Be Prepared To Sell Your Home

Early autumn with modern residential single family homeSometimes, the unlikely event of selling your home can suddenly occur . You may not have ever considered moving away from your humble abode, but things happen, as they say. In any event, it pays in more ways than one to be ready; you never know when an opportunity may present itself for you to downsize, move to another area, or even to upgrade your living situation.

Stay on top of things: from time to time, take a walk around your house outdoors to check to see if any repairs are needed. Broken lights, chipped or loose caulking, or tears in the screens can and should be fixed quickly to prevent more costly repairs. Other repairs may require a professional, but you will save a lot of money if you attend to them quickly.

When you do put your home up for sale, home inspections can sour a great opportunity, and a bad report can be very costly and aggravating. A deal can fall through just because you failed to notice the small things that you could have been fixed beforehand. Be diligent; pay attention to those mostly little repairs to the outside of your home.

Cosmetic changes may be necessary to make your home more attractive to buyers. These can be anything from sprucing up your landscaping, to a simple freshening up of the outside of your home. Pick up trash; keep the weeds at bay. Cut the lawn. Broken or hanging eaves troughs, rippled shingles on the roof give the impression of neglect, making potential buyers shy away from looking further at your place.

Organization Tips: Garage Storage

Is your garage overflowing with odds and ends leaving no room for its intended purpose – storing your car? Then you are in the same boat as many other homeowners. Garages can be such a tempting to place to hide stuff that doesn’t have a place, after all out of sight out of mind. If you are ready to clean up your garage to make things easier to find and maybe even finally fit your car inside of it again keep reading.

Start by clearing out your garage. Go through everything and sort items into giveaway/sell, toss and keep piles. Get rid of anything that your children have outgrown, you haven’t used in years or household chemicals that have since expired (be sure to responsibly dispose of these). This step can be a weekend project in itself so don’t worry if you don’t have the organized garage you envisioned before Monday.

When you have settled on what will be staying in your garage sort the remaining items into categories. Typical garage storage usually contains categories like seasonal items, tools, and sports equipment. When reorganizing you will want to make sure everything stays organized. You can do this by giving everything an assigned place and preferably a clearly labeled one. When possible assign items their places in a way where they will be off the floor. This prevents clutter from building up and forces you to give everything a home throughout the process and in the future.

When you have emptied out your garage and organized your remaining items into categories you will have given yourself a clean slate to work with. Set yourself up for future success by investing in shelving units, large plastics bins, small glass jars and maybe even a label maker. Slat board, peg board, and track based organizational systems are other great ways to keep items off the floor, organize smaller items and hang up tools. Garages are also a great place to utilize ceiling space by installing overhead storage. Since you have already decided on categories and what is staying you should have a good idea of what kind of storage solution will work best for your garage.

Once you’ve created a storage system in your garage with assigned places for each item you should have that coveted room to park your vehicles inside again! Take the time to choose where you will be parking your vehicle and hang a tennis ball from a string to signal when you are parked in the correct place. The ball should gently bump the windshield when you are in the right spot. When choosing your new parking spot allow for space to walk between the vehicle and the back wall as well as the side walls. If you have a two car garage ensure that there is plenty of room between the two cars so that when doors are opened it doesn’t risk bumping the other car.

Depending on how cluttered your garage is organizing it may be longer than a weekend project. However, by investing the time into creating a smart storage system you will be able to use your garage not only easily but also stress-free. Happy cleaning!

Home Safety and Stress Reduction Tips

Thankfully, the human brain is usually a pretty efficient mechanism for keeping our lives organized, healthy, and safe.

However, when we’re rushed, overwhelmed, or feeling stressed, important tasks, safety measures, and priorities are sometimes forgotten.

Most of the time, this does not pose an imminent health or safety threat, but there are exceptions. Fortunately, there are often simple solutions available and preventative measures we can take.

Finding high-tech (or low-tech) ways to remember important things can provide you and your family with improved home safety, more peace of mind, and other benefits.

Here are a few strategies for overcoming the pitfalls of occasional forgetfulness.

  • Practice present moment awareness. You’ll tend to be happier, healthier, and safer when you condition your mind to stay in the present moment as much as possible. Although there is a lot of value in planning for the future and dwelling on happy memories, it’s counterproductive to worry about problems that might never happen or regret things from the past that can’t be changed. People waste a lot of energy and create self-imposed stress when they spend more than a few seconds worrying or regretting. Staying focused on the present moment also has some health and safety implications worth mentioning. For example, how many times have you left the house (or gone to bed) and wondered if you locked the door, turned off the oven, or unplugged the iron? Getting yourself in the habit of bringing your mind back to the task at hand and being more aware of what you’re doing will help you avoid some of these potential dangers, concerns, and distracting  thoughts.
  • Set an alarm as a reminder. If you set an alarm on your mobile device or computer to remind yourself to get ready for an appointment, send an important email, make a phone call, or check on the progress of dinner in the oven, then you never have to worry about getting distracted and losing track of time.
  • Good habits can be a lifesaver. Going through a mental inventory before you leave the house or go to bed can help reduce forgetfulness about locking doors, turning off kitchen appliances, and reactivating the smoke alarm. And speaking of smoke alarms, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recommends that homeowners check the batteries in their smoke detectors once a month and replace them with fresh batteries at least once a year. It also urges people to completely replace their smoke alarms every 10 years. Important safety note: The federal agency strongly discourages people from removing smoke detector batteries to silence the device while cooking. Instead, it recommends opening a window, waving a towel at the alarm to clear the air [a paper plate also works], pressing a “hush” button if the unit has one, or moving the alarm several feet away from the cooking area.

While you can’t always depend on old-fashioned memory techniques like tying a string around your finger, effective ways to jog your memory can range from using cell phone alarms and appointment-reminder software to low-tech strategies like Post-it notes, to-do lists, wall calendars, and calendar books.

Multiple Uses for Mother-In-Law Suites

Mother-in-law suites are multi-purpose housing units, offering a variety of benefits and usages. The chance to keep your extended family in close proximity, potentially strengthening communication and generational bonds, are just a few reasons why mother-in-law suites work. But, mother-in-law suites aren’t only used to house extended family members.

Opportunities abound with mother-in-law suites
These convenient structural housing additions are used as rental property, independent living spaces for adult children and music and art studios. Mother-in-law suites are also used as business locations. For example, a dentist might use the space to perform non-surgical procedures out of.

Even if it cost more to purchase a house with a mother-in-law suite, the buy could be a good investment. Turn the suite into an apartment and you could generate $500 or more a month from the space. Operate a business in the suite and you could save on commercial rental property fees. Use a mother-in-law suite as a traditional living space for your aging parent and you could be there should your parent need emergency assistance.

Homes that don’t have existing mother-in-law suites could work. For example, an attached garage can be converted into a mother-in-law suite. A large, three-car garage might offer you 350 square feet or more to work with, giving you room to design a bedroom, living room, bathroom and small kitchen.

Existing multi-generational suites may come with a front porch, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and a den or living room. Opt for an open floor plan and your parents or in-laws may be able to enjoy outdoor views from several locations in the house. Should you buy or build a mother-in-law suite for an aging relative, consider installing safety support rails in the bathroom and sticking to a one-level floor plan.

Additional considerations
It’s important that relatives enjoy a sense or independence while living in mother-in-law suites. Although your parents are nearby, it’s a good idea to give them a heads up before you drop in.

If you’re taking the business route with your mother-in-law suite, design a waiting area. Make sure that there’s sufficient customer parking, so that customers aren’t forced to park in front of your neighbors’ houses.

Measurable benefits
Once a quarter, total how much you are spending on the mother-in-law suite in utilities and property fees. Add up revenues that you are generating from the property. Make adjustments as needed, if you’re spending more than you’re generating from the property. The exception is if the property is being used as a traditional mother-in-law suite.