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5 Property Manager Tips to Protect Wood from Water on Your Properties

It doesn’t take long for water to soak into the wood of your property and cause thousands of dollars in damage. Storms, leaking pipes, and busted appliances can all cause serious issues that aren’t just a headache to deal with but also an ache for your wallet.

To protect wood from water you’ll need to know a few things. Lucky for you, we’ve got 5 tips to prevent problems.

5 Tips for Property Managers to Protect Wood from Water

Protecting your property from water damage is an investment of time and money that will pay off in huge sums down the road. Whether you’re protecting a wooden frame of a building or using decking oil to protect additions to a home, there’s plenty you can do to prepare.

1. Keep It Dry

Let’s face it, wood that faces the outside is going to eventually get wet. Water is a death sentence for wood as it causes it to break down at a very fast pace.

Your best bet to help your wood survive the storm is to keep it dry. Drying out wood takes a lot of time, so consider preventing as much contact with water as possible with sealants.

2. Inspect for Mold

Left unchecked, mold will spread and potentially become deadly. The mold isn’t just dangerous for the wood but also your health.

Check for spots of mold in any areas that receive constant exposure to moisture. This includes outdoor furniture and basement construction near pipes and water heaters.

3. Proper Design

There’s actually a lot you can do to prevent things like rain and other normal water exposure to your wood. Constructing overhangs in a way that sends shedding water away from your walls and into proper drainage areas is one of the best things you can do.

When inspecting your property for improvements you can make or finding the right business property, keep a focus on design elements that can prevent disaster.

4. Check for Gaps

Over time, certain fixtures like doors and windows will expand and allow more moisture into the home. You may even need to replace your front door if the frame has expanded and allows rainwater to seep under the door.

Perform regular inspections of your windows, doors and any other portals to the outside during storms when it is easier to find leaks.

5. Hidden Damage

We’ve talked a lot about inspection, but what about the areas that you can’t see with the naked eye?

Wooden fences that are planted into the dirt, decks, and porches that have a buildup of soil and debris around the foundation and wooden frames behind drywall and appliances can become damaged without you knowing. Check these areas on a regular schedule to avoid nasty surprises.

You Wouldn’t Want Your Wood to Get Wet

Even with all the precautions you can take, let’s face it, wood can and will get wet eventually. Once you find signs of water damage or mold you need to act as quick as possible to protect wood from water.

Protecting your property is tough and water is one of your biggest enemies. Good luck in the fight to keep your property and real estate safe from the storm. Check out some more tips and information on property and real estate.

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How to Decorate Your Home Using Mid Century Modern Design

Are you nostalgic for decades gone by? Why not try a mid century modern design remodel of your home? Not only does it provide you with that nostalgic feel, but it’s also timeless.

What exactly is mid century modern design? It combines the styling of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s to create a poppy, retro vibe. Here, form follows function, and the materials used are highlighted rather than hidden.

Are you wondering how to implement this design style in your home? It’s easy! Read on to learn about how you can make it happen.

Mid Century Modern Design Furniture

First, you’re going to need to buy some furniture. But what does mid century modern design furniture look like?

Wood furniture is definitely a good place to start. Usually, these pieces use walnut, oak, teak, or rosewood. Pieces made with wood veneer can be used as well.

Try to find items made in America, Denmark, Italy, Japan, or Yugoslavia if you’re looking for authentic pieces. Check out this guide on properly identifying vintage pieces for more information.

For your kitchen, you’ll want clean lines and flat wood cabinets. Stainless steel appliances and laminate flooring will add to the feel. Remember, post-war homeowners were looking for modern, futuristic kitchens, and yours should reflect this sentiment.

But where can you find these items?

If you’re ambitious, try a flea market or vintage shop. However, there are plenty of furniture stores that focus on mid century modern design. Browse some of the furniture on websites like Family Furniture of American to learn more about perfect mid century modern pieces.

Mid Century Modern Colors

So, what color options go best with these furniture choices? For walls, you’re going to want to go with white paint. This was utilized so that the high-quality furnishings were the center of the room’s focus.

What about the rest? Try pairing items that are muted colors and pastels, especially light pink. Not only will they go well with your furniture, but they’re also timeless options that won’t go out of style.

If you’re looking to pay homage to a certain era, you can be more varied. The ’50s often had kicky bright hues, reflecting the optimism of the era. The ’60s and ’70s had a lot of earthy colors as well as greens and oranges.

Make sure not to overdo it, though. You don’t want a room saturated with clashing colors!

For additional style, add in some abstract prints and patterns. This takes advantage of the mid century’s arts and crafts movement. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, add some wallpaper to match!

But don’t get too heavy-handed with the patterns. Although popular at the time, they’re a bit too kitschy for the modern era. Focus on a few accents in your room while letting simplicity shine for the rest of the area.

Ready to Decorate?

Now that you know what to look out for, you’re ready to create your mid century modern design dream home.

Not sure if you can handle it all your self? Read about how to find a great interior design company!

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How To Choose The Right Business Property

When searching for commercial premises for your business you may want to lease a property, or for many people, buying can sometimes be the better option as it offers more freedom and flexibility. Whether you’re purchasing or renting a commercial property, there are many factors to consider, including where you want your business to be located, and how much money you can bring to the table, so where to begin?

Start With A List

Write a list of what it is you’re looking for in your business premises. Ask yourself how important is the property size, location layout, facilities, structural requirements, and parking? What are your long-term business plans and how these might affect your choice of business premises? For example, will you want to be expanding shortly or you think you will want to you might want to alter the property, then you need to consider this when looking? Search for a commercial property through a local commercial property agent such as McGraw Commercial Properties, or you can visiting potential areas to see commercial properties for sale or rent or search a commercial property finder. You should check any potential premises against your list of requirements to create a shortlist of the business properties you might want to view.

Do Your Research

Once you have a shortlist, it is essential that you look into long-term forecasts for the location that you are viewing property in. For example, is there anything on the horizon or in planning that may help or hinder property values in the future? If your commercial property decreases in value this could also reduce your business capital; time spent on researching the perfect location for your new business base is never time wasted.

Location, Location, Location

Choosing the right place for your business premises can be a bit of a balancing act. You may want to select an area that is convenient for your customers, employees, and suppliers, but is still affordable. When deciding on the location, you might want to consider factors such as footfall, where competitors are located, delivery restrictions, parking restrictions, and business rates. Think about what the premises are for, and ask yourself key questions such as how many staff will it need to fit? Will clients be coming for meetings regularly? Is this a location where you want to bring your clients to? A central location is often desirable to many; however, if you are spending most of your time dealing with clients remotely, an area set outside of town may be a better and more cost-effective option.

Buy Or Rent a Commercial Property?

You also need to decide whether either buying or renting a commercial property is best for you and your business needs. The advantages of renting business premises include less capital is invested than buying, so it can give you the flexibility to relocate if the premises become unsuitable. Benefits of buying business property include the flexibility to manage or repair the building as you choose, the potential profit from selling the building in the future should the value increase.

Legal Considerations for Commercial Property

There are several legal considerations you need to be aware of when choosing business property. These include planning permission, health, safety and fire regulations, insurances, accessibility, and licenses. It is likely that you will need to pay stamp duty if you purchase the property or if you rent a commercial property you will need to comply with the terms of the lease. Make sure that you speak to solicitor whether you’re buying or leasing business premises.

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A Warm Home Is a Happy Home: 5 Telltale Signs You Need a New Furnace

Whether you’ve lived in the same house for years or only recently moved into a new house, you want your furnace in top form. Of course, it’s not always clear when a furnace starts its decline.

Unlike other machines that throw up a lot of obvious signals that they’re breaking down, the signals furnaces provide often prove a little more subtle. So, keep reading for some of the telltale signs you need a new furnace.

1. Your Furnace Is Old

Every machine has a standard operational lifespan. You measure a car’s lifespan in miles, with the average hovering around 150,000 miles. You can expect a furnace lifespan of around 15-20 years, assuming it gets routine maintenance.

Once your furnace gets beyond 15 years old, it’s really just a countdown to when a system failure forces a replacement. As a general rule, you should start pricing replacement units and considering when to schedule a furnace installation.

2. Sharp Uptick in Repairs

As your furnace approaches the end of its operational lifespan, more and more components will fail from wear and tear. While some repairs may come with a smaller price tag, more expensive repairs are on the horizon.

If you must call your HVAC repair person more than once or twice a year, that’s a solid indication that your furnace is on its last legs.

3. Inconsistent Heating Across Your Home

As furnaces age, they can struggle more and more with pumping heat across your whole house. You may find that one room remains comfortable at one thermostat setting, while other rooms always feel colder or hotter.

That type of inconsistent heating across your home is, at the least, a sign you need someone to give the furnace a once over. In the big picture, though, it’s probably a sign that a replacement is in your near future.

4. Excessive Dust

Every home has a little dust floating around. It floats in from outside when you open your doors. Pets shed dander and most homes host some dust mites.

If you see an increase of dust in your home with no other changes to account for it, there’s a good chance that it comes from your furnace. It becomes a bigger problem as your furnace ages and becomes less efficient.

5. Furnace Makes More or Odd Noises

One of the most obvious signs of furnace trouble is when it makes new or odd noises. You might hear an unusual hum, which can indicate loose parts or strain in the machinery. Other sounds you might hear include rattles, pops, and banging noises.

Parting Thoughts on Signs You Need a New Furnace

Your old furnace will cue you when it’s time for a new furnace, but it won’t hit you over the head with its signals. It will let you know with more repairs, extra dust, or odd noises.

The biggest sign is simple age. Once your furnace hits 15 years old, assume you’re in the market for a new one.

Another part of your home that will let you know it’s time for a replacement in subtle ways is your front door. Check out our post on the signs your door will give you.

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How to Design a Stunning Kitchen with Calacatta Marble Countertops

If you want to design a stunning kitchen, you can achieve wonderful results by having a Calacatta marble countertop as a focal point. Although the process of remodeling a kitchen can be time-consuming, you can simplify the process by considering a few things during the shopping and design process.

Calacatta Slab Characteristics

In order to wow everyone with Calacatta countertops, you’ll need to pick an authentic Calacatta slab. When shopping for this type of marble, ensure that the materials that you’re planning to purchase are sourced from Italy. The search for an ideal slab won’t be easy since Calacatta is a very rare material.

When you find a piece of Calacatta, inspect its characteristics carefully. The most stunning marble slabs have a variety of white and gray color tones. However, there is usually more white elements than gray tones on the marble slab.

Stunning Calacatta marble also has dramatic veining that emphasizes its gray and white effects. The layout of these veins stands out because the thick lines create unique patterns that pop. In some cases, the veins on a Calacatta piece of marble will have light gold and brown undertones.

Flooring Options That Highlight the Marble Counters

A gorgeous kitchen floor can help enhance the entire room and affect the room’s design scheme. The floor you choose should match with your countertops, appliances and cabinets. If you want to upgrade your flooring in order to create a more stylish foundation for the marble countertops, you may want to consider one of the following tile flooring options:

  • Marble: Marble is a suitable option if you pick a color that doesn’t clash with the color of your marble counters. If possible, pick a marble floor color that’s lighter or darker than the color of the marble counters. By choosing a unique color you can design a space that pops and ensure that each aspect of the kitchen goes well with one another.
  • Ceramic: A ceramic floor can provide style and support underneath your counters. This type of flooring very durable and does extremely well in high traffic areas, such as the kitchen.
  • Terrazzo: If you want shiny flooring that will highlight a marble counter’s sheen, terrazzo is a practical and decorative option. Terrazzo will blend nicely in an area that has light or dark marble counters since the material is made from various pieces of marble that are set in concrete.
  • Slate: With slate flooring you don’t need to worry about possible scratches or damages. This flooring is very durable and can add an earthy vibe to your kitchen.
  • Granite: Since granite is formed from igneous rocks, it has very distinctive qualities. Granite tiles are designed in a variety of colors with different vein and speck patterns, so the process of matching marble cabinets with granite tiles isn’t a hassle.
  • Travertine: Travertine is a flooring material with crystallized elements. Although this type of flooring is stylish, it’s not the best option for a kitchen that has heavy traffic since it can easily stain and scratch.
  • Limestone: Limestone is another type of tile that’s available in dark and light shades. However, since the surfaces scratch easily, it’s not an ideal choice for a busy cooking environment.

How Marble Counters Can Make an Average Space Elegant

After you have upgraded the floors, you start looking for marble countertops. No matter what type of marble countertop you select, it will make your kitchen a more elegant area due to these qualities:

  • A practical surface: When you get a marble countertop, the surfaces will be porous. However, you can seal the porous areas by applying a sealant. After the sealant sets, you can serve drinks on the counters without any risks. If something spills on the marble, the sealant will keep moisture away from the pores on the material so that you can easily wipe up the liquid.
  • Mild color tones: A kitchen is stunning when it has designer pieces that blend well in an overall design scheme. Since marble slabs feature earthy tones, they don’t clash with general décor. This means you can make the space pop by arranging colorful flowers in a glass vase on the counter, or you could create a focal point on a counter by lining up several designer jars in the center of the slab.
  • Soft patterns: Marble counters stand out near cabinets because the veins in the natural stone have soft patterns that complement the cabinets. If you have a display cabinet, you could arrange the dishes over the marble counters so that people will notice your island and the dishes upon stepping into the space.
  • Heat-resistant: When you’re cooking you can place food on marble counters without worrying about damaging the natural stone. If you put a hot pot on a marble surface, the material will handle the heat because the finish is heat-resistant. This characteristic is great if you’re an avid baker because you don’t need to worry at all about a hot dessert running the texture or color of your countertop.

Why Calacatta Marble is Desirable and Pricey

Calacatta is a very popular type of marble because it’s only sold in select stores. When compared to Carrara marble, Calacatta is a rarer option. If you step into a store and request Carrara marble, you’ll most likely be able to buy it at a reasonable price. However, since Calacatta is a luxury stone, it’s much more difficult to find. Therefore, when retailers offer Calacatta marble it’s usually very pricey due to its exclusiveness.

The overall price of a Calacatta slab varies depending on its patterns and colors. If a marble slab has a lot of veins on it, a supplier will set a reasonable price for the material. Often, the most expensive Calacatta slabs are the ones with the extravagant and original veins.

Calacatta marble isn’t only desirable for its appearance. It’s also trending because it’s very functional for cooking and baking since it’s heat resistant and doesn’t absorb liquids. This type of marble is the perfect fit for a kitchen. It can dramatically enhance your kitchen and make it quickly go from ordinary to gorgeous.

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The Guide to How Getting a Mortgage With Bad Credit is Possible

Is it possible to get a home loan with bad credit?

Most people think having bad credit makes it more difficult to get a mortgage. But getting approved for the loan isn’t the difficult part. A much worse difficulty is being stuck with a loan you can’t handle.

It’s more accurate to say that bad credit limits your options for a home loan. And the options you’re left with may be less than ideal, or downright disastrous.

While getting a mortgage with bad credit is possible, it’s not always a good idea. So to help you understand the ins and outs of bad credit home loans, we’ve written you this guide. Read on to learn how to get a mortgage with bad credit, and whether or not you should.

How Will Having Bad Credit Affect Your Home Loan Application?

Your credit ranking is a score of how good you are at borrowing money. Basically, it tells lenders how well you can be trusted with any money they lend to you.

In the lenders’ eyes, the lower your score, the worse you are at borrowing, and the riskier it is to lend to you. Lenders don’t want to lend to those who aren’t likely to pay them back.

So many of them won’t approve you for a loan if you have a low credit score. And if they are willing to approve your loan, you’ll be charged a higher interest rate than applicants with better credit.

This higher interest rate means higher monthly payments and a longer loan term. Even if you can afford the payments, it will cost you tens of thousands of dollars more than getting a loan with good credit.

Option 1: Raise Your Credit Score

Truthfully, your best option for getting a bad credit home loan is not getting one. That is, it’s better to work hard at raising your credit score and wait until it’s good enough for a decent interest rate. And by “better” we, of course, mean “thousands of dollars cheaper.”

Bottom line: if you can afford to wait 3 months to a year before buying a home, do so. While you bide your time, here are some simple tips for building up your credit.

Check Your Credit Reports for Errors

Did you know there’s a 25% chance your credit score is incorrect? A study by the Federal Trade Commission found that 1 in 4 of their participants found at least one error on their credit report that could negatively affect their score.

You’re legally entitled to free access to your 3 credit reports (one for each credit bureau) once per year. It will be time consuming and boring, but it’s worth it to read through all three credit reports and check for errors. In rare cases (1 in 250), correcting these credit errors raises the affected credit score by 100 points or more!

Use Your Credit Card Properly

It might sound like a really bad idea to start using your credit card more. But if you can trust yourself to strictly follow these credit building steps, your credit standing can easily go up.

First, take a detailed inventory of your monthly income and expenditures. Know exactly how much you get each month and how much of it goes to rent, groceries, utilities, and any other necessary expenses.

If your income covers these expenses, start paying for them with a credit card. Try to use a card that earns helpful rewards.

As soon as you receive your income, pay off the entire card balance. Don’t wait for the credit card bill; always pay it right away.

This shows the credit bureaus (who determine your credit score) that you are good at borrowing money and paying it back on time. And that raises your score.

However, this can still backfire if you aren’t careful. Never put unnecessary luxuries on this card, only the necessary expenditures you know your income can cover. Otherwise, you’ll rack up debt and worsen your credit.

And pay attention to not go over your limit. This, too, will hurt your credit.

Pay Down Debt

Next, don’t ignore any existing debt you’re already paying. Paying off outstanding debts will greatly increase your credit score.

Work as hard as you can for a few months to live below your means. Give up some luxuries and save up.

For example, brew generic coffee at home instead of buying a $6 Starbucks latte every day. Spend nothing on iTunes for 3 months.

Then, use the money you save to pay down existing debts.

When is It a Good Idea to Get a Bad Credit Home Loan?

If you refuse to wait and work for better credit, at least follow these guidelines to avoid foreclosing. Don’t take the loan if any of these situations apply to you.

  • The interest rate sucks
  • The monthly payment exceeds 30% of your monthly income
  • You’re bad with money

The first two points are a recipe for financial hardship. You’ll either have difficulty paying or you’ll be adding several unnecessary years to this financial burden.

About the third point: if you already have difficulty paying bills, it’s best not to add another.

Option 2: Personal Loans

As long as you keep the above guidelines in mind, you can try for a personal loan. Many lending networks offer personal loans no credit check. If you can get a large enough personal loan, and once the funds deposited and fully available, you can use it as cash for buying a house.

Option 3: FHA Loans

This program by the Federal Housing Administration helps those with moderately bad credit buy a home. If your credit score is 500 or above, you may be eligible for an FHA loan.

However, if your score is under 580, you’ll have to pony up a 10% down payment to qualify. Those with scores above 580 may be approved with only a 3.5% down payment.

Getting a Mortgage With Bad Credit

Getting a mortgage with bad credit is possible. But is it the best option for you? Carefully consider the information in this guide before rushing into this major financial decision.

Need more home buying advice? Read this: Should I Rent Before Buying a Home or Condo?

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Settling Down in the ATL: A Starter Guide to Atlanta Homes and Styles

Looking to build a life in the ATL? Congrats!

Whether you’re moving to the city or just looking to graduate from apartment to house, finding the right home could feel overwhelming. Where do you start and more importantly, what style home should you select?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with the quick guide to popular Atlanta homes and styles!


This is one of the most popular styles in Atlanta. In fact, the alternative name for a colonial style home is actually the Georgian. So that gives you a pretty good idea of how abundant they are in the area.

These homes are always at least two stories, sometimes three. They’re very symmetrical so the front of the home and the sides are usually flat. You’ll typically see them painted in a light color with dark shutters accenting the windows.

In this style home, the kitchen and living space are on the lower level while bedrooms and more bathrooms are upstairs.


A lot of consideration was given to the balmy summer months in the southeast when this style of home was created.

Southern style homes will have both front and back porches, allowing homeowners to spend time outside and keep cool in a shaded area during the warmer months of the year.

Often times, at least one of the porches will be screened in to prevent bugs and mosquitos from bothering you.

Southern style is also denoted by pointed roofs and dormers. You’ll see various materials used on the exterior of these homes like brick and wood or even stone.


You’ll see this style home closer to the city center. They tend to be a bit smaller and typically are one story.

They keep neighborhoods looking historic and have a homey and cozy feel to them with lots of beams and built-in wood-work inside.

On the exterior, they have lower roofs and porches with square columns holding up the roof. You’ll see them in a neutral color with accented window trim and detailing below the dormers.


Ranch style homes became popular in the 1950s throughout the country so they’re not specific to Atlanta or the south but are still popular in the area.

This is a great option if you prefer a big layout on one level. They typically have attached garages, a roof that slopes forward and a smaller front porch as opposed to a wrap around.

If you’re thinking of doing a renovation or adding on to an existing home, ranch style is a perfect canvas for that type of expansion. You can add a story on top of it or build out.

Keep in mind before you move into a new home or begin construction on one, you’ll need to have homeowners insurance. Check out this website to learn about the average cost for insurance in the Atlanta area.

Choose From These Atlanta Homes Today

With the guide above, you now have an idea of the kinds of Atlanta homes available to you.

We’d love to help you find your dream home. Check out our site today for information about our current listings!

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7 Telltale Signs It’s Time For Front Door Replacement

Are you wondering whether or not it’s time for a new front door?

Your door is the first point of entry to your home, and with hundreds of thousands of burglaries taking place each day in the US, you want to make sure it’s completely secure.

Your door is also the first thing most people will see when looking at your home, so a nice door goes a long way towards improving your curb appeal – ideal if you’re looking to sell your home.

Keep reading for seven signs that you need to invest in front door replacement.

1. Your Door Is Scratched or Dented

Is your door scratched, dented, or otherwise damaged?

Obvious cosmetic issues are a clear sign that it’s time to consider a new door, whether they’ve been caused by an attempted break-in or regular wear and tear.

It’s easy for small issues to escalate – what starts as a small dent could quickly become larger when warping and weather damage are added into the equation.

A damaged door also stops your home from looking its best. Since new doors don’t cost a fortune, it’s worth getting a replacement to keep your property looking smart and respectable.

2. Your Door Is Difficult to Open or Close

Do you feel like it’s a test of strength to actually get your front door to open?

Do you find yourself repeatedly slamming your door to get it to shut?

Both of these issues suggest that it’s time for a new door. Not only is your door already warped or hanging incorrectly, but you’re also probably doing more damage each time you have to fight to open or close it.

Don’t wait until your door refuses to open/close completely to address the problem. Instead, get a replacement now and save yourself security issues and loads of hassle later on.

When you’re opening and closing your new door with ease, you’ll wonder how you ever put up with the old one.

3. Your Door Lets in a Draught

Do you feel chilly when you’re close to your front door? Is this making your whole house cold?

A front door which lets in a draught is a front door that needs replacing.

Having a door that lets in a breeze can increase your energy bills as you have to spend more to keep your home warm. It’s a sign that your seals are failing, and the problem will only get worse the longer you leave it.

Don’t suffer from a draughty home and astronomical heating bills – get a new door installed instead.

4. Your Door Hinges Are Rusty

Are your hinges and locks starting to look rusty?

Hardware is an integral part of your door, so don’t only check the main door for signs of wear and tear. If you do notice rust, it’s a clear sign that a replacement is needed.

While it is possible to replace only the rusty components, it usually makes sense to go for a whole new door instead. This way, you can be sure that you won’t have to pay for more work in a few years time.

Rusty locks and hinges make it easier for thieves to break into your home, so don’t ignore them.

5. Your Door Glass Has Moisture Build-Up

Got a front door with decorative glass? Noticed condensation or moisture building up inside?

It can be tempting to ignore a little condensation, but addressing the issue early on will help you avoid more serious problems down the line.

Moisture build-up suggests that your glass seal has warped or broken, and over time you might notice mold and mildew spreading to the rest of the door. This looks awful and isn’t great for your door, either.

Mold and mildew can be harmful to your health, especially if anyone in the house suffers from asthma or allergies. Maintain a safe indoor air quality by getting a new door as soon as you notice moisture problems.

Simply cleaning the mold isn’t enough because the problem will soon reoccur.

6. Your Door Is Warped

Is your door obviously warped, buckled, or bent out of shape?

Changes in temperature and humidity can lead to serious warping, especially in wooden doors. A warped door is likely to be difficult to open and close, might be more easily damaged by the odd knock, and will probably let in a draught.

Even if you only notice a small amount of warping, it’s worth getting a new door fitted. The problem will only get worse as time passes, especially if you’re close to a change in season.

Don’t wait until your door is impossible to close to get it dealt with.

7. You Don’t like the Color or Style of Your Door

Are you plain sick of the way your door looks?

Maybe you moved into a house with a door your hated, made the wrong choice last time you got a new door, or fancy a change?

Whatever the situation, getting a new door for reasons of style is totally legitimate.

A new door can change the entire look of your home’s exterior, and picking out your favorite is a lot of fun. You could opt for a funky color, a unique type of wood, or a pretty stained-glass option.

Take your time and look at plenty of doors before you decide. You should also consider features like peepholes, door knockers, and locks.

If you’re wondering how much a new door will cost, click to learn more.

Should You Pay for Front Door Replacement?

If you’re worried about the security of your door, are dealing with draughts and moisture, or hate the way your door looks, paying for front door replacement is a smart investment.

You’ll improve your home security, keep your home safe, warm, and dry, and improve your curb appeal. A new door doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and there are tons of styles and materials to choose from.

Want to read more about property and home improvement? Visit our blog today.

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4 Terrible Mistakes to Avoid During the Home Buying Process

Buying a home can be a confusing yet exciting process. Knowing the proper steps to take can eliminate the confusion and make your home buying process simple and easy.

Whether you are a first time home buyer or you are in the market to sell, there are a few common mistakes you will want to avoid during the home buying process.

In this post, we will discuss common home buying mistakes.

1) Not Staying True to Your Budget

It is easy to find a house you love and quickly justify going over your budget. Your budget is set in place for a reason. Unfortunately, this is a common mistake that many home buyers make, which may lead to stress and regret later on down the road.

To determine how much you can afford on your home, try to follow the 28/36 rule. The 28/36 rule means home buyers should spend a maximum of 28% of their gross monthly income on their entire housing expense and no more than 36% on total debt.

2) Avoiding the Home Inspection

In the race to close a deal, it is not wise to skip or quickly go through the home inspection process. The home inspection is one of the most critical parts of the home buying process.

Finding a licensed and trained inspector to examine a house is the best way to identify any potential problems. Unlike a licensed inspector, most people aren’t trained to find mold, identify leaks, or point out structural issues in a home.

3) Not Preparing Your Mortgage

It is ideal to have your mortgage pre-approved before you begin searching for a new home.

It’s okay to visit different banks to find your ideal offer. In fact, comparing and contrasting different offers is ideal. If you accept the first offer, you’re potentially losing out on more money.

An experienced lender will asses your financial situation and offer several options. They can also identify any potential roadblocks during the home buying process and offer solutions. Talking to a few lenders or banks is crucial to preparing your budget and getting the right mortgage.

4) You Try to Complete the Home Buying Process By Yourself

With so much information available about real estate and purchasing a home, many people assume a simple search like homes for sale near me will find their ideal home without enlisting the help of a licensed real estate agent.

Whether it’s your first home or not, taking charge of your home buying process isn’t always the best choice. Real estate agents not only find the appropriate listing but they also work with the seller’s agent to determine an offer and ensure that that offer goes through escrow.

In addition, a good agent won’t leave you astray. They will answer any questions you have and make sure that the properties are up to your standards. It’s easy to see a beautiful home and choose it. An agent will know what questions to ask and may even be able to negotiate a lower process with the seller’s agent.

Enjoy the Home Buying Process

As mentioned, the home buying process can be confusing, but knowing what steps to take can streamline the process and make it more enjoyable.

Hopefully, you now know what mistakes to avoid during the home buying process and how to solve them.

To learn more about buying your first home, renting vs. buying, or other home-related topics, visit our website.

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Should I Rent Before Owning a Home or Condo?

owning vs renting home

This 3,000 word guide is the ultimate resource for anyone that needs to know if it’s best to rent before owning. There are many factors involved that can make renting or owning a home seem like an extremely complicated decision.

Naturally, the place that you select to live will have a deep impact on your overall quality of life. Home ownership for many, especially first-time buyers, is highly desirable, but thinking about the overall financial commitment can be stressful.

The internet age has brought us so much information about why buying a home is fiscally smart, while at the same time, we are bombarded with news about bank fraud (hello Wells Fargo CEO), foreclosures, and politicians painting doomsday scenarios about the state of our national economy. However setting all hype and outside noise aside, strategic execution into buying a home can be the best decision of your life.

After all, real estate, when viewed upon as a long term investment over decades, has proven to be extremely effective and lucrative. This guide will help you to weigh out the pros and cons of if and when to rent before owning so that you can make a wise, informed choice for your future.

There are expenses associated with owning vs renting a home that should be weighed carefully, starting with an honest assessment of the overall costs. While there are variables in the figures depending on the property, this guide will give you a solid place to begin your understanding.

We’ll examine each expense in detail and provide useful hacks covering the questions to ask when renting a house and more. It will be best to create a google doc and do a side-by-side comparison of these costs, line by line and then below the costs, make some overall notes. Doing the exercise of reviewing and budgeting your living expenses is well worth the time as it may open your eyes to costs that you might not have considered.

What to Look for When Renting a House

When you rent a house, the first thing to think about is the timing, duration, and amount of the lease. Everything is negotiable, so you will want to make your first offer to the landlord below the asking price. It is not uncommon for renters to make their first offer 5 to 10% below the asking price for the property.

Next, you’ll want to consider the timing of the lease. If you are already contemplating to rent vs own, you’ll want to keep the lease term short. Extended lease terms are better for those who are not contemplating ownership. Most leases will start on either the 1st or the 15th of the month.

However, elevators for condos are generally in high demand during those dates, so you might want to make arrangements for them as soon as you get an executed lease agreement in place.

Moving Expenses

When renting a house, you will have expenses associated with moving, including the moving team and vehicle. Overall, it’s important to research credible movers with many, many positive reviews online.

If you don’t do your proper research, this cost could balloon several times over. Interstate moves can be particularly challenging as less reputable movers have been known to hold furniture ransom for additional fees since the entire move period takes longer and requires more logistics.

Also, remember to buy your packing items in advance like boxes, bubble wrap, and packaging tape. Movers will often charge you triple the cost of these items.

Security Deposits and Upfront Money

Your landlord is likely to require a hefty security deposit that might grow if you have pets or other circumstances as outlined by their policies. The standard move-in fee of the first month, last month and security deposit has lately been adjusted by savvy landlords requesting the first month and two months of security.

This would allow the landlord more control of deposits and a less desirable situation for the renter. Beware of anyone telling you that this method is ‘standard,’ it isn’t, and everything is negotiable. Also, there may be some non-refundable fees charged by condo management for usage of the elevator and truck docking station.

Remember to inspect your new home extensively before handing over your deposit, and writing all of the property defects that will either be fixed or remain as-is, as part of your home rental agreement. This will protect you and give you peace of mind for the eventual return of your security deposit.

Potential Storage Costs

Think about the amount of clothing and personal items that you have. If your current space is larger than your potential new house, you might have to factor in the purchasing of storage space. These storage units will be cheaper to rent outside of major urban cores.

So, if you need storage, do your research and look at options that may be a bit further away than you had originally envisioned. If a unit that you are looking at renting is listed as furnished, and you have your own furniture or you don’t like their furniture, remember that a deal can be made to keep their furniture in storage and rent the property as unfurnished.


Each month, you will have to pay utilities that are not included in your lease. Your utilities expenses will almost always include electricity and often water/sewer/trash fees. Some condominium complexes offer free cable tv, but the entire business model for television is changing.

Your best bet might be to cut the cord and get your television channels online through YoutubeTV, Slingbox or Playstation Vue. Those services are much cheaper than conventional cable or DirecTv. There also may be additional monthly fees for parking when you are renting a condo or home.

Home Renters Insurance

Renters insurance is a must. Things happen. If there are any unforeseen circumstances affecting you negatively while renting a house, you’ll want to be protected. Luckily, renters insurance is relatively affordable. Just be sure to shop around and get bids from at least three different insurance providers and make sure that you are comparing identical policies and coverages.

rent vs buy

Costs of Purchasing and Owning Your Home

Buying a home has several unique, one-time fees to consider. The obvious and most important question to ask yourself is…do I have enough money for the downpayment that will be necessary to get a mortgage for the house? For this matter, it is best that your speak with a qualified mortgage broker.

They will give you an array of options on programs to best suit your present cash savings and future projected income. During the process of buying the house, you will need to have it appraised and inspected. Your real estate agent should help you with proper referrals to keep costs under control throughout the buying process.

These buying fees often include mortgage fees, mortgage points, commissions and legal fees. Cash buyers will save on the fees associated with the mortgages. As a rule of thumb, it is wise to 3 to 5% of the overall cost of the home for closing expenses.

Moving Fees and Homeowners Insurance

As with a rental, you will have expenses associated with relocating your household. These moving fees should be about the same as those projected for renting a home. Homeowners insurance will also be mandatory.

Note that the difference between homeowners and renters insurance is that for the renter, they are not covered by the Homeowners policy. Homeowners insurance covers costs of rebuilding the home as opposed to renters being in place for the protection of a renter’s personal items.

In some instances, the costs of homeowners insurance may be paid by the mortgage lender, but this will most likely lead to larger monthly mortgage payments, which we will examine next.

Mortgage Payments

If you have chosen to take out a mortgage on your home, you will have the monthly mortgage payments to consider.

These will vary greatly based on your down payment amount, the current market cycle for interest rates (currently very low), whether the rate is adjustable or fixed (fixed is best for low-interest rates), the payback term for the mortgage (15 and 30 years most common if fixed rate), and any other terms negotiated between the bank and borrower.

For every property listed on the Sky Five website: both homes and condos, we have a mortgage and expense calculator which will help you calculate your projected monthly mortgage expenses.

Property Taxes

In the United States, property taxes are controlled by the local governments. Property tax rates vary between 0 and 4% of the assessed value of the home and land. They are generally due at the end of the year in a lump sum, however, it is wise to calculate your monthly amount of tax due from the annual sum for budgeting purposes.

One of the most desirable benefits of home ownership is the fact that home mortgage interest payments and mortgage insurance premiums are fully tax deductible. It’s an outstanding encouragement by the government for its citizens to buy their homes.

Homeowners Associations

Most condos and planned living communities charge a monthly fee for the upkeep of the areas surrounding your home. This can be a tremendous positive in terms of saving you time and work, however, it comes at a price.

These fees vary a great deal from negligible in single family home neighborhoods without guards, gates and landscaping services…to thousands of dollars per month for premier condos in ultra-luxurious buildings.

Property Upkeep and Maintenance

When you own your own home, you will need to factor in landscaping, repairs and overall home maintenance that is not covered by a Homeowners Association as listed above. This will include maintenance to appliances, plumbing and electrical.

Consult with a guide on how to buy a waterfront home for more specific variables which you might encounter for that type of property. Find a good handyman in your area with strong online reviews. This could save you a lot of money in the long run.

own vs rent


Own vs Rent Deep Examination

Of course, the above is just a brief glimpse at the financial impact associated with each of your options. Are you interested in purchasing a home as an investment? While it is true that you can build up equity in a home and cash out down the line with a nice profit, that is not always the case.

If you are considering purchasing a home solely to make money, you will need to be extremely prudent in the home buying process, and explain your overall wants and needs in detail to your real estate agent.

Timing and Location

The choice to buy a house ties you to a specific location. If you love the neighborhood, city and general atmosphere, great! However, if you want to move away in the near to mid-future, you should certainly think about the flexibility that renting has to offer you.

Real estate appreciation can be quite lucrative over time, but you need to understand that real estate is a relatively illiquid investment…meaning that you can’t get in and out of it easily – like pushing a button, selling a stock and having cash in a few days.

The process of selling a home takes time and to achieve a particular price; significant skill is required on the part of your Realtor that is negotiating on your behalf.

Homework and Research

When looking for a home to rent before owning, renters are usually only obligated for a year. Some leases require even less time, and you can find options that are for a month-to-month term.

If you do not have stability in your work and personal life, you might prefer the freedom that comes with a rental. On the other hand, purchasing a home could provide the catalyst you need for stability. It is important that you understand the neighborhood before you sign any papers, whether for a rental or a purchase.

You should utilize both the internet and in-person searches to find out about the community and the people who live there. Feel free to ask current tenants or owners about the neighbors. It is also to ask tenants about their experiences with the landlord.

Is he or she kind, professional and easy to communicate with or are they slum lords, looking to bend rules and keep deposit money at all costs? You can find a map showing the crime statistics for cities across the country with a quick Google search. Additionally, you can drop into some of the local stores to get a feeling for how friendly the neighborhood is.

Knowing the Neighborhood

Watch the interactions of the staff with the patrons, not just your own experience. Take a drive by the prospective new place on a late weekend night to see if the neighborhood has the same “vibe” as during the day. Understanding the neighborhood is one aspect of choosing wisely.

A friendly neighborhood with a stable economic forecast will be more comfortable for you either way. However, you will experience greater benefits from your research when buying a home due to the long-term commitment and experience.

Privacy Matters

Another consideration is privacy. When you are renting a home, the rental agency or property owner can come onto the property with only a small window of notice. The specifics will depend on where you live. However, they have the legal right to enter and work on the place, even if you do not want them to. For those who appreciate privacy, this can be troubling.

On the other hand, if you choose to purchase a house or a condo, you have the right to complete privacy. Nobody can enter your home without your permission other than law enforcement agents who have legal clearance to do so. Many really appreciate having this type of control.

Of course, if you are the homeowner, you also have the opportunity to get to know others in the neighborhood and work to strengthen the community. While renters can certainly contribute to the greater good, the local pride and commitment that come with ownership provides many with a sense of purpose and contribution.

Freedom for Remodeling

If you rent a house or apartment, you must adhere to the current construction and decor. While some landlords will allow for a slightly different color paint or some other minor remodeling, you are pretty much stuck with what you see.

However, those who own their homes have a range of choices limited only by imagination and finances. Should you choose to buy your home, you can not only paint the walls any color you please, you can add rooms, knock out walls or install a sauna.

Of course, you have to adhere to the local building codes to ensure your safety but, you have creative freedom over your property. Additionally, you will receive tax incentives at the federal and state levels that are not available if you rent before owning.

Talk to your accountant to determine the best way for you to utilize these for your home and your remodeling and upgrading efforts.


However, there is a downside to this freedom. Just as you have creative control, you have the complete responsibility when something goes wrong. Whether a seasonal storm downs a tree into your living room or a pipe bursts in the bathroom, it is your burden to fix the situation.

While you might hire professionals to do the task, you bear the responsibility of finding qualified and reputable people as well as their expenses. Most homeowners find it necessary to learn some basic maintenance skills to avert some of these costs. For instance, cleaning the gutters and furnace filters.

Getting to know these aspects of your home can help you to connect to your house, and can increase your pride in ownership.

Stress Tolerance

Another factor involved in the decision-making process is the amount of stress involved. While buying a home can be a great experience, it increases the amount of stress you are under for a while.

If you or another member of your household has recently experienced several high-stress situations, you might want to hold off on buying a house.

Of course, you also get away from many stressors by moving into a home of your own. As a renter, you may be subject to an eviction if certain rules are broken. While the landlord does have to give you a certain amount of notice, it can be quite stressful to relocate suddenly and without expectation. If you own your home and pay your bills, you need not worry about that.

Pros and Cons of Rent Before Owning

If you and your household have the financial stability to obtain a mortgage and have an interest in setting down roots somewhere, then purchasing a home may be the best way for you to go. On the other hand, if you are not yet settled into your adult life, you might want rent before owning until you have a clearer path for your future envisioned.

Remember that renting gives you the freedom to move much more quickly than buying, but that the choice is not only up to you.

You exchange limited control in decorating for the maintenance issues that arise. Is this the type of living arrangement that you desire? Or, are you interested in having the creative freedom to design and live on your own property with the privacy and responsibilities?

Are you prepared for the shift in financial affairs as well as how the choice will impact each member of your household? If so, you may not need to rent before owning.  Even if you don’t select a condo or house, you’ll still want to have these same questions to ask when renting an apartment.

Renting Won’t Make You Wealthy

Make sure you understand how each choice will impact your family, talk to your spouse, and take an honest look at what you want in your life for now and in the future. Owning your home rather than renting is a great choice for those who are prepared.

Real estate ownership continues to be one of the greatest investment vehicles available. The process of finding, buying and moving into the perfect home can be extremely exciting and way to come out ahead financially by a great margin.

For those that don’t feel compelled to save and invest through other means, home ownership is a way to invest in a bright future without having to put constant thought and action towards investing.

Appreciation over time and the gradual pay down of your mortgage works tremendously in your favor.

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