Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 12/17/2017

Buying a new home is an exciting prospect. Touring a house can feel like walking around your favorite store, picking out all of the things you love. It's easy to get distracted by things like fresh paint or nice furniture and forget to look for important structural aspects of the home that can make or break a deal. Most sellers will be honest and straightforward with you about the state of the home. In some cases, they are required by law to inform you about costly issues with the home (lead paint or sewage issues, for example). Other times, a seller is under no legal obligation to inform you about potential problems with the home. In these instances, you'll need to rely on your own senses. To help you out, we've compiled a list of the top ten red flags to beware of when buying a home.

  1. Fresh paint  It's common practice when selling a house to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. It's an inexpensive way to spruce up the home for potential buyers. Sometimes, however, the paint is used as a quick fix for hiding more serious issues. Water damage, mold, and mildew can all be covered up, momentarily, by a coat of paint.
  2. Strong odors We say "strong" rather than "bad" odors because sometimes someone selling a home will try to mask bad smells with air fresheners or candles. Bad smells in a house can be the result of plumbing issues, humidity, indoor smokers, water damage, pet urine, uncleanliness, and any number of undesirable things.
  3. Bad roofing Missing, broken or stacked shingles are all signs that the roof is in need of repair--a costly fix you probably want to avoid if buying a new home.
  4. Cracked foundation A damaged foundation could be a sign of serious structural problems with the house. Especially in sloped areas, cracked foundations can lead to water damage in the basement.
  5. Poor wiring  Don't be afraid to ask to test out the lights and outlets in a home or take a look at breaker boxes. Flickering lighting and faulty outlets are signs that a home is in need of electric work.
  6. Pest issues  Many people underestimate the power of insects when it comes to damaging a home. Wood-eating termites and carpenter ants can both devastate the structure of a home and usually results in an expensive repair. Noticing ants is a huge red flag, but if you suspect a home could have an infestation for any reason try to get it inspected by a pest control firm before you make the deal.
  7. Locked doors and off-limit rooms  When touring a home there should be no areas that you aren't allowed to see. A locked door or "do not enter" sign are all red flags that the seller may be hiding something in that room.
  8. Leaking faucets Small plumbing issues like leaky faucets or toilets that run excessively are signs that there could be even larger issues with the plumbing in the house.
  9. Deserted neighborhood Multiple homes for sale in the neighborhood, deteriorating buildings and closed businesses are all signs of a problem neighborhood. It could be due to economic issues or a decaying community, but either way these are things you'll want to consider before moving into a new neighborhood.
  10. Defective windows  Windows that are sealed shut, fogged up, or won't open or close are all signs of costly repairs. You're going to depend on windows for the security of your home, lighting and aesthetic, and to a minor degree for retaining heat. They should all function properly.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 12/10/2017

Kitchen appliances are a big investment and you’ll want to make sure you get your money’s worth. Most of us start off with good intentions, cleaning our appliances regularly. However, over time it’s easy to slack off and neglect basic maintenance and cleaning that will help keep your expensive appliances in good working condition.

 In this article, we’re going to give you some advice on maintaining your kitchen appliances to increase their lifespan and keep them looking great years after purchase. Read on for our kitchen appliance maintenance tips.

 Maintaining your refrigerator

Most refrigerators cost upward of a thousand dollars these days. They also come with more features than ever, making them particularly vulnerable to malfunction if neglected.

The best way to maintain your refrigerator, and many of the appliances on our list, is to add recurring maintenance and cleaning tasks to your calendar so that you know when it’s time to address them.

When maintaining your refrigerator you’ll want to clean the condenser coils and fan thoroughly. You’ll likely have to pull the refrigerator away from the wall to do this, so be sure it is unplugged.

Next, check the door seals on your refrigerator to ensure that they are not cracked or dried out. Damaged door seals let cool air out of your refrigerator, causing it to run harder and increasing the chance of malfunction.

Cleaning the dishwasher

To make sure your dishwasher keeps cleaning your dishes, you’ll want to inspect the spinning arm to see if it spins easily. Next, check the small holes on the spinning arm where the water sprays out. If these are dirty or clogged, clean them out with a sharp point.

To avoid leaks, check the gasket, or rubber-like liner around the dishwasher door. If it is cracked or dirty, it will need to be replaced.

Next, clean the drain at the bottom of the dishwasher and clear it of debris. If you’ve noticed any bad smells from your dishwasher, place a small cup of vinegar in the top rack and run the dishwasher on a hot water cycle.

Microwave maintenance

Microwaves are often treated as being relatively dispensable because you can buy them cheap enough. However, there are a few things you can do to keep your microwave running longer and avoid waste.

First, keep the microwave interior clean. Splatter that is left in a microwave too long will get repeatedly burned and become more and more difficult to remove. So, to loosen them up, you can place a glass of water in the microwave for a few minutes and then leave it inside. The steam from the water will help free up the splatter and make them easier to scrub away.

Another common issue with microwaves is a damaged power cord. Since most of us try to stuff them out of the way behind the unit, it can easily damage the wires inside the cord. Situate your microwave in a way that the cord isn’t pressed up against anything.

 

Finally, remember that many parts on your refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave are easily replaced by calling the manufacturer or a repair technician. Opt to repair your appliances before just  throwing them away.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 12/3/2017

It's no surprise that buying in bulk is cheaper. Manufacturers can offer you the same items with less packaging and fewer processing steps. Then, at the store, less time is required for employees to stock these items onto the shelves. Basically, bulk buying is a win-win for everybody. Knowing which items to buy in bulk, however, is a bit trickier. We would all buy everything in bulk if we had the storage space in our homes or a cart big enough at Walmart. There are certain home goods you can count on for always being smarter to buy in bulk. In this list, we'll cover the top bulk items that are worth the space in your closet and where to find them. 1. Toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins The trinity of paper items. These three purchases are always worth buying in bulk. Running out of them can range from an inconvenience to an emergency, so it's good to have plenty stocked up. The undisputed champion when it comes to buying toilet paper is Costco. However, most warehouse clubs also have good deals. If you'd rather spend a bit more and not have to carry a huge box to your car, Amazon also has some good deals on these three paper goods. 2. Liquid hand soap and body wash Those tiny bottles of liquid hand soap won't get you very far and can be quite pricey. If you have a favorite, odds are you can find a large jug of it on Amazon to refill your smaller bottles as needed. 3. Tupperware One good set of tupperware will outlast 5 cheap plastic sets. That said, you can still get a good deal on a large set of tupperware and it's worth it if you pack lunches in advance or have a large family. Amazon is also the price to beat when it comes to plasticware. 4. Batteries One item that typically isn't cheaper online is batteries. Walmart is the place to buy large packs of batteries. If you really need to have a lot of them on hand, however, it will probably save you much more money in the long run to buy some good rechargeable batteries, especially AAs. 5. Diapers If you're a parent, you've most likely noticed the magical disappearing properties of diapers. A full box of diapers seems to vanish into thin air within a couple days time. Frugal parents have found that off-brand diapers, such as Target's Up & Up diapers, are high quality and much more affordable than name brand options. Alternatively, Amazon Mom will help you save on gas and on diapers, and offers many other baby-related goods as well. 6. Over the counter medications First, go generic--it will save you a ton of money on non-prescription meds. As to where the best place to buy medications, consumer reports show that Costco and Sam's Club are the cheapest, whereas drug stores like CVS, Rite Aid are the most expensive.




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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 11/26/2017

Your backyard represents an outdoor mecca, a space where you can gather with family members and friends and create memories. As such, you'll want to ensure this area of your home looks great as you get ready to list your home on the real estate market. Creating an awe-inspiring backyard can be quick and simple – just consider the following backyard improvement tips: 1. Use Plants to Your Advantage. When it comes to decorating your backyard, be sure to include plenty of plants. By doing so, you'll be able to add a splash of color and give your backyard a unique look and feel. There are many wonderful plants you can use to decorate your backyard, too. From roses to perennials and everything in between, you can choose from a vast assortment of stunning plants to enhance your backyard's décor. Don't forget about vegetables, either. You may be able to plant a vegetable garden in your backyard, one that could sprout peppers, tomatoes and other tasty vegetables that you can enjoy and may help your backyard make a long-lasting impression on homebuyers. 2. Create a Clear-Cut Path. Your backyard should feature a paved path or stepping stones that serve as a guide. The use of a clear-cut path also will enable you to keep outdoor seating or dining areas free from foot traffic. In addition, any path you create should be clutter-free, and you should devote the necessary time and resources to develop a superior path that makes it easy for just about anyone to get around your backyard quickly and safely. 3. Take Care of Your Lawn. The front lawn might be the first thing a prospective homebuyer sees when he or she checks out your home, but the back lawn may make a world of difference in the eyes of a homebuyer as well. Maintaining a neat, clean lawn is paramount for a home seller, and those who mow both the front and back lawns regularly should have no trouble minimizing the appearance of pesky crabgrass and weeds. Furthermore, be sure to trim any bushes and remove any branches or roots from backyard walkways. 4. Add Outdoor Lighting. Who says you can't hang out in your backyard after the sun sets? Thanks to outdoor lighting, you can illuminate your backyard however you'd like. In many cases, outdoor pendants and votive candles can help your backyard sparkle in the evening. These lights will brighten up any outdoor space as well as create a one-of-a-kind ambiance that will help your backyard stand out. Of course, there are many outdoor lighting options available, so you should try to find lights that match your personal style as well. Revamping your backyard doesn't necessarily require extensive time or resources. And with these helpful tips, you should be able to transform your home's backyard into an asset that makes your residence more attractive to homebuyers. Begin your backyard improvements today, and ultimately, you may find that your house's backyard helps generate significant interest in your residence.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 11/19/2017

If you intend to list your residence, you'll need to think about how you'll price your residence. However, what you initially paid for your home is unlikely to match its value today. And if you set an initial asking price that is too high, you risk alienating potential homebuyers.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you determine the ideal initial asking price for your residence to increase the likelihood of a fast home sale.

Now, let's take a look at three quick, easy ways to establish a competitive price for your house.

1. Look at Housing Market Data

Housing market data is easy to find and can show you how your residence stacks up against recently sold homes in your area.

Evaluate the prices of recently sold local residences that are comparable to your own. With this housing market data in hand, you can better understand pricing trends for houses in your city or town.

In addition, don't forget to check out the prices of available houses in your region. This housing market data will help you understand the current state of the real estate market.

2. Conduct a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal is valuable because it allows you to receive a property valuation from a home expert. When the appraisal is complete, you may be able to prioritize various home improvement projects as well.

During a home appraisal, a property expert will examine your home's interior and exterior. This property expert also will assess the prices of recently sold and available homes in your area, including the prices of residences in your neighborhood. Following the appraisal, you'll receive a property valuation.

If a property valuation falls below your initial expectations, there is no need to worry. Remember, you can always perform assorted home maintenance and upgrades to boost your house's value.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Work with a real estate agent throughout the home selling process – you'll be glad you did. A real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that you can get the best price for your residence, regardless of the housing market's conditions.

A real estate agent first will learn about you, your home and your home selling goals. Next, this housing market professional will list your residence, promote it to large groups of homebuyers and host home showings and open house events. If a homebuyer submits an offer on your residence, your real estate agent will help you analyze the proposal and determine whether to accept, reject or counter it.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any home selling questions. This housing market professional knows exactly what it takes to sell a residence, and as such, is ready to respond to your home selling queries at all times.

Get the best price for your home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can price your house appropriately.