Gene Mullen's Blog
After you submit an offer on a home and complete a property inspection, there may be only a short amount of time until you close.
Ultimately, it pays to prepare for closing day. If you start planning for your home closing today, you can identify and address any potential problems.
To better understand how to get ready for a home closing, let's take a look at three questions to consider before your closing.
1. What needs to get done before my closing date?
Your closing date may be a few weeks away, but time moves quickly, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to get into a new residence as quickly as possible. Fortunately, homebuyers who understand what needs to get done prior to a closing can plan accordingly.
Typically, a homebuyer will need to secure homeowners insurance and title insurance before closing on a house. Insurance companies are available to provide information about both types of insurance. If you reach out to these companies immediately, you can guarantee that your home and personal belongings will be covered against loss or damage.
You'll need to contact utilities providers as well. That way, you can ensure that your gas, electric and other utilities are good to go as soon as you close on your home.
2. How much are my monthly mortgage payments?
You know that you've been pre-approved for a mortgage. However, if you don't know how much that you'll be paying for your home each month, you'll certainly want to find out sooner rather than later.
Monthly mortgage payments can add up quickly, particularly for homebuyers who fail to budget properly. If you know exactly how much that you'll be paying each month for your home, you can effectively map out a budget.
3. What do I need to bring to my closing?
Homebuyers are required to bring a government-issued ID to a closing. In some instances, you may need to provide a certified or cashier's check to cover assorted closing costs as well.
If you are unsure about what to bring to a home closing, it often helps to consult with a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional can help you seamlessly navigate all stages of the homebuying cycle.
Prior to a home closing, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any concerns or questions that you may have. This housing market professional will explain how the home closing process works, how long the process generally takes to complete and, perhaps most important, when you'll receive the keys to your house.
A real estate agent also goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide assistance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can help you compare and contrast a broad range of houses, submit a competitive offer on a home and ensure that you can discover your dream residence in no time at all.
Get ready for a home closing – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can prep for your closing date.
When you stop and think about all the details you have to take care of as a homeowner, it sometimes feels like you're running a business! That's especially true if have to coordinate everything from family doctor appointments to home remodeling projects.
Many people get so caught up in their daily routines and responsibilities that they lose sight of all the things they actually can handle, do overcome, and can accomplish!
No matter how organized and motivated you are, though, problems, oversights, and blunders do occasionally happen. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the chances of making mistakes or forgetting something important.
Don't depend on your memory. Writing and revising lists of daily priorities, appointments, and reminders can be a valuable strategy for organizing your day. Mobile devices also have scheduling capabilities, note taking apps, and calendar features that can help you stay on track. When you commit a priority to writing or set up a reminder on your cell phone or tablet, you're increasing the probability that you'll remember appointments, fulfill obligations, and keep household projects moving forward.
Start with small steps: One challenge many people struggle with is motivating themselves to tackle an important project around the house. For example, let's say you desperately need to paint a room, straighten out a closet, or organize your filing system. Whether you're "too busy to turn around" or just plain unmotivated, it can be difficult to get started on a home improvement or organization project!
While you may have a few pet theories on why you can't seem to get started on a project, it might boil down to Newton's Laws of Motion. Back in the 17th century, physicist Isaac Newton stated that a stationary object (one that's not moving) tends to stay out of motion -- unless it's acted on by an outside force! Granted, he may not have been talking specifically about human beings, but the same principle seems to apply. Whether you're trying to get out of a warm, comfortable bed in the morning or take advantage of your new gym membership, it's often difficult to nudge yourself into action when you're in a state of rest. It's a problem we all have at one time or another.
The solution is to start small and build momentum as you go. Taking small steps at first, such as buying the supplies you need for a home improvement project, can often provide the extra push you need to get started. Telling a friend or family member that you're going to accomplish something this weekend can also help propel you forward.
If you need help in remembering things, consider buying a couple notebooks for writing daily lists. If you view yourself as a "technophobe," make it your mission to learn how to use the calendar app on your phone or tablet.
In addition to old-fashioned schedule reminders like wall calendars, appointment books, and desk calendars, you can even send yourself reminders via email or enlist the help of friends, family, or colleagues to remember appointments and priorities.
However, regardless of how many memory devices you use to organize your schedule or tackle household projects, keep in mind the motto of U.S. President Harry S. Truman: "The buck stops here!"
If you plan to sell your house in the near future, it often pays to focus on your garage. In fact, doing so may help you find innovative ways to differentiate your residence from other available houses and boost your chances of a fast, profitable home sale.
Ultimately, there are many quick, easy ways to transform an ordinary home garage into an exceptional one – here are three tips to help you do just that.
1. Remove Clutter
From rusty automotive parts to assorted paint cans and tools, your garage may be filled with a wide range of excess items. However, if you spend some time decluttering, you can cut down on excess items and improve your garage's appearance.
Separate must-keep items from excess ones in your garage. Then, if you have an abundance of clutter, you can host a yard sale or list excess items online.
Furthermore, if you're struggling to get rid of garage clutter, you may be able to donate some items to charity. By doing so, you can do a good deed and eliminate clutter from your garage at the same time.
2. Perform Deep Cleaning
A neat, well-organized garage can make a world of difference in homebuyers' eyes. Thus, you should focus on cleaning your garage from top to bottom.
Sweeping the floors usually offers a great starting point for garage cleaning. You also can wipe down tool benches and other garage surfaces and vacuum your garage as needed.
In addition, don't forget to err on the side of caution as you clean your garage. And if it's been many months since you last cleaned your garage, you should wear goggles, hand protection and a face mask while you clean.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to getting a home garage show-ready, hiring a real estate agent is a must. With a real estate agent at your side, you can find the best ways to enhance your house's appearance both inside and out.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you before you list your house. He or she then will examine each area of your home – including the garage – and offer honest, unbiased home maintenance and improvement tips. That way, you can prioritize various home upgrades.
A real estate agent will even provide expert support throughout the home selling journey. For example, if you need extra help cleaning your garage, a real estate agent can put you in contact with professional home cleaning companies in your city or town. Or, if you're unsure about how much your home is actually worth, a real estate agent can provide housing market data to help you price your residence appropriately.
Unfortunately, home sellers sometimes ignore garage cleaning as they prep their residences for the real estate market. But with the aforementioned tips, you should have no trouble upgrading your garage and transforming this area into a key differentiator for your home.
Make your new house an even more welcoming place to come home to by designing a fragrant flower garden. Fill your garden with these beautiful blooms and reap the aromatic rewards.
If you aren’t exactly known for your green thumb don’t think you can’t have a beautiful flower garden too! Most of these blooms are also incredibly easy to grow and require little maintenance over time.
Sweet alyssum - Not only is the sweet alyssum beautifully fragrant, it’s also a pretty hardy plant that can tolerate both heat and drought. It is also a self-sowing plant so it will come back year after year with minimal effort on your behalf. While it grows low to the ground it’s potent sweet scent won’t go unnoticed.
Rose - The rose needs no introduction. While this bloom precedes its fragrant reputation it, unfortunately, has one misconception - that they are difficult to grow. If you have an area in your garden that receives around 6 hours of sunlight you should find little difficulty getting this coveted blossoms to grow.
Phlox - Phlox grow in small bundles of flowers, much like the sweet alyssum. There are actually three varieties to be aware of when choosing your seeds. There are border phlox, mounding phlox and woodland varieties. No matter the variety this bloom boasts a sweet almost honey-like smell you will adore.
Butterfly bush - This shrub grows long draping cone-shaped bundles of flowers. It comes in shades of white, pink and purple. If you are looking to attract butterflies opt for a lavender-pink variety. It should be noted that this bush is considered an invasive species and can be problematic in areas with more mild climates.
Flowering crabapple - Crabapples comes in many varieties and can fit any garden’s aesthetic needs. You can find traditional round shaped trees as well as ones with draping branches much like a weeping willow. For the most fragrant blooms, you’ll want the single blossom variety.
Peony - Peonies are a stunning, showy bloom much like the rose. The lovely, fresh scent peonies throw off is well worth the 2-3 year wait for a newly planted bush to establish itself. And good news - they don’t require much fussing over throughout that time. Aside from adequate sun and plenty of root space to soak up nutrients this bush is pretty low maintenance.
These six blooms will be sure to up the aroma ante in your flower garden. Not only can they be grouped up together but they can also be grouped with other stunning blooms whose fragrance is lacking for a well-rounded showstopper of a garden. Peonies can be put in the same garden design as roses to complement one another's showy blooms. While sweet alyssum and phlox can be added to just about any design due to their low-spreading nature.
When we decorate and organize our homes, few of us give more than a passing thought to the way our choices will affect our mood and behavior in our home. Most of us simply organize and decorate based on what we like on a whim.
There are, however, entire fields of study devoted to the way our environment affects us (environmental psychology), and ways we can engineer and design our environments to change our moods and behaviors.
If you’ve ever visited a big city like New York you will likely have noticed an example of this firsthand in city parks.
When you sit down on a park bench, you’ll likely find that it isn’t the most comfortable place to sit. There’s more than just a tight budget at play here. Many engineers who plan parks use the idea of “unpleasant design.” They create benches with the intention of dissuading people from lying down the benches by making them curved or putting arm rests in the middle of them.
In the same way that a city park can be designed to affect your behavior, your home can as well. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how you can better arrange and decorate your home to have a positive impact on both your mood and behavior.
Organize to your advantage
Many of us think of our homes as the opposite of work--it’s a place we relax after a long day. However, there are a number of chores and tasks you’ll complete at home that can be optimally engineered to save you time.
One simple example is to think about the placement of the items you use in the kitchen. Is your trash can far from the countertop, requiring you to constantly walk away to toss out scraps?
A good way to find out the needless extra work you’re doing around the house is to take note of how you go about your daily routine. This will give you insight into areas where you might better use your time.
Declutter for productivity
Whether you work from home frequently or you just need a quiet place to do taxes or pay bills, a home office can be a good way to avoid distraction. That is, until you fill your home office with distractions.
When organizing your office, think about the content of it. For most people, a decluttered minimalist environment is most conducive to work. Leave out the television, keep your cell phone at bay, and don’t cover your desk in papers that you’ll constantly be rearranging.
Similarly, your computer needs to be tailored to productivity as well. We all know how tempting it is to head over to Facebook or Reddit when we should be focusing on work. A good way to help break this habit is to utilize a time tracking app that lets you know when it’s time for a break. Alternatively, you can use an extension or add-on for your browser that blocks sites like Facebook during the time you specify.
Colors matter more than you think
Each room in your home serves a different purpose. The kitchen is a place of activity and conversation, the bedroom is one of relaxation, and the home office one of focus.
Studies have shown that there is a correlation between the colors and brightness of the room we are in and our moods.
So, when you’re decorating a room in your home, think about the type of colors that fit how you would like to feel in that room.