Stephanie Jones, REALTOR's Blog
You honestly may not get the chance to deep clean your home very often. When you do clean your house, there are a few places that are harboring many germs that are easily overlooked. Below, you’ll find some of the dirtiest areas in your home that need to be scrubbed well.
Handles And Knobs In The Kitchen
You’re handling everything in the kitchen from dirty dishes to raw meat. After touching these items, you’re grabbing drawers, refrigerator door handles, oven doors, and more. All of the bacteria that is on your hands is transferred to these items. You should scrub these areas down on a weekly basis with a simple vinegar and water solution.
Your Computer And Accessories
If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time at your computer. You eat drink, talk on the phone, and everything else right in front of your computer. It’s a good idea to rid the bacteria that are collected all over your computer and accessories. You can detach the attachments from your computer a dab them with a mild soapy water solution, or just wipe them down with a pre-moistened anti-bacterial cloth.
The Toothbrush Holder
You use your toothbrush to clean your teeth, but do you ever clean the place where it sits? You can quickly place your toothbrush holder in the dishwasher once a week, or sterilize it with hot water and soap. As a bonus, you should clean your toothbrushes by boiling them in water for a few minutes.
The Handrails And Doorknobs
Everyone uses the railings on the stairways, but it’s a good bet that no one cleans them very often. You can use a simple hot water and vinegar solution to scrub railings and doorknobs down. Wipe them dry, and they’ll be as good as new with less germs.
The Light Switches
As you go in and out of rooms, you probably don’t think of cleaning off the light switch panel. Germs are easily spread there as people go in and out, turning a light on just to wash their hands. Vinegar and hot water will do the trick here as well. Just wipe switches down with a cloth soaked in the solution and pat dry.
While you may wipe down around your sink often, the faucet and surrounding areas may need a little love. Faucet handles should be scrubbed on a daily basis with hot soapy water. As a bonus, if you want to make your sink shine, create a paste with vinegar and baking soda. Once you scrub it on the faucet, rinse off for a fantastic shine.
Owning a home can be an amazing experience. But interest from your mortgage accumulates over time, leaving you to seemingly pay an arm and a leg to finance your home. But while you may think that paying off your mortgage early is a great idea, that isn’t always the case.
You May Have Other Debt
Paying off your mortgage early can save you on interest costs, but you more than likely have other debt to deal with. If you have other debts — like car loans, student loans or credit card debt — then these should be paid off first. Try to focus on your debts with higher interest rates; these tend to be associated with credit cards. After you’ve paid those debts off, then moving on to pay off your mortgage could be a good choice.
You Don’t Want to Go Broke
Paying off your mortgage may sound great and all, but you must consider all of your expenses, including possible emergencies. Saving on interest is very tempting, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your emergency fund. You never know when something serious will happen, so do your best to set aside some cash. If you have hefty savings and all of your expenses are accounted for every month, then you can move on to paying off your mortgage early.
Consider Your Future
Many people try to pay as much as they can towards their mortgage, only to find out that they used up all of their money. While they have some big expenses and big life changes that cost money, now they have to save up in order to cover those costs. That being said, it’s best to think about your future before paying more towards your mortgage. Are you planning on having kids? Thinking of going back to school? With how frequent life changes, you never know when you could use money down the road. While it might seem like a great plan to throw money at your mortgage payment, think about your life goals and how your finances fit in that equation.
It Can Be Beneficial
Although we’ve made some points above that suggest that you shouldn’t pay off your mortgage early, it can still be very beneficial to do so. Let’s say your household is doing very well with finances and money is pouring in quickly. If your other debts and finances are taken care of, then paying off your mortgage early can help you save on interest; the larger amount you pay, the more you’ll save on interest. However, this can be a tough choice. Be sure to consider the points mentioned above before paying this loan off early.
20 Milk St, Methuen, MA 01844
For years home ownership has been the American dream, but, according to the Pew Research Center, a higher percentage of us are renters than at any other time in the last 50 years. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. For many people renting may be the right choice. Every individual and family needs to consider all the factors and make the decision that’s right for them.
The Financial Consideration
There’s a rule of thumb called the price to rent ratio. You get it by dividing the price of a house by the annual rent. For example, if you can buy a house for $300,000 or rent it for $1500 per month, the ratio is 300,000 / (12 * 1500), or 16.7. When the number is 15 or less, buying is the better choice, when it’s 16 to 20, renting becomes more favorable and when it’s over 20 renting is significantly better. However, this fails to take in factors like down payment amount, financing terms, taxes, insurance and other costs, which can vary widely. A more accurate number, telling you how long it will take to cover the up-front costs of ownership and pull even financially with renting, can be found using one of many calculators available.
The Other Considerations
While this sort of calculation is valuable, there are other questions, both financial and lifestyle-related, that the potential renter or buyer must ask.
What can I spend upfront for down payment and closing costs?
Can I afford a major repair such as replacing a furnace or air conditioner? There are insurance-like plans to defray some of that cost, but those make up another annual expense.
How long do I plan to stay? Selling a home and buying a new one is costly and time-consuming.
Which is more important to me, stability or flexibility?
Advantages of Home Ownership
As the inheritor of the American dream, the homeowner has some opportunities and privileges that the renter can’t enjoy.
Appreciation and equity. As home value rises and morgage balance drops, homeowners gain equity, which for many is their most valuable asset.
Freedom to remodel. There’s no landlord telling you what you can and can’t do with your property.
Stable monthly payments. Taxes and insurance can increase, but principal and interest payment remains the same. If you stay there long enough, eventually you’ll have no principal/interest to pay at all.
Tax advantage. For most people, it isn’t what it was before the 2017 tax changes, but interest and taxes may still be deductible.
Stability. You can become a member of your neighborhood and your children can stay in the same school system. No landlord can decide to sell and give you notice.
Advantages of Renting
No large upfront expenses.
Your landlord is responsible for major repairs.
Still some opportunity to build credit by paying rent promptly.
You have less at risk. You won’t be affected if property values fall.
Flexibility. If you choose to move you can easily give notice and do so.
Here’s one last question: which feels better, the satisfaction of owning your own castle or the freedom to change your life quickly? The answer may go a long way toward pointing you in the right direction.
All house buyers have different pet peeves when it comes to evaluating homes, but there are a lot of easy fixes you can do to reduce the chances of losing a sale. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Squeaky doors: Lubricating squeaky hinges is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your chances of making a positive impression on prospective home buyers. A seemingly small thing like squeaky door hinges can make your house seem old, poorly maintained, and in disrepair. A squeaky door hinge is probably not going to make or break the sale of your house, but in combination with other little flaws that prospects might notice, it could have a major impact.
Weeds cropping up: Another clear signal to prospects that your property hasn't been properly maintained -- at least in their minds -- is the existence of weeds. Other than an overgrown lawn, nothing detracts from curb appeal more than weeds coming up everywhere, especially in driveway cracks, walkways, and front steps. If your home is on the market or you're considering selling it in the near future, getting rid of noticeable weeds will help improve your property's curb appeal and make a better impression on prospective buyers. If you hate the idea of handling or applying commercial weed killers, non-toxic household items like vinegar or salt have been known to nip the weed problem in the bud. Whether you use store-bought herbicides or natural remedies, make sure you don't damage any nearby plants that you want to protect. In some cases, manually pulling out weeds and carefully digging out the roots is the most risk-free approach, although it's also the most labor intensive!
Dust and cobwebs: No matter how thorough you think you've been in cleaning your house, you're probably going to miss a few spots that prospective buyers will notice. In small amounts, a little dust is not going to make or break your sale, but like squeaky door hinges, small problems add up! Areas that homeowners and house cleaners often overlook include baseboards, ceiling fans, and corners of ceilings.
Unpleasant odors: If your house smells like pets, mold, or mothballs, that sometimes can be a deal breaker. Bad odors are a major sensory turnoff that could easily sour people on the idea of making an offer on your house. Musty odors are often indicative of a larger problem, such as a damp basement, leaky pipes, water damage, or mold infestation. Eliminating odors prior to having your house shown can be as simple as doing a thorough cleaning, or as complex and expensive as hiring a mold remediation service.
The good news about preparing your home for sale is that a seasoned real estate agent can provide you with the advice, guidance, and help you need to maximize your chances for attracting offers and selling your property for its full market value.