Jay LeClerc's Blog
When you list your home for sale, you will have people you don't know exploring the property -- and while real estate agents will supervise them, you will still have extra foot traffic in your home. You can work with your listing agent to ensure that visiting buyers are properly vetted (new listings often attract curious visitors that are not interested in buying, just touring the home). You can also take steps to protect your property during open houses and showings. A security system isn't beneficial -- because the people admitted to your home for a showing have permission to be there. Here's what to do before you list your home to protect your possessions from theft or harm. Most people are well-intentioned and the vast majority of showings are trouble-free but preparing to show your home can give you peace of mind and preserve your privacy and possessions, too.
Replace originals: If you have original works of art as focal points in some rooms, you may want to replace them with prints, reproductions or lesser works while your home is on the market. Consider having artwork professionally packed by an art historian or specialty mover before your home goes on the market and you won't have to worry about it being in an empty home. Note that even well-intentioned visitors could damage original art simply by touching it, so evaluate which pieces should stay on display when you show your home.
Remove small electronics: Your wall mounted flat screen is safe during showings since it is simply too awkward to remove and tote away, but smaller pieces could be at risk. Small electronics like phones, tablets and games should be removed or secured before a showing. These items may also contain your personal information and secure data, so putting them away can protect your privacy, too.
Secure or remove personal items: Jewelry and other small items should be removed from the home or placed in a safe or other secure location. Even if you don't have a conventional jewelry box or valet on display, consider removing especially valuable or sentimental items while your home is on on the market.
Most visitors are honest, authentic buyers. However, if you have concerns about theft or damage, sweep your home before you list it and secure or replace any important items.
Have you always wanted to design your dream home at a location of your choosing? If so, buying a plot of land to build your customized home on is probably your best option. Before getting started, you'll want to do your due diligence to ensure you're making a smart investment.
Find a Property to Build on
The concept of customizing your home is an ideal one, but the reality of finding the perfect plot isn’t so simple. You can check listings, but there are several other ways to find ready-to-build-on land.
If you find land approved but not yet suitable for build, you’ll also want to take clearing and grading the land into consideration.
Understand Local Zoning Laws
Some municipalities are stringent about how land can be used. Before you buy, it’s critically important to understand local building restrictions and zoning criteria. Any number of scenarios might prevent you from building your home. Here are just a few.
Be certain to understand every possible building restriction or zoning requirement before you purchase land. It would be disastrous to discover you can’t build your dream home the way you planned.
Does the land meet local criteria or have the right terrain for these necessities to be installed? Utility hookups are a detail you don't want to overlook—ensure you'll have access to water, sewer, electricity, natural gas and Internet. If no public water or sewer lines exist, you’ll need to learn about wells and septic tanks.
Understanding the Financials of Buying Land
Obtaining funding to buy land is a little different than taking out a mortgage to buy an already existing home. You’ll typically have a few options including paying in cash or getting a loan. Types of loans include land or lot loans, construction loans and seller-backed loans.
These loans are usually short-term and involve high-interest rates because lenders generally perceive land purchases a riskier gamble than home purchases. As with any major purchase, carefully evaluate your financial situation and consider future expenses and other contingencies before committing to a loan to purchase land.
Building your home on a plot of land takes additional planning because there are numerous details to explore before you can even begin to get started. While building a home is a more complicated process than buying an existing one, customizing a new home is a far more fulfilling investment for many people.
You honestly may not get the chance to deep clean your home very often. When you do clean your house, there are a few places that are harboring many germs that are easily overlooked. Below, you’ll find some of the dirtiest areas in your home that need to be scrubbed well.
Handles And Knobs In The Kitchen
You’re handling everything in the kitchen from dirty dishes to raw meat. After touching these items, you’re grabbing drawers, refrigerator door handles, oven doors, and more. All of the bacteria that is on your hands is transferred to these items. You should scrub these areas down on a weekly basis with a simple vinegar and water solution.
Your Computer And Accessories
If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time at your computer. You eat drink, talk on the phone, and everything else right in front of your computer. It’s a good idea to rid the bacteria that are collected all over your computer and accessories. You can detach the attachments from your computer a dab them with a mild soapy water solution, or just wipe them down with a pre-moistened anti-bacterial cloth.
The Toothbrush Holder
You use your toothbrush to clean your teeth, but do you ever clean the place where it sits? You can quickly place your toothbrush holder in the dishwasher once a week, or sterilize it with hot water and soap. As a bonus, you should clean your toothbrushes by boiling them in water for a few minutes.
The Handrails And Doorknobs
Everyone uses the railings on the stairways, but it’s a good bet that no one cleans them very often. You can use a simple hot water and vinegar solution to scrub railings and doorknobs down. Wipe them dry, and they’ll be as good as new with less germs.
The Light Switches
As you go in and out of rooms, you probably don’t think of cleaning off the light switch panel. Germs are easily spread there as people go in and out, turning a light on just to wash their hands. Vinegar and hot water will do the trick here as well. Just wipe switches down with a cloth soaked in the solution and pat dry.
While you may wipe down around your sink often, the faucet and surrounding areas may need a little love. Faucet handles should be scrubbed on a daily basis with hot soapy water. As a bonus, if you want to make your sink shine, create a paste with vinegar and baking soda. Once you scrub it on the faucet, rinse off for a fantastic shine.
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Upcycling is a great way to use old or discarded objects to create new and useful items. The following are several basic things you probably have at home or in the garage. With a little creativity, they can be turned into beautiful crafts.
Coffee Bean Holder
Find a small bowl, glass vase or jar and fill it a little over half way full with coffee beans. Use the container in your bathroom or bedroom to organize makeup brushes, eyeliner and mascara. This type of jar can also be used to hold pens, pencils and paintbrushes on your desk. If you don't have coffee beans, try using rice, pebbles or marbles instead.
There are lots of fun alternative uses for wine corks. One simple and quick project is to make plant markers for your garden. You'll need wooden skewers, wine corks, marker or paint, glue and a drill with a small drill bit. Drill a small hole at the end of each cork that's a little less than one inch deep. Place the wooden skewers into the end of each cork, secure with a dab of glue. With a black marker or paint, write the name of the veggie or herb on each cork. Alternately, paint a rectangle of chalk paint on each cork so you can change the labels at any time.
If you have a package of clothespins around the house you can repurpose them into a small flower pot. Start with an empty and washed tuna or salmon can. Clip the clothespins closely together along the rim of the can. Carefully fill the container with potting mix and your favorite flower or plant.
Find a gallon paint can and thoroughly clean out the inside. You may need to soak it all night to remove all of the paint residue. Once the can is clean and dry, coat the inside, rim and handle with gold or silver spray paint. It's okay if the paint gets on the outside. Measure the height and diameter of the can. Cut a piece of decorative paper using the dimensions of the can. Use craft glue or spray adhesive to attach the paper to the outside. After everything dries, add ice and chill your favorite drinks!
Using a small mirror in any shape, you can create a beautiful starburst mirror with a dozen or so paint stirrers. Start by selecting paint colors for your project, coat the paint stirrers and set aside to dry. On the back of the mirror, draw evenly spaced lines where the sticks will be glued. Test your layout using scotch tape so you can see what the design will look like before permanently gluing the project together. Using superglue, hot glue or Gorilla glue, secure the painted stirrers to the back of the mirror. Hang and enjoy!