High Tech Home Automation Upgrades


Bring your home into the 21st century with some high tech home automation upgrades.

Many people have already upgraded their property with home automation, but may be completely unaware that they have. You may already use products such as the Nest thermostat or the Amazon Echo, these products are in fact technologies that are part of the home automation revolution that is changing the way people live in their homes.

Today’s market provides a home automation device for each and every room in your home. Below are some of the top home automation products to upgrade your home.

In the kitchen

Bluetooth thermometer

You will never mistakenly burn your meal again with a helpful smart meat thermometer. It works by sending the information from the thermometer to your smart phone via a Bluetooth connection, showing you when your pork, chicken, turkey, or fish reaches the right temperature.

Slow cooker

You can start dinner before you leave the office with a Wi-Fi enabled crock pot. By simply swiping your finger across your smart phone you can turn the cooker on, set the temperature, or turn it off to make sure that your dinner isn’t burnt if you are delayed in getting back to your home.

Wi Fi enabled kettle

Set the kettle to boil remotely by using an app on your smart phone. Whether you want the kettle to be boiled before you get out of bed or ready for you when you get home from work, the Wi Fi enabled iKettle will boil your water and even hold its temperature for up to a half hour.

In the bathroom

Bluetooth speakers for the shower

Sing along to your favorite songs with the Aquatunes waterproof speaker. The speaker connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth and enables you to stream music from your device that is played in the shower. Simply hook the speaker on to your shower rod and press the sync button to link up with your mobile device.

Heated toilet seat

LumaWarm offer the heated nightlight toilet seat. The seat is illuminated by a blue LED light and is equipped with multiple temperature settings that warm the seat within a couple of minutes.

In the bedroom

Smart bedroom lighting

Smart lighting can help you relax at the end of the day, and even help you fall asleep, with lighting that is personalized to you, with dimming and variable color temperatures. There are several types of smart lighting products available, with some set by timers that can be easily accessed and changed through your smart phone, while others utilize motion sensors to adapt the lighting to your nightly routine.

Smart windows

Equip your windows with smart window film, or adjustable blinds that operate by a motor, which can be accessed on your smart phone. Smart blinds and shades can adapt and respond to the lighting level outside. Smart window film offers the ability to transition your window from clear to opaque by simply tapping a button on your smart phone.

Home automation for any room

Smart sockets/plugs

Smart plugs are a simple and easy way to make a start upgrading your home. The smart socket device plugs into your existing power outlet and enables you to remotely control the power usage and keep an eye on your energy usage. There are several manufacturers of smart plugs, iHome, TP-LINK, Belkin, and D-Link to name a few, and the devices are an affordable way to start upgrading your home with prices ranging from as low as $30.

Humidity detector

The Humidity Sensor and Fan Control by Leviton can identify the level of humidity in your home and automatically react to it by turning on a ventilation fan. The smart device can be used in the bathroom and any other area of your home to reduce moisture in the air.

Room by room upgrades

If you still don’t really know where to start, there are several home automation and smart home upgrade kits on the market.

The main purpose of home automation is to make daily tasks easier for the user. You don’t need to rush and try to upgrade everything in your home at once. Identify areas of your home or exact tasks where you would appreciate some technological help, then research what home automation options are available to fulfill your needs.

5 Secrets to Selling Your Home Above The Asking Price

Let’s face it! Every home owner wants the best deal when they finally decide to sell their home. It’s every homeowner’s dream to see a bidding war ensue. Unfortunately, most homeowners end up settling for average or even below-average offers according to most real estate experts. What most home sellers fail to recognize is; getting a great deal isn’t a matter of luck, timing or even location. It has more to do with being equipped with the right knowledge concerning the psychology of a home buyer and showcasing the value to your home. Let’s get right into it and discuss the secrets to selling your home for more than the asking price.

1. Ask for less to get more

This is by far one of the best-kept secrets of selling a home for more than the asking price. Although this strategy appears to be counterproductive at first glance, it works wonders by creating the necessary attention required to create a fierce bidding war. It’s worth noting that bidding wars are created when there are multiple willing buyers and to get multiple willing buyers, the price has to be very attractive i.e. lower than the going market rate. When you price your home lower than the market rate (ideally, 5-10% lower), you are bound to attract more buyers who will be willing to offer better offers to outbid other interested buyers. You are also bound to get great offers since potential buyers will realize the true value of your home when they view it.

2. Don’t accept the first offer

This is another best kept secret for selling a home for more than the asking price. It doesn’t matter how good the first offer is, you should wait and see what other offers come your way. Ultimately  you want to be able to cultivate fierce competition between interested buyers, which will ultimately increase your home’s final price. An interested buyer is always willing to offer more in the presence of competition.

3. Approach investors

Investors may not be the first people you think off when you want to sell your home, however, they are great because they are always ready to take on good deals and they also provide the much-needed incentive to force regular home buyers to part with some more cash. This strategy is great especially if you have a home with a great investment potential i.e. a home that can be easily remodeled to offer more rental space/fetch a higher price. Look for offers from investors just to motivate regular home buyers to offer more than the asking price.

4. Make your home stand out

You also need to make your home stand out for you to get more than the asking price. You have to carry out all the necessary renovations to make your home perfect. It is, however, important to invest in renovations that add value to your home as opposed to eating away your profit. Examples of renovations that will increase your home’s value include; repainting, landscaping, roof, attic and basement renovations. Such renovations boost the value of homes by approximately 10% or more as well as make homes stand out. To cut cost without compromising the outcome, you can consider doing some renovations yourself i.e. repainting and landscaping.

5. Highlight what makes your home divine/stand out from similar homes

Every home has a key selling point that may not necessarily be related to the features. It could be anything really from some extra garden space to a rare tree species in the backyard or a famous tenant who once lived in the house. You need to find out the most unique aspects of your home and highlight them to potential buyers to make them comfortable about offering more than the asking price. You shouldn’t settle for the average asking price for homes like yours. Find the most unique features of you home and highlight them.

The above information highlights the top secrets to selling a home for more than the asking price. You don’t get the best deal for your home because of sheer luck, the location or selling your home at the perfect time. It’s more about understanding what makes a potential home buyer consider paying more. Creating bidding wars is a great way of getting more than the asking price. You should also focus on making your home outstanding as well as highlighting your home’s uniqueness.

Top tips to save for a down payment


Being a renter does have some advantages. No paying off the mortgage, no property taxes, and the landlord takes care of any maintenance and repair costs. However, renting your home does have one major drawback: You are spending money on rent without gaining any equity of the property.

Many renters want to own their home, but struggle to find the cash needed to make a down payment on a property.

In fact, a recent survey conducted by the website gobankingrates.com showed that a fifth of adults in the U.S. don’t use a savings account, while a third of those that do have zero funds in their account.

Below you will find some top tips to help you start saving and put aside enough funds to put a down payment on a home.

Set a target

Knowing how much you can afford to spend on a property is crucial to help you identify how much you will need to save for a down payment.

After working out how much you need to save, you should compile a detailed saving plan to reach your target. Having a target goal to reach will help you buckle down and start to put money away. You will find it hard to save if you try and set aside an unknown amount of cash for a down payment.

Work out your spending habits

Go through your credit card and bank statements for the last few months to find out where your money is spent. You can then focus on the areas of spending you can cut back on.

Cut down on your cable bill

The average household bill for cable TV has rocketed in the last 5 years and now stands at nearly $100 a month, up nearly 40% from 2010. Unless you already have, cutting down on your cable bill is a great way to save money every month. If you just can’t bring yourself to cut the cord, you can talk to your cable provider and attempt to lower the bill and shop around for a better deal.

Get rid of your gym membership

Make the outdoors your free gym. Jogging, cycling and hiking are all great exercise and don’t cost a penny. If the weather is bad or you are already signed up for a year’s membership, most gyms offer a discount if you can get a friend to join.

Downsize your current rental property

If you currently rent a one bedroom apartment, then downgrading to a smaller studio can save you hundreds of dollars a month. A smaller property also means cheaper utility bills.

Make some income on the side

Due to today’s technological modern world of mobile internet and smart phones, it is easier than it ever has been to make some money from a side job. If you own a car, then you have a huge advantage and can jump straight into work with opportunities like Uber and Postmates.

Get a high yield savings account

Leaving your savings in a checking account does not earn you any significant interest. Move your funds to a high yield account and get some interest on your savings.

Get a credit card with cash rewards

Drop the no frills credit card that you currently have and get hold of a credit card with a great cash back reward scheme. Credit cards that offer a reward scheme usually have a higher interest rate, so be sure that you make regular on time monthly payments to clear the balance.

Put aside your tax refund

It can be tempting to spend what you get back in your tax refund each year, but by putting aside any money returned you can make big steps to reaching your goal of affording a down payment.

Sell some of your stuff

Pick a day in the summer months with a forecast of good weather and throw an old fashioned yard sale. Post signs around the neighbourhood in the days leading up to your sale and get online to promote it on facebook and craigslist. The more promotion you do, the more people turn out, and the more money you make selling your stuff.

Sell your stuff online

Are some of your possessions valuable or highly sought after? You will probably get more cash by selling them online through eBay than you will at a yard sale. While, larger items of furniture tend to sell better on Craigslist.

Make Sure Your First Home Has These 4 Things

Finding the right starter home can be quite a journey, it can also be emotionally exhausting. You have to establish what you’re looking for, needs versus wants. Consider pricing and narrow in on the right home for you. Remember though, if this is your first home it doesn’t have to be your one and only home. There will always be plausible ways to upgrade down the line and find different features that make a big difference.

 

Regardless of the home to finally settle on though, there are certain features you’ll want to make sure are there. So here we will discuss those features and exactly why you’ll want them. Pools and other attractive features are a wonderful bonus but they should probably take a back seat when it comes to the top four considerations to make.  

 

  1. A monthly expense that’s feasible

 

The first thing on this list is often overlooked, the exterior and location are of course important. But if your monthly expense is going to create other problems for you, it might be something to consider passing on. Your mortgage, utilities, insurance, and even maintenance costs. When you’re looking at what your monthly expenses will be look at more than just what the house costs.

 

Consider all possible expenses associated with the house on top of your mortgage. Also add a cushion of possible expenses that you may not be able to foresee. If you can’t comfortably plan for the extent of these expenses, it might be time to look else where. Balance out those costs by looking for something a little further away from where you want to be, or with a lower initial price tag.

 

  1. Little maintenance needed

 

Maintenance costs can often be difficult to plan for, due to their unpredictable nature. What’s important to consider here is the age of the home itself. If you picked a home that’s well over 10 years in age and hasn’t had a quality remodel since its initial construction, you may be in for excessive costs.

 

It’s always worth looking into newly constructed subdivisions in your area. These new homes are often very similar in their floor plans and have been replicated a number of times. How new they are, paired with how many times they’ve been setup can leave you with less needed maintenance down the line.  

 

  1. Room for the family

 

If you’re planning on bringing your family into this first home then you’ll certainly need room to expand into. You might be moving in with just your significant other, but you could find yourself with children running around soon as well. If that’s at all a possibility plan accordingly. Another possibility is bringing your parents in to live with you. So if either of those sound like something that may happen for you at the very least plan on having an additional room.

 

If you do have the potential purchasing power use it to buy space as opposed to unnecessary finishes. You can easily add to the amount of space you have in certain rooms by opening them up. However, trying to increase your square footage down the line will prove to be more difficult.

 

  1. Easy Transition

 

If possible don’t choose the home that will transport you away from your friends and the things you love. If you enjoy community theater or you play flag football with your friends on the weekends stay relatively connected to those circles of your life. Your first home doesn’t have to uproot your entire lifestyle.

 

Really research the community you’re considering to be your first home. If you find one that will also give you easy access to some of your favorite hobbies and entertainment outlets then you might have found the ideal location.
That all being said buying a space close to work is critical. Your daily commute can become quite a process so if you can make it at all easier then do so! If you have any questions regarding any of the areas around town don’t hesitate to contact me with your questions. If you’re looking for more real estate related tips feel free to check out the rest of my blog.

Before You Close, Have You Done Your Due Diligence?


After successfully submitting an offer on a property and having it accepted, there is a stage, usually up to three weeks, before the deal is concluded. During the wait before the deal is closed, buyers are often advised to do their “due diligence on the property they have placed the offer. But what does “due diligence” mean? And what should the potential buyer be doing during this period of time?

In the business of real estate, due diligence basically means evaluating and looking into any issues the property may have. The potential buyer should investigate the property thoroughly to identify any flaws or issues that may cost significant amounts of cash to fix after the property has changed hands.

The buyer should use their due diligence to ensure that the property fully meets their expectations of what they hope to receive after parting with their cash. The few weeks before closing are the last opportunity a buyer has to check the roof for leaks, ensure the basement doesn’t flood – and basically make sure that they are not getting ripped off or mislead by the seller. If a buyer does find issues or flaws, they still have time to do something about it. They can negotiate with the seller to have the problems resolved or reduce the price of the property. If the seller is unwilling to negotiate, and as long as the buyer was properly advised and has contingencies included in the contract, the buyer can cancel the deal and walk away from the property without losing any of their deposit on the home.

Using due diligence is an important process in buying a home. Below is a checklist of the key aspects you should investigate before closing on a property and parting with your money.

A property inspection

Almost every home buyer hires a property inspector to thoroughly analyse their potential new home from top to bottom. The inspector will look for leaks in the roof, problems with the foundations, infestations of pests, structural issues, electrical concerns, and any other potential problems that could cost considerable amounts of money to fix.

It also advisable to hire a separate professional inspector that specializes in testing for biotoxins. Radon, asbestos, mold and other hazards are not generally checked for by home inspectors and can be very expensive to eradicate and rectify. Although it may seem obvious, you should also look into issues with the local area of the property. Such as whether the property sits in the middle of a flood plain or is located within range of some other environmental factor that could be hazardous. Any of these issues would be enough to warrant renegotiating with the seller of the property or, if the issue is a major problem, walk away from the deal completely.

A property title search

Before the buyer can take title of the property, and become the established legal owners of the home and listed in public records, they will be advised to carry out a title search, to clarify the ownership of the property, before proceeding.

For example, what happens if the previous owner of the home has an ex spouse or lost relative the turns up claiming ownership of the property, or there are boundary disputes with the next door neighbour that are unresolved, or due to unpaid debts a creditor has place a lien on the property. Problems such as these are stressful and can be expensive to resolve, but can be brought to your attention, before closing on the property, by conducting a title search. Enabling you to approach the seller with any problems before they are passed on to you with the property.

Homeowner’s association or condo rules

If you are purchasing a home or condo that falls within a homeowners association, you should look into any CC&Rs, conditions, restrictions, or declarations of covenants. It is highly advisable to review the rules and regulations of the property, and any potential fines that could be incurred for infractions, as some properties have strict rules. With regulations governing anything from the color of the home to the amount and type of vehicles that can be parked outside the property, RVs are sometimes banned.

By purchasing the property you are agreeing to live by these rules, so it is a good idea to review them and ensure that you are willing to go along with them. If you are unwilling, you can withdraw from the deal and look for another property that is more suitable.

How To Prevent Buyers Remorse

Ever heard of homebuyers remorse? It happens, but we don’t want it happening to you! So here’s some ways you can be sure to avoid feeling like this big purchase was anything less than perfect.

We’ve all felt buyers remorse to a certain degree with something we’ve purchased at the store. The difference here being you have the ability to return or even exchange what you purchased at the store. You can’t return your home the same way you can return an appliance you recently picked up.

As with all big purchases there may be a moment where you second guess yourself. You might decided to go the extra mile and spend a little more than you previously anticipated. Sometimes it may be worth digging a little deeper but before you do go the extra mile be sure to think it though.

Are you just trying to win?

Do you need this home? Is there enough features to prevent you from having to remodel? If the decision to ante up and go all in is really only coming down to being competitive hold back and save that money. There is always a property that fits your price range and your needs around the corner.

A bidding war could bring the home value up to a point where it passes its original listing price. If that happens you may be in a whole new ball game and should consider what type of impact this would have on your existing circumstances.

How many times have you seen the house? 

One of the most common factors influencing buyers remorse is how familiar you are with the home. Have you inspected it top to bottom? Have you walked through it multiple times? Make sure you’re extremely familiar and comfortable with the house before you make your purchase. Finding out new things about the house could be a good thing. However, it could also make you question your purchase.

Every walk through you do of your potential home might change the way you see it’s current features. So be sure to do multiple walkthroughs, during staging and post staging, when its empty. Being as familiar with the house as you can be will only help you be more confident in your purchase.

Have you analyzed the floor plan?

This might seem like an obvious question but you would be surprised how many home buyers move forward with a purchase without inspecting the floor plan. This relates to the previous point, its just another way to become as familiar with your potential home as you can possibly be.

Have you been through the home alone? 

Having someone with you to essentially “pitch” the home to you every time you walk through it can skew your perception of the house. Make sure you walk through the house alone at least once so you can be alone with your thoughts. Develop your own opinion without having someone tell you how great everything is at every turn you make.

Due diligence

If you feel like a home might be too good to be true, you might be right. It’s always good to question how good the home seems to be. This makes sure you you are alert to a lack of possible disclosures. If you don’t encounter any specific disclosures about the house before you make your offer consider there might be something being kept from you.

Double check on previous inspections the house has undergone. Always inquire about any past inspections as well becuase if they seller isn’t directly asked about it they may not say a thing about it. Coming across these disclosures after you’ve already purchased the house is a sure fire way to suffer from buyers remorse.

Have a safety net

One full proof way to keep yourself from experiencing buyers remorse is to have a contingency based around a home inspection prior to your purchase. Having a specific inspection contingency allows you to jump ship if something unexpected comes up. Most agents are quite familiar with such a contingency so you’re certainly allowed to have it.

Having a safety net and being as thorough as possible is a great way to keep yourself from experiencing  buyers remorse. However, at the end of the day just make sure you don’t sign an agreement if you’re 100% convinced. If you have the slightest inclination to double check something or that something is a miss listen to your gut.

Buying A Home As A Newly Married Couple


While the home buying struggles of unmarried couples are well known, the process is not straight forward for married couples either. After tying the knot, many newlyweds look forward to buying a home together. But before you start scanning property listings and searching for the perfect bathroom suite, make sure you sit down together and ask each other these house buying questions.

What is your financial history and credit rating?

At the start of a relationship, couples talk all the time, from music to travel and everything in between. However, as a married couple you should have a serious conversation about your finances and credit scores.

While some couples will have already discussed their credit scores, others consider it a taboo topic of discussion. If one person has a credit score that is significantly lower than their partners, it could affect the couple’s chances of securing a mortgage to buy a property, or at a minimum affect the ability to get an appealing interest rate on a loan.

Discussing your credit scores with each other before arranging to meet with a mortgage lender is vital. By knowing your credit rating you have the chance to work on repairing any credit problems before you apply to get a mortgage. If you don’t know your credit score, you can contact your credit card company to see if you can access your score for free, or use an online credit check company.

Where do you want to live in a few years time and in the future?

The life goals you want to achieve will impact the type of property, and the mortgage, that is most suitable for you. If you plan to stay for a long time in a property, then a fixed interest rate 30 year mortgage may be for you, since it ensures that your interest and monthly payments will be consistent throughout the length of your loan.

If, however, you plan on moving again within a reasonably short amount of time, to buy a bigger property for starting a family – then a fixed rate mortgage may not be the most suitable. A better option may be an adjustable rate mortgage that offers a lower rate of interest than a fixed rate mortgage for a preliminary length of time, possibly up to 7 years. After the initial period of time has passed, the interest rate can fluctuate up and down as a result of market indexes.

Will one of you be a stay at home parent?

After tying the knot, you may not want to rush into starting a family, so why the need to have a discussion about kids? Because having children will drastically affect your income as a couple, which is crucial for establishing how much you can afford on a property. A good rule to follow: don’t have mortgage expenses that account for over 30 percent of your take home income.

Remember that you may be making mortgage payments for up to 30 years, so you should not only consider your current income, but your anticipated future income. What happens when/if you have children and one of you decides to leave work to look after the kids at home?

Your family income could be reduced by half. So when you are estimating how large of a mortgage you need, it is best to be cautious. Just because you are eligible for a $1 million loan, it doesn’t mean you should go out and buy a $1 million property.

What happens to the property if your marriage breaks down?

Although you may be a happy, recently married, pair of love birds, you should discuss the potential future conclusion of your marriage, through divorce or death. If either, unfortunately, occurs you will need to know how to separate your assets.

When buying a property as a married couple, you have several home ownership options. Joint tenancy is the most common type of ownership with spouses. Each partner holds an equal share in the property. If one of the couple dies, the deceased’s share of the property is passed on automatically to the surviving spouse.

Tenancy in common is another option, with its transferable interest in the property, which may be a more suitable form of homeownership. If one person is contributing a larger initial down payment or paying the majority of the mortgage payments, they can protect their investment in the event of divorce.

Home Exterior Considerations To Make Before You Buy

When you’re house hunting it’s very easy to focus in on certain attributes of a house that you find appealing. Unfortunately when you narrow your focus in on the things that are perfect about the house, you’ll often overlook some important things in the process. Make sure you thoroughly examine the exterior of your “dream home” before you go through with your purchase.

Here I’ll be giving you a specific list of key elements to examine while inspecting your potential home’s exterior. None of these issues have to be a home buying deal breaker, but the seller should be willing to help you resolve anything I list below before you sign on the dotted line and finalize your purchase.

Trees

Does the property have any trees? Trees can and to the overall beauty of the home but they can also create problems for your foundation if they get to be too big. So be sure to examine how close these trees are to your homes foundation. Also if the tree already has well established roots within the home’s foundation, there can be a drop in your foundation if those roots are removed. If the trees are large enough to encounter the roof of the house then consider inspecting the roof as well. The roof can often be overlooked when potential buyers examine the exterior of the property. Trees that come in contact with the roof can leave certain areas exposed and open to rodents or even birds to build nests. Rodents especially will use an overhanging branch to make their way onto your roof.

In addition to trees surrounding your home take note of any other foliage that comes in contact with the home. If the seller hasn’t done an adequate job maintaining the bushes that surround the house then you may encounter problems with insects later down the line.

Foliage upkeep in general is usually a strong indicator of the type of attention the seller gave the exterior of the house. If things look a little lack luster from afar, it should certainly be cause for a closer inspection.

Foundation

Many buyers come across cracked concrete and think nothing of it. However, crack in the concrete can allow for moisture to penetrate your foundation. If you live somewhere with very cold winters this can pose a very significant problem for you financially. It’s certainly advisable that if you find significant cracks in the foundation that you negotiate a repair cost with the seller.

Also experts usually suggest that you expect the foundation for adequate drainage. It’s advised that you have about 2 inches of exposure and a gradual slope away from your house to prevent water from collecting.

Pool

Pools are always big selling points, but just because you’ve always wanted a pool doesn’t mean you should forget to inspect it carefully. Pools obviously come with a significant amount of upkeep and sellers can easily neglect that upkeep. So inquire about the age of the pool itself and the equipment that comes with it. It may also be worth asking about any resurfacing.

If you encounter a problem

One or two problems with the exterior doesn’t have to break the deal. If you and the seller can reach an agreement that solves the issue at hand then by all means proceed with purchasing the house. if you can’t find an affordable solution to it however, consider passing on the house. Have an in-depth inspection of the property done, list out anything that needs attention before you agree to close and find a way to resolve it.

In most instances the exterior issues you encounter can easily be fixed and the deal can proceed. Just don’t allow the big selling points of your possible dream home distract you from exterior issues that the seller is responsible for. Also consult your agent if you’re not sure which issues the seller should be responsible for handling, once your inspection is complete of course.
If you have any further questions about inspecting your property please feel free to leave me your contact info in any one of the available forms here on the page.

The Key Factors For Choosing A Storage Facility


Every now and again you’ll come across things around the house that you never use but you can’t throw away or donate. These items can take up significant space in your home and become quite a hassle to store. If you find yourself in such a situation, using a storage facility is a great option to keep your possessions secure and easily accessible. Below are some crucial factors to help you decide on  exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to choosing a self storage facility.

What type of storage do you need?

You should choose a facility that provides the right storage options to suit your specific requirements.

Size

It can be difficult to judge how much space you will need to adequately store your items. Renting a unit that is too large is a waste of your funds, while storage that is too small, will obviously not be able to hold all of your items. To estimate the amount of space you will need, make a comprehensive list of all the items that you wish to store and shop around for quotes and advice from storage companies on the size of storage unit you will require.

Climate controlled storage

While they can be more expensive, climate controlled storage units are ideal for keeping items that are delicate or of sentimental value. Or if you reside in an area that is affected by varying climatic conditions, climate controlled units are a great way to keep your possessions safe and secure from the elements.

Storage location

Storage that is located close to larger cities tends to be rented at a premium, whereas more isolated storage locations are usually cheaper. If you require your items to be regularly accessible, it is a good idea to choose a storage location that is nearby to your home. If you only rarely need your items, a cheaper facility that is further away from your home is worth considering.

Ease of access

Standard weekday access to your storage unit may not fit with your schedule, while some storage facilities are accessible 24/7 and may be more suited to your needs. Decide how often and at what times you will need access your storage unit before researching the accessible hours available at different storage facilities.

Security

You want your possessions to be secure, so security is a priority when choosing a storage facility. Make sure that the storage company offers the following security and safety features.

CCTV and alarm

The facility should have a modern camera surveillance system and alarm system. It should have comprehensive coverage of the whole site to ensure the security of the storage units.

Fire safety

The facility should be equipped with fire alarms and a sprinkler system to protect your items from fire damage.

Storage Features

Storage units should be adequately ventilated by gaps at the top of the walls, or a ventilation system, to ensure that there is circulation of air to prevent any mildew. The floor of the unit should be raised to avoid the flow of any surface water, and the door should be secure and equipped with a strong latch so you can use a personal lock.

Upkeep of the facility

The condition of a storage facility is a good indicator of the trustworthiness of the company. When researching facilities you should ensure that:

The buildings a well maintained and not structurally damaged. Holes and cracks in a building can indicate leaking, infestations of pests, and other issues.

The property is kept clean and in a good state of repair. Dirty and cluttered areas indicate a lack of maintenance and increased fire risk.

Useful equipment and loading docks are available to clients.

Ample parking, with direct access to the storage.

Adequate lighting to ensure you can easily handle your belongings during the day and night.

A high occupancy of storage units, a lack of occupancy indicates the facility may have underlying problems.

Friendly and helpful staff that are knowledgeable about the operation of the facility.

Visit storage facilities in person before choosing a company. You will be well informed of the strengths and weak points of each site before making a decision. Make sure that the facility you choose provides satisfactory theft and damage insurance to cover your valuable items.

Closing Day Problems And How To Avoid Them


Purchasing a home for the first time can be a daunting experience, and the closing day is perhaps the most daunting part of the buying process. Dealing with unexpected issues that may arise can be difficult. While some problems can be easily solved, others can derail a deal at the final hurdle.

Disheartening walk-through surprises

The final walk-through of the property is the number one cause of unexpected issues on closing day. The final inspection takes place the day before, or during the morning of, closing day, leaving the buyer with not much time to prepare and react to potential problems.

A heavy storm may reveal downstairs flooding, or the furniture that you thought was included has vanished, cracks in the ceiling or walls may be revealed.

If the issue is a serious problem you should take careful steps in proceeding with the deal. To avoid any unfortunate revelations, you should have very thorough inspections of the property before the final walk-through on closing day.

Feel free to ask the current owner to view the property after a large storm to inspect for any damp or potential flooding. Discovering a last minute problem does not necessarily mean the deal should be compromised. Negotiate to have the cost of repairs covered by the seller, and have the money put in escrow. Get estimates from professionals to verify how much the repairs will cost.

What the seller takes with them

A common issue on closing day is confusion between the buyer and seller over which items are taken by the seller and which items remain with the property. Perhaps you liked the antique furniture at the property and were disappointed to discover it had disappeared on closing day.

Unless you’re extremely attached to an item and regard it as a deal breaker, it is often best to let go any issues over the transfer of items and furniture. The simplest solution to any misunderstanding on closing day is to state in a contract what is expected to remain or must be removed. Be detailed and make sure that the contract matches what you expect to be in the property on closing day.

Credit issues

Most buyers have approval for a mortgage organised over a month before closing day. However, slight changes to your financial situation can alter your credit rating and problems can occur right up to the point of closing on the deal. If you change your job, apply for a credit card or loan, fail to make payments or bills, even an unexpected influx of cash can cause issues with mortgage approval.

If the lender backs out of the deal, you will have to find another mortgage provider before you can close. The mortgage provider may adjust the interest rate and you will have to reconsider whether the property is still affordable.

To avoid any lending issues, you should communicate with the mortgage provider the day before closing to ensure there are no issues, and resolve any if there are. It’s advisable to avoid any large financial moves in the month or so before closing, like changes to your employment or any financial influx from a relative or family member.

Money transfer problems

The crucial part of closing day is the transfer of funds. Some banks and financial institutions prefer to conduct transfers electronically, while others prefer certified checks. If you bring the wrong paperwork or make a mistake with account numbers, you can delay the deal.

While not to serious, it is best to avoid creating any unnecessary stress. Ask your mortgage provider and real estate agent what type of transfer is required.

Title issues

A title company will reveal details of the property, such as any liens, covenants, and past ownership, that can reveal serious issues on closing day. Give yourself time to consider any issues or stipulations that come with the property. Any tax owed on the property or claims of ownership from family members or co-owners can delay closing. While and unpaid HOA dues or covenants can be a surprise, but not derail closing on the property. It can be frustrating, but all title problems must be resolved before closing. However, when it comes to purchasing a property it is better to proceed with caution than making any costly errors that must be dealt with later.