Sometimes, events may occur that will either cause you and your family to move in with your parents, or have your parents move in with you. A living arrangement such as this can benefit everyone because there will be more people in a home to take care of it. Having multiple generations in your house will help bring your family closer, and there are several ways how you can make this arrangement work.
Having another generation of family members move into a home is a significant change, so make sure you and your children know why this is taking place. The reasons may include unexpected expenses, job loss, working parents who need grandparents to look after children, or maybe it’s the ability to afford nicer things when multiple employed family members live together. Whatever the reason may be, make sure everyone understands the need for such a transition, so as to make the change somewhat easier for everyone involved. It may take the younger members of the family to get use to this, but if you keep them informed with what’s going on, they will come to terms with the new housing arrangement.
The first thing you should do is set some boundaries, particularly in the upbringing of your children. I know your parents will help you take care of them, but if you want to be the one who disciplines them, make sure your parents know early on. You should also let your parents know what’s appropriate for your children, be it television shows, activities, snacks, and bedtimes. Doing so will let your parents know what you expect from your children, and you will have the peace of mind knowing your parents are taking care of your children the way you want them to. In order to avoid confrontations, you should bring up these expectations as soon as your immediate family and parents begin living together.
When another generation moves into a home, there may be privacy concerns since you have more people living with you. This is to be expected because everyone is trying to have their own space, and sometimes, people will feel like their privacy is being invaded. Even though you all love each other, it’s perfectly normal that someone may get on your nerves when residing in close quarters with you. In order to combat any tension that may arise between you and your family, make sure everyone is given time and space to relax in the house. You won’t be offending anyone by taking some time to yourself, because everyone has felt the need to be alone one time or another. If there’s too much going on in the house and you’re unable to relax, go outside for a refreshing stroll, ride a bike, see a movie, go to a friend’s house, or do anything else if you want to get away for a bit.
If your parents move into your home and are still ambulatory, ask them if they wouldn’t mind helping with some household chores; or, if you move into your parents’ house, you should offer to take up some of the housework. Since you have more people living in a house, the upkeep will be less of a burden on everyone because there will others taking on some of the responsibility. At the start of the new arrangement, your whole family should sit down and discuss how each person is going to help out around the house. Divvy up the chores by asking others which ones they prefer to be responsible for, and depending on how old your parents are, make sure they are physically capable of doing the chores they choose.
Set aside some time for the family to enjoy some activities together. With three generations living under one roof, everyone most likely has different schedules, so it can sometimes be difficult to dedicate time to which the family can relax and enjoy each other’s company, outside of having dinner together. You should look at everyone’s schedules and figure out a when everyone will have some free time, and you can then either plan a trip to the park, a relaxing walk, a movie night, a game night, or anything else that will allow your family to unwind together and have fun. Dedicating some family time to your week will give everyone something to look forward to and will help in strengthening the bonds between everyone in the house.
When multiple generations are living together, there will be times when a family member thinks their way of doing things is better, resulting in a quarrel. Whenever something like this happens, or any other kind of disagreement, you must always remember to be respectful. Yes, family members tend to have a dispute from time to time and display different opinions on certain matters; that’s perfectly normal. But, if this happens, just calmly sit down with each other and work out the issue. I know each generation in the home will be set in their ways when it comes to certain aspects of maintaining the household, but when you’re all living together, respect and collaboration are important in settling arguments.
Having multiple generations live together will have its good days and its bad days. But, in the end, it will work out for the better. With additional family members residing in a home, there will be plenty of help to go around in raising your children and maintaining the house. Although it will take a bit of time to adjust to a change such as this, just remember you all love each other, and living together will not only provide the opportunity for everyone to pitch in and make it easier to take care of the house, but it will also give your family the chance to create new memories to share.
If you live on the east coast, you just got through the major snowstorm that swept across the region last weekend, with some areas even getting over two feet of snow. Hopefully by now, you have finished your shoveling and are able to get in and out of your house without much trouble. In the winter, you may feel compelled to just stay inside during your downtime as a way to limit your interaction with the cold weather. While you’re spending all of that time inside, it may be wise to use this as an opportunity to complete some home-improvement projects, all of which will especially come in handy if you plan on selling your house in the spring.
Seeing as it’s winter, the first thing that probably comes to mind when considering home improvement is your heating. One thing you should think about installing in your home is a programmable thermostat. This will also save you money on your heating bills, and it’s also a very convenient device because you’re able to program the thermostat so it uses less heat when you’re not a home. Some models even allow you to program the thermostat from your smartphone or tablet, so if you want to make any adjustments, you’ll be able to do so right at your fingertips.
When focusing on heating, you may also want to consider improving the insulation of your house, a task that won’t leave your wallet weeping and will make your home greener. Because heat rises, you want to make sure you outfit your home so it can combat the cold temperatures. You can do so by placing rolls of insulation in your attic, basement, and any little crawl spaces you may have. The last thing you want during the winter is heat escaping from your house, so make sure to place an adequate amount of insulation in the appropriate parts of your home in order to reach full effectiveness.
If the winter is going to be influencing you to stay inside, you’ll want as much room as possible in which to move around, so you should take some time to de-clutter your home. Ever since your last foray into spring cleaning, you have probably accumulated more stuff you may not need in your home. In this case, go through your closets, basement, attic, and any other storage spaces you may have, and then divide everything up by what you want to keep, discard, and donate. Not only is this an easy home-improvement project to get done while stuck inside, but it will also give you a jump start on this year’s spring cleaning!
In terms of redecorating, you may be struck with the desire to give your walls a fresh coat of paint. Since you’ll probably be spending a lot of time behind the walls of your house, you might as well give them a burst of color to combat the white and grey of the winter season. I know you won’t be having any windows open during the season, so you may be worried about the paint fumes sticking around inside. But, as long as the paint is waterborne and environmentally friendly, there will be very few fumes. And, if you don’t want to go the painting route, but still want to spruce up your walls, you can go for some wallpaper. Wallpaper comes in all sorts of designs, and choosing the right design can certainly add some liveliness to your house in the dead of winter.
Although the days start to become longer at the start of winter, you still have the sun setting before 5:30 for most of the season, decreasing the amount of natural light that comes into your house. To brighten up your home during the early nightfall, think about adding some more lights in your house. If you’re spending a lot of time in your home during the winter, you should have it light enough so you can enjoy the surroundings of your house. For me, one of the most relaxing things to do during our coldest season is to unwind in a well-lit living room, so add enough lighting that will be comfortable for when you return home from a day at work and want to take it easy on the couch. Of course, you’ll feel even better if you install some LED lightbulbs. Yes, they do cost more than regular bulbs, but they last longer and use less energy, so you’ll be saving money in the long run.
If you want to get some remodeling done, consider doing it to your kitchen or bathroom. Just like painting your walls, a task such as this will take quite a bit of time, which will help take your mind off the incessant cold and winter precipitation outside. Thinking about and choosing the different paint colors, tile designs, and appliances that can be included in your kitchen and/or bathroom can be a lot of fun and will get you stoked to finally begin bringing your designs to life. Once you’re finished with your remodeling project, you can celebrate the fact that when spring rolls around and all of the snow has melted, you can shift your focus to sprucing up the outside of your home for the warmer weather.
Although winter is about halfway through, you still have plenty of time to do some worthwhile home-improvement projects that will benefit your house for the rest of the season. During this time when you don’t want to go outside unless it’s necessary, doing some of these tasks around your house will keep you active and occupied, which is something we all need when confined indoors during these cold months. Just decide what you want to get done, and then start working!
If you’re buying or selling a house, there are a few things you have to consider when you have a pet. When you’re buying, you have to look into any pet ordinances in the neighborhood you’re considering, and also find a living arrangement that will work best for you and your pet. If you’re selling, you’ll have to stay on top of your cleaning game and make sure your pet makes as few messes as possible. Either way, you’ll get through it. As a side note, this blogpost is mainly aimed at people who have pets such as dogs, cats, rabbits, or any other furry animals you may allow to roam around the house, as opposed to reptilian or amphibious creatures you would keep in a tank most of the time.
Pet owners looking to buy a home should check any local ordinances that may be in place regarding pets. A lot of times, areas enforce leash laws and require people to clean up after their pets in pubic places (You should be cleaning up after your pet, whether or not there are laws enforcing it), and there is usually a fine involved if these rules aren’t obeyed. If you belong to a homeowner’s association, there may also be a rule detailing how many pets you can have. If you own two dogs, three cats, a rabbit, and a hedgehog, or any group of pets, you should check to make sure you will be allowed to bring all of them with you. Although you are given more freedom when you have your own house, you should still check to be safe. Looking into this is especially necessary if you are moving into a condo or apartment complex, seeing as you’ll be living in close quarters to other people who may be allergic to pets or annoyed by their sounds.
When selling your home as a pet owner, you may be asked by state law to disclose a pet has lived with you. However, as you’re preparing your home for the market, you don’t have to leave any evidence in the staging or photos that you have had an animal in your home, so you should remove any photos of your pets and pet toys and store them away so they’re not within sight of the agent and their potential buyer. Before a photographer comes to take pictures of your home, make sure your pet isn’t there to wander into the background; not only is it a distraction from whatever else is in the photo, but some people might not want to think of a pet having lived in their future home.
When buying a home, pay attention to the layout of the house to make sure your pet will be comfortable living in that space. Think about what kind of floors they may be comfortable with, such as carpeted, tile, or wooden. If you and your pet are okay with wooden or tile floors, that may be the best route to go because it will be easier to clean up after your pet. Although you should make sure you and your pet will have enough space indoors, you should check if your pet will have enough fenced-in space outside to run around and get exercise, and also if there’s enough room in the backyard in case you want to include a doghouse. You may also want to see if there are some parks around the area in which you can take your dog for a walk.
While selling your home, you don’t want your pet to be in the way of the buyer’s agent and their client when they’re in the house. During this, either take your pet out with you for a walk, or leave them in a cage with a note taped to the outside notifying the agent and buyer to not disturb your pet. Although you love your pet and think they can’t do any wrong, having them interrupt the showing can possibly cost you the sale. Having “strangers” walking through your home can pose the risk of your pet accidentally scratching or biting the agent or buyer, which will land you in trouble. It can be distracting to the agent and buyer if your pet is walking around the house as they’re trying to focus on the house and get a feel for the settings.
As you’re looking for a house, there are a few others things you may want to consider. You should try and find a house that isn’t located too close to any busy streets. This way, you decrease the chance of your pet running into traffic, because you never know when the mood will strike for them to burst out the front door in a fit of excitement and run into traffic. To help keep your pet clean and healthy, you will also want to see if there are veterinarians, pet stores, and groomers within the vicinity of your potential new home.
Before you have any buyers walk through your home, you should go through every room and see if there are any stains, fur, odors, scratches, or other calling cards your pet may have left behind during their time in the home. As you get closer to your home being shown to potential buyers, you may want to limit the rooms your pet has access to so you have less to maintain and clean up.
Being a pet owner who’s buying or selling a house, you must take your furry pal into consideration. Whether you’re moving in or out of a new home, there are several factors you have to think about when you have a pet. A pet will add a little more work to whichever housing process you go through. But, given how much you love them, I’m sure it will all be worth it when you finish the task.
Halloween and Thanksgiving have come and gone, which means we’re heading into the homestretch of fall 2015. It’s hard to believe winter is only a little less than three weeks away, but it will soon be upon us. I know we’re all busy getting ready for the upcoming holiday season, but we can’t forget the importance of prepping our homes for the winter. Although we can’t be certain about what kind of winter we’ll have, it won’t hurt to prepare your house for the oncoming cold weather.
During the winter, even if you think your house has proper heating, the cold may find a way to sneak in. Drafty windows will prevent you from feeling the full effect of your house’s heating, so you have to combat this chilliness.
“If your windows are drafty, you need to do something about it,” said Michael Graessle, associate broker for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty’s office in White Plains, NY. “Replacing windows can be expensive, but it needs to be done. Or, you can get plastic covers to put over them in order to keep the heat in.”
Spend a few minutes to walk around your house and property to check out the trees. If there are any trees that seem overextended, trim them. If too much snow begins to pile on the branches, there becomes a greater risk of them breaking off the trunk, having the potential to cause harm to passersby or falling onto your house or car. It will be best to start getting rid of these branches sooner rather than later before the winter gets any closer.
Be sure to stock up on rock salt, or any other preferred ice-melt products. These tend to sell quickly, so get to your local hardware store and buy a couple of bags or pails so you’re ready for when the first snowstorm hits. If you have an icy walkway, porch steps, or driveway, using ice-melt is one of the best ways to get rid of the danger of slipping and falling. All you have to do is scatter some over your ice-covered services, and it begins to work like magic.
If you have a snowblower, make sure it’s working properly, and also purchase enough fuel for it. Of course, you don’t really need to use a snowblower when you only have a few inches of snow, but you don’t want to get caught with one that doesn’t operate properly when you have close to two feet of snow. Getting rid of all that with a shovel will take forever, especially if you have a lot of space to clear. When using a snowblower, you will get rid of the snow much quicker, and it will be a lot less strain on yourself. One of the last things you want to feel besides the cold is aches all over your body.
If you have a fireplace, odds are you haven’t used it since last winter. Because of this, you should get it cleaned before you fire it up (See what I did there?). Over the year, soot has probably built up in your chimney, and a family of birds maybe even decided to build a home in there. In this situation, hire a professional chimney cleaner to take care of it. Chimney cleaners tend to get busy during the fall and winter, so it would be best to call one before you get well into the fall season.
Here’s a tip you probably didn’t think of: having your ceiling fan spin in reverse. I know many of you probably associate ceiling fans with warmer weather, but they can also be of help when trying to make your house warmer. Counterclockwise rotations provide cooler breezes, while clockwise rotations will provide warmth. If you switch the direction in which the fan spins, the air that has been collected near the ceiling gets circulated back into the living space. Doing this can save you money on heating costs. Who wouldn’t want that?
Much like turning off a light when you leave a room, you should remember to turn down your thermostat when you leave your house. I know it may seem tempting to leave the heat on when you’re not at home so you can come back to the warmth afterwards, but this is a waste if there isn’t anybody at home to enjoy the warmth. It won’t take long for your house to become warm when you turn up the thermostat upon retiring home, so save on your heating costs by turning down the thermostat when there isn’t anyone in the house.
I know we all crave a winter where we only get a little bit of snow and we stay somewhat above freezing temperatures. But, until we’re graced with a winter like that, do what you can to prepare your house for the upcoming season. You still have time before winter begins on December 21, so start getting ready!
“Co-op,” which is short for “housing cooperative,” is one of those real estate terms that I have heard about in passing, but never really had a full understanding of what it meant. I knew a co-op was some kind of apartment, but that’s about it. If you have never owned a co-op, there’s the possibility that your understanding of what it is might be a little vague. This week, we will talk about what a co-op is and the pros and cons of living in one. Afterwards, you will leave here with an extra nugget of useful real estate knowledge!
Unlike a condominium, a co-op is owned by a corporation, which means that you’re not buying actual property, but are instead buying shares of the corporation. Typically, the size of your apartment correlates with how many shares you have bought. Because everyone who lives in a co-op owns shares within the corporation, they are usually concerned about who the building does and does not allow to live there. If you don’t meet the standards and requirements set by the co-op board, then you will not be given an apartment.
Now that you have an understanding of what a co-op is, we will now go over the three types. Before you look into any co-op, it’s important that you know the differences between each type. First, there are market-rate co-ops, which are treated similar to most standard residential properties. If you live in this type of co-op, you are permitted to sell your shares whenever you want and for how much money you want.
The second kind is a limited equity co-op, which is mostly meant to attract those who are looking for affordable housing. For these co-ops, there is a limit on how much equity you can earn in your home, and this prevents you from selling your share for a considerable profit. This is meant to help the co-op communities remain affordable.
The third type of co-op is group equity, which is also known as zero equity. In these co-ops, you don’t gain any equity in your home, but instead pay rental rates that are below market value.
Of course, whenever you look for new housing, one of the things always on your mind is affordability, and when you consider a co-op, affordability is possible because, compared to a condo, co-ops are usually less expensive. When you live in a larger co-op, you won’t have any responsibilities regarding upkeep. In these co-ops, a paid crew takes care of all maintenance, repairs, and security. It is for this reason that older buyers are drawn to the bigger co-ops because they know they won’t have to stress over taking care of the building’s exterior. However, smaller co-ops are usually self-managed, so you handle things like shoveling snow, but benefit from lower maintenance costs. Both large and small co-ops have their perks, so choose whichever size works best for you.
A main detractor of trying to move into a co-op is getting through the approval process. Before the co-op board hands you your keys, you have to be interviewed and provide documentation that may include tax records from the past several years. Similar to if you were looking to move into a regular house, doing so for a co-op has its own share of work.
If you have dreamt about moving into a new space with the desire to renovate, it won’t be easy if you move into a co-op. In this scenario, you have to discuss possible renovations with the board and see if your plans meet their approval. After going through the interviews with the board when trying to get accepted into the building, I’m sure one of the last things you want to do is go in front of the board for more discourse.
Although co-ops are mostly found in cities, one of the best parts about them is that they come in numerous sizes and types, such as single-family homes, student housing, senior housing, garden apartment, special-needs housing, and more. Whatever you desire in a co-op, odds are that you’ll find one that will suit you. With the many options you have, your co-op search will be easier and more fun.
Now that you have a better understanding of what a co-op is, you’ll know what to look for if you ever consider moving into one. Co-ops have their benefits and drawbacks, so you have to think carefully about what exactly you want yours to include. Going forward, if you ever want to move, you will feel comfortable adding a co-op to your list of possibilities because of what you have learned. Knowledge is great, isn’t it?
You’re almost there. You’re just about ready to close on your new home. While this should be a cause for celebration, you’re not exactly out of the woods just yet because there’s still the matter of having to do the final walk-through to make sure everything is how you want it to be before you close. As you’re doing the walk-through, here are some things you should keep in mind as you’re making sure everything is in order.
One very important aspect about the final walk-through is to try and do it 24 hours before your closing. You shouldn’t allow too much time to pass between conducting your walk-through and closing because you never know if anything might happen to the home during the in-between time, and then you return to do the settlement, only to find that the home has suffered some damage since the day of your walk-through. Once your settlement is finalized, any issues become yours and the previous owners won’t have any obligation to handle them. This is why I recommend you do your walkthrough as close as possible to 24 hours before closing. The last thing you need is more stress when you’re near the end of your home-buying journey, so use this tip to avoid any problems right before you intend to close.
When conducting your walk-through, you should have a checklist in hand concerning what to inspect as you’re going through the home. Turn on the heating and air conditioning for a few minutes to make sure they are operable, because the last thing you want to do is move into a home during the summer without a working air conditioner or the winter without sufficient heating. Also, go through all of the appliances (stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc.) to see that they are in working order. Check all of the faucets to make sure you have hot water and water pressure. The smoke detectors must be tested as well. If your home comes equipped with a sprinkler system, test it to make sure it’s functioning. Inspect the basement, attic, and garage to make sure the previous owners have cleaned them out completely. If the garage has an automatic door, test it to make sure it works. Check all of the electrical outlets as well; you can go to your local hardware store and purchase an electrical tester. Given how much modern technology plays a role in our daily lives, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have working outlets in which to plug your laptop, mobile phone, and tablet.
After all of the time it takes to settle into your new home, you don’t want to deal with any home-repair tasks so soon after, so if you find anything major on your walk-through that isn’t working, make sure you ask the previous owners to have it fixed before you move in. If you find a problem in your home, first consider if it’s something that you can handle yourself once you move into your new home, because you don’t want to come across as being pedantic by pointing out easy-to-fix problems that you can take care of upon moving in. There isn’t any point in delaying your settlement over a problem that you can fix yourself, so it’s important to consult with your agent to determine which problems, if you have any, are/aren’t worth going after.
Occasionally, the previous owner won’t move out of the home until the new owners have closed. This is a perfect opportunity for the buyer to ask the owner any questions about the home, which should add some comfort to the buyer because they are communicating with the owner face to face and having their questions answered by the previous occupant. You never know if you’ll need to contact the seller for anything, so you should try to meet them at least once to form a good relationship with them and get to know each other. I’m not saying you have to take them out to dinner, but at least establish a general acquaintance with them.
Although doing a final walk-through might be one of the easier parts about buying a home, you can’t deny the importance of this step. You have to be thorough and attentive to detail when inspecting the home to make sure it meets the standards that you hope for prior to the closing. You have come this close to moving into your new home, so you don’t want to be deterred by problems that you neglected to look for during the walk-through. I know you’re excited to finally move in, but you have to make sure everything in your home is in working order. Once that happens, then you can finally close on the home and celebrate.
Back in March, a study done by the National Association of Realtors revealed that the largest group of current homebuyers were millennials, those who are 34 years old or younger. With todays’s changing demands of what homes should include, there are certain things that millennials look for. Because of that, millennials have become an increasingly important market segment in real estate, and if you’re a millennial, like myself, you should have an idea of what to look for in a home.
The kitchen and bathrooms of a home can become a very costly renovation, so if you’re on a budget due to student loans, car payments, etc., it will be better if you purchase a home that already has them upgraded. When buying a home, you already know you’ll be putting a lot of money into it, so you shouldn’t have to worry about spending additional expenses on upgrades in your new home. Plus, you don’t want to become more stressed in an already stressful time. Although there might be a few things you’ll want to fix after you have settled into your new home, you don’t want to have to focus on shelling out more money for significant renovations later on.
Another important feature you should look for in your home is an office. If you have a family and want to do some work at home, it’s beneficial to have your own separate place where you can go and be alone to get things done. Given how mobile our generation is, the ability to work from home has become a lot more attainable, depending on your profession. If you normally work from home, this is a very useful amenity. If you usually work away from home, you can still use a home office on weekends or other days off when you’re in the mood to get some work done.
Location is another significant factor that you should take into consideration when searching for a home. When thinking about a location, you have to contemplate what will work best for your situation, such as needing access to public transportation; or, if you have children, looking for an area that’s a little more suburban and has a great school district. You don’t really know for how long you’ll be living in a certain home (you might find an even better one in the future), so you want to be sure that it’s not just the home that you think about, but also the location, the community, and what that area offers.
We live in a reality-TV era, and when you’re looking for a new home, there’s a chance that you might get hooked on a reality television show or two about real estate. While it’s okay to watch these shows from time to time, you shouldn’t let your expectations get out of hand as to how the home-searching process is going to play out.
“The millennial buyers are the buyers who have had the most exposure to the popular TV shows that showcase real estate,” said Donald Dwyer, real estate associate broker for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty and manager of its Yorktown office. “In watching these shows, they are often influenced by transactions occurring out of state and frequently come to our agents with unrealistic expectations. These expectations are often about the condition of homes, size of bedrooms, price, and seller concessions.”
If you’re a millennial, you’re most likely going to ask about the home’s technology. According to a 2013 survey done by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, 56 percent of millennials say that technology is more important than curb appeal, 64 percent wouldn’t live in a home that doesn’t have the latest technologies, and 84 percent believe that modern technologies are a must-have for a home.
Given how mobile devices and the Internet are used heavily in our day-to-day activities, you’re going to be looking for homes that are compatible with today’s technology. In this case, a home that includes excellent phone reception from a mobile carrier’s signal and a Wi-Fi connection from a service provider will certainly be high on your list during the searching process.
“Millennial buyers tend to be very tech-savvy and love to search for homes on their own,” said Dwyer. “They attend open houses and are highly selective. They only involve an agent when they have found a particular home they want. Many of these buyers are straddled with college debt, which often makes them less eligible to buy the house that fits their dreams, which can pose a challenge for their agent. Millennials are going to be 90 percent of the workforce in a decade, so agents must be prepared to work with them and stay ahead of the technology curve.”
Speaking of the Internet, more than 80 percent of homebuyers (of any age) use it for their home search, according to the NAR. So, it’s important that a property looks as appealing as possible to potential buyers when they look online. As a millennial, I know our generation is used to having crystal-clear images on our computers and cell phones, so I’m sure you don’t want to see home photos that are grainy or out of focus. The photos should grab your attention and interest, and that can’t happen if you need to squint at the image.
Being a millennial, I know you want to have the latest entertainment and backyard features that will offer your guests a memorable time when you invite them over. If your budget allows it, having something like a patio, a pool, fire pit, a big-screen TV, or a basement built for entertainment purposes will attract family and friends to your home. Once you purchase a new home, you’ll want to throw a housewarming party, so including any of these fun amenities will have your guests coming back.
If you’re a millennial homebuyer and are just starting out on your search for a home, make sure to find a place that fits your needs, but don’t go for more than you can afford. Owning a home is a huge responsibility, but if you know what to look for, your search will be a successful one.