Test Drive a Home Before an Offer

Leave a comment

While that newly renovated home looks great in photos, what’s really behind that real estate listing could be too good to be true. When it comes to assessing a potential new home, the savvy buyer knows to relentlessly sleuth for any hidden problems. Like you would at a car dealership, test drive your potential future home for important features that easily go unnoticed. Here, Trulia.com explains how to make like a crime-scene detective and put your potential home to the test—before you submit an offer.

1. See what the neighbors are like

Before you step foot into a potential new place, drive by a few times. What’s the foot traffic like in the neighborhood? Do the strolling neighbors look more like young professionals or married couples with children? How much noise do the neighbors make? (Sneak in a Saturday night visit to get the full taste.) If you drive to work, test your morning and evening commutes and time how long it takes you.

2. Head out on a walking tour

Once you’ve examined the place by vehicle, it’s time to repeat on foot. See how long it takes you to get to the nearest coffee shop or restaurant, and make sure you love the local cuisine or cup of joe. (A walkability score considers only quantity, not quality, of amenities.) Scope out the nearest public transportation stations while gauging the condition of sidewalks and public plantings—a well-manicured neighborhood usually suggests stronger civic engagement.

3. Test out the plumbing

Don’t get seduced by the stand-up shower with the exposed copper pipes and wraparound glass doors—try it out yourself. How hard is the pressure? How quickly does the water heat? Test the bathroom and kitchen sinks while you’re at it. Water pressure shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but low pressure could indicate a damaging leak and more water problems (and expenses) down the road.

4. Open the windows

Even if it’s chilly, open a few windows, especially in the room that may be your future master bedroom. This is a good way to check if any windows are stuck, but also an opportunity to listen. Can you hear a lot of traffic or neighborly noise? Do your windows seem to bring in a lot of cross breezes, or do neighboring buildings block the airflow? When the windows are closed, can you feel drafts around the edge of the frames? Windows are crucial for the look and feel of your home.

5. Inspect the home’s natural lighting

If the open house happens on a cloudy day, schedule a follow-up visit when the sun is shining. See how the natural light flows through each room, especially high-traffic areas. If a room seems especially dark, consider whether the paint color is causing the problem. On the same note, you’ll want to see how dark the bedrooms can get. Close all the shades in all the bedrooms and see if the light still filters through; you might want to throw room-darkening shades onto your shopping list.

6. Keep your ears open for any unwanted noise

This is a biggie—condo sounds, in particular, can drive homeowners insane. Make multiple visits to a unit to catch surrounding neighbors when they’re home and making noise. If there are multiple condos for sale in the building, bring a friend and walk around upstairs or in the adjacent unit to see how noise travels. And be sure to ask if children live in the building; the pitter-patter of little feet is far less charming to those who live below them.
Once you’ve assessed noise levels, you should determine how sound travels within the home. Turn on the dryer to hear how loud it is. March around in the guest bedroom to determine how thick the walls are. If you’ll need to invest in sound insulation and throw rugs, it’s better to know now.

7. Scope out storage space

Some sellers clear their homes of all clutter, but many don’t. Rather than turn up your nose at an overstuffed bedroom closet, take out the tape measure and record some dimensions. The space may be larger than it seems; you can also take those measurements home and plan out a closet scheme online to see how much stuff it can really handle.

8. Don’t forget your marbles

Are those newly stained hardwood floors level? Bring a marble to find out. Discreetly place the marble on the hardwood floors: Does it stay put or start rolling? If the slope is especially steep, there might be a structural problem at play, but even a slightly uneven floor can become a bargaining chip.

Save Energy During the Holidays!

Leave a comment

You have probably dropped a load of money on Christmas gifts and do not want any extra expenses. To curb energy bills, here are 10 simple tips that will help you conserve energy.
1. Switch to LED LightsRunning LED lights costs a fraction of the money it takes to use standard bulbs. As you decorate your home, it is worth switching your old strands for new LEDs.
2. Turn Out the Lights
Although Christmas lights look beautiful, it is essential to turn them off when you go to bed at night. It is also possible to use automatic timers as well.
3. Shop Around
Electronic devices and appliances are popular gifts. However, it is important to choose “Energy Star” models.
4. Shop Smart
It is wise to finish all your shopping during one mall stop so that you save gas on multiple visits.
5. Kitchen Efficiency
To save energy in the kitchen, it is wise to heat leftovers in the microwave and to take all ingredients out of the refrigerator at once.
6. Cut the Heat
The ideal temperature setting on your thermostat is 68 degrees. With a fire going, this can be lowered.
7. Burn Wood Efficiently
When filling your fireplace, it is wise to use man-made logs, which are natural and inexpensive. They are good for the environment and your wallet.
8. Fireplace Smarts
When you extinguish the fire, make sure to close the flue. This keeps heat from escaping.
9. Junk Mail
Junk mail kills 53 million trees a year. To help the environment, buy online and avoid mailing lists.
10. Change Your Dress
To remain warm indoors, you should wear layers so that you can keep the thermostat turned low. It is important to wear slippers as well.
By following the above tips, you will enjoy lower energy bills and help preserve the environment.
Tags: holidays, home owners, real estate, tips

Let’s Talk Recycling

Leave a comment

Let’s Talk Recycling!

Those who know me know I get excited about many experiences that most people would not find amusing. I uncover small molecules of joy and bewilderment in the ordinary and unexpected that keeps me young and in a state of gratitude. Recycling is now one of them!

Lurking in a dark corner of the garage lays unwanted, unfriendly earthen Household Hazardous Waste growing dust and taking up space. What to do with the plethora of items that we cannot simply throw into our regular trash?

First a definition:

What is Household Hazardous Waste?

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is any product labeled: toxic, poison, corrosive, flammable, combustible or irritant. The health and safety of our community is endangered when these products are discarded in household garbage, sinks or storm drains. The amount of products from a single home may seem insignificant. However, when millions of homes across Los Angeles County use similar products, the combined effect becomes a major problem.

Some communities have special environmental collection events, or locations that collect and safely destroy these toxic troublemakers.

Recently I had the good fortune to experience my own little environmentally friendly, eco-centric recycling moment, and I was stunned at how easy and efficient it was.

Located at the Hyperion Treatment Plant near El Segundo, being a good citizen of the earth and giving Mother Nature the respect she deserves couldn’t have been easier.

You drive up to a security gate and are guided to the collection location – all the while staying in your car. Men in white moon suits greet you. You pop the trunk and they collect everything, with a smile. It truly could not be any easier. I enjoyed the futuristic element of the guys in their protective amour. It took less than 6 minutes and I was done, feeling very proud of myself. You will too! Just Do It as #Nike so aptly urges.

And spread the word. It’s free.

paintcans

%d bloggers like this: