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.

Don’t Buy a Home Without Reading This [Infographic]

Buying a house is likely to be the biggest financial commitment that you will make for your entire life and, while the experience can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, it’s important to get it right in order to avoid excessive extra costs in the future.

And when it’s your first time buying a home, it can be a little overwhelming with lots of unknowns, legal wranglings and lists of things to do in order to get the keys to your first home.

Luckily, when you’re ready to make your first move, we’ve got this extremely thorough infographic created by Legendary Home Services to walk you through the must-do’s of your first purchase.


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.

Elegant and Functional Walk-In Closet Design Ideas

Elegant and Functional Walk-In Closet Design Ideas

One of the biggest mistakes of first time home owners is giving too much significance to the unimportant things. For example, it’s not that important how much room you have in your bathroom or even in your bedroom (if it is one-purpose room). Both of these places have simple functions and you don’t usually spend more time there than you absolutely need.

On the other hand, the size, position and layout of your closet can play a vital role in making your home more orderly and practical. Unfortunately, this is something that people often tend to oversee. Not only does it keep the rest of your home neat, but it also makes it easier for you to find whatever you are looking for. To make things even better, walk-in closets can be designed in a fashionable and enthralling manner, thus ensuring the rest of your home look even better.

Taking Care of Storage Capacities

First things first, when designing a closet, you must appeal to its practical side. What this means is that you have to come up with the way to organize it properly. Naturally, your first step would be to get the right storage capacities, which means finding someone to deal with shelving installation on your behalf. DIY projects are a great idea, but in this particular case, they might not give as satisfactory result, since any irregularity may seriously damage your valuables. Imagine if the shelf you keep your jewelry on suddenly broke or fell. Sure the results may not be catastrophic, but why take any chances? Another option would be to get a secure nightstand with compartmentalized drawers, where you will keep all the most precious things you own.

The Right Light

As we emphasized several times already, practical function of your closet is the most important. This means that your walk-in closet should always have adequate lighting. Now, while the illumination should be your first concern, this isn’t that hard to deal with. Just follow Watts (or lumens if you are going with LED) and you should be fine. What you might want to give some more attention to is making the light in the room match the overall ambiance. If you decide to go with a shimmery color (like petal pink) hanging fixture might be a perfect solution. Furthermore, seeing how glass is a natural light enhancer (due to its reflective nature) you might want to think a bit about investing in some glass shelves.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Speaking of reflective surfaces, no walk-in closet will ever be complete without the mirror. Seeing how this closet is going to be a room without windows, it is vital that you use all you can to enhance the effect of your lighting system. For practical purposes, it goes without saying that what you need is a full length mirror, but this is only the tip of the iceberg of all that you should pay attention to. This mirror is also a part of the room and as such it must fit in. The easiest way to do so is to make the frame match the surrounding wallpaper pattern. To find a universal solution that fits it all, you can always get mirror closet doors.

While to some they may seem like a luxury, but those who once lived in a home with a walk-in closet could never again live without it. Just having them, means that your home will be overall less messy and that you won’t have to make improvised changing rooms wherever you are. Still, in order to make you feel even more comfortable in this little fashion realm of yours, you might want to go one step further and go that extra mile when decoration is concerned.

Guest Post By:

Chloe TaylorChloe is an art historian, recreational ballet dancer and a contributor at smoothdecorator.com. She is passionate about photography, dance and music. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world with her husband and take stunning photographs of beautiful places. She also enjoys learning and writing about home design, since she is crazy about aesthetics. You can find Chloe on FB, Twitter, and G+.