Consumer Real Estate News

    • Launch Your Boat Into a New Season

      15 April 2021

      (Family Features) Whether you’re racing against the waves or quietly floating with a pole in hand, a day on the water is hard to beat. However, before you can enjoy the excitement of a new season, there are several steps you need to take to make sure your boat is ready for the ride.

      System Check
      Your boat’s fuel and electric systems need an experienced eye to determine potential problems. Cracked or damaged hoses and connections need to be replaced, and all fittings and clamps should be checked to ensure they’re tight and secure. Test exhaust and ventilation systems, and replace worn or lose belts and cables, giving special attention to the steering and throttle cables. If you didn’t change the oil and filter before putting your boat in storage, do so before the season begins. Also be sure to check oil, power steering fluid and coolant levels as well as running lights and emergency features such as horns.

      Battery Function
      A reliable power source is essential for powering your trolling motor and operating accessories like fish finders when your engine isn’t running. You’ll need to test your battery before heading out on the water. If it’s time for a replacement, look for a powerful and cost-efficient option like Interstate Batteries’ Enhanced Flooded Deep-Cycle Marine Battery. The battery features a durable design with extended battery life and includes a two-year, free replacement warranty. 

      Visual Inspection
      After several months in storage, it’s a good idea to give your boat a thorough inspection so you can identify any holes, cracks or dings that may impact its performance or safety. Scan the hull closely for any abnormalities and check the propeller, as even minor dings and scratches can affect its operation.

      Careful Cleaning
      Depending on the security of your storage space and how you covered your boat, you may not have much heavy cleaning to do. However, it’s a good idea to start the season fresh by giving everything a thorough wipe down. This can help illuminate any problems you may have overlooked during your visual inspection. In addition, using UV protectant on exposed surfaces can help prevent damage such as cracks and fading caused by harsh sunlight.

      Safety Supplies
      Before you hitch the trailer, take inventory of your on-board safety supplies. Be sure your life jackets are in good condition and that you have options to appropriately fit all passengers. Check fire extinguishers to ensure they’re in good working order and test the carbon monoxide detector (or add one if there’s not already a detector installed). Also scan your safety kit; update any expired items and replenish your supply of bandages or other items that may be running low.

      Find more information to get your summer on the water underway at interstatebatteries.com. 

      Finding the Best Battery for Your Boat
      No matter how you spend your time on the water, a durable and reliable battery is a must. Learn what kind of battery is best for your boating needs from the experts at Interstate Batteries:

      Starting: Whether you’re sailing the ocean or ripping it up in a motorboat, starting batteries are built to withstand most marine conditions. 

      Deep-Cycle: These batteries are the most popular line of marine batteries and offer strong, reliable power. This type of battery is used to start your trolling motor and power other accessories like fish finders whether your engine is running or not.

      Dual-Purpose: Originally developed for military tanks and submarines, this type of battery has the staying power of a deep-cycle battery coupled with high-cranking performance.

      Powersport: When you’re trying to catch every wave, the last thing you want is a weak battery. These top-quality batteries are built to withstand the most rugged conditions on the water.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Choose the Right Color Scheme for Your Living Room

      15 April 2021

      Your family will spend a significant amount of time in the living room, so you want it to be an area where you will feel relaxed and at home. An attractive color scheme can create a positive mood and make the room seem inviting. Your individual preferences will play a major role in choosing your living room’s design, but there are some general principles to follow.

      Start With the Flooring or Large Furniture
      Base the living room’s color scheme around a focal point, such as a carpet or a large piece of furniture. If you have a blue sofa, for instance, incorporating blue in other parts of the living room can create a cohesive style. Don’t base your color scheme on the paint color, since that is easy to change.

      Choose Colors and Use Them in Appropriate Amounts
      Select colors that reflect your personality and the atmosphere you want to create. If you want your living room to be relaxing, use colors that are near each other on the color wheel. If you’re decorating a formal living room or want to create a more exciting vibe, pair colors that are located opposite each other on the color wheel. 

      Light colors can make a small room seem larger, while darker colors can make a room feel smaller. Painting the ceiling a light color can make the living room feel more spacious, while a darker color can make the ceiling seem lower.

      Use one color in the majority of the living room and use others for contrast and accents. Mix them in ratios that suit your style. Use pillows, rugs, window treatments, artwork, flowers and other accessories to add touches of color without overwhelming the room.

      Consider How Lighting Will Affect the Color Scheme
      The amount of natural light and the sources and amounts of artificial lighting will influence your color choices. Each type of light can affect people’s perception of color in different ways. 

      Look at the living room at different times of day to see how the amount of natural light changes. Think about how colors will look in different amounts of sunlight and consider using a variety of light fixtures to produce the effect you want.

      Create a Living Room That Showcases Your Personality and Style
      Your living room should reflect your lifestyle and preferences. Think about how you and your loved ones use the space, the type of atmosphere you want to create, and the amount of lighting to create a space where you will look forward to relaxing and spending time together. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Should You Install a Doorbell With a Camera?

      15 April 2021

      Technology has updated even once-simple features, such as the doorbell, and made them more useful and convenient for homeowners. A doorbell with a camera can allow you to see who is at the door and monitor and control who enters your home. This technology can help you keep your family safe and may deter theft and vandalism.

      How a Doorbell With a Camera Can Improve Security
      A video doorbell can allow you to see who enters and leaves your house and when. That can help you keep track of when your kids come home, who is with them and what people bring into and out of your home. It can help you see when a package is delivered and see if anyone who isn’t authorized removes it from your doorstep.

      A doorbell with a camera can allow you to communicate with the person at the door without giving away any clues about your own location. A camera can let you see who is outside, and a microphone and speakers can allow you to have a conversation with that individual, no matter where you are. 

      Some doorbells make it possible to talk with a visitor through an app on your phone. If you choose one of those models, a person who comes to the door will have no idea if you are inside the house or hundreds of miles away. That can help discourage criminal activity.

      Depending on the model you choose, you may be able to record a conversation that you have with a visitor, store it in the cloud and access it remotely. That type of data may prove useful down the road if a crime does occur.

      Downsides of Doorbell Cameras
      Some people find the cost of these devices prohibitive or experience problems with installation and setup. Doorbell cameras can also raise privacy concerns. Guests and neighbors may feel that being watched and recorded without their knowledge or permission is a violation of their privacy.

      How to Choose a Doorbell With a Camera
      If you want to further explore video doorbells, several companies offer models that vary in terms of image and audio quality, smartphone compatibility and other features. Wireless doorbells are powered by batteries, while wired versions require more work to set up. Look at reviews for several models and carefully compare their features to select one.  

      You may want to install more than one doorbell with a camera. If you have two or more doors that are used frequently, having multiple cameras to monitor and record who visits can give you peace of mind.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Can You Qualify for a Mortgage While You're a Student?

      14 April 2021

      If you’re attending college or graduate school and you’re thinking about buying a house, you may be able to get a mortgage. You will have to clear the same hurdles as other applicants, but you may face additional challenges if you’re not working full-time.

      Should You Buy a House While Attending School?
      Homeownership is expensive, even for people with full-time jobs. If you’re only working part-time or not working at all, making ends meet will be tougher, unless you have a spouse or partner who earns enough to cover most of the bills or you receive money from your family.

      Housing prices vary widely from region to region. Costs for university housing also vary from one educational institution to another. If you can purchase an inexpensive property or buy a house and rent out bedrooms to cover most of the mortgage, you may spend less in the long run than you would spend on campus housing. 

      Look at your current monthly expenses and estimate how much a mortgage, private mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, property taxes, maintenance and repairs would cost. Figure out if you could afford to cover all those costs, either on your own or with help from renters.

      Consider how long you would live in the house. If you expect to complete your degree and then move away, buying a house may not make sense financially. If you plan to put down roots in the area and stay there long after graduation, or if you’re thinking of a house as an investment, buying a property now may pay off.

      How Can You Qualify for a Home Loan?
      A mortgage lender will look at your income, credit score, debt-to-income ratio and other factors that it uses to assess all applications. A lender may be wary if you have little or no income, but it may be willing to approve your application if you get a cosigner. 

      If you have student loans that you aren’t currently repaying, a lender may exclude them when it calculates your debt-to-income ratio. If you’re making loan payments now, that may or may not make it harder to qualify for a mortgage, depending on your monthly payment amount and debt-to-income ratio. Making payments on time can help you build a good credit score.

      The amount of money you can put down will be important. Some lenders will require a substantial down payment, while others will have less stringent requirements. 

      Your age and where you want to buy a house may be relevant. In some states, you will be able to take out a mortgage at age 18, while in other places, the minimum age is 21.

      You may be eligible for a federal program that can help you buy a house. The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration offer loan programs that have low down payment requirements and some that are specifically designed for first-time homebuyers.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Why Fixing the Floors Is So Important When Selling a House

      14 April 2021

      Potential buyers are strongly influenced by first impressions. If people form a negative initial impression of your home, it may be impossible to change their minds. They may immediately decide that the house isn’t right for them and may not even bother to look further. Flooring is one of the first things that prospective buyers will notice, so be sure that the flooring in your house creates the impression you want.

      Why Damaged Flooring Can Make It Hard to Sell Your House
      Potential buyers will instantly notice scratched hardwood floors or tile, stained or dirty carpet, damaged or stained linoleum, and pet odors. If the flooring looks or smells bad, it can be difficult for people to get past that and focus on the house’s positive qualities. No matter how much time and money you spend on cleaning, repairing, and staging in other parts of your home, buyers may not care about any of it if the flooring is in bad shape.

      When people view a house, they often make assumptions. If the flooring is damaged, prospective buyers may assume, rightly or wrongly, that you neglected maintenance in other areas. They may worry that the house has serious problems that are less obvious, and they may decide to look elsewhere for their next home.

      Buyers typically want a house they can move into as soon as possible. Many don’t want to go through the stress of making repairs before they move in. Even if you offer to lower the price to offset the cost of repairing or replacing the flooring, buyers may decide that it’s not worth the hassle.

      If other houses in the area that are similar to yours have hardwood flooring, but yours doesn’t, you will be at a disadvantage. Prospective buyers may choose a house with better flooring or they may only be willing to purchase yours if you accept an offer below the asking price. 

      How to Upgrade Your Home’s Flooring
      If your hardwood flooring is damaged, refinishing may be enough to make it look like new. Just don’t try to do it yourself. Refinishing hardwood floors is a job that should be left to professionals, since mistakes can cause more serious damage and can lead to much more expensive repair bills.

      Worn-out or dated carpet should be replaced. Choose new carpet in a neutral color or consider installing hardwood flooring if you can afford it. You may not like the idea of spending thousands of dollars on new flooring that you won’t get to enjoy, but it can pay off. New flooring can make it easier to sell your home and you will likely recoup most of your investment.

      Talk to Your Agent
      Your real estate agent can discuss the features that comparable homes in the area have and how your house compares. Your agent can advise you on whether you should fix or replace the flooring to help attract a buyer and sell your house for the highest possible price.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.