4 Neighborhood Perks To Look For When Home Shopping

4 Neighborhood Perks To Look For When Home Shopping

When buyers are looking for a new home, they must consider many different issues, including price, size, and convenience to work, taxes and a host of other concerns. The neighborhood in which the home is located is another important factor to consider, because it not only influences how comfortable you will be in your new location; it also affects your home’s value in the future.

1 – Convenient Transportation

Convenient access to transportation is one of the top features of a desirable neighborhood. Communities that are close to major highways, provide commuter trains to nearby cities and those that provide local public transportation ensure that residents can get to jobs, shopping and community activities easily.

2 – Park And Preserve Areas

Attractive parks and natural preserved areas always increase the value of homes that are in the area. These settings are important for children’s activities and for family enjoyment, but also singles that enjoy being outdoors, cycling, running and engaging in sports. Many park districts also offer lessons and programs for people of all ages. Some park districts offer swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts or fields for ball games. These amenities help to make a community a vibrant place where people get together, play together and socialize.

3 – Neighborhood Festivals And Events

Another perk that helps to promote community enjoyment and increase home values is organized festivals and other community events. Communities may celebrate their history or the founders of the town, which gives an area a strong sense of identity and continuity. Other places celebrate national holidays and other topics. These events provide a central place where residents can meet and get to know each other, as well as to attract public interest in the community as a whole.

4 – Convenient Shopping Venues

The community should have one or more local shopping areas for purchasing food, clothing and home care items. These stores are the most frequently visited venues that will save time and gasoline expense if they are located in close proximity to residential communities. This convenience is important to homeowners now and will continue to be of interest in the future.

Homes that are located in areas with these features tend to be popular with buyers, which increases their value over time. These properties are a good investment for families. Work with a real estate agent, like those at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty, to find the perfect spot for your family. Carefully research the amenities in the area where you are considering a purchase, and find the desirable features that will keep neighborhood home values high.

Moving in with Mates: How to Break All the Myths and Truths

Moving in with Mates: How to Break All the Myths and Truths

Renting a house/apartment with one or several friends is a great way to save money and enjoy the company of other people. However, while this step is rather common during college and after high school, it’s rarely considered a long-term arrangement. As soon as one roommate gets married or is able to afford their own place, they go their separate ways. What if there’s no marriage in sight and the financial prospects of each individual involved are not enough to get their own property? Well, if the present roommate situation works, and you get along well, buying a house with your friend(s) can be a smart investment. Before you make that big move, you need to be aware of some things.

The Pros of Buying a House with Your Friends       

We’ve already mentioned some of the reasons people make this decision. The financial benefits are obvious. A joint property means that you’ll share all the costs including the deposit, transaction costs, mortgage payments, decoration, maintenance, monthly payments, repairs and household bills. Due to high prices on the housing market, many people don’t even consider purchasing a house. Joint ownership can be a useful solution for two families who could, in that way, afford a bigger property.

Agreeing on the Things that Matter

Agreeing on the Things that Matter

When the ownership status is regulated properly (each tenant can own different shares of the property and tenants can choose to leave their shares in a will or sell them, etc.), owning a property with a friend can save you a lot of trouble. It’s important to agree on things that can largely impact your co-habitation, especially money-related issues. That can include setting up a joint bank account for paying the mortgage or any other agreed shared expenses. A household rulebook is also a crucial point of discussion. You need to be very clear on the rules regarding guests, partners, pets, smoking, etc.

Starting from Scratch

Different people have different needs. Finding a property to meet the needs of one person (with or without a family) is hard. Finding a property that will suit two different people is next to impossible. If that’s the case for you and your friend, building your own home may be a better idea. This way you will be able to make everything just the way you like it from the ground up. The design can be adapted to provide you both with the privacy you need in order to lead independent lives. According to custom home builders from Brisbane your home can be built to individual specifications, but it can also be changed during the building process, so you can follow the construction and make decisions that will make cohabitation easier.

Consistency in Décor

Consistency in Décor

Congratulations, you’ve bought/built your own property. Once the moving in process begins, you will need to decorate the place. Much like with the very design, it is difficult to choose one décor style that suits different persons. Of course, your bedroom, bathroom and other personal spaces should be off limits to the other tenant, and vice versa. If there is a common area, it should be decorated in a neutral manner, except if both tenants agree on one specific style. Although you and the other tenant will decorate your own spaces based on your preferences, keep in mind that there should still be a certain consistency in décor, so try to settle on one color palette or design era.

A Trial Period

A Trial Period

You and your best friend get along great. You love spending time with each other, drinking coffee and hanging out in a cocktail bar. That seems as a great foundation for buying a house together, right? Wrong. If you have never before tried to live together you can’t be sure that your relationship will remain just as ideal. Maybe you’ll hate that your friend is smoking in the morning, or they will dislike your early bird habits. Maybe one of you is irresponsible with money. There are too many maybes to count. That is why it is better to have a trial period of renting a place, before going down the more permanent road.

Buying a house with your friend(s) can be a great decision, both financially and when it comes to social life. Still, there’s the danger of losing both a friend and an investment, so be very careful.

Making Sure Your Home Move Doesn’t Turn into a Nightmare

Making Sure Your Home Move Doesn't Turn into a Nightmare

All those people who have moved home at least once in their lifetime will vouch for the fact that it is an overwhelming task, regardless if they moved just around the corner or to another part of the world. The stress of having to cover a myriad of activities in order for everything to go as smoothly as possible usually lingers for days after everything passed, not to mention the scope of it if anything serious went wrong after all. Here is what needs to be done so that it does not turn into a nightmare.

Every detail counts

Moving house is a serious task and requires careful planning in order to be successful. What this means is that it is better to take care of every little detail in advance than to be sorry you missed something and end up living your worst nightmare. To begin with, make a detailed checklist of all activities that need to be done. Secondly, make sure you follow it through to the end. Be realistic about your deadline. Do not expect to finish overnight and by all means, do not rush things by skipping anything from the list. If you feel you are way over your head in it, ask your friends for assistance, or hire a professional to help you finish everything smoothly.


In order to save time and pack everything safely, start packing way prior to your moving day. Start with out-of-the-season clothing and items that are rarely used. If possible, dedicate a spare room or a garage for packed items in order for them not to get in your way in the meantime. Use specialized boxes for sensitive items and additional packing paper for fragile items, especially those made of glass. Clearly mark every single box. It will make loading and unloading, and especially unpacking, a lot easier and save you a ton of time. Finally, take this opportunity and declutter in order to save some space.

Making Sure Your Home Move Doesn't Turn into a Nightmare

Additional packing concerns

Even though boxes will be sufficient to cover the majority of small and mid-sized items, bulkier stuff needs to be protected as well, particularly mattresses and furniture. Using mattress bags is the easiest solution for the former, while furniture pads proved to be most convenient and efficient when the latter is concerned. When artwork and particularly fragile items are concerned, packing paper will not suffice on its own. Use bubble wrap first and then pack everything in packing paper for additional protection.

Choose a reliable courier

All the effort you made carefully packing all your belongings could be in vain if you choose an unprofessional or inexperienced courier. In order for all the items to reach their final destination, every step of the way counts, say the people behind Instatruck.  Everything starts with choosing a truck with a volume suitable to transport all the goods without damaging them. Loading and arranging them within the desired volume is equally important for the transport to go smoothly. Unloading all the items is the final touch that no reliable courier would leave to chance. Once the items have reached their destination intact, it is solely up to you to safely position them in your new place.

Making Sure Your Home Move Doesn't Turn into a Nightmare

Arranging everything in the new place

It is natural that once everything has reached the new destination, you wish to arrange all the items as soon as possible and get on with ordinary life. Once again, do not rush things or you will end up having to rearrange everything several times in order to put everything in its designated place. Read the labels on the boxes, put each in the right room and only then start to unpack. Take your time, enjoy this activity and make your new home immediately feel like one.

Taking your time and doing everything according to your detailed plan guarantees less stressful moving and minimizes the chances of turning it into a nightmare. And, before you know it, everything will be over and your new home perfectly arranged.



First 4 Things You Should Repair on That Fixer-Upper Home


There are all kinds of reasons for buying a fixer upper home. Maybe the structure is going to be restored into your dream home. Maybe you just want to live in it for a few years while fixing it up to sell for a profit. Maybe it is all your budget will allow at the moment. Regardless, there are some things that need to be fixed first on fixer-upper residential homes. Here are the top four renovations you should consider early in the restoration of your bargain home purchase.

Replace the Roof

This is the part of the exterior of your home that gets pounded with everything from the hot sun to driving winds and rain. All of your interior upgrades and renovations that are next on your list can be ruined by even small leaks from a roof that is in poor condition.

You need to make sure that the roof over your head is keeping out the elements before upgrading any insulation, especially attic insulation. A qualified roof inspector can let you know if your roof is leaking even a little bit. Plus, because of how large a roof on a house is means that fixing it will make a dramatic difference in its visual curb appeal.

Update the HVAC System

Chances are the furnace and air conditioning system in the home is very old. The house obviously did not get into its fixer-upper status by a former owner who went all out with upgrades and renovations.

HVAC companies like Pacific Aire, Inc. offer expert advice for HVAC systems and advocate repair where possible and replacement when necessary. They typically advise us to keep in mind the statistic published by Energystar.gov, which indicates almost half of HVAC systems are incorrectly installed and correcting installation issues may be all that is necessary for an efficiently functioning system.

Replace Flooring

The floors are the first thing people notice when they come into your home. One of the first things you should do is to look underneath wall-to-wall carpeting in every room and hallway where it is installed. Owners of fixer-upper homes often find hardwood flooring that only needs refinishing. That nice shiny oak hardwood flooring that is so popular in new homes today may have been preserved under carpeting for decades.

Do not judge it by its current looks. Check it to make sure no holes have been cut and replaced with plywood and look for other serious damage. If the planks are intact, they can be sanded and refinished to shine like diamonds at far less cost than installing a new floor. For areas that do not have hardwood subflooring, clearance laminates, vinyl and ceramics are available at less than a dollar per square foot. Also, many flooring types are available for easy DIY installs.

Upgrade the Electrical Service

Even if you cannot get into the wiring in the walls that feed every outlet and ceiling fixture in your fixer-upper, you should install a new service panel including the main service entrance power cable and electrical meter box. Most building codes require a 200 amp breaker panel for a regular residential home. Some older fixer-upper homes have a 50 amp fuse box. This is completely inadequate for today’s families and their electricity needs.

If you have ungrounded, non-polarized outlets, that wiring should be replaced immediately too. You should never use an adapter to plug in your three-prong appliances. Upgrading the main service entrance, breaker box and household wiring is one of the wisest and safest things you can do first for your new bargain home.

Unless your fixer-upper home is really old, the plumbing is likely to use copper supply lines and PVC drains. If you suspect a terracotta sewer line underground, have it inspected by camera for tree root intrusion and broken pipes. Simply put, work on the infrastructure of your home first. Your renovations will go smoother as you go along if you have a sound infrastructure to work with.

Guest Post By:

Anica Oaks

Freelance writer and web enthusiast
Read some of my published work on my Google+ page.

Building Inspections: The Need-To-Know

Building Inspections: The Need-To-Know

When buying a piece of property to proudly call their new home, many people fall into the trap of clever real estate marketing campaigns, which usually costs them thousands in additional expenses once the estate passes into their hands. Homebuyers with a tad more experience, on the other hand, know that minor oversights during preliminary property tours can result in major update costs later on, which is why they always base the final property purchase decision on objective building inspection reports. But what exactly do building inspectors do, and how can the unbiased assessment save you cash down the road?

ABC of Building Inspection

A building inspector holds qualifications and licenses that entitle them to review and report on the state of residential and commercial property for a set commission. In the audit, the building inspector will go over the building plans and the property itself to make sure it is compliant with relevant standards and regulations. During the inspection, the inspector will strive to identify defects or faults that may compromise residents’ safety and report thereon. A building inspector also has the authority to issue building permits prior to the beginning of construction, oversee the works to ensure observance of regulations on design, materials, and construction methods, propose solutions to potential issues, and certify the building plan compliance with relevant local standards upon completion of construction.

The Role of a Building Inspector

In order to ensure observance of valid building regulations and standards, the building inspector will undertake one or more of the following tasks.

  • Interpretation of building plans, regulations, standards and codes of practice;
  • Inspection of materials, structure, and workmanship for compliance with regulations;
  • Coordination of action plans during construction process;
  • Preparation of time scale estimates and costs prior to and during the building process;
  • Data collection with the help of surveying tools and photogrammetric equipment;
  • Provision of assistance to building managers, architects, and surveyors in construction planning and organization.

Down-To-Earth Report Details

If the list above sounds too complex for you, here are some practical examples of the defects a building inspector can uncover during the audit.

  • Structural faults, such as roof, flooring, or foundation defects which can compromise safety and well-being of residents and therefore need to be repaired before moving in;
  • Electrical system issues, such as wiring faults, smoke alarm defects, and low quality of installation workmanship;
  • Plumbing and sewer defects, such as drain, waste, and vent damage, as well as pipe, fitting, and water heater installation or operation faults;
  • Air-conditioning and heating system faults, such as blocked filters, valve defects, and poor installation quality;
  • Health hazards, such as presence of pests, mold and invisible toxins such as asbestos, water pollutants, and gas leaks, as well as balustrade, floor, ceiling, and wall defects, and other potential problems that can jeopardize residents’ health and safety;
  • Mechanical defects caused by age and wear which will require post-purchase repairs, updates, and makeovers that can cause additional costs.

building inspections

Speaking the Inspector’s Lingo

Most building inspectors seem to speak a language of their own, riddled with vague terms such as ‘serviceable condition’, ‘conducive to deterioration’, and ‘deviations from the site plan’. For this reason, understanding the building inspection report can be a tough task for an average homebuyer unacquainted with technical vocabulary. To avoid misunderstandings, you should ask the building inspector to provide both a written and an oral elaboration on the state of the property you’re set on buying, and you can also ask them to produce a broad assessment of home repair and upgrade costs that will have to be covered if you decide to purchase the piece of property. On top of the inspection report and cost estimates, a certified building inspector will also be able to refer you to reliable environmental consulting experts for additional tests and audits to establish compliance of the estate with relevant health regulations and standards.

An unbiased building inspection can be a lifesaver for first-time homebuyers, as it will expose and point to structural, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical problems below fine frills and shiny polish which you’d otherwise overlook. Based on the inspector’s report, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on property purchase and avoid common mistakes that can set you back more than you ever thought was possible. For a cool bonus, you can try to use the specifics from the report to bring down the price of your future nest in the negotiations before you sign your name on the dotted line.

Ready to buy a home of your own and settle down? Make sure you get the property inspected before you dash off to sign the purchase contract: it will save you cash, nerves, and hassle later on. You’re welcome.

This article was written by Zoe Clark. Zoe is an environmentalist, home decorator and DIY enthusiast. When not obsessing about designing perfect homes, she is spending time with her family.