When you’re preparing to sell your condo, you should be prepared for buyer’s to ask about the financial health of your condo association. Homeowners in a condo association should be paying enough each month in dues to cover all regular monthly expense items as well as to put some money aside as a reserve for emergencies and for larger maintenance and repair items that may surface.

When maintenance or repair is needed and there is not enough money in the reserve to cover this expense, condo owners are faced with one or more assessments to cover the cost. These assessments are extra payments above and beyond normal monthly dues.

Prospective buyers will want to know about recent assessments, regular assessments and any assessments you know about that are coming up. And, according to real estate disclosure laws, you must disclose any assessments coming up that you are aware of.

When your condo association’s finances are questionable, it can definitely deter prospective buyers, as they may fear that owning the condo will cost them way more than the monthly homeowner’s dues suggest.

If you’re considering putting your condo on the market in the next year or so, you might want to talk to your condo association’s management about having a “reserve study” completed, if one has not been completed in the last five years. Reserve studies are completed by professional companies that come in and assess the condition of the building and the repairs/maintenance that are likely to be needed over the next five year period. They can also estimate the costs of these repairs so that the homeowners association can assess whether an increase in monthly dues is necessary now in order to prevent a large assessment on the community in the future. These studies give current residents and future buyers a lot of peace of mind.

Getting your condo ready to sell involves many steps. Don’t forget this important step for determining the financial health of your condo association – before a prospective buyer questions you.

When you’re trying to sell a home, it’s important to be prepared for all the obstacles that could come your way during the selling process. One of the most important parts of the home selling process to be prepared for is the inspection. Being unprepared for this step could leave you with a potential sale that falls through, or potential large expenses.

Once you’ve agreed to a price on the sale of your home, the prospective buyer has a due diligence period, usually of 10-14 days. During this period the buyer has the right to have the home inspected by an inspector of their choosing. This inspector is paid by the buyer to locate any problems or potential problems with the home’s main systems. During your buyer’s inspection, you can expect their inspector to look at:

• Heating and air conditioning systems
• Roof condition
• Electrical Condition
• Structural condition
• Proper sealing of the home from pests and moisture
• Mold potential
• Operation of major appliances

In other words, you should expect your buyers to be looking for any problem imaginable with your home. Their inspector will prepare a report for them with a list of concerns. The buyers will bring the inspector’s concerns to you and expect you to fix the problems. Or, the buyer may simply get scared and run away from the sale entirely, if they think the house has too many problems.

Be Proactive

The best way to avoid an inspection crisis is to take care of your home’s problems before you ever have an offer on the home. If necessary, hire an inspector yourself, so that you can anticipate problems that other home inspectors might find. This allows you to fix problems now that could cost you the sale later. In addition, you may be able to save some money by making some of the repairs yourself. If you wait until a buyer points out the problems, you may be too time constrained to fix everything yourself.

An inspection of your home needn’t be a scary proposition, as long as you know ahead of time exactly what an inspector is likely to find.

The real estate market is saturated with homes for sale, many of them at very low or foreclosure prices. This means that the market continues to be one that is perfect for buyers.

In spite of this, you may still come across a home that appears to be overpriced. When this happens, there are three things you need to consider before you simply walk away.

1. The homeowner (and their realtor) has not kept up with the comparable sales in the market. In some areas, prices have fallen very quickly and sellers may not realize their home is overpriced.
2. The homeowner is under water on their mortgage. Many homeowners owe more than their homes are worth. They may just be trying to get out of the home for what they owe.
3. The home has features that are hard to find. When a home has features that are very unique, the home may be worth more than others in its area. This doesn’t mean that the features are important to you, but they help justify the price.

If the home you’re looking at is over priced for one of these reasons, you may still be able to get a good deal, especially if the home has sat on the market for a while.

Start by looking at recent area sales. If comps for the area are more than you’re willing to pay, then this home, which is priced higher, is definitely not for you. But, if the recent sales in the area fall into your price range, you may be able to negotiate a good deal on an overpriced home.

One of the most important steps you’ll take as a homebuyer is having a potential purchase inspected. Usually, a home inspection is performed after you have a contract with the seller. Once a price has been agreed to and the contract executed, the period known as “due diligence” begins. The length of the due diligence period varies from state to state, but is often around two weeks. During the due diligence period, you must apply for a loan and you have the right to have the home inspected.

It’s important to adhere to your due diligence period. If you complete the home inspection during the period, you can void the contract if a problem is found that you find unacceptable.

Your home inspector will look for structural and electrical problems, as well as inspect all the major systems in the home, such as heating and air conditioning. Then the inspector will prepare a report for you detailing all the problems. Customarily, you and your realtor will then prepare an addendum to the contract asking the seller to repair problems found during the inspection. The seller is not required to fix such items, but you will have the option to back out of the contract if the seller refuses.

In some cases, your home inspector may find such a major problem that you don’t even want to ask the seller to repair the home. In this case, you may opt out of your contract.

Getting a home inspection is critical to ensuring that you know what you’re getting into as a homebuyer. Many serious problems may not be visible to you as you’re touring a home. And, remembering to have that inspection performed during the due diligence period is just as important as the inspection itself.

A kitchen garbage disposal is a cook’s best friend. Using the garbage disposal is a great way to reduce trash and odors at the same time. But, when garbage disposals aren’t used properly, they can cause problems. They can wreak even more havoc for homeowners who have septic systems rather than traditional sewers. Here are a few tips for ensuring that you’re using your garbage disposal properly.

1. Be careful of the switch. Garbage disposals can be very dangerous if an unlucky hand happens to be inside when the switch gets flipped. If you’re building a new home, isolate the switch from other switches in the kitchen. Placing the switch in the cabinet under the sink is a great idea. But, if you’re stuck with a switch that’s already in place, label it.
2. Keep it sweet smelling. You can purchase tablets that clean up odors in your garbage disposal. However, grinding up your citrus peels works just as well. If it gets really stinky, pour a little bleach down there.
3. Don’t use it like a trash can. This is especially important if you have a septic system. Avoid very fibrous materials like artichokes, potato peelings and cornhusks. Do not put grease or fat down your disposal, as it is very hard for the septic system to break down.
4. Don’t use hot water. When you run your garbage disposal, only use cold water.
5. Grind a bone every now and then. While it’s not a good idea to put all your bones down the garbage disposal (especially if you have a septic system), a few bones every now and then can actually scrub the blades, keeping the disposal clean.
Garbage disposals are very handy. Just be sure you take care of yours so that it doesn’t become more trouble than it’s worth.

Doggie doors are ingenious devices. They can save homeowners thousands of dollars in cleanup each year as well as eliminating a lot of steps! They also make life more comfortable and enjoyable for our pets. They are easy to install and very cost effective too.

But, before you install that doggie door, give careful consideration to where you put it. Many homeowners place doggie doors at the door from their home to their garage and then from the garage to the outdoors. This is great for your pet, since they can get rid of dirty feet in the garage before coming into the house.

But, there are a few things you should know before you install that doggie door.

1. You may be creating a security breach to your home. Particularly if you have a large doggie door, you may be creating a hole that a human can use to break into your house.
2. Doggie doors between the house and garage breach your firewall. That door that allows Fido in and out of the garage could also allow a fire that starts in your garage to easily spread into your home.
3. Doggie doors between the garage and the home can let carbon monoxide into your home. If you do decide to install a doggie door between your home and garage, never let the car run with the garage door closed.

Deep fried turkey has become a very popular main dish for Thanksgiving dinner. Deep-frying has even been hailed by some celebrity chefs as one of the best ways to prepare a turkey.

There are two primary reasons to deep fry a turkey. The first is that deep-frying creates a crisp skin on the outside, but the inside stays moist. This is a feat that many cooks find it difficult to accomplish in the over. Deep-frying your turkey is also faster than roasting. A large turkey that would take three or four hours to roast in the oven can be deep fried in about 45 minutes.

But, before you decide that a deep fried turkey is going to be your Thanksgiving main course, there are some things you should know. Deep-frying a turkey is dangerous, and it’s important to take precautions before you start the process. Every single Thanksgiving in the US, someone manages to burn their house down with a deep fried turkey gone terribly wrong.

1. You need a turkey fryer. Nothing you currently have will do the job.
2. Fry the turkey outside; not in the house or garage. If you have a fire, it will be much easier to contain outside.
3. Don’t overfill the fryer with oil. You don’t want the hot oil to spill out when you add the turkey.
4. Be sure the turkey is dry to the touch when you submerge it into the hot oil. A wet turkey will cause the hot oil to splatter.
5. Fry your turkey at no higher than 350°F. At 375°F, the oil can ignite.
6. Be sure to have items nearby to contain a grease fire quickly, should one ignite. A fire extinguisher or large container of baking soda is a good idea.

Out of town guests can be a lot of fun. But, they can create some stress, too. During the days and hours just before they arrive, you’ll no doubt be busy buying last minute groceries and ensuring that the guest room is ready. So, it’s a good idea to take some steps to ready your home for guests early in advance, so that you’re not worried about these items at the last minute.

Many of us take lots of time preparing our home to ensure that it’s comfortable and beautiful, but we may not take the time to ensure that it’s safe. This is especially true if our guest quarters are located in an area of our home that we don’t use regularly. So, before those guests arrive for Thanksgiving, be sure to check out the following items in your home.

1. Handrails. Wobbly handrails on staircases can be dangerous, especially when Grandma and Grandpa come to visit. Ensure that bannisters are tight and safe.
2. Smoke Alarms. We may forget to ensure that smoke alarms are in working order and have fresh batteries, particularly if they’re located in an area of our home we seldom use. But you definitely want to have a working smoke alarm near your guest room.
3. Proper lighting. Remember that your guests are not accustomed to your home. They will need proper lighting, both inside and outside your home. Ensure that there’s a nightlight in the bathroom they’ll use, and good lighting to get them from the guestroom to the bathroom during the night. Outdoor areas like walkways should be well lighted for their safety, as well.

Take care of these safety items now, and you can be stress free when guests arrive. Well…..maybe.

When you’re building a new home, you’re likely looking to save money in every way possible. But, don’t make the mistake of trying to save money by foregoing the house wrap on your home. What saves you a little now may cost you a bundle in the future.

House wrap is a perfect way to prevent moisture intrusion in your home. When moisture gets trapped within studs or cavity walls, mold and rot can set in. This moisture will also cause your insulation to lose its R-value, meaning that you’re no longer getting proper benefit from the installation you’ve installed.

Mold and rot are two of the most costly and dangerous problems you can have in your home. The cost of using house wrap is far less expensive than the cost to repair rotted boards or mitigate mold. And, because the mold and rot that you may suffer because of failure to use house wrap will happen in unseen spots in your home, so you may not know that they exist until lots of damage is done.

So, talk to your builder about house wrap. He may be able to help you find other ways for you to lower your building costs, and he may be able to help you find a great deal on the wrap itself. But, regardless, this is not an area where you want to pinch pennies.