As the school year wraps up, many families get serious about buying a home. If that’s where your head is at, be sure you find a good loan officer before you get too far into your home search. If you’re planning to stay in your home for a while still, why not take a few minutes to make your home safer or to plan a vegetable garden? Find tips for all this below!
There are many different loan options out there for aspiring homeowners. Choosing the right one is important, but so is choosing the right loan officer. Your loan officer will be responsible for helping you through any mortgage-related roadblocks you encounter so you need to make sure your loan officer is prepared to help you.
1. The title of a home is a very important piece of your home purchase. A good loan officer will order a title search to make sure the homeowner is the only person with a claim on the property you’re interested in. They’ll also order an appraisal to make sure the home is worth what the seller is asking for.
2. When you buy a home, you have to meet certain deadlines or your deal could fall through. A good loan officer will stay in touch with you about important deadlines and paperwork requirements throughout the home buying process to make sure everything goes smoothly.
3. When you do get to the finish line, a good loan officer will attend your closing so they can answer any last-minute questions you have as you work your way through the paperwork involved in buying a home.
Your health and the health of your loved ones is one of the most important factors you have to account for each day. However, even the most conscientious person can overlook some of these potentially lethal household hazards.
An odorless, colorless gas, carbon monoxide is almost impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide alarm. Prevent headaches, dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath, and even death from carbon monoxide poisoning by investing in an alarm for your home.
Like carbon monoxide, radon is a colorless, odorless gas. This naturally occurring gas is the second most common cause of lung cancer deaths in the U.S., second only to smoking. The only way to know if your home has dangerous amounts of radon is by using a radon test kit. Luckily, you can pick up radon test kits at most hardware stores.
Everyone knows that asbestos is bad for you, but many don’t realize they may have asbestos in their homes. Asbestos can still be found in ceiling tiles, floor tiles, and insulation in many homes across the U.S. When they start to degrade, asbestos fibers can get into the air and, if inhaled enough, cause you and your family to develop lung disease. If you think your home may have asbestos, have an asbestos professional inspect your home.
Lead is most notorious for its presence in paint, but it can also be in your plumbing and other building materials. Lead is typically safe unless it’s digested, making it a more dangerous hazard for young children since they’re more likely to stick potentially contaminated items in their mouths.
Smoke detectors are only effective if they’re in working order and near the fire. Be sure to check your smoke detector’s batteries each month and replace the batteries each year. You should also make sure you have smoke alarms throughout your whole home, not just in the kitchen.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables in a backyard garden is a fulfilling way to spend free time and eat healthier. Choosing easy items like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and melons can help ensure your time toiling outdoors is worth the effort. Here are tips to successfully grow each type of produce.
If you want almost instant gardening gratification, try planting some lettuce. Lettuce is an easy, fast-growing plant that comes in several varieties. Try planting some romaine, iceberg, and arugula for a good variety of lettuce types for your salads, burgers, and other summer recipes. Also, consider planting your lettuce in intervals so you’ll have fresh lettuce ready to harvest all season long.
A vine-ripe tomato from your backyard is almost unrecognizable as the same fruit you get from a grocery store. Purchasing tomato starters is a good way to make sure you’re ready to harvest before the end of growing season. Plant your tomatoes in a spot that isn’t too windy and purchase tomato cages to help the plants grow strong.
Cucumbers are great because they produce a lot without requiring much tending. Make a mound to plant your cucumber seeds in to encourage sprouting and use several seeds for each group. Just remember that cucumbers need a good amount of space to grow and spread, so plant according to the directions on your seed package.
Another easy-to-grow garden staple is squash. Like cucumbers, squash need room to grow. Be sure to leave enough room between your squash plants and other vegetables. Once you harvest, squash is great on the grill, in casseroles, and in salads.
Melons take a while to grow and ripen, but they’re worth the wait. Plant a few different varieties to see what grows best in your yard. Just remember that melons need plenty of sunshine and should be ready to harvest in late summer.
If your family needs more room to grow, whether it be vegetables or more kids, give us a call! We can help you find a home to suit your growing needs!
Mike and Sheli Kellogg
Local Lake Stevens Realtors
Happy spring! With warmer weather upon us, people are starting to think about Easter and weddings, and we’ve got tips to help you prepare to host either. Spring is also the perfect time to start thinking about selling your home. Check out the tips below and contact us if you need any help getting ready to buy or sell!
5 Tips To Help You Prepare To Host Easter Dinner
There’s nothing quite like gathering your loved ones together and celebrating the holidays with good food and good company. However, hosting isn’t always easy and can transform what should be quality time with friends and family into a stressful nightmare. Fortunately, there are plenty of tasks you can cross off your to-do list before guests start arriving so you can relax and enjoy your holiday.
1. Keep the guest list manageable.
Don’t invite more people than you can manage. Consider how much space you have for hosting in general and for seating. If you have more people than will fit at your table, what’s your plan? Will you set up extra tables?
2. Make a list of what you need.
Once you know how many people are coming to Easter, take an inventory of your plates, forks, knives, serving dishes, cups, etc. If you need extras, borrow some!
3. Set the menu.
Ham and lamb are the Easter meats of choice for a lot of people, but when planning your menu, keep dietary restrictions in mind. Including a quiche or galette alongside your other choices will provide a tasty option for any vegetarians in the mix.
4. Set the table.
No one ever said you can’t set the table the day before Easter. Complete this time-consuming task early to free up time and mental energy for other tasks that will need to be done on Easter.
5. Have fun.
Remember that, when all is said and done, Easter is a time to come together. Don’t stress over the small things. Enjoy this special time with your friends and family.
5 Signs It’s Time To Sell Your Home
American homeowners rarely stay in their first home forever; they buy and sell several homes over the years to meet the changing needs of their family. How can you tell if it’s time to sell your current home?
1. Your family has grown.
There are many reasons your once spacious home might begin to feel like it’s shrinking. Whether it’s the birth of a new baby, the kids getting older and needing their own rooms, or your parents moving in, you may find the need for more space a compelling reason to sell.
2. Your family has shrunk.
After years of hard work, kids grow up, become independent adults, and move out. When that happens, parents are often left in a home that no longer suits their needs and takes a lot to maintain. If you find yourself in this position, congratulations! It may be a good time for you to sell.
3. You’ve changed jobs since you bought your home.
If you got a new job and your commute grew as a consequence, you may want to find a home more conveniently located.
4. Your kids are starting school.
The right home when you have a baby on the way isn’t necessarily the right home when your child is heading off to school. If the schools in your area aren’t the best, it may be a good time to sell your home and move to a different school zone.
5. Home upkeep is too much.
If you purchased your current home when you were young, you may not have accounted for how much more difficult the upkeep and maintenance would be when you got older. When it does get to be too much, consider moving into something easier to manage.
Planning A Backyard Wedding?
Are you thinking about hosting a wedding at your home? If so, you’ll want to make sure there’s enough parking, bathrooms, space for all your guests. Some other considerations you’ll want to make are below.
While a backyard wedding seems like an economical way to celebrate, the costs can actually add up quickly. Before you start sending out invitations, take a hard look at your budget to make sure you have enough to cover necessities like food, drinks, music, and bathroom rentals.
Let your guests know where they should park before the big day: which streets are okay to park on and which sides of the street should they avoid? Are there businesses nearby that will let you use their parking lot after hours? Do you have enough land to dedicate a field to parking?
Depending on how many guests attend your wedding, the bathrooms in your home may not be enough. Consider renting a few port-o-johns or a luxury portable bathroom to supplement your bathroom supply. The last thing you want on that special day is a line outside the bathroom.
You’re already investing in a wedding at your home. Be prepared for minor tragedies like twisted ankles, trampled landscaping, or broken windows with a wedding insurance package. These one-day, special event insurance options cover property damage and any injuries that occur during your event.
If you hired a caterer, they’ll need to use your kitchen for food prep and warming. You’ll also want to think about where you’re going to have people eat. Will you have rows of tables with seating arrangements or will you have small tables scattered about the yard for a more casual dining experience? You’ll also want to think about beverages. Be sure they’re somewhere easy to access and consider the pros and cons of offering a bar. If you do serve alcohol, what’s your plan to make sure any minors at your celebration are kept clear?
If you have a large enough yard, you can create separate spaces for the wedding ceremony, reception, and dancing. If you’re working with a smaller space, set up for the ceremony, then arrange for a group of friends to convert the ceremony space into a reception area while you host a cocktail hour inside.
You’ll likely need electricity for something, be it music, lights, or heaters/fans. Come up with a plan to run electricity to your yard so that you can easily get your electronics set up before the wedding. Just be wary of creating a tripping or fire hazard.
Give your neighbors plenty of warning before your friends and family descend on your lawn. If you let them know beforehand that the loud music coming from your yard will be over by a certain time, they’ll likely be more tolerant. If they know you may have guests parked in the street, they can also make arrangements for their own parking needs.
If you’ve always dreamed of hosting a backyard wedding or the next family holiday, but don’t currently have the space, let us know! We can help you find your next home and make sure it’s got everything you need for the perfect event!
Mike and Sheli Kellogg
The holidays are upon us! Stay safe this holiday season with the tips below, then read on to discover how to keep your home warm and draft-free through the winter. But don’t worry, they won’t take long, so you’ll still have plenty of time to celebrate with your family and friends this holiday season! Also, if you’re thinking about selling your home, check out the info below on why you should consider getting a pre-inspection before putting your home on the market. And if you have any questions, let me know! I’m always here for you.
To-do lists can get pretty long during the holidays with all of the decorating, cleaning, and gift buying involved. As a result, it’s easy to overlook important safety concerns. Take action to protect your home and family this holiday season with these easy tips!
The holidays are a popular time to go visit friends and family, but before you load up the car, make sure your home is ready for your absence. Most importantly, don’t broadcast your planned absence on social media or on the streets because people you don’t know could easily intercept that information, break in, and wreak havoc.
When you travel, take your home security a step further by automating your lights to make it seem like someone is home. Timers are one way to accomplish this. You can also monitor your home using nanny cams, security cameras, and other devices that let you watch or listen in on the goings-on of your home.
In the closet, under the bed, and behind furniture are some of the first places a burglar (or your kids) will look for valuable Christmas gifts. Consider renting a lockbox or storage unit to keep your gifts in until Christmas Eve. If that’s not an option, store your gifts in an old cardboard box in the basement, attic, or garage instead of in shiny, appealing paper in the closet.
After the Holidays
Placing empty boxes for expensive goods on the curb for pickup is like making a shopping list for robbers. Instead, break the boxes down and put them in non-opaque trash bags or drive your Christmas boxes to the local dump yourself.
Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying it: winter is almost here. Now’s the time to make sure you’re ready to weather the cold and keep your home warm this winter. Here are some things you should consider touching up on in your home to be prepared for winter.
Furnace – The most obvious way to keep your home warm is to make sure the heater is in good working order. Start by changing the air filter to increase the airflow, then schedule a tune-up with a licensed technician who can clean, lubricate, and adjust the furnace for maximum efficiency.
Doors – If you have gaps under doors, you’re going to end up with cold drafts coming in and hot air flowing out. You can add rubber to the bottom of your doors to fill the gap or purchase some temporary draft snakes. You can even use rolled up towels as a short term solution.
Pipes – Water pipes freezing is a common problem during winter. This is because as the water freezes, it expands, causing extensive damage to your plumbing if the pipe bursts. To prevent this, make sure your pipes are insulated, stripped, and caulked. It also helps to keep the heat on in the house.
Fireplace – A fireplace is a great way to keep your family warm…if you’ve taken the steps to use it safely. Part of that is taking time to schedule a deep clean and inspection. Also, always remember to keep pets and children away from the flames and to keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
The uncertainty of selling your home can be stressful. You’re left wondering if the timing of your home sale and your new living arrangements will line up right. Will you be able to get what you deserve for your home? Will the buyer follow through? One thing you can do to alleviate some of these concerns is to have a pre-inspection done before you list your home.
Most pre-inspections cost around $350, but that price can vary based on the market and the size of your home. Although it may seem redundant because your buyer will likely insist on a new inspection as well, there are many benefits to doing a pre-inspection.
– A clean inspection can give potential buyers peace of mind and make them more confident about putting in an offer on your home.
– You’ll know the true condition of your home’s systems and structure, including the heating and cooling, water heater, plumbing, electrical, attic, basement, exterior, and more. This will help you decide on a fair price for your home.
– Some inspectors will give your home a “Move In Certified” credential after your pre-inspection, provided your home doesn’t need major repairs.
Even if your pre-inspection reveals significant problems, you’re still a step ahead. If the problems aren’t discovered until after an offer is made, your buyer may back out of the deal. Knowing beforehand allows you to make the necessary repairs or take the issue into consideration when pricing your home.
We hope this information helps you stay safe and warm over the winter! If you or someone you know is thinking about making a move, give us a call! I’ll be glad to help.
Mike Kellogg and Sheli Kellogg
Hope you’ve had a great October! With Halloween fast approaching, I’ve put together a list of last-minute Halloween decorations you’ll love. So what are you waiting for? Pull out those art supplies and let’s get decorating!
If you’ve already finished your Halloween preparations, there’s something for you too. Read on to discover the three things you need to know before submitting an offer on a house, as well as the best investment you can make during the first five years in your home.