly looking over your shoulder and feeling unsafe, it might be time to invest in a non-expensive method for home protection. Home alarm systems are usually an expensive investment, but there are alternatives you can take that cost less and may work just as good. Here are the top measures for protecting your home without breaking your bank.
  • #1: Lock all windows and doors. Did you know that unlocked windows and doors provide the top way that burglars break into a house? And it’s still one of the top ways that a thief breaks in, simply because it’s so obvious that most people forget to do it. Get into a habit of checking all your windows and doors every night before you go to bed. If you lock your door or double check that porch window, you might just turn a thief or two away.
  • #2: Fake Alarm System signs. This one might not be the best one, but it actually has worked for several homeowners. The key here is to make it look professional. If you get a sign that looks just like the real thing, and add matching stickers to your windows or doors, you’ll be a little more protected against uninvited guests.
  • #3: Store your valuables and money in the bank. If a burglar gets wind that you have a family heirloom from Grandma worth several thousand tucked away inside your bedroom, he might be ready to stop at nothing to get it. This is an effective way to keep the burglars away. You might be surprised if you knew just how much a burglar is able to find out.
  • #4: Buy motion sensing devices for your lawn and yard. One cost effective measure you can use to protect your home and property is a motion-sensing floodlight. A bright flood of light instantly turning on when motion is detected is enough to scare an intruder away. For a mere $50 you can get a Designers Edge super bright LED motion activated floodlight. The sealed sensor on the Designers Edge floodlights are protected against any kind of weather condition and the LED itself is guaranteed to last for no less than 50,000 hours.
  • Don’t wait for something to happen before you protect your home. The smart way is to prevent theft and burglary from happening before it happens. Use these handy tips for cost effective solutions to keeping your home safe.

Counting the Cost of a House and Home

When you go shopping for a house to buy, you must be aware of all the costs that will be involved. Apart from the actual purchase price that you and the seller agree on, there are a large number of other costs, some big and some small. Some of these relate to the home loan, while others relate to lawyers’ fees and transfer costs. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with all these costs so that you know exactly what you are going to have to pay out at the end of the day.

The costs you will need to cover
The biggest cost factor will obviously be the purchase price of your new home. But if you are going to mortgage the property then you won’t need to have all the money available. You will, though, have additional costs to cover, including fees to register a bond, fees to have the property transferred into your name, as well as other costs including those that various attorneys will charge.

Costs of purchasing a property
The costs related to the purchase itself include transfer duty, conveyancing fees, and a Deeds Office tariff. Buyers are required to pay the transfer duty before the property is registered in their name. The amount payable is calculated according a set scale and then the transferring attorney pays it to S.A.R.S. If the property costs less than R500 000 it is exempt from transfer duty. If it costs between R500 0001 and R1-million, than there is a 5% transfer duty levied, and it increases from there. If you buy the property as a company, close corporation or trust, there is a flat rate of 8%. Conveyancing fees get paid to the transferring attorney (who is a conveyancer) and these are based on tariff guidelines set by the South African Law Society. The Deeds Office tariff is a nominal fee set by the Government, and it relates directly to the purchase or bond price. So, for example, if you buy a property for R1-million, the Deeds Office tariff for land transfer will be about R500 and for the bond, about R400.

Transfer cannot be registered until the relevant local authority has issued a rates clearance certificate. This means that the seller must pay all outstanding rates and taxes first. In the event of the seller having paid these rates in advance, the buyer will be billed for the pre-paid rates from either the date of possession or the date of transfer. If you have bought the property through an agent, the agent will have commission due. While this is usually a cost that is covered by the seller, sometimes buyers agree to pay the fee.

Costs of raising a bond
Very few people today can afford to buy a property without raising a mortgage. In fact when people buy homes, sales are more often than not subject to getting a bond on the property, sometimes even a 100% bond with no deposit needed. Of course the bond will have to be registered and this costs money, not only for registration fees (which are paid to the Deeds Registry), but also to pay for the attorney who handles the registration. There will also be a valuer’s fee (or an assessment fee), for the person who evaluates the property to make sure that it is worth at least what bond is to be provided.