Paul Stonkus' Blog
Making the transition from being a renter to a home owner is a life changing experience -- one which brings both rewards and new responsibilities.
Although you'll no longer have a landlord (on speed dial) to handle things like yard maintenance, noisy neighbors, and appliance repairs, you'll enjoy the satisfaction of being in control of your own living space, your property, and your level of privacy. With few exceptions, if you choose to erect fences, plant privacy hedges, or build a screened-in back porch, that's your prerogative.
In the not-so-distant past, you may have felt as if your privacy was not as absolute as you might have preferred. Even though landlords and apartment managers are usually required by state law to give tenants 24 to 48 hours notice before entering the premises for an inspection or maintenance visit, some are not aware of their obligation. Unfortunately, there are also inconsiderate landlords who don't want to be bothered with things like advance notice requirements. That potential problem can be even more of an issue if the landlord happens to live downstairs or next door!
When you're a renter, landlords do generally have a right of entry, which, according to rental agreements, can be for repairs, alterations, improvements or "any reasonable purpose." If the end of your lease is approaching, your landlord may also appear at your door to show your rental unit to prospective tenants, real estate agents, appraisers, and others. Although many tenants do not encounter problems with landlords, the fact that they do have a right to access to your apartment, condo, or rented house is enough to make you feel uneasy!
The minute you become a homeowner, however, those uncomfortable privacy issues become a thing of the past. You no longer have to answer to a landlord, and -- unless there are restrictive zoning laws or Home Owner Association (HOA) rules -- you and your spouse are the ones who call the shots. While it's wise to be considerate of your neighbors and aware of local ordinances, you are free to own pets, throw parties, sleep on waterbeds, have long-term guests, and make changes to your house, your yard, and your property, as you see fit.
While pets are okay, farm animals may not be so acceptable! If your goal is to raise chickens, goats, or horses on your property, you might encounter some potential stumbling blocks. It does depend on a number of factors, such as whether you're in a rural area and if the land is agriculturally zoned. Your real estate agent, attorney, or town clerk would probably be the best sources of information when it comes to questions like that.
Generally speaking, however, property owners do have a lot of leeway on how they can use their property, as long as they observe local laws, be respectful of their neighbors, keep noise levels down to "a dull roar," and maintain a semblance of order in their front yard!
Do you love the idea of having fresh herbs available all year round but don't live in an area where it's possible to grow them outdoors in all seasons? You don't have to give up cooking with fresh herbs just because the weather outside is frightful — and you also don't have to install a complicated growing setup with special lights. If you've got a sunny windowsill, you can have fresh herbs even in the dead of winter. Following are just five of the many culinary herbs that you can have at your fingertips all year round with just a few indoor pots, some indoor potting soil, a sunny spot, and a little water.
Mint is a fragrant, prolific grower that thrives indoors when situated where it gets plenty of bright natural light. Use it in teas, cocktails, and as an aromatic garnish.
A pinch of thyme makes almost any meal better, from egg dishes to soups and stews to roasts and grilled seafood. Grow it on a windowsill where it gets plenty of sun, and you'll be rewarded with an extra layer of deliciousness in nearly everything you place on the dinner table.
Parsley is another easy-to-grow herb that fits just right on a bright kitchen windowsill. Use it in soups, stews, egg dishes, and, of course, its traditional use as a garnish to dress up plates with an added bit of greenery.
As a member of the mint family, oregano is as tough as it is aromatic. Always have fresh oregano on hand for Mediterranean-based cuisine will make all the difference between fair and fabulous.
Adding sage bumps up the flavor profile of any savory dish, but it goes especially well with roasted meats such as pork beef, and poultry. It's also a classic herb to use in stuffing when seasonal feasting is on the menu.
Culinary herbs are meant to be used, so don't be afraid of using yours every chance you get. Use a sharp pair of scissors to remove the part you want to use just below the node on the stem — this encourages new growth and helps ensure that you've got plenty of fresh culinary herbs in future weeks and months. For low-growing herbs such as thyme, you can just pinch off however much you need.
Always keep in mind that even though the flowers of many herbs have a diminutive, whimsical aesthetic, resist the urge to allow your windowsill sill herbs to flower unless you want to collect the seeds. Leaves tend to taste bitter after herb plants flower, and except for woody herbs such as rosemary and lavender, most herb plants are biologically programmed to end their lifecycle once they've finished setting seed.
Please feel free to reach out for more information on enjoying your home to the fullest.
Adding a home to the real estate market offers a great first step to sell your residence. However, before you list your house, you'll want to consider the short- and long-term ramifications.
Ultimately, there are several key decisions for home sellers to make before they list their residences, including:
1. What Are My Future Plans?
After you sell your house, where will you live? You'll need to consider life after your home sale so that you can map out the home selling journey accordingly.
For example, if you've recently accepted a new job in a new state, you may need to sell your home as quickly as possible. This also may require you to find a new place to live immediately.
On the other hand, if you already have another residence lined up, you may be able to slow down the home selling process. This will ensure you can take your time, perform plenty of housing market research and do everything possible to maximize the value of your home sale.
2. How Much Is My Home Worth?
What you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your home's present value. As such, you'll need to understand what your home is worth today so you can price it appropriately.
A home appraisal will make it easy for you to learn about your house's strengths and weaknesses. During this appraisal, a home inspector will examine your property's interior and exterior and identify any problem areas. Then, you can better understand the true value of your house.
Don't forget to look at the prices of comparable houses in your city or town too. This can provide you with valuable housing market data and help you understand whether you're getting ready to sell a home in a buyer's or seller's market.
3. What Can I Do to Enjoy a Fast, Seamless Home Selling Experience?
The home selling journey can be tricky, particularly for those who are preparing to sell a house for the first time. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you enjoy a fast, seamless home selling experience.
A real estate agent boasts comprehensive housing market experience. He or she can offer tips to help you revamp your house's interior and exterior before you add your residence to the real estate market. That way, you can boost your chances of a quick home sale.
Also, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty throughout the home selling journey. This housing market professional will set up home showings and open houses, keep you up to date about offers on your home and negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf. And if you ever have home selling questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your queries immediately.
Collaborate with a real estate agent as you prepare to embark on the home selling journey, and you can move one step closer to maximizing the value of your residence.
If you plan to pursue a house, you likely want to enjoy a seamless homebuying experience. Although you may take extra steps to err on the side of caution as you explore myriad homes, there may be times when it helps to be an aggressive homebuyer.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why you may want to be aggressive and try to accelerate the homebuying journey, such as:
1. You're facing a tight deadline.
If you have only a certain amount of time to buy a house, it may be a good idea to be aggressive. That way, you can accelerate the homebuying journey and acquire your ideal residence before time runs out.
For those who are facing a tight deadline, you may want to stay on top of new houses as soon as they become available. Fortunately, if you work with an expert real estate agent, you can do just that.
An expert real estate agent can keep you up to date about houses that fall within your price range and are located in your preferred cities and towns. As a result, this housing market professional can help you secure your dream house faster than ever before.
2. You discover your dream home and don't want to risk losing it to a rival homebuyer.
If you find a house that fulfills all of your homebuying criteria, there is no need to wait to submit an offer. In fact, if you hesitate, you risk losing your ideal residence to a rival homebuyer.
Of course, when submitting an offer on a house, it pays to be realistic. If you analyze the housing market closely, you can understand a house's current value and submit a competitive proposal right away. As such, you can boost the likelihood of receiving an instant "Yes" from a seller, as well as improve your chances of enjoying a successful homebuying experience.
3. You possess the homebuying confidence and expertise that you need to succeed.
An informed homebuyer should have no trouble assessing the housing market and finding a residence that matches or exceeds his or her expectations. Thus, this homebuyer may be more likely than others to quickly discover a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.
To build your homebuying confidence and expertise, it may be beneficial to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can teach you everything that you need to know about purchasing a house. By doing so, a real estate agent will ensure that you can achieve the best-possible results throughout the homebuying journey.
Let's not forget about the housing market insights that a real estate agent can provide, either. A real estate agent can help you differentiate between a buyer's and seller's market, submit a competitive offer on a home and much more. Therefore, with this housing market professional at your side, you can go from homebuyer to homeowner in no time at all.
Ready to start your search for your dream house? Become an informed homebuyer, and you can speed up the homebuying journey.
The homebuying journey is rarely problem-free. Fortunately, homebuyers who know how to address challenges throughout the property buying journey should have no trouble making their homeownership dreams come true.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you develop an effective approach to address any homebuying challenges that come your way.
1. Be Diligent
When it comes to homebuying challenges, it helps to be diligent. A diligent homebuyer allocates time and resources to understand problems and address them from every angle. As such, this buyer may be better equipped than others to find the right solution to any homebuying challenge, at any time.
Furthermore, a diligent homebuyer often learns about the housing market and analyzes real estate market patterns and trends. With this information at his or her disposal, a homebuyer can use real estate market data to gain an advantage over rival property buyers. And as a result, a diligent homebuyer can use housing market data to make fast, informed decisions throughout the property buying journey.
2. Understand the Worst-Case Scenarios
No one likes to think about the worst-case scenarios. Yet considering potential challenges that could arise during the homebuying cycle may help a property buyer plan ahead for these problems.
As a homebuyer, it is important to prepare as much as possible for all stages of the property buying journey. If a buyer understands potential challenges, he or she may be able to address such problems without delay. Perhaps best of all, this buyer can minimize the risk of encountering possible hurdles that otherwise may prevent him or her from finding the right house at the right price.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Dealing with a homebuying challenge on your own can cause immense stress. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available who can help you identify and resolve any homebuying challenges before they escalate.
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who can guide you along each stage of the property buying journey. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and craft a custom property buying strategy. A real estate agent next will keep you up to date about new homes that match your property buying criteria, as well as set up home showings. And once you find a house that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides after a seller accepts your offer to purchase a home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you schedule a house inspection and ensure that you are fully prepared for closing day. And if you have concerns or questions along the way, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.
Want to become a confident homebuyer? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can bolster your homebuying confidence and address any homebuying challenges with poise and integrity.