Home Ownership Tip: Home Inventory

image-6Homeowners insurance can help provide financial help in case something happens to your property or its contents. Should it happen, having a current home inventory can make it much easier when filing an insurance claim.

Start with a sheet a paper for each room in the house. Go around the room and list every item. Don’t forget the attic, basement or other storage places.

For each item, record the following:

  • The original cost
  • Purchase date
  • Replacement cost
  • Model number, brand name, where purchased
  • A general description

It’s also important to take photos or video of each room for visual documentation. It is also a good idea to arrange valuable collections, silver, jewelry, etc. and take close up photos. Make sure you update your home inventory photos and list at least once a year.

6 Questions You Should Ask About a Potential Home

image-5When buying a home, you have to consider factors such as the home’s layout, condition and more. The seller must disclose the property’s condition that may alert you to issues such as mold, defective water heater or leaky roof. Here are six questions you should pose to the seller for additional insight before you make your final decision:

  1. Why is the seller selling the house?
  2. How much did the seller pay for the home?
  3. What does the seller like most and least about the property?
  4. Has the seller had any problems with the home in the past?
  5. Are there any nuisances such as barking dogs, airplane traffic or planned changes to the community?
  6. How are the public schools in the area?

Knowing all you can about a prospective home will help you make a more informed decision as well as make an appropriate offer. An experienced real estate professional can be a great resource in helping you get your key questions answered and give you advice on how to evaluate your findings. If you are considering buying a new home, let our team help you make the best decision possible. We’re taking real estate to a new level with experience and professionalism you can trust. Find out more about the #1 team in Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties at www.PetersenPartners.com.

Remodel Your Kitchen and Bath on a Budget

image-4Two of the most popular rooms for home makeovers are the kitchen and bath. However, these can be pricey ventures. A minor kitchen remodel can hover around $22,000, while a bathroom can be around $16,000. Here are some alternatives that will give you a fresh, modern look without breaking the bank:

  • Refinishing or re-facing the fronts of cabinets and replacing knobs and drawer pulls can give cabinets a fresh new look
  • A cost-effective approach to countertops might include solid surface materials such as granite, Silestone® or ceramic tiles
  • A fresh coat of wall paint in modern hues is also a sure bet
  • Consider replacing sinks as well as fixtures in brushed nickel chrome or stainless steel
  • Under-cabinet or track lighting can create a contemporary look
  • Replace that old shower curtain with contemporary glass doors
  • A new mirror/medicine cabinet can also make a real difference

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to add pizzazz to your kitchen or bath. Just changing a few elements can make a significant statement to you and potential buyers down the road.

Market Trend: Multi-Generational Living

image-3Although your home may have housed a traditional family consisting of mom, dad and two kids, savvy real estate agents will tell you, that in order to attract more buyers, staging your house as one fit for multi-generations is the way to go.

A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center states that a record 57 million Americans (18.1% of the U.S. population) were living in multi-generational households.

This trend is coming from all directions. Young adults are moving back home, the elderly are moving in with their middle-age children and middle-aged children are moving back with their elderly parents.

As a result, agents are highlighting features such as finished walkout basements and bonus bedrooms. When it’s being suggested to transform your office or basement into a bedroom, you should be listening. Any home that contains bonus space is a viable candidate for a buyer who might be planning to bring an ill or out-of-work family member back into the fold. A home’s accessibility is important for people who might be living with aging parents who use wheelchairs or walkers. Creating a complete, accessible living space on one level with safety features can make a home attractive to people of all ages.

Pets Can Be a Factor When Showing Your Home

imageSellers are advised to create the illusion that everything is new and fresh in their homes. But with pets, it’s not always easy to keep things that way:

  • They could scare away a potential buyer from stepping foot in the house
  • Many are worried about dogs or freaked out by birds
  • Allergies can also be a factor
  • Owners may think of their pets as the gentlest creatures, but a dog that barks or jumps on people is not good

So what to do? Keeping a pet in the backyard, the garage or locked in a room is insufficient—and certainly not fair to the pet. The simplest solution is to relocate the pet. That can be to a friend or family member or a pet daycare facility.

There are a few things that you need to consider if pets must be in the home:

  • Put them in a carrier and attach a note warning buyers not to disturb them
  • Clean the litter box daily and keep it out of sight
  • Put food and water dishes away after feeding
  • Consider hiring professionals to remove pet stains

Finally, although a sleeping cat on the bed may make for a cute picture, someone seeing the shot on a website may automatically bypass the house because they imagine smells and claw marks on the rug.

Pet owners must understand that not everyone loves animals as much as they do. To some, pets are smelly, noisy and damaging to a property. Don’t let that be the reason you don’t sell your home.

Protect Your Home Against Natural Disasters

image-1Natural disasters serve as a reminder how water, wind, fire and earth movement can impact your most cherished investment. There are things you can do to prevent major damage in the event of a major disaster:

Water: Windows, doors, cracks and holes should be appropriately sealed. Repair or replace roof shingles. Basement windows and doors should have built-up barriers or flood shields. Inspect your sump pump regularly.

Wind: Windows and glass doors should be fitted with impact-resistant laminated glass or covered with impact-resistant shutters. Solid wood or hollow metal doors, are more likely to resist wind pressure and flying debris.

Wildfire: Install a spark arrestor on your chimney. Eliminate brush and debris from around your property. Modify your attic, sub-floor and basement vents. Replace single-pane glass with tempered glass. Cover exterior walls with a fire-resistant material. Re-roof your home with a Class A material.

Earthquake: If you are in an earthquake zone, protect your property and possessions by anchoring appliances, water heater, dressers, and other heavy items to the wall. Secure electronics and small appliances to desks, tables and countertops.

Insurance: Most standard homeowners policies include structural coverage and personal property coverage. Depending on your location, you may also need additional coverage against earthquake, hurricane and fire. Flood damage is not typically covered under traditional homeowners insurance policies.

When disasters strike, it’s the safety of you and your family that matters. Taking the right precautions can keep damage to a minimum; or in the case of severe damage, you can ensure you have the financial means to rebuild.

For more information go to www.disastersafety.org or www.fema.gov.