David Higgins' Blog
Buying a home with an in-law suite provides many families with peace of mind for years to come. Whether or not your parents don’t get around as well as they used to or you’re planning ahead for the years ahead, you’ll always be a stone's throw away from them. And while this isn’t a topic most like to think or plan for, it's never one you’ll wish you were less informed on.
When shopping around for homes with an in-law suite look for those that are a single story and open floor plan. Come crutches, walker or wheelchair this layout guarantees its inhabitants full access to every room. No chairlift required.
Some things that are especially beneficial when you’re feeling the effects of age are helpful to those at any age.
Consider these home upgrades first:
Switch out all door knobs for handles. The twisting action of a doorknob is hard and sometimes even impossible for arthritic hands. But it also makes for easier access to any room if you’re hands are full with a laundry basket, groceries or toddler.
A grab bar should be installed in every bathtub. Everyone is susceptible to the slippery surface of the tub. However, as we age our balance and coordination begins to become compromised. A horizontal bar along the length of the tub can multitask as a grab bar and place to keep shampoo bottles and facecloths. This placement is also more subtle than a bunch of horizontal and vertically placed bars.
Another feature every home should have? A motion-sense light outside. Our eyes are no more immune to age than the rest of our body. This makes getting around in the dark much more difficult. Coupled with balance could cause a very severe accident. If your new home doesn’t already have a motion sense lamp this is one upgrade that is best made ASAP.
Once you have the basics in place consider these upgrades your loved ones will really appreciate:
A hand-held shower head with the option of a waist height wall mount. For when movement is limited and especially for those who need to sit while bathing.
A built-in shower bench. This upgrade is really just a nice touch especially compared to the white metal chairs that feel more like an afterthought.
Textured flooring. Tile can get slippery especially when wet. Installing textured flooring can help avoid that infamous “help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” scene from playing out.
Railing along the stairs; ideally along both sides. Stairs can be a dangerous place for anyone especially if we are in a hurry or not paying attention. Having a railing to hold on to will help your loved ones keep their balance.
In today’s world, many people are concerned about the harm that chemicals may do. Especially in homes with pets and children, families may want to do everything to protect their loved ones from harm. Having chemicals in your home may not only be hazardous, but they could also aggravate certain health conditions like asthma and allergies. There are many things that you can use that are right inside of your own kitchen cabinets to do the same job of cleaning that industrial strength cleaners do. The best part s that you won’t need to worry about your kids or pets getting into dangerous materials. You may also be surprised at what a great job all of these natural cleaners do in cleaning up your home. If you’re trying to save money, you might also
Stock Up On Supplies
The first thing you’ll need to do if you want to have all natural cleaning supplies is to stock up on the essentials. Specific items do a great job of cleaning that a part of any cleaning recipe. You’ll be surprised at how much you can scrub in your home with just a few simple items.
Baking soda is such a versatile cleaner. It does everything from deodorizing to act as an abrasive. You can use it in many places in your home from the kitchen to the bathroom to the plumbing.
Vinegar works to dissolve scale, gets rid of mold, and cuts down on soap scum. It’s also a fantastic stain remover. It’s a great base to use in many cleaners from the kitchen counters to your shower.
Peroxide is an eco-friendly cleaner that helps to whiten surfaces. You can even find this substance in your toothpaste!
This substance helps to cut grease, oil, and dirt. It’s great to clean stainless steel with and is a great stain remover.
Essential oils are great to add scent to any homemade cleaners that you have. Get anything from tea tree oil to lemongrass to lavender to eucalyptus scents and use them as a part of your natural cleaning recipes.
Homemade cleaning supplies can save you money, time and even space in your closets! It’s easy to see why stocking up on a few essentials can not only keep your home clean but your home and family safe from harmful compounds as well. Try cleaning with something natural and notice the difference in your home!
Want to buy a house for the first time? Create a budget, and you can move one step closer to transforming your homebuying dream into a reality.
Now, let's take a look at three budgeting tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.
1. Don't Wait to Start Saving for a Down Payment
In most instances, a down payment on a home ranges from 5 percent to 20 percent. With a large down payment, you may be able to reduce your monthly mortgage expenses.
A lender may be more willing to provide you with a favorable mortgage if you can afford an above-average down payment. This means if you have plenty of money for a down payment, you could save money over the life of your mortgage.
2. Take a Look at Your Outstanding Debt
Student loan charges, credit card bills and other outstanding debt may make it tough for you to get the financing that you need to buy a house. Fortunately, if you pay down your outstanding debt as much as possible, you can boost your chances of buying your dream house.
Evaluate your current spending and make cuts if possible. For example, if you dine out several times a week, it may be more cost-effective to buy groceries and cook your own meals. Then, you'll have extra money that you can use to pay off outstanding debt and save for a house.
3. Understand Your Credit Score
Do you know your credit score? If not, you may be missing out on opportunities to eliminate outstanding debt and increase your home savings.
You are eligible for a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Take advantage of this perk, and you can receive insights into your credit score.
If you obtain your free credit reports and find outstanding debt, you should try to pay off this debt sooner rather than later. Because the longer that you wait to pay off outstanding debt, the longer it may take you to acquire your ideal residence.
Furthermore, if you discover errors on a credit report, contact the reporting bureau immediately. This will enable you to fix any report errors before you get a mortgage.
If you need additional assistance as you map out a homebuying budget, it often pays to collaborate with a bank or credit union. In addition to providing you with multiple mortgage options, a lender will offer expert recommendations to help you budget for your first home purchase.
Lastly, don't hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional is happy to help you get in touch with the best lenders in your area. And when you're ready to kick off your inaugural homebuying journey, a real estate agent can provide you with the support you need, precisely when you need it.
Use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish an effective homebuying budget.
Whether you’re a movie buff, like playing the latest video games, or just appreciate high-quality video and audio when you’re binging shows in Netflix, your experience can be greatly enhanced with a home theater system.
Technologies are ever-changing when it comes to home audio and video. The quality of DVDs now seems laughable next to 4K resolution HD videos. Similarly, bulky home audio systems that once required several huge speakers have been reduced to small “sound bars” that sound excellent and take up hardly any room at all.
If you’d like to turn your living room, basement, or any other room in your home into a home theater, read on.
Location of your home theater
The obvious choice for many when it comes to choosing a location for their home theater is the living room. And that might make the most sense for people who have small or mid-sized houses who spend much of the time in their living room.
However, if you’re looking for an immersive, distraction-free viewing experience, you may want to consider other rooms in your house, such as a finished basement or office.
What you’ll need
If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to invest some time and money in your home theater. First, you’ll need an HDTV or projector and screen. Projectors can be a fun way to achieve the movie theater experience and are particularly useful in large rooms where you’re sitting far from the screen. However, quality projectors are quite pricey ($600 or more, not including the cost of a screen).
Choosing a television
If you go the television route, you have several options. Shopping for a TV is no easy feat. There are LED, OLED, 4K Ultra, and curved televisions. If you’re looking for the highest video quality and plan on streaming HD video with a high resolution, a 4K Ultra would be the best option.
However, if you aren’t particular about video quality and will be happy with anything that plays your old DVD collection, most LED televisions will do the trick at an affordable price point.
When it comes to audio quality, you might be surprised with the variety of systems on the market.
For the classic home theater experience, a multi-speaker surround sound system is the closest you’ll get to the cinematic experience. Since the rise of the sound bar, home theater systems have become much more affordable.
However, with most surround sound systems you’ll need to buy a receiver. You’ll need to set it up and find a place to put it (they tend to be pretty large).
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of installing speakers around the room and finding a place for a big audio receiver, a sound bar could be a great alternative. Starting at around $100 and scaling up to $1,000 depending on your audio quality needs.
Most decent sound bars come with a small subwoofer, but other than that they are small, lightweight and typically Bluetooth-ready, so you can just plug them in and start listening.
Searching for a house should be a fun, exciting experience. It represents an opportunity to discover a residence that you can transform into your very own home. As such, conducting an effective home search may require both hard work and patience to ensure that you can achieve the best-possible results.
Ultimately, there are many factors to consider as you search for your ideal house, and these factors include:
A home's location can have far-flung effects on a homeowner's day-to-day activities, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
For example, a city home may provide quick, easy access to a wide range of attractions. On the other hand, this home may be located near major highways, which could create traffic problems for those who need to commute to school or work regularly.
As you search for your dream house, consider where you want to live both now and in the future. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life, you may want to pursue houses in big cities. Or, if you prefer the serenity of small town living, you can search for a top-notch home in the suburbs.
2. Home Condition
It is paramount to assess a house's condition. Otherwise, you risk making an offer on a home that may have many "hidden" problems that probably will need to be corrected in the foreseeable future.
A home requires maintenance over time, and an older house may be more susceptible than others to costly, time-intensive structural problems. Thus, depending on a home's age, you may need to account for many potential upgrades sooner rather than later.
It also may be worthwhile to find out which home upgrades that a home seller has already completed. If a seller recently replaced a house's roof or heating and cooling system or performed other major home upgrades, you may be able to reap the benefits of these house updates for years to come.
3. A Home's Price
The initial asking price of a home rarely, if ever, is set in stone. Therefore, if you find a house that is priced above your budget, you may be able to negotiate the house's price with the seller.
If you find a house that you want to buy, it helps to submit a competitive offer right away. This offer should account for the age and condition of a house, as well as the current housing market's conditions. And if the offer meets a seller's expectations, he or she should have no trouble accepting the proposal.
Lastly, if you need help searching for a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about new houses that become available, provide plenty of homebuying tips and suggestions and help you submit an offer on your dream house. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your homebuying questions, guaranteeing that you can make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying journey.