Archive for June, 2010

Traps To Watch Out For When You Sell A Home

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Putting a home up for sale can turn out to be a wrenching experience. Although it matter how ready you might be to move on, it still means giving up a part of your history. Selling is even harder if it is prompted by difficult or even tragic circumstances, such as the death of a spouse, the loss of a job, or any kind of shift in financial circumstances.

This article covers common mistakes that that are made by people who want to sell and, more importantly, how to avoid being trapped by them.

Asking Too High a Price

Often it seems that sellers think that they should start out asking for the highest price in the realm of possibility. If it doesn’t sell right away, after all, they can always lower the price by a little, right? Not right. Although it’s true that opening prices can always be lowered, by the time that happens, the house has gotten “old.” People who dismissed your home as being too expensive or above their range as they studied the new listings won’t easily find out so they can come back and give your property a second look now that the listed price has been reduced. Start off by asking a fair price, and you’re likely to sell much faster and without a lot of bother. Considering the value of your time and the monetary and personal expense of holding the home on the market, most likely the right price differential could make months of difference in the time on the market before the transaction is successfully concluded.

Not Being Thorough With Disclosures

Laws in every state require you to disclose any material facts and flaws that pertain to your home. Most Realtors agree that it is safer to disclose too much about flaws and material facts than too little. It can be a problem if the buyer becomes aware of flaws or facts that you knew about, they could cancel the transaction or even take you to court.

Not Keeping the Home “Visitor Ready”

It is essential when you want to sell a home that it has to always look clean, comfortable, and welcoming. You can never tell when a Realtor will call and say they’re around the corner with a client who is ready to view the home. The home has to highlight the prospective buyers’ highest self-image, the way they like to think of themselves living a simple, carefree life. It could ruin your chances if a prospective buyer should walk in on two weeks’ worth of dirty laundry, a dirty bathroom sink, or a messy, cluttered house that looks more appropriate for a garage sale than for the relaxed, uncomplicated everyday life that needs to be the ideal.

Not Completing Your Agreements

When you enter into the contract, you may agree as part of the contract to do a few things, such as do something to fix up the outside of the home or make needed repairs. Be sure to complete whatever you agreed to do before the closing date, or the buyer could walk away from the deal.

Having Restricted Hours

When it finally happens that a prospective buyer wants to view the home, they want to be there now, or very quickly. Making a buyer wait even 24 hours may well keep them from wanting to see your place at all, or lead to them finding another one that they like better. Since the real estate agent will not want you present while the home is being shown, it’s a good idea to have your own list of places you can go or things you can do on short notice. This could be a neighbor’s home, the library, a movie theater, grocery store, etc.

Avoiding these home seller mistakes will increase the chances that your home will sell successfully and easily.

This information was provided by Automated Homefinder, Colorado’s Longmont real estate specialists.

traps when selling

4th Of July Fun! Make A Patriotic Cake!

Monday, June 28th, 2010

How to Make Jello Cake

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

4th of july cherry jello cake
[[Image:Yummmmy cherry jello cake 5394.jpg|thumb|description]]

Side Note From Tony: After frosting, add blueberries to the top of the cake for a true patriotic touch!

This is a delicious and simple recipe to make. It’s also called “poke cake.” Read and find out why it’s called that!

Ingredients

  • White cake mix
  • One big box or two little boxes of flavored gelatin
  • Water
  • Creamy whipped topping of any flavor
  • Candy sprinkles (optional)

Steps

  1. Prepare an ordinary white cake mix according to box directions. Use a sheet cake (9 x 13) baking pan.
  2. Poke holes with a fork or a pair of chopsticks when the sheet cake gets cool. Holes should not go all the way through cake to the bottom of the pan. The entire cake should be perforated this way with holes every 1/2 – 3/4 inch (1-2 centimeters).
  3. Prepare a large box of flavored gelatin. Do not chill.
  4. Pour cooled gelatin liquid evenly over entire cake. Holes in the cake allow gelatin to seep into the cake.
  5. Place the cake in the refrigerator until gelatin firms, about 3-4 hours.
  6. Spread a whipped topping over top of cake, decorate with colorful candy sprinkles (optional) and serve!

Tips

  • You can make the layers with different colors or flavors. Use 1 small box of gelatin for each layer. You could also alternate stripes or patterns on a 9 x 13-inch cake with different flavors. You could coordinate for holidays such as red and blue gelatin for the 4th of July.
  • If you want to get really creative, use different flavors of cake mix too.
  • Whipping together some cool whip with some regular white frosting makes a good frosting for jello cake.
  • Some people prefer the taste of angel food cake, experiment with other flavors to find what you like

Warnings

  • Children can help mix the cake mix and poke holes in the cooled cake, but help them out with the oven and pouring boiling water!
  • Do not use regular frosting, it won’t stick to the gelatin like it does to cake!
  • Jello is not a vegetarian dessert. Gelatin is a protein produced by partial hydrolysis of collagen extracted from the bones, connective tissues, organs, and some intestines of animals such as cattle, horses, and alligators.

Things You’ll Need

  • White cake mix
  • Sheet cake pan
  • Oven
  • Gelatin
  • Hot water
  • Fork or chopstick
  • Refrigerator
  • Creamy whipped Topping
  • Candy sprinkles

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make Jello Cake. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Planning The Landscaping Of Your Garden

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Author: Owen Jones

Landscaping techniques allow the gardener to transform a simple backyard into a lovely garden. There are many paths to having a beautiful garden, because there are many types to choose from and there are different tastes too. Chacun a son gout. Some types of garden need a great deal of maintenance and others less so, but even a slabbed or concrete backyard requires some maintenance.

The best way of going about making something beautiful out of your backyard is planning and perhaps the easiest way of planning is to create a plan or a drawing of your garden.

If you decide on this route, the first thing you will have to do is obtain some graph paper and plot the exact size and shape of your garden onto it, using as large a scale as will fit on the sheet of graph paper.

When you have done that, put in in unmovable objects like a brick shed, a drain or septic tank, a fish pond and doorways et cetera. Then you should photocopy it, maybe five or ten times. This is so that you can make mistakes, change your mind or even allow everybody in the household to make their own design from their own investigations and imagination.

If you consider that this is beyond your abilities, you are probably wrong. It really is not difficult, kids draw on graph paper all the time in maths lessons. Nevertheless, if you do not want to do it this way, then you will have to rely on plans cut out of magazines.

So, collect all your ideas from magazines and place them in a file. Similarly, if you are making a diagram on paper, save your ideas in a folder, but also draw them on your graph paper.

Set yourself or your team a deadline of say, a fortnighy or a month, but you do want to do the majority of your work in the spring or the summer, when the weather is warm. On the appointed day, get together and combine all your plans into one.

Put all the superfluous material aside and forget about it. Do not overcomplicate the situation by having all the designs in the active file. Now you are ready to go to work and instigate the ideas.

The choice is now whether you do the work yourself or whether you get a contractor in. A builder will have experience, and so will be able to get the work done quickly. They will also be able to offer practical suggestions, if what you want to accomplish is tricky. The other side of the coin is that it is a great deal more expensive.

If you decide to do it yourself, you might find it a good idea to divide your plan into segments. It could be done in quarters of the garden at a time, if that is feasible, or you could do all the groundwork first, followed by the brick and blockwork, then the pond etc. Depending on your plan. The only thing that should to be done last is the planting of the plants

Owen Jones, the writer of this article writes on quite a few topics, but is at present concerned with outdoor accent lighting. If you would like to know more or check out some great offers, please go to our website at Outdoor Wall Lamps.

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About the Author: [Owen Jones has traveled extensively for many years and has various websites]

landscaping your garden

Is Composite Decking More Eco-Friendly Than Cumaru?

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Author: gwatson

You definitely have choices when it comes to quality decking. By far, wood decking is the most diverse and offers advantages that are unique to each species. Cumaru wood is one species known to be the most superior decking material available. It is a high quality natural material that is grown as a sustainable wood. Its durability, strength, versatility, and density make it the perfect option for any outdoor project. Cumaru is naturally durable and has a flame spread rating of Class A, the same as concrete or steel. Cumaru wood offers a lifespan well over 40 years without preservatives. If you do treat it, you can expect an average lifespan of over 80 years. Due to its strength and high density, it is also naturally resistant to rot, decay and damage from wood boring insects like termites. Its versatility makes it a great choice for both commercial and residential decking. Cumaru makes the most beautiful longest lasting decks in the world. Its density helps make Cumaru remain smooth and splinter free. It doesn’t absorb water, twist, splinter, or bow like softer woods.

Cumaru wood is also extremely rich in color and appearance. Its color varies from a golden tan to reddish brown with some dark grain accents throughout the wood. It has an irregular, slightly interlocked grain which is coarse and wavy in texture. Unlike most exotics, Cumaru endures very little color change due to sun light. Its color will slightly mute over time into a more consistent color. It is also very low maintenance and easy to work with. Cumaru wood is far greater than most composite decking products.

Composite decking tries to compete with high end decking materials, but is unable to when it comes to quality. It is made of a mixture of recycled materials and glue. The recycled materials typically consist of a 50/50 mixture of wood fibers and waste plastic. This plastic includes high density polyethylene and PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Many people think that because composite decking uses recyclable resources it is eco-friendly. That is not the case because PVC is known as a toxic plastic and is obviously not good for the environment. Due to the manufacturing process of composite decking, it is extremely porous and soaks up water very easily. This causes it to be prone to rot, decay, mildew, mold and fungus. Also, it will expand and contract according to the temperature, causing loosening of screws and plates. Many of the cleaners for composite decking are extremely dangerous and clean only the surface.

Composite decking products claim to be cost competitive, but they are actually significantly more expensive than real wood products. When you factor in installation costs, maintenance fees, and possible replacement costs, it turns out to be much more expensive than a wood deck made of Cumaru.

Most composite decking materials haven’t been thoroughly tested, but it sure has been thoroughly marketed. This causes home owners to think that composite decking is a great choice. However, with some research, you can find complaints and problems about the quality of the product. You can avoid all this and simply build a deck with Cumaru. Cumaru wood is the ideal choice in decking.

Discover why wood decking such as Cumaru and other species of Brazilian Hardwood is superior to composite decking materials. Grayer Watson enjoys building decks, installing floors and working with people to make their homes better.

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deck building

Do Housing Prices Have Further to Fall?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Author: Ryan Moeller

In many areas market stability has not been restored. High inventory, high unemployment and high home prices will lead to further declines in home values. However, we are very close to hitting bottom and in many markets we already have. Remember, real estate is regional and you have to research not the entire country but down to the zip code, neighborhood, street and specific property. The article below sheds some light on Obama’s efforts and home values, a very interesting read. For more information, check out our Market Stability Report for info on your market and our Guide on Where to Invest.

Despite Obama’s Best Efforts, Housing Prices Have Further to Fall, Says Glenn Tongue

Posted Mar 10, 2010 01:23pm EST by Peter Gorenstein

What a difference a year makes. This times last year, the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and White House were scrambling to do whatever they could to prevent home prices from falling off a cliff and thereby dragging the banking system down with it.

Now the Obama administration is set to launch a program on April 5 to encourage short sales. The plan will give homeowners and banks money if they sell the house for less than the mortgage is worth. The homeowner gets $1,500 to leave the house quickly and the bank gets $1,000 for going through with the transaction.

Time will tell whether or not it will be more successful than the struggling $75 billion mortgage modification program. Regardless there are still fundamentals in the marketplace the government can’t solve. “The inventory is too high, prices are slightly too high and unemployment is really quite high,” say Glenn Tongue, Managing Partner of T2 Partners and co-author of More Mortgage Meltdown.

Tongue tells Aaron, in the accompanying clip, home prices still have another 5-10% to drop before hitting bottom. And, though he admits “a year ago the situation was a lot worse” he’s still wary of investing in housing and financial stocks related to housing. In fact, his hedge fund is still shorting several companies in that business, though he would not name names, citing compliance rules.

Unlike last year, Tongue no longer finds the big banks attractive and instead focused on only a few specialty financial companies including Fairfax Financial and Resource America.

Real Return Real Estate™ for years has bought property at extreme discounts, sells and rents with tremendous cash flow. We also provide FREE tips, articles, guides and Educational Webinars. Visit our site http://www.realreturnrealestate.com for all the helpful resources.

[Article Source]

housing prices falling

2 Bed / 1 Bath Unattached Triplex Unit For Rent In Tracy, CA

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

If you like what you see, call me today! Tony Martin (209) 610-3431.

This unattached Triplex unit in Tracy, CA is move-in ready!

Available now for just $950 per month, the cottage has 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and is approximately 1100 square feet.

The cute Kitchen has tile counters, a large sink, and comes with a stove and refrigerator.

The bathroom has been updated and includes a tiled shower over tub.

The home also includes ceiling fans, an inside laundry area, as well as storage in the backyard.

Nicely fenced in the front yard the triplex unit is close to schools and shopping, and has easy freeway access.

1625 Bessie Ave, Tracy

Have Homebuilders Lost Confidence In The Recovery?

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

According to the National Association of Home Builders, its housing market index fell to 17 in the month of June, dropping five points after two straight months of increases; the lowest level since March.

From The Associated Press:

Builders had been more optimistic earlier in the year when buyers could take advantage of tax credits of up to $8,000. Those incentives expired on April 30, although buyers with signed contracts have until June 30 to complete their purchases.

Experts anticipate home sales will slow in the second half of this year. In addition, high unemployment and tight mortgage lending continue to keep many buyers on the sidelines.

The drop in activity is “a wake-up call to the fact that the market will struggle to stand on its own two feet without the tax credit,” wrote Paul Dales, an economist with Capital Economics. “The double-dip in both activity and prices that we have been expecting for some time appears to have begun.”

New homes sales made up about 7 percent of the housing market last year. That’s down from about 15 percent before the bust.

It’s also bad news for the economy. Each new home built creates the equivalent of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in taxes paid to local and federal authorities, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The impact is felt across multiple industries, from makers of faucets and dishwashers to lumber yards.

Full Article : Homebuilders less confident in recovery

homebuilders lose confidence in recovery

City Of Tracy To Spend $2.75 Million Revitalizing West Valley Mall

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Calling it a “calculated risk,” the City of Tracy is looking to spend $2.75 million to help bring a Macy’s department store to town in an effort to revitalize the suffering West Valley Mall.

On Thursday June 10th City Manager Leon Churchill said city employees will present the City Council with a plan on how the money will be spent on fixing up the anchor space of Tracy’s West Valley Mall, left empty by Gottschalks last year. The plan is to have Macy’s move in and open its doors sometime in October – in time for the holiday shopping season.

The voting will be held during a special meeting after the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday June 15th.

The Tracy Press Reports:

Churchill said the $2.75 million would come from the residential specific plan fund, money set aside years ago after a settlement with developers. The money — which amounts to developer impact fees and is not tax revenue — can’t be used for things like the fire or police departments, Churchill said. It can only be spent on one-time projects.

“Every so often, the city has to take some calculated risk if it wants to create a better end result. I think this is one of those opportunities,” he said.

…The declining state of the mall is one of the reasons the city manager gave for the city’s courting of Macy’s. He said having a high-end fashion store in the vacant Gottschalks property could have a lasting benefit for the entire mall, in addition to the city and its residents.

…According to city projections that Churchill called “conservative,” the $2.75 million investment should be repaid through sales tax receipts within 10 years of Macy’s opening its doors. He said that timeline could be accelerated, depending the store’s success — Tracy takes in via taxes about 1 percent of all sales, and the future Macy’s is “conservatively” supposed to generate between $15 million and $22 million annually.

That’s compared to Gottschalk’s best sales year of $11 million, Churchill said, adding that Macy’s worst sales years should be far better than Gottschalk’s best.

Churchill said partnering with General Growth and Macy’s is a chance for the city to make a statement and respond to numerous calls for increased economic development.

“I think the community has been asking for some action on the city’s part,” Churchill said, “and I get the impression that this is the sort of thing that’s been asked of the city.”

[source]

macys tracy california
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Renting Your Appliances

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Moving into a new place is expensive. The move, after all, comes right on top of likely spending a lot of money. Then on top of all that expense there are so many purchases you have to make just to make the home just right for your family, it can be quite overwhelming. Your major appliances will probably be the biggest expense you’ll need to consider when moving in. In that situation, renting appliances can have more advantages than you think. If you’ve been looking into the purchase of new appliances, but find that the cost is too much, here are six benefits of renting them instead.

Sometimes you might only need an appliance for a very brief period until you save enough to buy it. By renting an appliance temporarily, you can have the appliance you need for the short term, and then return it when you have met the goal. You should be careful, however, that you don’t paint yourself into a corner. You don’t want to get into a situation in which your rental must be extended repeatedly as you put off the purchase, because you failed to estimate correctly when you would be in a position to afford it. Another advantage is that you can try out a model of an appliance before committing to the purchase by renting it and either choosing to buy that kind at the end of your rental term, or choosing a different one.

Whenever you deal with a rental company, they will deliver your merchandise and hook it up for you at no added cost. Since it is theirs, they want to ensure it is installed correctly and handled carefully in delivery. Sometimes you may even be able to take delivery the same day. If something is wrong with it, they’ll even come back and get it and replace it as part of the deal. They will even get it at the end of the rental period at no added cost.

Most rental companies have various brands of appliances and pieces of furniture from various manufacturers. A lot of the merchandise is brand new.

It doesn’t cost a lot of money to rent virtually any appliance that is necessary. You can pay the fee on your appliances monthly or weekly depending on the place so they will always have something that can be fit into a small budget. With most places, you can have a nice refrigerator for well under $100 per month, going down to half that for a rental period of six months or longer. With judicious use of appliance rentals, you can keep from needing to shell out what could turn out to be thousands of dollars at one time or having to go into additional debt which might put you over the limit.

Compared with going through the application process of a credit company to purchase appliances, all that is required with a rental company is just to prove your income to rent the things you need.

With the low cost of renting, you can get what you need, and on top of that you may be able to check out some other good things, things that you might not be able to afford if you were to buy them. Have you ever thought of trying out a modern home theater system? Using a rental, maybe it’s a possibility, at least for a little while. For a special event, for example, this can be an affordable answer. Like we pointed out, though, be careful not to get yourself into an unintended extended situation.

To sum up, rental stores are a workable way to get things you need without waiting. With the flexibility and convenience they offer, it’s worth checking it out.

Article presented by Automated Homefinder, your Longmont CO real estate specialists.

renting your appliances

Consider Building A Wine Cellar In Your Basement

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
Author: clavinee

Building a wine cellar in your house will surely enhance the beauty of your home. Also, the wine cellar boosts the market value of your home. Whenever you feel like drinking your finest wine, it would be a great place in your home to enjoy it. If you’re a wine lover, this would be a perfect addition in your house.

Though it is not an easy project, creating a wine cellar will definitely add beauty to your home. Here are some things that you should think about as you decide to build a wine cellar.

· Plan carefully. It is crucial to consider your spending budget for building the wine cellar. You should also think of the right design and combination to make it really attractive.

· Put together all building materials. You will need to pick the necessary materials for building the cellar. Preparing the right materials needed in building the wine cellar will allow you to be able to easily work.

· Install ventilation. The place should have proper ventilation to make the place really comfortable. You may install an air conditioning unit to ensure that things will be good and convenient. Installing proper air flow in the cellar is needed as it is located in the basement. Without the right ventilation, you will have so much heat in the place.

· Install the right plastic protection. The wine bottles need protection too. Putting on the right plastic protection will shield the wine bottle just in case it falls on the floor. The protection of the wine beverages is very important in securing what you have invested.

· Install proper flooring. One thing that also contributes beauty to the wine cellar is the flooring. It is important that you install the right flooring in creating a fine wine cellar. You may want to use tiles to make the place look pretty much better. Moisture resistant flooring will help the wines to be protected.

· Install wine racks. Depending on the quantity of your racks, installing the right wine rack in the cellar is necessary. Wine bottles have various sizes and shapes, so you need to install the right wine racks. There are different sizes of the wine racks that you can choose from and installing the right size will allow you to properly arrange and organize your stock of wines.

Obviously, what is a wine cellar without wines? When the wine cellar is completed it time for you to put the wines. Understanding the capacity of your storage place will give you the right number of wines that you will stock. The wines are important elements of the wine cellar.

Building a wine cellar in your basement is not an easy task, but it is a good project that you should take. With the right spending budget and proper planning you can build a nice wine cellar in your basement. Having a nice space to stock your wines is not only pleasurable for home owners, but also a great addition as it boost the value of your home.

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how to build basement wine cellar