Terri Evans' Blog
Buying a home is a very detail-oriented process, and there's a lot of important things you can overlook if you're not organized.
Home buyers generally have the opportunity to do a last-minute inspection of the premises to make sure everything's up to standards prior to closing on the property.
A real estate buyer's agent can accompany you on the final inspection or provide you with advice on what to look for.
If you've already visited the home a couple times and had the house professionally inspected, you're probably well-acquainted with any major malfunctions, flaws, or repair issues. In many cases, home buyers may reach an agreement with the seller to fix, replace, or make allowances for mechanical or cosmetic problems. While real estate negotiations and sales agreements are as varied as the people and properties involved, there are typically dozens of things buyers need to check on before they sign the final documents and accept ownership of the property.
Final Walkthrough Tips
As you're doing the final walk-through of the house, it's necessary to remember or have notes on the condition of the home when you last looked at it. You'll also want to have a clear idea of what appliances, fixtures, and window treatments are supposed to be remain in the house after it's been vacated by the seller. Depending on how close your final walk-through is to the actual closing, that has probably already happened.
If there's anything missing that the seller agreed to include in the sale, then that's an issue you'll want to discuss with your real estate agent or attorney. Any property damage that may have resulted from moving furniture and other belongings should also be discussed before final papers are signed. The same thing would apply to landscaping changes that appear to be inconsistent with the sales agreement. Your buyer's agent and/or lawyer can serve as intermediary in getting these issues clarified and ironed out.
To make sure your final inspection is thorough, it's a good idea to have a "final walk-through checklist" to help keep you organized and focused. You'll want to take a last-minute inventory of items that are supposed to be included with the property sale, such as appliances, lighting fixtures, furnishings, window treatments, children's play structures, hot tubs, and anything else that was agreed to in the sales contract.
Other items you'll need access to may include garage door openers, manuals for appliances and mechanical systems, warranties, invoices for repairs made, and remote control devices for things like ceiling fans, alarms, and other systems.
Your checklist and final walkthrough should focus on a variety of items, including the working condition of appliances, the electrical system, plumbing fixtures, and the condition of walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, and landscaping features. For a complete checklist, look online or consult your real estate agent.
When it comes to the decision of whether to add a dog to your family, one thing's for sure: Pet ownership is not for everyone! If your job or lifestyle keeps you away from home most of the time, then adopting or buying a dog might not work out that well for you.
Dogs are very social creatures and need daily companionship and a lot of attention. If they're left alone day and night, they'll become increasingly unhappy. That often translates into undesirable behaviors, such a incessant barking, chewing on furniture, and other symptoms of separation anxiety and boredom.
The good news about welcoming a dog into your family is that the rewards usually outweigh the drawbacks. If you're an animal lover, you'll be able to relate to the many advantages of owning a dog (or maybe even two)!
- Dogs can bring a positive energy into your home. Assuming you've chosen a dog that's a good fit for your family and lifestyle, it can be a lot of fun to have a dog in the house. Most dogs are playful, affectionate, and obedient, and are always thrilled to see you when you come home!
- Dogs and exercise often go together. Unless you have a fenced in yard and can just let your dog out when it needs to relieve itself, it's necessary to accompany your dog for neighborhood walks. While this responsibility can be shared by different members of the family, walking your dog can be a great way to burn off a few calories, stretch your legs, and get some fresh air. There are also the health benefits of taking in a little natural vitamin D from the sun.
- Dogs help you meet other animal lovers. Whether you take your furry friend to a nearby park or just a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood, their will be a lot of chances to exchange greetings and small talk with other dog walkers and animal lovers. If you've just moved to a new neighborhood and are looking for ways to meet your neighbors, going for daily walks with your dog can be an effective way to do that. An important side benefit of having Fido interact with other dogs and people is that it helps them get properly socialized -- especially if you start the process when they're still a puppy.
- Dogs play a role in protecting your home and family. Some dogs are better security guards than others, but most have a protective instinct to bark when strangers are on the premises. While this is not a fail-proof security system, it can definitely be a deterrent to break-ins, burglaries, and other intrusions.
At first glance, credit card habits and a mortgage have absolutely nothing in common. There doesn't appear to be anything linking the two. But, consider the connection again. Both credit card habits and a mortgage impact your financial health.
Credit card habits could be ruining your chances to secure a good mortgage
Poor credit card habits can leave you with no option but to accept a weak mortgage. If you have too much credit card debt, you could eliminate yourself from the chance to have your mortgage application approved by a reputable, solvent financial institution.
Another downside that poor credit card habits could yield you is little to no option about accepting an adjustable rate mortgage. The early years of living in a house that's been purchased with an adjustable rate mortgage might be easy.
You could enjoy a monthly adjustable rate mortgage that is well below $1,000 and this fora house that's tucked in a suburb or urban area that's near desirable hot spots. These hot spots might include places like shopping malls, entertainment centers and five star restaurants.
Don't get caught in a horrible adjustable rate mortgage trap
Five or more years into an adjustable rate mortgage and the stress could start to rise. It's understandable. Many people would start to feel stressed if their adjustable rate mortgage rose by 20 percent or more.
That's exactly what could happen to you if you take out an adjustable rate mortgage,especially if interest rates rise. Knowledge about mortgages and how they are impacted by changing interest rates might not be enough to avoid being blindsided by monthly mortgage payment increases if you keep practicing bad credit card habits.
Rising monthly mortgage payments aren't the only way that bad credit card habits can hurt your housing situation. Your credit card habits can encourage you to create the delusion that money that a lender gives you is really your money.
Bad credit card habits sneak up on you
If you've never had your credit card interest rates go up, you might start to feel comfortable that you can easily pay debts. It's this delusion that could cause you to increase your credit card limit, taking on even more debt.
Another thing that you might do is to take out yet another credit card. As soon as you start to struggle to keep up with your mortgage and credit card payments, you may be left with no choice except to default on your credit card payments or your mortgage.
This is just what some homeowners have started to do, defaulting on their credit cards. It's this trend that played a role in the development of the Great Recession. No one may have intended to default on their loans, be they credit card or mortgage loans. But, once a homeowner gets too far into debt and also engages in poor credit card spending habits, good or bad intentions, defaults can happen.
Moving boxes can serve too much like furniture for too long. It's enough work to pack up a three, four or five bedroom house. There are drinking glasses to wrap in tissue paper or protective newspaper. Lamps need to be covered in thick material, the type of material that offers as much padding as a winter quilt.
Here's how you can unpack a full house in one day
Special care has to be given to computers, laptops, microwaves and televisions, all household items that have one or more glass pieces in them. Unless you plan on loading and unloading a moving truck solo, you have to build a team of movers or pay for professional moving services.
Regardless of how much planning and organizing you do, things pop up when you move. One of your scheduled movers receives another requests and calls to tell you that he can't help you move after all. The moving van arrives to your house late. It may save you money, but it throws your other moving plans off track.
If it keeps up, you might grow tired. All you may want to do is get your moving boxes inside your new home. If you're not careful, you could end up living around dozens of moving boxes for months. Avoid this ongoing nuisance by:
- Sell furniture and decorations that you know you are not going to use before you start to move.
- Load and unload boxes on the moving truck by categories. For example, unload dishes together. Unload clothes together.
- Unload heavy furniture like sofas and chairs first.
- Assign one to two people to actually unpack boxes while two other people unload boxes.
- Let someone else wash out sinks and wipe down shelves.
- Focus on unpacking. You can go back later and re-position picture frames, floral centerpieces and other items.
- Unpack living room and kitchen items last. This will motivate you to unpack bedrooms and other rooms that you might otherwise think it's not important to unpack for several days later.
- Start loading and unloading the moving truck early in the morning, around the same time that you leave home for work.
- Hire professional movers to un-box and set up your belongings.
Putting off unpacking moving boxes has consequences
Loads of planning won't get your moving boxes unpacked. It takes commitment. Motivation also helps. For motivation, remind yourself of how awkward you feel when company visits and has to climb over rows of moving boxes just to reach the sofa or a chair.
Thinking about how clothes and decorative pieces could start to smell, become discolored or bend the longer they stay packed in moving boxes, is also a good motive to unpack in one day. Another motive to unpack in one day is the fact that the longer you delay unpacking, the more comfortable you could become with living with rows of moving boxes, robbing yourself of the chance to enjoy clothes,dishes and other valuables.