TOM ASH's Blog
Keep your outdoor surfaces in tip-top shape all year long with these care tips:
Bricks are known for their durability but still need to be maintained and cared for. They key here is to be gentle with your cleaning methods as they can wear down and become compromised by the chemicals found in typical household cleaners.
Have you ever noticed how some bricks have a white, chalky residue to them? It’s messy, unappealing and 100% preventable. All you have to do is check labels in Winter time! When shopping for deicer avoid those made with calcium chloride.
Stay on top of culling plants growing between bricks. Where there are plants there is more moisture which will inevitably lead to loosening your bricks. Cut plants that begin growing. They will die quickly and easily pull up. Easily remove moss with a mixture of one part bleach to 10 parts hot water
If for whatever reason you find you need to clean brick only use a masonry specific cleaner and scrub gently when using. If there are stains on your bricks you will need a poultice made specifically for masonry staining.
Concrete is another outdoor surface known for its durability but that doesn’t mean it’s invincible. Caring for concrete is similar to the needs of brick.
Clean up oil spills by allowing cat litter to sit on the spot overnight. Repeat until the stain is no longer “pulling” from the litter. If there is a stain left behind a poultice may be necessary (just like with bricks). You will also use the same 1:10 bleach mixture to remove moss from concrete as you would with bricks.
However, when it comes to deicer you will want to avoid a different set of ingredients. Those made with ammonium nitrate or sulfate can break down concrete and so best to be avoided. If you do you gardening in your garage, or your shed has concrete flooring you’ll want to be cautious with fertilizer. Wet fertilizer can actually lead to staining on concrete.
To avoid staining there are preemptive measures you can take. Seal concrete helps to make it stain resistant. And to keep it on top form you clean your favorite household all-purpose cleaner and a good scrub.
Wood is the more high maintenance surface to care for. Wood needs to be sealed yearly. You may find you will need to sand off an existing finish from the previous homeowners before applying a new one. Apply a preservative or stain to protect from moisture and rot.
Clean wood surfaces by scrubbing clean and manage stains with oxalic acid crystals. Powdered oxygen bleach is best used to eliminate existing mold and it’s spores. Know that you may have to do this process a couple of times to take care of the spores for good.
When you’re shopping for a home, it’s easy to be overzealous in your attempt to find the perfect property. One of the biggest regrets of home buyers is that of paying too high a price for their dream home. There should be a balance between cost and the right property for you. No matter what kind of house you’re looking to buy or where you plan to buy it, a little planning goes a long way to help you get the most for your dollar when buying a home. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you avoid the dreaded mistake of overpaying for a home.
Look For Amenities That Increase Value
Does the neighborhood you’re looking to buy in have a lot of cool perks? Perhaps the property is close to the heart of downtown or close to one of the most desirable schools in the area. These features add value to the home based on the demand in the neighborhood.
You should also consider if the neighborhood is known as what’s termed “up and coming.” The potential that a neighborhood is also a factor in the price of a home. Is there a lot of construction going on in the area? Is the home you’re buying in a great area but considered a “fixer upper”? High potential properties in desirable areas can actually give you a bargain. A nice property in an area that is still being established can also be a bargain but beware. You may end up paying a higher price as sellers and developers understand that people are eager to move into the neighborhood. Also, if a neighborhood seems to be built up too much, it’s not a good sign. An overdeveloped area can lead to decreased property values over time.
Inside the home, look for things that have been updated to increase the value of the property. An updated kitchen and bathroom add the most cost to a home as these are the most expensive rooms to renovate. Other perks in a home that greatly increase the value include new flooring, new roof, being situated on a cul-de-sac or dead end street, and easy access to highways and main routes.
Know That Some Features Decrease Value
Things like power lines, poor economic growth in the community, high-traffic areas, foreclosures, and unkept homes can all drag down the value of a property. If you happen to be looking in one of these areas, understand that you shouldn’t be paying top dollar for a home there. Look for bargains. Whether you plan to stay or simply flip a property, you need to know at what point the price will be right without overpaying for the home.
Buying a house should be a fast, simple process. However, problems sometimes can arise that prevent a homebuyer from discovering his or her dream residence.
Ultimately, there are many factors to consider before you purchase a house to ensure you can avoid myriad homebuying hurdles, and these factors include:
1. Your Home Needs
No two houses are identical, and much in the same vein, no two homebuyers have the same definition of the perfect residence. As such, a homebuyer should consider his or her dream home demands prior to kicking off a home search.
Making a checklist of home "must-haves" and "wants" is paramount. With this checklist in hand, a homebuyer will be able to refine his or her home search and map out the property buying journey accordingly.
It may be helpful to consider your day-to-day activities as you evaluate where you want to live too.
For example, if you work in the city, you may want to find a house that is located near public transportation. Comparatively, if you have kids, you may want to consider houses that are located close to top schools.
2. Your Budget
You know that you want to buy a house. On the other hand, you still have no idea how much money is available to ensure you can make your homeownership dreams come true.
When it comes to buying a house, it pays to meet with banks and credit unions. With pre-approval for a mortgage, you'll know precisely how much you can spend on a house.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, set up consultations with several potential lenders. Then, you can learn about all of your mortgage options and select a mortgage lender that matches or surpasses your expectations.
3. Your Homebuying Timeline
Are you looking to buy a home as soon as possible? Or, can you afford to take a wait-and-see approach throughout the homebuying journey?
Examine your homebuying timeline and plan ahead as much as possible. By doing so, you can boost your chances of finding a terrific house and minimize stress as you browse the real estate market.
Regardless of your homebuying timeline, it always helps to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can take the guesswork out of searching for a residence and ensure you can discover a stellar house at a budget-friendly price.
Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new residences as they become available. He or she also will provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and respond to any homebuying concerns and questions.
Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent can provide during homebuying negotiations, either.
A real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a home seller on your behalf. That way, he or she can help you secure a great house without having to worry about paying too much.
Streamline the process of acquiring your ideal residence. Consider the aforementioned factors, and you can keep things simple as you proceed along the homebuying journey.