Lisa Westerman's Blog
Most home shoppers do not think about how the property they are considering is zoned. However, depending on certain circumstances, it may prove beneficial to check into zoning restrictions before you purchase a home. First, some homes are built in areas where there is mixed zoning — residential and commercial — which could cause problems when you are searching for a home mortgage. Your real estate agent is obligated to inform you of any special zoning of a property you are considering.
Work from Home Zoning Requirements
Some municipalities have specific requirements for home office work. While those who work from home doing computer coding, telemarketing, or data entry may not have clients or other people coming in and out of their home during business hours, it is still important to verify with the city or town that local business licensing requirements are met.
Other types of businesses that work directly with customers such as pet grooming, hairdressers, nail technicians, or day care providers should make sure their physical location is zoned appropriately. In some cities and towns, having a home business that involves customers come to your house can run afoul of zoning rules. Since your business may create additional traffic, it is something you should consider before you sign a purchase and sale agreement.
Mixed Zoning May Increase Taxes
As a buyer, you should also be aware of how zoning laws impact your taxes. For example, most municipalities have different tax rates for property which is zoned residential and commercial, others may have a different rate for property which is classified as mixed. In nearly all cases, property with a commercial zoning classification means higher taxes. Keep in mind, it is not unusual to find multi-family homes built in commercial or mixed zone areas.
Buyers should be aware there are some municipalities with zoning requirements that can impact their ability to have certain outbuildings on their property including sheds, barns, and decks. Your real estate agent should be able to answer any zoning questions you have and help you determine if they will have an impact on your ability to get financing or use the property in the manner you intend.
When prospective buyers stop by to see your house, they're going to be barraged by a variety of sights, sounds, and smells. Some of these sensations will immediately capture their attention, while others may register on a subconscious level.
The encouraging thing to keep in mind is that you can control many aspects of how visitors experience your home.
Here are a few quick tips for making your home as appealing as possible:
Flower arrangements can add a touch of freshness and eye appeal to both the interior and exterior of your home and property. They can also infuse the air with an appealing fragrance, which can make a positive impression on potential buyers. One cautionary note is that wilted or tired-looking floral displays are not going to have the same positive impact as fresh, vibrant ones. Also keep in mind that some flowers smell more appealing than others. Most people generally prefer subtle fragrances, rather than overpowering smells! If the season and your climate permit it, placing hanging baskets of colorful flowers on your front porch and other locations can add immensely to the visual appeal of your property.
Make sure all surfaces are sparklingly clean! Imagine a prospect reaching for a house flyer or information sheet about your home, and finding that the paper was stuck to the kitchen counter! You also don't want them feeling a sticky or wet sensation when they touch or lean their elbow on a counter, tabletop, or refrigerator handle! The same rule-of-thumb can be applied to floor surfaces. If there are sticky spots, stains, or visible spills on the floor, you can be sure that's going to negatively impact a prospect's opinion of your home. It's not easy to keep your home spotless when it's on the market (or at any other time), but if you prioritize areas like floor, countertops, and sinks, then you'll be much less likely to overlook common problem areas. Eliminating pet odors, laundry smells, mold, and mildew will also make your home a much more inviting and appealing place for house hunters, real estate agents, and other visitors.
Reduce household noises whenever possible. Noises, such as squeaky hinges, loud HVAC systems, or rumbling garage doors can imply several things to prospective home buyers -- all of which are undesirable! Low-cost, DIY solutions to these problems are often available, although in some cases, it might be necessary to call a repairman or service person to check out your operating systems and make needed adjustments.
There are a lot of things to be aware of when you sell your house, but if you approach different tasks in a systematic, methodical way, you'll be much more likely to remember the important stuff and avoid sticky situations that could undermine your chances for getting your house sold quickly!
4 Elizabeth Ln, Paxton, MA 01612
Beautiful railings, including the railing that surrounds your deck, plays a major role in your home's curb appeal. Even when it's not visible from the street, a strong, sturdy deck and the railing that surrounds it can still raise your home's resale value. That's extra living space, after all. Even if it is outdoors. But even more important, your deck and its railing need to be structurally sound for safety purposes. You don't want to take a fall off your backyard deck, and you certainly don't want your family, friends or guests to have a mishap. For these reasons, it's vital to keep railings in top condition. Here's how:
Choose the Right Material for Deck Railings
Today's homeowners have multiple options for creating a railing around a wooden deck. More popular ones include:
- Pressure-Treated Wood -- A popular choice for deck railing, wood is the most high-maintenance railing material on the market. Even pressure-treated lumber will need to be re-stained or re-sealed intermittently. This type of railing may also warp or twist over time, but for an upscale appearance, it's difficult to beat.
- Vinyl --Vinyl is lightweight and requires little-to-no maintenance other than an occasional cleaning with the garden hose. Vinyl won't rust or rot, but the color may fade over time.
- Aluminum -- Aluminum is a lightweight, durable material that can withstand corrosion, rust and rot. It can be painted any color and is typically cheaper to install than heavier options such as pressure-treated lumber.
- Composite -- Composite deck railing is made from PVC and recycled wood. It combines the best of both worlds because it's impervious to warp, rot and rust. It doesn't need staining or sealing, it's available in many colors and can easily be painted.
Once you've decided on a material, professional installation is best. Unless you're confident in your construction abilities, weight-bearing structures, such as deck railings, should be built to code. You'll likely need a permit, as well. Adding a well-built, professionally installed railing to your deck will impress future homebuyers. It will also delight your friends and family when the weather turns friendly.
Maintaining Deck Railing
The best advice for maintaining your deck railing over time is simply to inspect it regularly. Take a good, long look every spring, and if you see issues -- nails that are popping up, boards that are weakening -- have them repaired right away. Clean your deck and railings annually, regardless of their composition, and make sure to stain and seal wooden railings at least every other year.
The condition of the trim around your home, including railings, affects your home's value. Take the time to keep them in top condition to maintain their value and their safety.
You probably know that in your home surface cleaning is much different than deep cleaning. Once you get the right spots down that need to be dusted, next, you need to vacuum up all of that dust and dirt. A well-vacuumed house is a happy house (and a dust bunny-free home!) The areas listed below are easy to miss, but once you get the hang of cleaning them, your home will be that much cleaner.
Between The Chair Cushions
Your kids may surf the couch cushions for extra change, but there’s another treasure to be had under there: plenty of crumbs and dirt. People eat on the couch and hang out there a lot. That means there’s dust, dirt, crumbs, hair, and more under those cushions of each chair in your home. Take the time to vacuum and get up all of the gunk.
You probably go up and down your stairs at least a dozen times a day, but do you always take the time to vacuum them? The problem is that it can be hard to find an outlet for the vacuum and it can be a pain to move the attachments in order to get in all of those nooks on the stairs. Your best bet is to use a separate vacuum all together on the stairs. Use a lightweight cordless unit to make your life easier.
Your windows and window treatments are most likely neglected. Take the time to vacuum these up the next time you have the vac unit out. Curtains and blinds can harbor a lot of dust that’s difficult to remove. Use the brush attachment to achieve squeaky clean windows.
You wipe your feet on it every time you come in the house, but o you remember to clean it? Start by shaking out the doormat outside to get loose debris off of it. You should take the time to vacuum up dirt and debris that collects around the doormat to keep anything leaves or dirt from entering further into your home.
This part of the house may be a less obvious place to vacuum. If your lampshade is dirty, the light won’t correctly shine through the lamp. Remove the lampshade then use a hose attachment to remove dust from the inner and outer portions of the lampshade.
The next time you change your bedding, flip your mattress, or the seasons change, take the time to vacuum your mattress. Dust mites and all kinds of things can be harbored in the mattress. It’s important to give your bed some TLC every once in a while.