Real Estate Tips

    • Pros and Cons of Buying a House With Cash

      30 January 2023

      Most people who purchase a house take out a mortgage, but some can pay the entire cost upfront and buy a property outright. If you have the funds available to pay cash for a new home, that can give you some distinct advantages, but it’s also important to consider the risks.

      Benefits of Paying Cash for a House
      If you can afford to pay cash, you can avoid all of the hassles and costs associated with getting a mortgage. You won’t have to shop around for the best rates, submit applications or wait for approval. You won’t have to pay fees associated with a mortgage at the time of closing, and you can save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest. 

      Being able to pay in cash can make your offer more appealing to a seller. Sometimes two parties agree on a purchase price, but the deal falls through because the buyer can’t get financing. If a seller gets multiple offers, you can pay in cash and others can’t, the seller will be more likely to accept your bid. Even if another buyer offers more money, the seller may accept a lower price from you if you can pay in cash and the other buyer can’t. 

      Owning a house outright can give you peace of mind. You won’t have to worry about the monthly cost of a mortgage and will have room in your budget to focus on other priorities.

      Downsides of Buying a House With Cash
      You may have additional financial goals, such as investing for retirement and your kids’ college education. If you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash for a house, you won’t be able to put those funds toward your other long-term priorities. 

      If you itemize your tax deductions and you have a mortgage, you will be able to deduct interest. That may significantly reduce your tax liability. That won’t be an option if you pay cash for a house and don’t take out a mortgage.  

      Buying a house with cash can leave you with little money in savings. If you lose your job, the house needs major repairs or you face some other type of financial emergency, you may struggle to make ends meet. 

      If you buy a house with cash, a large sum of money will be tied up in a single investment. If you fall on hard times and need to sell your home, you may not be able to find a buyer quickly or you may have to accept less than you paid for the property. 

      Weigh the Pros and Cons
      Everyone’s situation is different. Think about how much money you have to work with, how much you have already saved for retirement and other long-term goals, and how comfortable you would be having a large sum of money tied up in a house. If you need additional advice, consult a financial professional.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Why Your Furnace May Be Short Cycling and What to Do About It

      30 January 2023

      The amount of time a furnace runs in a cycle depends on several factors, but it’s typically 10 to 15 minutes. If your furnace runs for a shorter amount of time, then turns off, it’s short cycling. There are several reasons why it may do that.

      The Furnace Is Shutting Off to Prevent a Gas Leak
      A furnace has a flame sensor that detects flames or natural gas. If the sensor is covered with dirt and dust or has corroded over time, it may be unable to detect flames and may cause the furnace to shut off to prevent a gas leak. 

      Your furnace may be short cycling because the hot surface lighter is damaged. If that’s the case, or if the pilot light shuts off, the furnace will turn off to keep gas from accumulating.

      The Furnace Is Shutting Off to Prevent Overheating
      If the air filter or furnace exhaust pipe is clogged with dirt, dust or other contaminants, that can block airflow and cause the furnace to overheat. Furnaces are designed to shut off automatically when they get too warm in order to protect internal components from damage. 

      Make sure that the supply and return vents are open and that there is no furniture blocking them. Check your air filter on a regular basis and replace it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.  

      The exhaust vent removes poisonous carbon monoxide from the house. Rodents, birds and insects can get into a vent and cause a blockage. Ice can also block an exhaust vent. If carbon monoxide can’t escape because the vent is blocked, the furnace can overheat and shut off. A blocked vent can also lead to a gas leak in the house. 

      The Furnace Is the Wrong Size
      Sometimes a house has a furnace that is too large for the amount of space it serves. If your furnace is too big for your house, it will provide more heat than necessary, then quickly shut off when it receives a signal from the thermostat. That can lead to uneven heat distribution, with some rooms or parts of rooms warm and others cold. It can also lead to high utility bills. 

      The Thermostat Isn’t in an Appropriate Location
      The thermostat should be placed in a central location. If it’s near a window, a door, a vent or an appliance that generates heat, it can get an inaccurate temperature reading. If the thermostat’s reading is higher than the actual temperature, the furnace will shut off sooner than it should. 

      Consult a Professional
      It can be difficult to figure out why your furnace is short cycling. If you aren’t sure of the reason, have an HVAC technician conduct an inspection, make any necessary repairs or refer you to another professional who can help with vent cleaning or other services.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • What Type of Paint Should You Use in Your Basement?

      30 January 2023

      Basements tend to be damp spaces. The paint that you used in your living room or bedroom won’t be appropriate for an environment with a higher level of humidity. 

      You need to use waterproof paint in your basement to keep condensation from forming between the concrete and drywall and to keep mold and mildew from growing in the basement. If your basement has concrete walls, waterproof paint can reduce the amount of moisture that seeps through the walls. 

      Types of Waterproof Paint
      Latex paint dries fast and produces less of an odor than some other forms of paint. It’s long lasting and less likely to crack or peel than some other types of paint. Latex also gives walls an attractive finish. 

      Epoxy is a durable and stain-resistant paint that resists cracking, peeling and other forms of damage. It has a satin finish and is easy to clean. 

      Acrylic paint is another option, although it’s not as durable as some other types of paint. It may work in an unfinished basement, but it’s not the best option for a finished basement that’s used frequently. If you decide to use acrylic paint, apply a sealer to avoid damage.

      You can also use urethane paint in your basement. It’s generally used as a topcoat and sealant to prevent damage. 

      How to Prepare Basement Walls for Painting
      Before you begin painting the walls in your basement, make sure that they’re clean. Vacuum the walls, then wash them with soap and water to get rid of any dirt, dust, grease and other debris. 

      After you clean the walls, seal any cracks or holes to keep water from seeping through and damaging the walls. Sealing holes and cracks can also create a smooth surface for painting.

      If the walls are currently covered with a glossy paint, use sandpaper to create a rough surface. That will help the new paint adhere to the walls. 

      How to Paint the Walls in Your Basement
      If the walls are covered with drywall, you will have to apply a primer before you paint. When working with drywall in a basement, latex primer is typically used before paint.  

      Use a polyester or nylon brush to cover the edges of the walls with primer, then work your way toward the middle. Let the primer dry thoroughly before you paint. 

      If you apply primer first, make sure that you pair it with an appropriate paint. Check the label on the can of primer to find out which type of paint should be used with it.

      You may be able to paint the walls using a roller or spray gun. Check the instructions on the paint can.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 9 Morning Routines to Start Your Day Off Right

      27 January 2023

      Some people seem to hop out of bed in the morning filled with energy and purpose. Whether you are one of them, or if you are one of the many who seem to require a little push, morning routines can play a major role in setting you up to have a better day. Try a few of these early morning suggestions to help improve your focus and productivity.

      • Drink Water - A long night’s sleep can dehydrate your body. Kickstart your metabolism by drinking a glass or two of water right when you wake up. Add lemon for an extra boost and flavor.
      • Breathe Deeply - Taking a few deep breaths can help reduce stress, improve circulation and increase your brain and heart health
      • Stretch - Even if you plan a run or a gym visit later, release a few endorphins early with a few simple stretching exercises to start you off with increased mental focus.
      • Eat Something Healthy - Fruits, nuts and unsweetened grains can get your metabolism into gear, increasing your focus and giving you more energy to start the day on a high note. 
      • Read Something - Whether it’s a newspaper or a chapter of the book on your night table, reading in the morning is a good way to wake up your brain and focus.
      • Meditate - Take five or ten minutes to relax, contemplate and get in touch with yourself. It can set you up to think more effectively and increase your productivity.
      • Journal a Bit - Like meditation, writing in a journal for a few minutes in the morning can help structure your thoughts and boost your mood.
      • Create a To-Do List - Setting a few daily goals down on paper increases your chances of accomplishing them.
      • Practice Gratitude - Take a few moments to think of three things you are grateful for. It will push your mindset toward positive thinking and set you up to have a positive outlook.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Indoor Flowering Plants to Lift Winter's Gloom

      27 January 2023

      During this gray and gloomy time of year, it seems like spring is never going to come. Many people need a little something to lift their mood and spirits. Enter the flowering house plant—a colorful little companion that helps regulate humidity and increase positivity. Indoor plants improve concentration and productivity by up to 15%, enough to reduce stress levels and boost your mood.

      If that’s not enough, research by NASA shows that indoor plants are good for your health. They release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, freshening the air, eliminating harmful toxins and making them a perfect addition to your home and work space. Here are a few indoor flowering plants that are not only the easiest to find, but the easiest to care for, as well. 

      • African Violets - One of the most satisfactory flowering plants, this compact little plant featuring attractive dark green leaves bears lovely little flowers just above the foliage. With just enough watering to keep the soil moist, they flower almost always continuously.
      • Orchids - Among the most popular indoor flowering plants, the many available orchid hybrids are very easy to grow and will reward you with gorgeous flowers under most home conditions and with little but consistent watering.
      • Christmas Cactus - Hold on to a bit of holiday cheer with this beautiful, easy-to-care-for plant that can be grown indoors all year-round if you put it in your sunniest location. Flowers range in color from yellow, salmon, pink, fuchsia and white, or combinations.
      • Anthurium - Also known as laceleaf, this common indoor flowering plant is known for its tall, brightly colored, long-lasting flowers and shiny, ornamental leaves. They do best with a bit of indirect light and consistently moist soil.
      • Oxalis - This dramatic, low-growing plant, featuring sprightly bouquets of white flowers and vibrant purple leaves, is fun to grow and to keep an eye on because the blooms open and close in response to light.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.