10 Things in Your Bathroom You’re Probably Forgetting to Clean

 

10 Things in Your Bathroom You’re Probably Forgetting to Clean

You missed a spot!

By Lea Schneider

If you’ve showered yourself with good intentions about doing some spring cleaning, there are a few spots you don’t want to miss.

Routine bathroom cleaning means hitting the fixtures and the floor with a good once-over. That’s a terrific start, but for a deeper clean, consult this checklist for 10 things you don’t want to skip.

Bath Mat

It would be great if only clean feet hit the clean bath mat. Since the whole family is in and out of the bathroom all day long, it’s pretty likely your bath mat needs attention. Start by giving it a safety check to see if it is losing its no-slip backing or if it no longer lies flat, as both are trip hazards. Most bath mats can go in the washing machine. Some can be air-dried and others put in the dryer. Check your rug’s tag and follow manufacturer directions.

Organizing Tip: When you buy a new bath mat for a frequently used bathroom, buy two. This way you can routinely throw one in the wash and reach for a clean one to put down in its place.

Shower Curtain

Shower curtains don’t need to be cleaned often, but spring cleaning is the perfect time to take care of this task. Most fabric curtains can be taken down and washed—again, check the tag and follow the directions. As for waterproof liners, inspect them to see if you find mold and mildew forming along seams or areas that often stay wet. Replace with a fresh liner or remove the soiled one and clean it.

Toothbrush

It might be time to toss that toothbrush. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should switch to a new toothbrush every three to four months or when bristles become frayed. The ADA does not recommend any cleaning methods as a substitute for a new brush.

Organizing Tip: Buy a multi-pack of toothbrushes so you have extras available as soon as you need them.

Toothbrush Holder

The spot where you store your toothbrush typically has an accumulation of drippings and toothpaste. Use some hot soapy water to clean your holder. A small scrubbing brush is good for reaching into tight spaces.

Hairbrush

Cleaning your hairbrush and combs should be a regular task. After all, dirty hair and a buildup of products is not something you want to brush back into your clean locks. Clean your brushes by first removing any hair from the bristles. (A comb and a pair of scissors are helpful with this task.) Then shampoo your hairbrush in warm water, rinse well and allow to dry.

Loofah

You may not have given much thought to the pores in your loofah, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, they can be a breeding ground for bacteria that can even lead to skin infections. They recommend to weekly soak it in a diluted bleach solution for five minutes and then rinse thoroughly. The Clinic also recommends replacing your loofah every three to four weeks.

 

Trashcan

Grab the bathroom trashcan and banish the germs. Give it a good cleaning inside and out. Allow it to dry well. Add a liner for easy maintenance.

Vents

From floor vents to bathroom fans, these often-forgotten spots definitely need a spring cleaning. Those on the floor have dirt and hair fall into them, while ones on the ceiling can collect dust. To clean them, first remove the vent cover. Then use the brush attachment to your vacuum to clean the top and underside of the cover. Use your nozzle attachment to vacuum up debris, then replace the clean cover. For fan vents, a wet sponge is useful for collecting dust that has accumulated on the cover.

 Drain Stoppers

Why wait for a clog? Now is the perfect time to fish out any accumulation of hair and prevent buildup. Remove the drain stoppers from your sink and shower. Give them a scrub and return them to the drain.

Medicine Cabinet Clutter

Do a bit of spring organizing and reclaim storage space by purging your drawers and cabinets.

Jose Zuniga of MakeSpace recommends sorting through everything in your medicine cabinet and vanity drawers. “Throw out anything that’s expired, including old medication. Only keep the items that you use on a regular basis, such as your toiletries and grooming supplies, in your bathroom,” he says.

“Now that you’re left with only the items you use on a regular basis, look to your walls. They’re prime real estate for storing your bathroom supplies without hogging any floor or counter space. For the extra items that you don’t use often—like first aid supplies and spare rolls of toilet paper—put them in a labeled basket or clear storage container and store it on a closet shelf,” he recommends.

As you organize, give shelves and drawers a quick wipe to ensure you’re starting with a clean slate.

Armed with a fresh eye for attention to detail, your bathroom will not only look clean, but it will feel clean, too.

Professional organizing expert Lea Schneider writes for Home Depot about cleaning and organizing. She provides advice and tips on cleaning everything from shower curtains to different types of bath mats to loofahs.

Posted on August 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

25 Smart Home Technologies that Matter Most to Home Buyers

25 Smart Home Technologies that Matter Most to Home Buyers
Nearly 60 percent of the real estate agents polled said they are seeing more smart home features in listing descriptions than they did two to five years ago.

Everyone is talking about the connected home. Smart home technology is becoming the new norm and now according to a survey of more than 500 Coldwell Banker sale associates it’s taking off in real estate as well. Nearly 60 percent of sales associates surveyed said they are seeing more smart home features in listing descriptions than they did two to five years ago, and one in three sales associates noted that properties with smart home features and technologies sell faster than homes without them.

The relevance of the smart home was also apparent at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas earlier this year. Members of the Coldwell Banker Real Estate marketing team attended CES. The team couldn’t walk more than a few feet without encountering a new piece of smart home technology. From security systems with advanced motion sensors to innovative systems that allow for lighting control from mobile devices, the connected home was ubiquitous.

Inspired by CES, Coldwell Banker compiled a list of the top 25 smart home products and technologies that matter most to buyers, based on the Coldwell Banker survey and CES favorites. The list is grouped into seven categories: security, temperature, safety, lighting, entertainment, appliances and overall connectivity.

Check them out below, and follow along all week as we continue to highlight smart home technology on the Blue Matter blog and through social media with #smarthomeweek.

Smart Security

1. Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock – With Kevo the smartphone is now the key. Home sellers can allow their realtors, or anyone else such as a neighbor or a housecleaner, to have access to specified doors for a designated time. Eventually when the new buyer moves in all they have to do is download the app and they’re ready to go.

2. iSmartAlarm –Meet one of the DIY smart home security leaders, with no monthly fees and no contracts. This easy-to-install wireless DIY system is great for apartments or small homes. The iSmartAlarm system is almost infinitely expandable via door and window motion sensors, smart switches, and iCamera and iCamera KEEP models with streaming video and video storage. Packages start at $199.

3. Oplink Connected– Oplink Connected is great for a slightly larger home, and provides a premier service for a low monthly fee. The DIY alarm package includes door and window sensors as well as video cameras which are controlled through its mobile app.

4. SAGE Security & Home Automation– Coming soon — SAGE allows for management of the entire connected home through mobile devices and televisions. The television-centric SAGE system enables consumers to check on children in another room via a video feed, see who rang the doorbell or lower the room temperature — all from the comfort of the TV room couch.

Smart Temperature

5. Nest Learning Thermostat – Tell a buyer that the home has a Nest thermostat and their ears will perk-up. The Nest Learning Thermostat absorbs its owner’s daily routine and adjusts the temperature accordingly. The Nest thermostat can be controlled through a phone, its built-in sensors detect an empty home allowing Nest to set itself to an energy-efficient temperature. Oh, and it also saves customers about 10 – 12 percent on heating bills and 15 percent on cooling bills per year — a huge win.

6. Honeywell Lyric Thermostat – Honeywell is known for temperature control and their new smart thermostat, the Lyric, is a solid entry into the smart home market. The most talked about advantages of Lyric are its geofencing feature and humidity sensor for more accurate comfort, control and savings. All of these qualities are definitely pluses for families.

7. Canary – This sleek-looking product is mostly about security, but it made this smart temperature list for its ability to monitor air quality, temperature and humidity. It’s cool enough to make an impression with potential buyers, at only $249. The Canary system is available in white, black or silver.

8. Big Ass Fans’ Haiku with SenseME – The world’s most advanced ceiling fan knows exactly when to speed up and when to slow down. Not to mention, it is a gorgeous and luxurious addition to any room. Starting at $1,045 it’s a better fit for luxury homes, but it will certainly set any listing apart.

Smart Safety

9. Iris Safe & Secure Kit – With Iris, Lowe’s is making it simple for just about anyone to make their home smarter. Feel more confident that families, homes and pets are safe and secure with the DIY, self-monitored home security system. Receive notifications directly to a smartphone, tablet or computer whenever an alarm event is triggered.

10. First Alert Onelink – This suite of smart home safety products is fresh to the market. Included in this offering (and available for presale on Amazon.com) are a Wi-Fi combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm as well as a watch, both of which send phone notifications if something is amiss. The First Alert Onlink safety products, including the already available Wi-Fi thermostat, will be compatible with Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem.

11. Nest Protect – This smart home device is a smoke and carbon monoxide smart alarm that speaks in a human voice, telling the user if there’s smoke or CO, which room it’s in, and if there is immediate danger. Definitely comforting for families!

12. Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight – This genius little nightlight keeps track of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and home climate. If something’s not right, it sends immediate phone notifications.

Smart Lighting

13. Sengled Pulse Smart Bulb – This combination light and speaker had everyone buzzing at CES 2015. Simply twist the bulb into an existing light socket, download the app and connect to the Pulse bulbs. The Sengled Pulse Smart Bulb can stream music and control lighting at the same time.

14. Lutron Caséta Wireless – This connected home solution allows for lights, battery-powered shades and temperature to be controlled from a mobile device. An easy DIY solution that’s affordable, these products are less than $150. For example, hit “morning,” lights will turn onto a certain level, shades will rise and room temperature is adjusted to the desired level.

15. Philips Hue – Philips Hue delivers more than 16 million colors and all shades of white light to personalize lighting to suit any occasion, mood or moment. With more than 230 apps, Philips Hue can sync lights to music, or even simulate a sunrise effect. Bulbs and lamps are now all controllable via the Hue app or MyHue portal.

16. Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set – With this simple starter set, turn lights off-and-on from anywhere, create schedules and dim to create the perfect ambiance. The set includes the WeMo link, which allows users to connect up to 50 WeMo Smart bulbs. Can’t get enough of Belkin WeMo products? Get tricked out with complete Belkin home automation.

Smart Appliances

17.LG Studio Collection – LG Studio, LG’s premium line of kitchen appliances, seamlessly blends best-in-class innovation with an uncompromising approach to design. Its full suite of appliances — including refrigerators, cooktops, ranges, ovens and microwaves — delivers integrated and timeless styling, embodying LG’s finest expression of aesthetics and performance.

18. Whirlpool Smart Duet Washer and Dryer – Whirlpool has made it easy to control every load at anytime from anywhere. The Smart Front Washer and Dryer now work with the Nest Learning Technology, helping to keep clothes fresh if the cycle ends while the user is away.

19. LG Mega-Capacity French-Door Refrigerator – LG’s Mega Capacity Refrigerator boasts incredibly impressive size. As the largest in its class, families have room for even the biggest shopping expeditions with space to spare! It also includes the Slim Spaceplus Ice System and the Smart Cooling Plus System, which help keep food fresher, longer. The LG Mega-Capacity Refrigerator includes a 10-year limited warranty.

20. GE ChillHub This first-of-its-kind smart refrigerator has two USB hubs, WiFi and an open-source IOS-compatible app that integrates with the refrigerator by allowing access to sensor data and control of fridge components. The first ChillHub accessory, Milky Weigh, will even tell you how much milk you have left!

Smart Entertainment

21. N’FINITY PRO HDX Dual Zone Wine Cellars – The N’FINITY PRO is the most advanced wine cellar on the market. Equipped with an energy saving cooling system, telescopic shelving and dual zone cooling, these smart wine cellars will take care of all wine storage needs in the most cost efficient way!

22. Vizio 60″ P-Series Smart TV –This Ultra HD TV is crystal clear and lets users stream popular apps and favorite shows in UHD quality and use UHD playback from next generation cable and satellite receivers, Blu-ray players and more.

23. TCL Roku TV – The TCL Roku TV was released in August 2014 and quickly became a favorite because of its price and comprehensive smart TV features, such as its selection of more than 2,000 streaming channels, easy-to-use interface and simple remote. Recently, Roku announced plans to support 4K UHD streaming in future Roku TV models.

24. DishWorld TV App – The DishWorld app allows viewers to stream live TV on any smart phone, computer or tablet. The app can be used on Roku, Slingbox, Samsung Smart TV, Apple, Windows or Google Play devices.

Connected Home Platform

25. Iris Smart Kit: With so many ways to make a home smart, it can be a lot to digest and manage. Thankfully Lowe’s is making it easy with a single app to manage a Smart Home. Iris offers three starter kits and basic or premium service plans.

 

Source: Lindsay Listanski/ CB Blue Matter

Posted on June 8, 2017 at 10:05 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Cut Down on Pool Maintenance Costs This Summer

How to Cut Down on Pool Maintenance Costs This Summer

Enjoy your pool without breaking the bank.

Pool maintenance doesn’t have to be an expensive annual chore. Rather than spending up to $700 on pool maintenance, you can cut costs by doing a lot of the work yourself. You don’t want the pool to fall into such poor shape that you have to spend thousands of dollars on repairs. Here are some steps to keep pool maintenance costs down to nearly nonexistent this summer:

#1 Use your pool cover.

Pool covers significantly reduce energy costs over time because they slow how much water evaporates. With a pool cover, your pool heater doesn’t have to work overtime to keep the water cool. And it prevents debris build-up on windy days too, so you don’t have to clean the pool as often.

#2 Run your filter at night.

Running the pool filter at night helps to cut down on energy costs while still keeping your pool clean. Some people opt to run their pool filter 24 hours a day, but this is a waste of energy and over-cleans the pool, which can cause more problems. See if there’s an optimum time to run the pool filter at night and save on your electricity bill.

#3 Clean the pool filter.

Sweet and simple: cleaning your pool filter keeps your swimming pool clear and prevents you from spending more money on other, more costly pool repairs. So just do it.

#4 Invest in an energy-efficient pool pump.

If you have a normal pool pump, it only pumps at one speed — and it wastes energy on filtration, among other tasks. If you invest in an energy-efficient, variable-speed pump, you could save more than a thousand dollars over the life of the pump. You may also qualify for an energy rebate.

#5 Keep the temperature low.

You pay more money for every degree you raise the temperature in the pool. Consider keeping the water as cool as possible while remaining comfortable. You should also turn the heater off in the off season, when you’re not using the pool.

#6 Maintain the pH balance.

You must pay attention to the chemical balance of the water — not only to keep the water safe, but to keep your costs down as well. If the alkalinity of the water is thrown off for any reason, you’re usually better off getting a swimming pool professional involved. Pool chemicals are expensive — and if you don’t get the measurements right, you’re throwing money away as you pour the chemicals into the water.

#7 Balance stabilizer levels.

While all pool owners are aware of how important it is to maintain chlorine levels, not all may realize how stabilizer (cyanuric acid) plays into the process. Stabilizer aids the chlorine in its effectiveness. Too much or too little stabilizer will result in chlorine losing its effectiveness.  Pool owners need to check their stabilizer levels and decrease or increase the amount of chlorine needed in the water to keep the pool safe.

Additional Pool Maintenance Costs:

These are quick and efficient steps to keeping your pool in shape this summer. However, there are some costs you need to keep in mind for the future too:

  • Closing the pool in the fall: $75 – $200
  • Running an automatic pool cleaner: $700 – $2,000
  • Vacuuming the pool: $50 – $100
  • Using chemicals: $20 – $100/month

If this seems like too much work for you, you can hire a swimming pool maintenance service. It will cost more, but they can do a lot of the work as part of a package, which could cost less in the long-term. Packages generally include:

  • Brushing the pool
  • Skimming debris
  • Adjusting chemical levels
  • Cleaning the pool filter
  • Vacuuming

 

Source: Andrea Davis, HomeAdvisor,  LINDSAY LISTANSKI

Posted on June 4, 2017 at 11:32 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How-to Buy a Home in a Tight Market

How-to Buy a Home in a Tight Market

We all know the equation: low inventory means higher prices. Also known as a tight market, this setting can be stressful for buyers, who are trying to snap up their dream home but keep running into competition. According to the National Association of REALTORS® , attempting to purchase a house in this type of market can make the already complex process of buying a home even more overwhelming.

To help buyers successfully get through the buying process in a tight inventory market, NAR offers these five suggestions:

Determine and stick to a budget.

Before beginning the house hunting process, prospective homebuyers should receive preapproval from one or more lenders to verify the amount of money they are qualified to borrow. Then, after taking into account additional costs of ownership such as taxes, utilities and insurance, buyers should determine a final budget they can comfortably afford. When listings are scarce, bidding wars can drive up prices, so buyers must be prepared to walk away if the asking price surpasses their budget.

Identify desired neighborhoods and home wants versus needs.

When housing inventory is tight, buyers may need to compromise on what they believe they want from a home. Certain wants, such as stainless appliances or hardwood floors, can be added later. However, if a buyer wants to be in a specific school district or have a decent sized backyard, those cannot be addressed later and must be taken into account during the house hunting process.

Be ready to make a decision quickly.

In a seller’s market, homes rarely stay on the market long, so when a house that is in their budget and checks off all of their needs come along, buyers should not hesitate. Buyers should be ready to submit an offer quickly, or they may risk missing out on the home altogether.

Bid competitively and limit contingencies.

It is tempting to submit a low offer as a starting bid, but in a seller’s market buyers need to put forward their highest offer from the very beginning or they are likely to lose out on the home. It is also important to remember that in multiple bidding situations it is not always the highest offer that is most attractive to the seller but the one with the fewest contingencies. Removing restrictions related to the sale of a current home and being flexible with things like the move-in date can make a bid stand out to a seller.

Work with a local Realtor®.

All real estate is local, so it is important to work with an agent who is a Realtor®, a member of the National Association of Realtors®, and who is familiar with the areas and neighborhoods the homebuyers are considering. Realtors® are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have unparalleled knowledge of their communities; they can give buyers the competitive advantage needed in a tight market.

Source: Rismedia and  www.nar.realtor.

Posted on May 28, 2017 at 11:54 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

8 of the Best Places in America to Retire

8 of the Best Places in America to Retire

Finding a place to retire doesn’t have to be stressful. There are many living options for you to look at that offer the things you love.

Finding a place to retire doesn’t have to be stressful. Just think about what you love to do and what kind of adventures you want to partake in. There are countless places that offer the things you love, but for now here are 8 places that you should consider.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs is a vibrant and attractive city for retirees. There are many opportunities for an active life in the great outdoors of Colorado. Colorado Springs is nestled at the base of Pikes Peak and is the home of the Garden of the Gods, one of the most breathtaking national wonders in America.

Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis is the biggest city in the Hoosier state. Living in a big city may seem like a questionable financial move, but Indianapolis offers small-city pricing. There are numerous cultural activities that the city offers. Fan of the arts? The Indianapolis Museum of Art offers free general admission on the first Thursday of each month. If you enjoy world renowned art exhibits, beautiful gardens, or summer nights outdoor movie screenings, the IMA is the spot for you.

Tampa, Florida

If you are looking to retire near the beach, Tampa is a great spot for you to check out. While Tampa is located right by the beach, the city still offers many urban attractions, such as malls, sporting events.

Aiken, South Carolina

Located in the center of South Carolina’s “Thoroughbred Country” Aiken is just a small town that is placed right outside of Augusta, Georgia. There are dozens of opportunities of take place in golfing tournaments, as well as to watch steeplechase horse racing. Aiken is also well-known for its parks, historic buildings, wooded areas, and art museums.

Rockport, Texas

Rockport is one of the largest retirement communities in the United States; more than 25% of the popular is older than 65. Not only is it a thriving retirement community, but it also is conveniently placed between two big cities. The ocean is not very far away from Rockport, as well as all the amenities that come with living in or near a big city.

Astoria, Oregon

Astoria is a little beach town tucked into the Northwest corner of the beautiful state of Oregon. The mighty Colombia River runs through Astoria on the way to the Pacific Ocean. Lovers of nature need look no further than Astoria to find a peaceful small town with specialty shops and delicious, fresh seafood!

Mendocino, California

Mendocino is more than just a place—it’s a state of mind. Mendocino boasts gorgeous natural scenery combined with a tight-knit local community. With the perfect mix of social opportunity and natural wonder, Mendocino is a retirement dream.

Thinking about where you want to retire certainly can be stressful, especially if you have no idea where you want to purchase your new home. All eight of the cities that we talked about in this article are great places to retire; they’re all filled with fun adventures that you can partake in. Just think about what you love to do and you will be all set to pick the best location for you to retire in!

Source: CB Blue Matter/Sharon Le

Posted on April 27, 2017 at 5:01 am
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Things to Look for in a House if You Have Children

 

10 Things to Look for in a House if You Have Children

If you have kids (or are planning to) and you’re shopping for a house, your what-to-look-for checklist is probably already a mile long. To avoid getting swamped by the home buying process, focus on what you really want from your home. Beyond the basics of location, price, condition and school district, what would really make a home a great fit for your family? Consider adding these 10 items to your home buying wish list — and then share your own ideas in the Comments.

1. Entry storage. From the strollers and car seats of the baby stage to the sports gear and backpacks of the older years, a never-ending parade of stuff comes with having children in the house — and the more places you have to put this stuff when you walk in the door, the better! Look for a house with built-in entry storage, from closets and cabinets to cubbies and shelves. Having an entry out of view of the rest of the house is ideal, so you can enjoy your home without staring at the gear in the entryway all the time.

2. Convenient laundry. A laundry in the basement may not be the first thing you notice at an open house, but if you have young children, you might want to give the laundry zone a little more thought. Having the washer and dryer on the main level — in a mudroom or off the kitchen, for instance — comes in incredibly handy when you’re wrangling small children who go through more wardrobe changes in one day than Lady Gaga. A laundry near upstairs bedrooms is another good option, since this will likely mean a lot less schlepping of heavy baskets up and down the stairs.


3. Stairs that can be safely gated. Speaking of stairs, if you are looking at homes with more than one level, pay attention to the stairs and railings. Look for stairs that can be gated easily at the top and bottom, and sturdy railings without any wide gaps. Airy, open staircases may look beautiful, but if you can’t easily block them, life with a little one will be very stressful.

4. Ditto for the kitchen. While being able to see what’s going on in the living room while you chop veggies for dinner is a definite plus, it still pays to consider how you can gate off the cooking area to keep curious little hands out. Door openings that are larger than standard size may require custom (read: costlier) solutions. Of course, you may decide you don’t need to separate this area … but it never hurts to think about it before you buy.

5. Built-in storage. Built-in storage means more places to neatly stash your family’s stuff, without worrying about anchoring tall, topple-prone pieces of furniture to the wall. Ideally, look for built-in shelving in the living room or family room with open shelves above and closed cabinets below.

6. Kid-friendly bathroom. We’re not talking about a themed bathroom here, but a functional space that will work well for your family. Look for a bathroom with a tub and plenty of room to maneuver — you may be spending a remarkable number of hours perched on a stool beside that tub, so comfort and spaciousness count! Other details to look for include a bathroom mirror that comes down close to the sink (so little ones can actually see themselves), and storage space for bath toys and extra towels, and if you have a large family, multiple faucets are a big plus.

7. Bonus space. When you have kids, extra space is always a good thing. Look for an area of the home that has the potential to be used in a number of different ways, from playroom to home office to nursery for a future sibling. If the space (attic, basement) is not finished, find out what it would take to make this area usable in the future.


8. Fenced yard. Even a small yard can offer big possibilities to a child, from building play forts to digging in the dirt. For your own peace of mind, look for a backyard that is fully, securely fenced, so you can let creative play happen without worrying your little explorer will go toddling off toward the street.

9. A view of the outdoors. Being able to take care of a little chore inside and still have a view of your child playing can be a huge help. A bonus benefit of having a good view of your outdoor space — whether through generous windows, sliding glass doors or French doors — is that it will encourage you and your family to actually use it!


10. Master suite. As a parent, having a space to call your own is so important. Sure, you may end up sharing the space with a toddler who had bad dreams or a random pile of Lego bricks more often than you would like, but knowing that this space is officially yours is worth it. Look for a master bedroom with its own private bathroom and a spacious closet. French doors leading to your own private balcony or patio? Major bonus.

Source: CB Blue Matter Victoria Keichinger,Houzz Contributor, Laura Gaskill

Posted on April 25, 2017 at 10:59 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Buy a Home With No Down Payment

Do you want to achieve the dream of homeownership but dread the looming down payment you’ll need? Figuring out how to come up with a down payment for a house can seem like a huge hurdle, especially to those with little to no savings.

down payment assistance (1).jpgConventional loans can require a 20% down payment, but did you know there are many loan programs available, some which require a minimal or even no down payment at all? It’s important to understand the different loan options available. Find out more about each of these low or no down payment programs and determine what you might qualify for.

Local Down Payment Assistance Programs
Many state or local down payment assistance programs reduce or eliminate the need for a down payment. They are often in the form of an interest-free, “silent” second mortgage that doesn’t need to be repaid until the house is sold, refinanced, or paid in full.

One example is California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) MyHome Assistance Program, which offers a second loan up to 3.5% of the purchase price or appraised value to help with down payment and/or closing costs.

Programs vary by state and city. To find down payment assistance programs near you, contact your state’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage(SM)
The Home Possible Advantage program is attractive because it allows for a low down payment and flexible sources of funds to qualify. In addition to flexible funding, it provides up to 97% financing and offers down payment assistance programs, which can be through a silent second.

Home Ready by Fannie Mae
As an alternative to an FHA loan, Home Ready is a conventional 3% down loan with even more flexible income qualification guidelines. In addition, Home Ready may have reduced mortgage insurance options, including no upfront mortgage insurance fees and may be cancelable per servicer/Fannie Mae guidelines. Gift funds or Community seconds are also allowable for the down payment.

FHA Loans
FHA loans have been specifically designed to help first-time borrowers get into homes. Because these loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, and come with a government guarantee, lenders are more willing to have flexible qualifying guidelines.

With an FHA loan, the down payment can be as low as 3.5% and can be provided from a family member as a gift fund. Credit scores to 640, lower debt ratios, and seller contributions are all allowed with a FHA loan.

VA Loans
VA Loans are available to veterans, actively serving military personnel, and surviving spouses of veterans. They are government backed and encourage lenders to lend with more lenient qualifying guidelines.

VA loans offer up to 100% financing, without mortgage insurance. Veterans can qualify for a VA loan with suitable credit, adequate income, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility.

USDA Loans
USDA loans offer a no down payment requirement for buyers. These loans are government insured 100% purchase loans for rural property outside of major metropolitan areas.

The requirements for a USDA loan are very specific, so our specialized loan experts at American Pacific Mortgage can help determine if you qualify under the current guidelines. As long as you meet the USDA requirements, you can get 100% financing when you purchase your rural home.

Qualifications include a fixed-rate mortgage loan up to $417,000, single family-dwellings, PUD or condos as the owner’s primary residence, and up to 97% LTV financing.
Saving for a down payment may seem overwhelming, but with the plethora of programs available, we are confident that we can help find a loan program that is right for you. Talk with one of our loan advisors today to learn more about the different down payment options and find out which ones you may qualify for.

 

Source:

Loli Lonso and Alix Branson- American Pacific Mortgage

Posted on March 31, 2017 at 5:27 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

TOP 5 most affordable and most expensive homes of Solano County 2016

2016 Happened to be a year of great growth in the real estate industry in Solano County. We experienced a surge in prices for homes under $375,000- seeing in some cases a price increase of up to $60,000 or more. We also saw increases (while more modest, still quite substantial) across the board in homes, mobile homes and on vacant and farm land.

In this post, I have accumulated Solano County’s 5 most affordable homes and the 5 most expensive homes that sold this year. It was really neat for me to see in one place the spread and I hope you enjoy seeing the range in real estate that Solano County has to offer.

1031 Capitol Street, Vallejo- 466 sq ft $80,000

21527797_01

1319 Napa Street, Vallejo- 756 sq ft $100,000

21520927

58 Werden Street, Vallejo- 988 sq ft $119,000

21526618

311 Phelan Street, Vallejo- 756 sq ft $130,000

21520394

1672 Broadway Street, Vallejo- 953 sq ft $138,000

METADATA-START

 

And the most expensive homes of 2016 are:

5244 Oakridge Drive, Fairfield- 5867 sq ft $1,675,000

21603893

7685 Pleasants Valley Road, Vacaville – 4811 sq ft $1,700,000

21507512_01

225 Buck Ave, Vacaville- 4514 sq ft $1,700,000

21523145_01

1614 Amaral Ct, Fairfield- 3585 sq ft $1,995,000

21609055_01

4400 Suisun Valley Road, Fairfield 4246 sq ft $2,450.000

21515851

While the more expensive homes that sold in Solano County this year were some of our higher end homes, they were not the highest priced homes in the county.

Based on our sold properties, you can see that Solano County has an array of homes- from tiny homes to executive mansions and vineyard estates.

Posted on December 28, 2016 at 3:04 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,