William Raveis Real Estate and Home Services

Posted by Deborah Schilling on 10/19/2017

Buy a house before you're ready and you could get stuck with a mortgage that chips away at your savings. The fact is that unless you're a professional house flipper, it could take you weeks, perhaps months, to sell your house.

Knowing whether you're ready to buy a home or not is a major life decision. The effects of your decision could last years. Do yourself a favor and think about the below readiness signs before you sign a mortgage.

It's important to buy a house at the right time

The average American mortgage exceeds $170,000. That's a lot of debt to take on if you're not ready. Assess your finances before you look for a house. Add up your food,clothing, entertainment, student loans, travel and credit card expenses. Also,add in how much the house you would like to live in cost, including mortgage interest payments.

Because you'll be paying on your mortgage for years, wait until you've been at your job for longer than a year to buy a house. That doesn't guarantee job security, but it can give you time to gain visibility and a strong, positive reputation where you work. Make sure that you have a dependable income before you take on a mortgage.

Give yourself time to improve your credit score. A good credit score can get you lower fixed mortgage interest rates. Avoid getting pulled into low adjustable rate mortgages, as the amount of interest that you pay on these mortgages may rise over time, making it harder for you to meet your mortgage obligations.

Think about house repairs that you may need to make. Buy a brand new house and five or more years could pass before a pipe, wire or floor needs repair. Buy an older house and you could start repairing leaks, floors and window panes a year or less after you move in. If you know how to lay floor tiles, repair holes in walls and unclog pipes, you might be more ready to take on a mortgage than you think.

Your personality and personal tastes play a role

Consider where you're moving to. If you're a leader, you might be able to form community groups and improve an entire neighborhood that had been struggling with safety and beautification issues. Your personality plays a role in how satisfying you will find home ownership. After all, regardless of where you move, you're going to have to interact and relate with others.

Regarding relationships and personality, ask yourself if you're more comfortable living in a single home or an apartment. For example, if your adult children recently left home, you might adjust to the change better if you rent a townhouse or an apartment for one to two years before you buy a house.

Take the stress out of buying a home. Wait to start house shopping until your personal,work and financial situations permit. It's also good to wait to co-sign a mortgage with a partner until after you have been in the relationship for awhile. But, this doesn't mean that you have to rent an apartment. Until you're ready, as a safeguard, you could purchase a home under a rent-to-own agreement.

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Posted by Deborah Schilling on 10/12/2017

Purchasing a house can be tricky, particularly for those who are dealing with a high-pressure negotiation. Luckily, we're here to help you get the best results from any homebuying negotiation, at any time.

Now, let's take a three must-haves for those who are getting ready to negotiate a home purchase.

1. Housing Market Data

An informed homebuyer is a smart shopper. As such, this individual will obtain a large assortment of housing market data that he or she can use to make the best buying decision.

For homebuyers, it is important to understand how one house stacks up against comparable residences in any real estate market. That way, a homebuyer can submit a competitive offer that is based on pertinent housing market data.

Examine the prices of recently sold houses similar to the one that you'd like to buy. Also, check out the prices of comparable houses that are currently available. And with this housing market data at your disposal, you can boost your chances of getting the optimal price for your dream residence.

2. Self-Confidence

Let's face it – a homebuying negotiation is stressful, regardless of whether you're a first-time homebuyer or have purchased many residences over the years. But if you remain confident throughout a negotiation, you can take a calm, cool and collected approach, even when times get tough.

A confident homebuyer will have no trouble standing his or her ground during a negotiation. And if this individual is uncomfortable with a home seller's counter-proposal, he or she will be willing to walk away and restart a home search.

Furthermore, a confident homebuyer will remain open to new ideas and consider the home seller's perspective. This will enable a homebuyer to examine both sides of a negotiation and proceed accordingly.

3. An Experienced Real Estate Agent

When it comes to negotiating a home purchase, there is no need to handle a negotiation on your own. Fortunately, an experienced real estate agent is happy to offer guidance at each stage of a homebuying negotiation.

An experienced real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a great home at an affordable price. As a result, he or she will go above and beyond the call of duty to negotiate with a home seller on your behalf.

Typically, an experienced real estate agent will act as a liaison between a homebuyer and home seller. This housing market professional will keep you up to date about whether a home seller accepts or rejects your proposal to purchase a home. He or she also will provide recommendations and suggestions to help you transform a stressful negotiation into a successful one.

Perhaps best of all, an experienced real estate agent is ready to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions. He or she will provide you with the support you need to ensure you can make informed decisions throughout a homebuying negotiation.

Get ready for a homebuying negotiation – consider the aforementioned factors, and you can move one step closer to finalizing a home purchase.

Posted by Deborah Schilling on 10/5/2017

If you walk down the kitchen aisle of any department store you'll see dozens of kitchen tools--some you've maybe never even heard of. As long as people keep buying gimmicky kitchen tools and utensils, companies will keep making them. The temptation might be there, when walking through Target, to buy that chicken-shaped egg yolk separator, but do you really need it? In this article, we'll cover the essential list of kitchen utensils. Once your drawer has these items, you won't need anything else. You'll free up space in your kitchen and avoid money-wasting gimmicks that often don't even work, allowing you to buy better versions of the tools that really count. Note: We won't be talking about the basic silverware and dishes (forks, spoons, plates, cups, etc.) since we can assume you already have those.

  1. The chef's knife. A chef's knife is arguably the most important item in any kitchen. A good chef's knife is made from steel, has balanced weight, and is comfortable to hold. Be sure to keep it sharp and there's nothing you can't cut with it.
  2. Two spatulas. One metal for flipping items on your baking sheets and meat on the grill, one plastic for your frying pans. Thin, heat-resistant, and durable are what you're looking for here.
  3. Three spoons. One wooden (for stirring), one plastic with holes and one plastic without holes.
  4. A strainer. You don't need four sizes of strainer; one big one will do. Be sure to pick one with handles, sturdy handles, for draining big pots of pasta.
  5. Shears. Whether it's for de-stringing a Thanksgiving turkey or opening up a bag of frozen peas, they'll save you a headache trying to use a knife.
  6. Serrated bread knife. Unless you like to ruin a fresh loaf of bread by crushing it while cutting it, you'll need a serrated edge.
  7. Measuring cups and spoons. Clean your measuring spoons by hand so they don't get tossed around in your dishwasher and melted.
  8. Can opener. Skip the huge electric can openers and buy a good handheld one that will last years.
  9. Cutting board. A quality large wooden cutting board will make your life a lot easier, and it won't dull your blades.
  10. Peeler. Y-shaped peelers are much easier to use than their knife-shaped counterparts.
  11. Mixing bowl. You could benefit from multiple mixing bowls if you do a lot of baking, but oftentimes you only need one large bowl for most recipes and can use your smaller soup bowls for other ingredients.

Avoiding the gimmicks

It seems like every day there's a new infomercial for a lemon juice squeezer or a banana slicer. You'll notice that they tend to follow certain trends and offer the same promises. Here are the ones to avoid:
  • Fruit and vegetable slicers. If you have a knife, there's no need for tools that claim to slice certain types of vegetables better than others.
  • Single-use tools. Shears designed just for cutting and serving pizza? Yes, they exist. Avoid items that will just take up space in your cabinets and opt for those that serve multiple purposes.
  • Things you've never heard of. If it's an object that you've never seen or heard of before, odds are you don't need it in your kitchen cabinets. The most time-tested tools are all it takes to make great meals in your kitchen.

Tags: tools   home   kitchen   Cooking   utensils   kitchen tools   cook  
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Posted by Deborah Schilling on 9/28/2017

You’re serious about maintaining a clean home. Everyone who knows you compliments you on your housekeeping habits. Some of your friends even ask you for advice on how they can create a safer and a healthier home. What you and your friends may not know is how unsafe the inside of your walls are. That’s right. Your house walls could harbor dangers that you don’t know about.

Pests do severe damage to your house

Hear that your walls could be harboring unsafe elements and creeping insects might be the first thing that pops into your mind. If such images did come to the front of your thoughts, you’re on the right track.

Termites are among the most damage causing insects that live in your walls. Different types of termites are attracted to different types of material. For example, drywood termites also live in roofs and floors. Get them and they can chew away at the very structure of your home. These determined insects also get into furniture,swimming pools and paper products like books. Unfortunately, you may not notice that you have these pests until after they have bred into one or more colonies.

Cockroaches are another insect that bred inside house walls. Although they don’t destroy wood like termites, they are not pests that you want hanging around in or outside the walls of your home. Why?

Cockroaches carry germs like bacteria and viruses. They don’t mind nibbling on the same food you’re eating. Let one crumb hit the floor and a dozen cockroaches can show up within seconds, scurrying out of your house walls to the food. These pests can cause diarrhea and food poisoning. Get too many of them and you might start itching, not to mention becoming anxious.

Pests aren’t the only dangers that could be lurking in your house walls

Poor wiring is another danger that could be lurking in your house walls. Cause of poor wiring is generally the faulty work of a contractor. You may not spot this problem until an outlet sparks, not once but several times. Faulty wiring can also cause power outages and fires.

Let it leak in your house after hard rains and mold could form on the interior and exterior of your walls. Mold can trigger allergies. It can also contribute to an asthma attack. Other symptoms that mold is in your house include skin rashes and difficulty swallowing or a scratchy throat. You may be able to treat small amounts of mold that show up on the exterior of your house on your own. These are places like a bathroom shower stall or kitchen sink back splash. For larger mold spaces, call a professional.

Everything that could put you and your family at risk of developing an illness is not in plain sight. Pests, harmful chemicals and unsafe wiring could be lurking in your house walls. Despite your regular cleanings, these harmful elements may remain. In fact, the only way to rid your home of these dangers may be to contact a home inspector and request a thorough examination of your house. Money and well being that you save in the long run may well be worth it.

Tags: house walls  
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Posted by Deborah Schilling on 9/21/2017

We may drool over homes that we see on TV, wondering if we could ever have a home that measures up. The truth is that anyone can have the benefits of luxury living with the right adjustments made to a property. We’ll take a look at some of the most prominent features of luxury homes and how you can have them in your own home- all at a less-than-luxury price. 

Open Floor Plans

Homes with grand entryways, and elaborate architecture present as you enter tend to be a sign of luxury. However, the open floor plan is the most important part of a luxury home. This gives the feeling of open spaces, large rooms, and an airy feeling. Why wouldn’t you want to feel this way? Everyone can afford to make their home a bit more open simply by removing furniture or doing some simple remodeling.

Smart Homes Rule

A sign of a luxury home that’s actually readily accessible to everyone is that of a smart home. The more technology that’s present in the home, the more luxurious a home feels. Homeowners want every piece if technology that they can get their hands on when it comes to smart living. With the touch of a button, you can lock your doors, control the alarm system, or control your home’s climate. You don’t even have to be anywhere near your home to perform these operations. Installing wireless technologies is a great idea because they provide ease and a sense of security for homeowners. 

Be Environmentally Friendly 

If you decide to install some solar panels or build an addition to the home with reclaimed materials that could be very attractive to homebuyers. People are looking for ways to contribute to a better environment and save money at the same time. Environmentally friendly features in a home are very attractive to buyers. and provide a sense of luxury.

Outdoor Kitchen And Seating

An outdoor kitchen is truly a luxury item. People who are looking for a bit of luxury in their life look for a great outdoor living space. The kitchen should include a built-in grill, a sink, and a food prep area. You should also have adequate seating for this outdoor area. If you’re unable to install an entire kitchen, consider possibly installing just a built-in grill on its own. If you have the budget and the room, consider putting in a hot tub for the ultimate backyard of luxury. 

Game And Theater Rooms

If you have a room of the house that can be used as a home theater or a game room, you have a golden piece of luxury that many people crave. Separate entertainment spaces are really an item that not many homes have. If you can finish your basement and transform it into either a home theater, game room, or both, your property has a piece of luxury with it.  

If you want to sneak a peek into the lives of the rich and famous, now you can. Many prominent features of luxury homes are accessible to everyone with a bit of planning.

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Deborah Schilling