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New Home, Old Problems: 8 Common Maintenance Issues to Watch out for When Buying an Older Home

Are you tempted by the prospect of buying an older home instead of a cookie-cutter model in a new subdivision? You’re not alone. Many people would prefer living in a house with some character and history.

Unfortunately, buying an old house comes with a number of risks. Even though it may seem new to you, it may have old problems.

But don’t let this stop you from moving forward with your dream. As long as you know what to look out for, you can avoid headaches down the road.

To help you out, we’re going over eight common issues many old houses have.

1. Electrical Issues

Back in the day, construction codes for homes we’re different. In addition, materials such as wiring and sockets weren’t manufactured to the same standards they are today.

This means many older houses have subpar electrical systems. This could involve something minor or a serious issue that could cause safety hazards.

Tube and knot wiring was common decades ago. If a home still has these cables, you’re probably dealing with exposed wires. You’ll need to check for this, as tube and knot wiring can lead to fire or electrocution.

An old home may contain an insufficient number of wall sockets. This is a recipe for a major inconvenience in today’s digital world.

2. Outdated Plumbing

Minor plumbing problems may not seem like a big deal when you first look at a house. However, it’s important to consider how these issues will affect your day-to-day life.

In addition, minor issues like low water pressure, a dripping faucet, or corrosion can lead to a major catastrophe. More specifically, a flooded home.

The type of pipes an old home has should also concern you. Many older structures contain polybutylene pipes, which wear out quicker than brass or copper.

You also need to check the condition of the water heater. An outdated model may need repairs or a full replacement. If you’re unsure, find out more about what to look out for.

3. A Bad Foundation

Without regular maintenance and upkeep, an aging home can develop foundation problems. This is sometimes hard to avoid, as it’s often the result of the ground underneath a home.

Foundation repair is extremely expensive, so you’ll need to make sure you perform a thorough inspection before considering buying.

Telltale signs of foundation issues include cracks in exterior walkways, cracks in interior walls, sagging floors, and even water damage. You may also notice that doors inside the home stick when opening and shutting.

If your dream home ends up having a bad foundation, consider negotiating with the seller for a lower price to offset the cost of repairs.

4. The Presence of Lead Paint

If you’re considering buying a home built prior to the late 1970s, it’s imperative you check for lead paint. This is a serious concern, especially if you have young children.

Lead poisoning causes a number of health issues in children, including weight loss, developmental problems, and seizures. It can also negatively affect adults.

Homeowners have a legal obligation to disclose whether the house contains lead paint. If they seem unsure, you need to have an inspection performed.

If a home has lead paint, it’s not good enough to apply a new coat of paint over the walls. You’ll need to have it removed and disposed of before you move in.

5. A Roof in Disrepair

The roof is one of the most important components of a home. It protects the interior from the elements and has a lot to do with temperature control.

If the previous owners of an old house didn’t keep up with roof repair and replacement, there’s a good chance it’s in bad shape. You’ll need to do some investigating to discover if you’re dealing with a major problem.

One of the most common signs of a bad roof is water damage. If water is getting into through the roof, you’ll notice staining along the ceiling and walls.

You should also inspect the roof from the outside. Look for missing shingles, sagging, mold, or damaged gutters.

6. Mold

Any time moisture lingers in a given space, mold can start to form. This is more common in older homes because they contain cracks and are often poorly insulated.

Certain types of mold can cause allergies and health issues, so you’ll want to ensure the home you’re looking at is mold-free. Unfortunately, mold can hide behind walls and in basements and crawl spaces. This can make it impossible to spot.

If you smell mildew, this is a red flag. Even if you don’t see anything, you need to have a mold inspection performed.

7. Poor Energy Efficiency

Energy standards weren’t considered when older homes were built. If previous owners didn’t take measures to improve the energy efficiency of a house, it may take a lot of work to improve things.

Older windows allow air to enter and escape, which puts a burden on the HVAC system. In addition, old homes tend to have inadequate insulation or none at all. Both of these factors lead to higher energy bills and an uncomfortable home.

If you’re considering buying a house but feel it’s not energy efficient, have an energy audit performed. This will tell you exactly what improvements you’ll need to make.

8. Radon

We discussed lead paint as a potentially hazardous material in older homes. Another common one is radon.

This is a natural gas that forms when uranium in soil, bedrock, and water breaks down. When radon occurs out in the open, it’s not a threat. However, if it gets trapped under a house, it can start to enter through pipes and the foundation.

Once radon enters a home, it can continue to circulate if there’s poor ventilation. Some older homes have taken on radon exposure for years.

Make sure you have a radon test performed if you’re considering buying an old house.

Make Buying An Older Home a Possibility

Old houses are bound to have issues, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider buying one. As long as you understand what to look for, you can enjoy the style and charm of a classic house.

Remember the issues discussed above when buying an older home and make sure you have all your bases covered.

Check out more articles for additional home improvement and real estate tips.

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Selling at the Speed of Light: How to Sell a House Fast

5.5 million homes in the United States sold in 2018.

If you’re planning on selling your house in 2019, you’re going to have a lot of competition. No one wants their house to sit on the market for months on end so you need to stand out against the competition.

Need to sell your house as soon as possible? Don’t wait around for a buyer to come around. Read on to learn how to sell a house fast!

1. Make Sure the Time Is Right

For a quick home sale, make sure the time is right.

Like many animals, home buyers tend to hibernate in the winter. The best time to sell your home is in the spring, and more specifically May. People hate to move during the cold winter months, so always opt for a warmer time when you think about selling.

The best part? Homes sold during this peak time average $2,500 more in revenue.

2. Price Competitively

If your house isn’t selling, it may be because you are asking too much for it.

Make sure that you are pricing competitively compared to other homes of similar size in your area. And if you’re screaming, “I need to sell my house ASAP,” try listing your home below market value. Nothing gets the buyers knocking at your door quicker than a deal.

3. Deep Clean

To help sell a home faster, make sure it’s deep cleaned. And we don’t mean just hiding everything under the bed!

Take the time to clean everything in your home. This includes closets and drawers that normally attract clutter. Your goal is to make your home look as attractive as possible to potential buyers.

Don’t be ashamed to hire a professional service to clean your home.

4. Do Minor Repairs

After your home is clean, take a look around and search for minor repairs.

Paint that room with the peeling walls. Change out the hardware on your kitchen cabinets. Replace the tile grout in your bathroom.

These little repairs make a big difference to homebuyers. Not many people want to buy a home that comes with a laundry list of repairs to do.

Leave the bigger projects, like a new roof or window replacements, for the new owner.

5. Stage Accordingly

After repairs, it’s time to stage your home accordingly.

Take out anything that appears as clutter inside your home. Keep only the minimal belongings needed to make your home appear lived in. Also, remember to hide away any personal belongings, like family portraits or childhood mementos.

If you need to, spend the money and rent a storage unit to place your excess belongings in. You’ll see a return on your investment by finding a buyer quicker.

6. Upgrade Your Curb Appeal

The outside of your home is the first thing that a potential buyer sees. First impressions matter.

Take the time to spruce up your landscaping with fresh mulch and blooming flowers. A bright, colorful front door or mailbox gives your home a welcoming vibe. Don’t forget to decorate your patio to create an appealing, outdoor living space.

7. Get Professional

To sell your home, sometimes you need the help of professionals.

One professional you shouldn’t pass on is a professional photographer. In the digital age, most people shop for homes online first. And if you have bad photos or no photos at all, the right homebuyer may never consider your home.

Instead, a professional photographer will take the best possible photos of your home. They know how to make your home appear brighter, bigger, and more welcoming.

8. Hire a Realtor

Speaking of professionals, consider hiring a realtor to help you.

A realtor has both education and experience in the home buying process. They have inside knowledge of the market and other homes on the market. They have what it takes to put your home in the right light in front of the right people.

Better yet, they handle all of the paperwork and legal aspects of selling your home. Since they have experience, they can close on a home faster than you’d be able to on your own.

This all results in your home selling quicker.

9. Market Your Home

Even if you hire a realtor, you should still market your home on your own.

Use those professional photos and get your home online. Make social media posts and share them with your friends and on local for sale sites. Also, take advantage of a classified ad in a print newspaper.

Make sure your home has a visible for sale sign with a phone number. Print out fliers advertising your home and place them in high traffic areas, such as the bus stop or the post office.

There’s no such thing as too much marketing — you want to get your home in front of as many eyes as possible.

10. Use a Fast Sale Company

Are you still asking “how do I sell my house fast?” If so, consider using a fast sale company.

To get a fast sale offer, you tell the company details about your property. The company then gives you a cash offer within 24 hours, which you can accept or deny. Once you accept an offer, expect to close on your house in seven to ten days.

The best part about using these companies is that you don’t need to repair anything in your home or prepare it for a sale. This option is great for someone facing foreclosure, handling a divorce, or relocating suddenly.

Beyond How to Sell a House

Now you know how to sell a house, but do you know how to buy a new one?

You should be looking for your new home while selling your old home. You don’t want to sell your home but have no place to move into. Instead, make it an easy process by searching for your new home online!

View our online listings and find your dream home today.

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Cut The Cord: Top 10 Free TV Streaming Sites of 2019

It’s beginning to look like the days of cable TV are over. Last quarter, the four biggest cable providers lost a combined 887,000 subscribers, making it the worst quarter on record.

Despite record numbers, many are still on the fence about cutting the cord, fearing that they’ll miss out on their favorite shows and movies.

Services like PlayStation Vue, Hulu With Live TV, YouTube TV, and Sling are banking on that fear, hoping customers will instead choose to use one of their monthly subscription services. While these services are awesome alternatives to cable, most services cost around $40 per month.

But what if there was a way to watch all of your favorite shows without having to pay for anything other than your Internet?

We promise it isn’t too good to be true — keep reading to discover 10 of our favorite free TV streaming sites.

1. YouTube

You might think YouTube is only good for checking out tutorials, makeup tips, or animal videos.

But a few years ago, YouTube decided to take a stab at competing with Netflix and Hulu by offering video and TV shows of its own. While you can purchase all of your favorites, if you know where to look, you can actually find tons of your favorite shows streaming for free.

Shows like “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” “Game of Thrones,” and full-length sports games get uploaded or live streamed to YouTube within moments of airtime.

But you’ll have to act fast. The upload of these videos goes against copyright laws, so they tend to get yanked down within hours.

2. Dailymotion

People like to write Dailymotion off as a YouTube copycat, but the streaming site has carved out a nice niche for itself.

After a rebrand, Dailymotion began courting some of the most popular cable networks like Bloomberg and The History Channel. Even local affiliates like ABC, NBC, and CBS post clips from their shows on Dailymotion.

While you may not find full episodes on the site, a Dailymotion account combined with an aerial antenna should cover all of your TV watching needs.

3. Crackle

PlayStation Vue isn’t Sony’s only online streaming service. Its lesser-known site, Crackle, features a robust selection of free movies and TV shows.

From anime and sitcoms to fan favorites like “Community” and “The Critic,” Crackle’s library has hundreds of hours of content, so you’ll never get bored.

The site also hosts its own original programming if you’re looking to discover a new favorite.

4. Popcornflix

Popcornflix is one of the Internet’s best-kept secrets. For whatever reason, it doesn’t seem to draw the same level of attention as its competitors.

But a quick glance through the Popcornflix library shows that it isn’t due to a lack of content. In fact, Popcornflix hosts some of the strangest, most obscure films and TV shows you’ve ever (or never) heard of.Right now, it seems to be the only place to legally stream the 1989 animated series based on “The Legend of Zelda.” Yes, it exists. And yes, it’s every bit as bad as you think. So while Popcornflix isn’t a household name, it’s a great place to discover some hidden gems you may not know about.

5. Pluto TV

With a tagline like, “It’s free TV,” it might not come as a surprise that Pluto TV makes the cut. In fact, Pluto TV just may be the best place to stream free TV shows on this list.

Not only is it completely free and legal, but it’s full of licensed curated channels. Here’s just a quick sampling of what you can find on Pluto:

  • Impact Wrestling
  • Bloomberg
  • The Young Turks
  • Rifftrax
  • Stand-up TV
  • The Onion
  • IGN
  • Crime Network

Pluto TV has the potential to replace your cable bill entirely, especially after Viacom’s recent buyout.

6. Yahoo View

If you’ve never heard of Yahoo View, you’re not alone. Yahoo’s own website hardly acknowledges the service’s existence.

Still, View is a great alternative to Hulu. TV lovers can catch up on their favorite late-night shows, anime, reality shows, and more.

7. The Roku Channel

Roku and streaming services are practically synonymous at this point. The company’s line of media players is among the most affordable and best-selling streaming devices on the market.

But strangely, Roku didn’t offer much in the way of its own content until recently.

In 2017, Roku finally launched The Roku Channel. The platform promised to be a great source of free movies and TV shows. So far, we think they’ve done a good job of keeping their promise.

Their selection of TV shows isn’t the most up to date, but it’s hard to beat free entertainment. And if you do feel like spending some cash, you can now add on premium services such as HBO or Showtime.

8. Tubi TV

Tubi TV is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, its selection of TV shows and movies is vast. Unfortunately, Tubi is a prime example as to why quality is better than quantity.

Many of the films and TV shows on the streaming service aren’t exactly A-list. Still, if you’re willing to spend some time digging through Tubi’s selection, you can still find a few great shows like “Masters of Horror” and “The Dresden Files”.

9. Hoopla

Here’s a fun fact: Your local library is good for more than just borrowing books.

Many libraries have gotten with the times and now include streaming services as part of their membership.

Hoopla is one such service. Users can access thousands of eBooks, audiobooks, comics, TV shows, and movies. So if you don’t already have a library card, you may want to reconsider.

10. Viewster

Like Tubi TV, Viewster isn’t known for its quality. But it does offer a ton of content to check out.

Gamers, in particular, should check out Viewster, as it has a heavy focus on gaming-related content.

Say Goodbye to Cable With These Free TV Streaming Sites

Ditching cable doesn’t have to mean a TV-free existence. By using these free TV streaming sites, you can save money while still enjoying countless hours of entertainment.

For a more film-focused list, be sure to check out our guide on the best free movie streaming sites.

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Creepy Crawlers: The Top 10 Most Common House Bugs

Over 40 percent of phobias are related to bugs.

More people are afraid of common house bugs than being a victim of violent crime or even dying.

You should know the different creepy crawlers around your home. Some of the bugs you’ll have seen before, while others may surprise you.

Check out the most common household bugs below. Here we go!

1. Bed Bugs

Most children are familiar with the saying “Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

While for many Americans bed bugs evoke a cutesy rhyme we used to sing as kids. For New Yorkers, the bed bug is a terrifying nightmare.

The resurgence of bed bugs in the US was named “the year of the bed bug” by CBS in 2010.

What do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs are round shaped and flat insects. They are a light brown color. And, they are around the size of a grain of rice.

What do They do?

They drink your blood.

However, they don’t have to eat much or regularly to stay alive. They can live for over a year without a bite to eat.

That’s why they’re capable of living in your mattress or furniture without your knowledge.

2. Ants

There are more ants than human beings in the world. In fact, there are over 10 billion ants in the US alone.

Small in size, ants can enter your home easily and hide. They wait for you to drop crumbs on the floor to eat.

Although ants cannot do much damage to your home, it’s important to stamp out the problem immediately.

Remember ants always return to the nest. So follow an ant until you find the nest where you can eliminate the problem.

3. Cockroaches

For many people, the most disgusting bugs you can find in your home are cockroaches. These creatures are attracted to damp areas of your home and the food left behind.

You’ll most often find cockroaches in either your bathroom or kitchen. The cracks and crevices of the walls in your home also make excellent habitats for cockroaches.

It’s important to handle your cockroach problem as soon as you notice it since they can be harmful to human health.

4. Flies

We talk about the problem of flies in the home during the warmer months. There isn’t a single species of fly. In fact, there are over 16,000 species in the US alone.

You’ve probably mostly encountered the common house fly.

Even though flies don’t live very long. They have an especially high birth rate, which means that they can spread around your home in just a few days.

In warmer climates, it can be almost impossible to keep out flies. However, make sure you always store away food if flies are around.

5. Mosquitoes

Many of the bugs on our list are harmless, mosquitoes are commonly feared because they carry disease, such as the Zika Virus.

During the summer months, many people are terrorized by the mosquitoes, which bite and suck the blood of victims.

Damp places and water which are humid are especially appealing for mosquitoes. make sure you keep your doors and windows closed during warmer months.

6. Beetles

Beetles are often confused with cockroaches by people. While beetles do not pose any risk to the health of human beings, they are a threat to your furniture.

Beetles consume the fibers and woods around your home. This can damage valuable items of furniture.

When the beetles lay their eggs in the wooden cracks, the damage is often beyond repair. Act immediately with the earliest signs of beetles.

7. Ticks

Ticks are not especially attracted to the warm environment of the home. Instead, you’ll encounter these bugs during grasslands or woods.

However, you can hook onto a person or pet to be carried back into the home. Ticks latch on and suck the blood of the host.

When you return home from walking in the warmer months, make sure you check your body (and the body of your pet) for any signs of ticks.

8. Centipedes

Centipedes are perhaps the creepiest of the crawlers. They can have more than 300 legs. During the winter, centipedes enter homes for protection from the cold weather.

Centipedes are not harmful to humans. Unless you pick one up, they’ll extremely unlikely to bite you.

Larger than many of the other bugs on this list, centipedes eat cockroaches and other insects which are found in your home. Therefore, there may be a reason to turn a blind eye to these yellowish creatures.

9. Termites

Termites could already have infested your home without your knowledge. Only when they are ready do they show themselves. If you notice damage to your wooden furniture, then you could have a termite problem.

You can only do so much to prevent termites from destroying your home. This reliable company says eventually you have to call a pest control company.

10. Fleas

The smallest insect on our list, fleas also feed on blood.

You need to regularly check your pets for signs of a flea infestation. If you spot signs of fleas on your dog or cat, immediately seek treatment.

There are also flea prevention strategies, such as a flea collar and flea repellents.

Watch Out for Common House Bugs

Common house bugs are simply part of home ownership.

Make sure you keep your home clean and tidy and you’ll significantly reduce the probability of common house bugs getting out of hand.

You just have to regularly check your home for signs of infestations.

Are you in the market for a new home? Check out our listings today to see all your options in sunny South Miami.

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Skip the Contractor! 5 Kitchen Updating Ideas That Don’t Require a Remodel

It’s estimated that homeowners spend between $12,594 and $33,118 remodeling their kitchens, or $21,751 on average.

That’s a lot of money! So, what are you to do if your kitchen needs a tune up but you don’t want to fork over that kind of money? Or, what if you simply don’t have the time or energy to put towards a full kitchen remodel?

For those wary of going all-in on a remodel, there’s a solution. There are actually many kitchen updating ideas out there that don’t require a lot of money or time but that will still do wonders for your kitchen.

What are these updates, exactly?

Read on to learn about the top kitchen updating ideas that don’t require a remodel.

1. Paint the Walls

Giving your kitchen walls a fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest and most affordable kitchen updates you can do.

All it takes is a simple color change to give your kitchen a whole new mood and atmosphere. When it comes to deciding on a paint shade, make sure you keep color psychology in mind. If you don’t know, color psychology is the idea that certain colors help promote certain moods and feelings. For example, blue gives one a feeling of safety and comfort, while red gives one a feeling of passion and desire.

Once you decide on a color, you should decide on whether or not you want to paint your walls yourself or hire someone to do it. We definitely recommend going the DIY route on this one. Even if you aren’t a serious DIYer, painting walls is a really simple and straightforward process.

In order to paint your walls you will need:

  • A painting brush: This is the one material you don’t want to skimp on, as a proper painting brush will help you paint faster and with more accuracy
  • Painter’s tape
  • Roller kit
  • Drop cloths

Once you have all of these materials gathered, you’re ready to spruce up your walls with a new paint color!

2. Replace a Major Appliance (Or Two)

When’s the last time you replaced your kitchen appliances? Can’t remember?

If so, that may be a sign that your appliances are in need of an update. Updating your fridge, dishwasher, or other appliance can really make a big difference, especially if the appliance happens to be rather dated.

If you aren’t sure about what new appliance style to go for, we recommend stainless steel. Stainless steel is a timeless choice, and it blends seamlessly with nearly every design style.

Also, keep in mind that the more appliances you replace at once, the less money you have to spend on a plumber hauling out the old ones.

3. Paint the Cabinets

Your kitchen walls aren’t the only thing we think you should consider painting. We also think painting your kitchen cabinets is a great idea.

While painting kitchen cabinets takes a bit of leg work, like painting kitchen walls, this is an update that is highly affordable. Plus, painting your kitchen cabinets is a much faster process than installing new ones.

The most popular kitchen cabinet colors at the moment are white and gray. White is especially great because not only does it make your space look newer, the color will also brighten up the space and make it appear larger.

If you aren’t sure how to paint your kitchen cabinets, these tips will help you out.

4. Bring Life to Your Kitchen With Flowers or Plants

Ok, if you want to talk about an insanely affordable kitchen update, here it is. Adding some flowers or plants to a kitchen may seem like too small of an update, but trust us, it can really go a long way.

If you don’t have much of a green thumb, don’t worry. There are plenty of indoor houseplants out there that are next to impossible to kill. Some of the easiest ones to take care of are the mother in law’s tongue (also known as the snake plant), the ZZ plant, the spider plant, the peace lily, and the jade plant.

If plants and flowers really aren’t your thing, consider adding other simple decor pieces, such as a new rug or a painting.

5. Rethink Your Lighting

Just like color, lighting really helps set the mood and atmosphere of your kitchen. If your lighting is too bright, your kitchen is going to feel more like a doctor’s office. If your lighting is too dull, it can make your kitchen look old and drab.

Try to find a happy medium. Generally, you’ll want lighting that’s a bit more on the brighter side, but be careful not to overdo it.

Besides the brightness of your lighting, you should also consider swapping out your light switch panels so that they match your hardware. Matching light switch panels to hardware can help boost the overall feel of the kitchen, plus it’s a super simple project.

You may also want to consider adding in some under-cabinet lighting, as this can help you show off pretty display pieces as well as add a bit of drama to a space.

6. Enhance Storage Areas

The kitchen is one of those rooms in the house that tends to accumulate a lot of clutter.

Minimizing chaos in the kitchen will not only make the space look better, but it will also make you feel better when you enter it.

Purchase some decorative storage bins and baskets for storing infrequently used items. Then, you can tuck the bins and baskets above the cabinets.

Also consider corners, backsides of doors, and brackets as potential storage areas.

Kitchen Updating Ideas: Are You Ready to Give Your Kitchen a Makeover?

As you can see, there are many kitchen updating ideas that are both affordable and hassle-free.

And, the best part is, because they are so affordable, you can choose to do as many of them as you want, therefore giving your kitchen a whole new look.

If you have any questions about these ideas, please drop us a comment below.

And, once you’re done updating your kitchen, it’s time to move onto the outside of your home. Check out these patio decorating ideas to get ready for summer.

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A Cut above the Rest: How to Find the Best Lawn Care Service Company in Your Area

Is there anything better than a freshly cut and pruned lawn in the spring months?

If you pride yourself on having the best lawn in the neighborhood, then you need to invest in the best lawn care service company. As a seasoned lawn pro, you can absolutely achieve this on your own, but hiring a lawn care service company can be just as gratifying.

But with so many companies in your area, you may be left scratching your head. Do you hire the eager high school student down the street or a landscaping company with years of experience? You may also be tempted to save a buck, but will that provide equally satisfactory results?

Whenever you hire a company to do work at your home, you’re trusting them with your property. We all want to give people the benefit of the doubt, but doing our research in advance can help us to make the best decisions.

Want to learn how to select a reliable lawn care service company? Read on to discover our top tips to hire the best lawn care service company in your area.

1. Check Credentials

A reputable lawn care service company will have the proper business credentials to operate successfully and legally. While credentials such as a business license and insurance may seem like “no big deal,” they’re actually very important.

For example, if a lawn care service company doesn’t have Workman’s Comp insurance and a worker gets hurt on your property, then the worker may be able to sue you for medical bills and missed work days. Because of this reality, it’s always important to ask the company in advance about their licenses and insurance policies.

You can also check the Better Business Bureau website to see what others reported about each lawn care service company.

2. Assess Your Needs

Before hiring a lawn service company, you should assess your lawn care needs.

Do you just need mowing done every couple of weeks? Do you want complicated fertilizer and weed treatments? And, do you want your backyard, as well as your front yard, maintained?

Not all lawn care companies provide special lawn treatment, so it’s important to speak with the company in advance about what services they do offer. For any special services they offer, make sure they also have the proper licensing and certifications.

For example, does the company offer training and certifications to apply chemicals treatments? If they do, then it’s a good sign that they take their business and customer service seriously.

3. Pricing and Rates

Before selecting a lawn care service, determine your budget. Once you have a budget in mind and a reputable company, tell them exactly what your budget is.

Ask them exactly how they charge and how much each visit will cost. Some companies charge by the hour whereas others charge per job. If you’re on a strict budget, then finding a company that charges by the job will be your safest bet.

You should also inquire as to exactly what each job entails and how long it should take.

Ready to Hire a Lawn Care Service Company?

When hiring a lawn care service company, always keep in mind that your needs come first. As a homeowner, your number one goal is to protect your home and your family, so don’t feel bad about asking questions. Any reputable lawn care service company will be more than happy to answer them and to have your business.

Want to improve your lawn and landscaping? Check out our blog post for 10 ways to take the yawn out of your lawn.

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Buying a House in Australia: 4 Ways to Finance Your Home Down Under

Are you ready to move down under?

Buying a house is an exciting time and doing it in beautiful Australia is no different!

Whether you’re a native Australian or an ex-pat relocating, you want to be sure that you know the ins and outs of buying a house in Australia. Check out this guide for four ways to finance your home down under.

1. Family Pledge Loan

Do you have bad credit or no credit at all? If you’re looking to buy a house in Austalia and you have family members that are willing to help, you may want to consider a family pledge loan.

With this option, an immediate family member would put up some kind of security so that you can purchase the property. This could mean the entire deposit or only a percentage, depending upon what you need.

2. Owner’s Finance

Wondering how to buy a house in Australia? Owner financing may be the right choice for you.

With this option, the seller of the property will provide the buyer with the finances to purchase instead of the buyer going to the bank. While this is a more common option in the United States, it’s still possible to do in Australia.

With owner financing, the seller will retain the property deed until the buyer pays them back. Once the final payment is made, the deed will be transferred to the home buyer.

3. Joint Venture

Want to know how to buy a house in Sydney? Are you educated in investment properties and earn a great income, but you don’t have the means to make a deposit? Consider a joint venture. A joint venture is mutually beneficial to both parties.

Your partner would provide the deposit and you would both own the property. You would provide financing or property work to increase the value of the home. Negotiations would be between the two of you and would be whatever works best for both parties.

4. First Home Owner Grant

Did you know that it’s possible to get a grant from the government to buy your first home? If you’re buying your first home in Australia, you may be eligible to receive money from the Australian government to go towards the purchase of a house.

A first home owners grant has certain requirements that need to be met:

  • You must be a first time home buyer in Australia.
  • The value of the home cannot exceed $800,000.
  • The grant cannot be claimed for land purchases only.

You will want to check into the specific standards of the state in which you’re interested in residing.

Buying a House and Starting a New Adventure?

Whether you’re buying a house in Sydney or buying a house in Perth, it’s important to know how you can finance that home. Once you have that checked off your list, you can begin your new adventure and live the life you want.

If you’re in the market for a new home, check out our listings today. Let us help you find the home of your dreams.

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Get to Work: 5 Amazing Garage Workshop Ideas

Out of the 82% of homes in the US that have a two car garage or larger, only 15% use that space to park their cars. In many cases, the garage becomes a storage area that’s too packed to fit anything else.

If you’re content parking your car (or at least one of them) outside, you may not be concerned about cleaning your garage out. However, a garage is the perfect place to create a workshop, so you can finally do all those projects you’ve been talking about.

With the right garage workshop ideas, you can create the ultimate workspace that you’ll never want to leave. Depending on the size of your garage, you may even have room left over to park your car!

Do you want to know more? Keep reading to discover the best ideas to transform your garage.

1. Think About Temperature

While the garage is the ideal location for a workshop for several reasons, it does come with one fatal flaw: Most garages don’t have any type of temperature control in place.

If you don’t figure out a way to keep your garage cool in the summer and warm in the winter, you’ll likely only end up using it for a few nice months in the spring and fall. Luckily, there are a few things you can do.

You can start by insulating your garage, which may include getting a new garage door. Not only will this help regulate the temperature throughout the year, but it’ll also drown out some of the noise, so your neighbors and family don’t complain.

However, in most areas, this insulation won’t be enough to keep the garage comfortable all year long. Consider getting a powerful window air conditioner to cool things down in the summer and installing a garage heating unit to keep yourself warm in the winter.

All this may seem a bit pricey at first, but you’ll end up getting a ton of use out of your garage, so it’ll all be worth it in the long run.

2. Give Yourself Room

You may be looking at the stacks of Christmas decorations, bikes, and other miscellaneous items right about now, wondering how you’ll ever find room for a workshop. But how much of that stuff do you really need?

Start by going through everything you’re storing and get rid of things you don’t use or need anymore. Then, think about alternative storage areas for the remaining items. Do you have a backyard shed, attic, or basement with room for these things?

Ideally, you’d be able to move everything out of the garage. However, this isn’t always possible. If you can’t find a new home for everything you’re currently storing in the garage, at least reorganize it so you have an area dedicated to your workspace and a different area dedicated to storage.

3. Add Good Lighting

The last thing you want to do is end up hurting yourself because you couldn’t see properly. Most garages don’t already have adequate lighting for a workshop, so you’ll need to add your own.

Stick with a high-intensity light, like LED, fluorescent, or halogen. You’ll want to make sure you put lighting above your workbench and around any large pieces of equipment. If you’ll be working on very detailed projects at your workbench, consider getting a flexible goose-neck light, so you can control exactly where the light goes.

4. Pick the Right Workbench

You may be tempted to go to your local hardware store and pick up the first workbench you see. But this could quickly lead to disaster. Start by identifying what exactly you’ll do on your workbench.

Will you be doing something delicate, like working on electronics? If so, you likely won’t need to pay extra for a workbench that can handle a ton of pressure. You might, however, want one that comes with various drawers to store all the small pieces you’ll need access to while working.

Or will you be doing something that requires a bit more elbow grease? If this is the case, you’ll likely want a workbench free of cabinets and sides, so you have plenty of room to work. Of course, you’ll also want one that’s sturdy enough to handle your projects without wobbling.

If you plan to do a lot of work on the floor, you may want to consider a workbench that folds down when not in use to maximize your space.

5. Ensure It Stays Clean

Chances are, you’re going to make a bit of a mess in your workshop. While you don’t have to keep the area immaculate, you do want to clean up any sawdust, store anything sharp away, and prevent stains to the best of your ability.

If you plan to do a lot of sawing and sanding, you’ll want a way to remove all the dust, so it doesn’t settle on your projects while paint or stain is drying. There are a few different options to choose from, so look for a dust collection system design that meets your needs.

You may also want to put an epoxy coating on your floor to prevent stains and make cleanup easier.

Lastly, make sure you set up some type of organization system, so you don’t leave sharp tools on the ground for you to trip over or step on. Consider hanging things on the wall or using garage storage shelves to make sure everything has a home.

Best Garage Workshop Ideas

Don’t just throw a workbench in the garage and call it a day. Instead, follow these garage workshop ideas to create the ultimate space to work on your projects.

Are you in the market for a new home? Check out our listings today to see all your options in beautiful and sunny South Florida.

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This Place is the Cat’s Meow! How to Find Pet-Friendly Apartments You’ll Love

Did you know that 68% of households in the United States own a pet?

It’s no wonder that with so many people owning a fur baby they need to find a place that they can live with their pet.

Do you need an apartment that serves both your needs and the needs of your pet? Keep reading to learn how to find pet-friendly apartments you’ll love.

How to Find Pet-Friendly Apartments

Having a pet makes life exciting and full of love. Maybe the place you’re living at now doesn’t allow you to have pets and you want to adopt one. Pet-friendly apartments are not impossible to find all you have to learn is where to look.

Don’t Rush

When looking for a pet-friendly place to live you need patience. Apartments that allow pets have the lowest vacancy rates because once someone has a place to live that welcomes their fur babies they don’t vacate quickly.

If you’re currently renting give yourself plenty of time before your lease is up to find a place to live that allows pets.

Speak to Locals

Contact the local animal care hospitals or the local humane society and ask them if they have a list of apartments that allow pets. You can also pick up an apartment guidebook at a local store or supermarket and find which ones accept pets. Sometimes those guides will also specify if there are weight limits or breed restrictions.

Search Online

Thanks to the internet you are able to do a search for apartments that allow pets in the specific area you’re looking to move to. This website is a perfect example of how much searching online can help you make your list of the places that do accept pets.

This will save you the time of touring a place that you fall in love with only to find out that your furbaby isn’t welcomed.

Support Animal Option

Explore to see if your pet can be a support animal for you. People sometimes think that the only service animal is a seeing eye dog but there are pets that support their owners in other ways. If your pet is the one you rely on for comfort because you suffer from emotional issues you might be protected under the Fair Housing Act.

If a renter is diagnosed with an emotional disability and a landlord doesn’t allow their pets then that landlord risks facing discrimination charges. If this sounds like it might apply to you then you will want to talk to a doctor or therapist in your area and take the necessary steps to have your pet become your emotional support animal by law.

Put Together a Pet Resume

Take the time to have your pet ready to meet a potential landlord. You want them to be on their best behavior. If you have a puppy that’s still in their curious puppy phase, consider enrolling them in school and keep their certificate of completion as proof to a landlord in case they require proof of a well-behaved or a trained dog.

Keep your pet groomed, clean and smelling good for any last minute apartment tours that allow you to bring your pet. Make sure their vaccine records are all up to date and have those ready to show as proof as well.

Peace of Mind

Landlords and apartment communities are usually concerned with the damage the pet is going to cause. This is why so many apartment complexes don’t allow pets because they don’t want to deal with fixing or cleaning after a pet has been in the apartment. If they don’t require a deposit offer to pay one to help give them more peace of mind.

You also have the option of buying a renter’s insurance policy that covers pet damage and let your potential landlord or apartment complex know that you’re willing to do this.

Sign a Pet Addendum

Once you find the place that’s perfect for you and your pet you want to make sure you have this in writing. Make sure you sign a pet addendum with your rental agreement. This will protect you and your pet from getting evicted.

Verbal agreements don’t suffice if your lease has a no-pets clause. If there is a no-pet clause make sure it’s removed before you sign it or crossed out and initialed by the manager or landlord. Also, make sure that it’s removed or crossed out on the landlords copy also.

Before signing the pet addendum be clear on how much the pet deposit is and the stipulations on getting it back in the future. Also, clear up if there are any extra monthly pet fees that have to be added to the rent. These fees should also be in writing to avoid any discrepancies in the future.

If there are any rules for those that have pets make sure you get a copy of those rules and be very clear on what they expect from you as a pet owner.

Enjoy Your New Home

Once you go through the process of finding an apartment or home that accepts you and your pet it’s time to move in and enjoy your new home. Moving is already a stressful thing to do there’s no point in moving multiple times if you don’t have to. Finding pet-friendly apartments right from the beginning will help you avoid extra moves.

Make sure that once you’re moved in and enjoying your new home you build a relationship with the new landlord, or apartment manager so that you can be sure to enjoy your new home for years to come.

Once you’re ready to move to your new home check out our guide with tips to make your moving day as simple as possible.

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What Does Trump’s Border Wall Mean for Homeowners in South Florida?

Of all the controversial promises Donald Trump made during his 2016 presidential election campaign, Trump’s border wall was by far the most explosive. Love him or hate him Trump is determined to do good on the promise he made, against all the odds.

What Is the Wall?

President Trump’s border wall is a radical response to his belief that it is too easy to cross the U.S- Mexico border and this allows illegal immigrants easy access to the U.S where they then live and work undetected and engage in criminal activity.

However, politicians serving states on the border believe the current border is secure and the cost of a border wall will be a massive waste of taxpayer’s money.

Trump’s detractors say Trump is making generalizations about all Mexican immigrants being criminals and in-fact. most are law-abiding. They are simply escaping extreme poverty in Mexico.

Opposition to Trump’s Border Wall – A National Emergency?

After losing control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections, Donald Trump has sought to bypass congress who, now under control of the Democrats, have voted down his plans to fund the wall.

After this stand-off led to the largest government shutdown in history President Trump finally backed down and agreed to a budget that did not include any funding for his border wall.

As a result, he has turned to a different tactic and has declared that the lack of what he believes his efficient security on the border constitutes a national emergency. Such a measure would ordinarily allow him to bypass Congress and find funds for the wall from other areas of government spending.

However, declaring a national emergency in this way is considered by many to be unconstitutional. His declaration is currently being challenged by the courts and it may well end up being considered by the Supreme Court.

Furthermore, there is a motion that has been passed by the House and is now being considered by the Senate that would end Trump’s national emergency. This is important because the Senate still has a Republican majority, although Trump could veto this bill.

A Land Grab?

So what does all the mean for homeowners? The biggest issue at stake for those that live along the border is that it might mean the government buying up private property or private land.

This is a huge worry to those who already have houses or land where the border wall is proposed to be built. It means there is little they can do and they might not get what they consider is a fair deal in terms of compensation.

Challenging the government in court would be costly and take so long the wall might already have been completed before the case even gets a hearing.

This could also hurt Trump’s voter base as although many Republicans do support a tough stance on border security they also typically place a lot of emphasis on the rights of the individual.

This means the right to own their land. Hardcore republicans also oppose big government and are fearful of a powerful government that has the power to simply take away land at short notice.

There is evidence that many Texans, home to Trump’s biggest and most vocal supporters, don’t support a wall.

And such a decision could affect more than just physical property, as the Philly Inquirer points out, it could even destroy the centuries-old graves of families that still live on the border.

Flordia in Trouble

Although Flordia is not on the Mexico-U.S border, the declaration of a national emergency could cause huge problems for residents of the swing state that swung the election for President Trump.

This is because Trump could divert money from funds designed to help Flordia recover from severe flooding as a result of a spate of recent hurricanes. Nearly $800 million is apparently being earmarked to help pay for the wall.

So how much money is Trump asking for the border wall? Trump wants a total of $5.7 billion to build the wall.

If this were to happen it would spell disaster for the housing market as people realize that buying property in Flordia is a gamble.

Even residents of beautiful Myrtle Beach might decide that it is no longer worth buying property in the area if they feel they are not going to be covered when disaster strikes. Maybe they will decide to move to Vancouver and check it out instead.

It is important to remember, however, that none of Flordia’s politicians have been made aware of plans to do this and it is possible that the vast majority of the funds for the wall will come from the larger states of California and Puerto Ricco.

Will a Wall Actually Happen?

President Trump has a habit of defying expectations. Nobody thought he would win the Republican nomination, let alone win the Presidency and those that predicted that he would have also said he’d be impeached within his first year in office.

With the unpredictability of politics in 2019, nothing is certain. However, it looks unlikely that Trump will manage to pass all of the obstacles required to get the funding for his wall. With both houses set to vote down his plan for a national emergency and many lawyers suggesting that even if he were to use his controversial power of veto to pass it, it would be blocked the courts, it seems more likely that he will be forced to consider alternative measures.

Your Perfect Florida Home?

Ever dreamed of retiring to Florida and building your perfect dream home? Many people think Trump’s border wall might make this more difficult. It will be if it means diverting money from hurricane relief funds.

However, with Congress and all of Flordia’s politicians against this plan, it is unlikely to come to pass and Florida’s property market will remain well equipped to defend itself and, if necessary, re-build after a hurricane.

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