Posts tagged ‘homes in lancaster’

May 30, 2013

Homeowner Survival Skills

Sooner or later, little things around your home will start to go wrong. 

Use this information to help you correct these common mishaps.

Fix a leaky faucet

Usually due to a bad washer or cartridge in the handle.  Turn off the water supply (under the sink), and cover the drain so no small parts go down it.  Pop the cover on the handles, remove the screw, and the handle.  Disassemble the stem next, using a wrench and lining up the parts in order so you will know how to put it back together.  Remove and replace the damaged or cracked parts and reassemble the stem and handles.

  keylockOpen a seized dead bolt

Spray some WD-40 into the keyhole to lubricate the mechanism. Prevent it from seizing by spraying once a year with Teflon spray.

Stop an overflowing toilet

The float inside the tank drops when the toilet is flushed and water from the tanks moves into the bowl.  It then rises as the bowl and tank are re-filled.  To prevent more spillage when the bowl is brimming over, lift the lid on the tank, grab the float and lift it to close the valve.  While holding the float, turn off the toilet’s water supply.  Now it’s clean up time!

  Pick an interior lock

Toddler locked in her bedroom?  Look for a small hole on the knob or the plate around it.  Take a slim piece of metal (screwdriver for eyeglasses, ice pick, metal skewer) and slip it into the hole to compress the spring inside.  In some cases, you will need the flathead screwdriver to insert into a slot on the spring and turn it.  Either way, you’ll disengage the lock and set your little one free!

fireUse a fire extinguisher (remember PASS)

P – Pull the Pin

A – Aim nozzle at the base of flames

S – Squeeze the trigger

S – Sweep the spray from side to side

Work calmly but quickly!! (most extinguishers have 8 seconds of life)  Call 911 and let the pros confirm that the fire is really out.

  hedgePrune a sick hedge

Trimming a shrub from the top only will make it too bushy and will prevent the sun from reaching interior branches and roots.  Pruning from the interior out will help bring it back to health.  Pull back outer branches so you can reach the interior to clip away dead branches.  Cut back tall shoots where they join the branch rather than snipping the end.  Use this method to prune about 1/3 of the bush for 3 years and your bush will thrive!

Unclog a sink

Skip the liquid drain cleaner and remove manually.  Remove the stopper and block off any overflow holes.  With water in the sink, use a flat-faced plunger to plunge the drain and remove clog.  If it doesn’t move, use a wrench to remove the U-shaped trap under the sink and look for the clog there.  If the clog is deeper, rent a hand-snake to reach it.  Slowly feed the coil into the drain, when you get to the clog carefully, twist, pull and push the coil to dislodge the clog.

  Unstick a door

Excess humidity in summer can cause a wooden door to swell and stick.  A gap of 1/8” to 3/16” between the door and jamb is recommended to accommodate seasonal changes.  Note where the door sticks and use a bench plane to shave off the high spots.  Round over any sharp edges with sandpaper and paint the exposed wood.  Allow to dry completely before closing the door.

Bypass garage door opener if your power  is out

Pull the red cord that dangles from the ceiling-mounted operator to disengage the electric chain drive.  Then you can slide the door open manually.  Be careful, a full-size garage door can be very heavy!

  Remove the base of a broken lightbulb

Unplug the lamp or turn off the fixture.  Cut a potato (russets are best) in half and gently press it onto the jagged glass.  Turn slowly to remove the base.

 

 

Did you like this article? Then you may like our article on “Repair or Replace

Have a real estate question? Contact a Prudential Homesale real estate experts today to find out more about the home buying and selling process.

May 2, 2013

Market Changes for 2013

marketchangeWith it looking like the real estate market is in recovery-mode, a lot of individuals are making the leap into buying or selling a home. The housing market is very different than it used to be; even as recently as six months ago. Read on to discover some of the ways it has changed since 2012 and what the changes may mean for you, as a buyer or seller.

  • Fewer Distressed-homes for Sale – With the mortgage crisis fading, so are the cheap deals for buyers. Some of this is due to a back-log in the processing of foreclosed homes. Other reasons include banks giving homeowners more opportunities to keep their homes, some are being auctioned as rentals, and finally a large number of homes are being sold off in portfolios to investors rather than being listed for sale to individual buyers. This is all good news for sellers who should see an increase in their neighborhood property values.
  • More New Construction – Due to lower interest rates and an upswing in hiring, the market is seeing more activity by builders. Many buyers are welcoming the chance to buy new and have it designed their way. However, the prices for new homes are also increasing. A greater supply of new homes in the future could help slow the pace of the increases.
  • Lack of Inventory – Rates are good, but the home selection is not. The supply is the lowest it has been since the fall of 2005. Many homeowners still cannot get a sale price high enough to cover their debt and provide enough money to put down on a move-up home. This should change during the year. A high demand, low interest rates, and slowly increasing home prices should prompt more sellers to list their homes. Word to the wise, if you find a desirable home, move quickly or someone else will!
  • Higher Home Prices – A slight improvement in the economy and lower interest rates are boosting buyer demand, decreasing the supply, and helping to raise prices. The past few months have shown a steady incline in the price of homes. The increases should be a bit more restrained this year, which is good news for buyers.
  • Luxury Home Sales Stumble – Due to the capital gains tax increase in January, a lot of luxury homeowners rushed to sell their homes before the hike. Due to this mass sell-off and home buyers taking advantage of it, a slowdown is expected on luxury home sales this year. High-end buyers will have less to choose from, but will also have less competition.
  • New Mortgage Rule – A new rule to protect buyers has been announced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Not effective until 2014, many lenders will be putting it into place this year. It will require buyers’ financial information to be supplied and verified, along with their debt-to-income ratio. Buyers will no longer be allowed to purchase homes they cannot afford. Lenders can no longer offer a “teaser” rate on mortgages to mask the true rate of the loan and Lenders must also ensure that the loan has no excessive points, fees, or “hidden” features where the principal amount increases.
  • Home-Equity Loans Make a Come-back – These rates have fallen as well, allowing homeowners to do some long over-due remodeling. Gradually, lenders are becoming more willing to do these types of loans with the increase in home value; giving current homeowners more financing options.
  • Rates Could Rise – After reaching record lows, rates are expected to increase slightly in 2013. Costs associated with certain types of loans may also see an increase. These small changes are not expected to deter buyers.

After years of bad news, the future of real estate is finally starting to look a little brighter!!

January 28, 2013

Thinking about your next home project?

winterDoing any type of work on your home can be a thrilling adventure. Conventional thinking has been to tackle home improvement and remodeling projects during the spring and summer months. Well, it is time to change the way you think! One of the best-kept remodeling secrets is to do your remodeling work during the winter months.

  • The Price is Right-Contractors may provide incentives during the winter if their work is slow. You can also beat the typical price increases that occur in the spring for items like lumber, windows, cabinets, etc.
  • Beat the rush-Don’t try to schedule your projects when everyone else is! Right now many contractors have less to do and can schedule and perform your renovations a lot quicker. This is the best time for those interior projects like painting, replacing flooring, updating lights, or replacing cabinets.
  • What about the mess? Don’t be concerned about dust and fumes. With the products and technology available today, contractors are able to contain the mess to their work area. Items such as plastic zip doors, fans with negative pressure, and filters to seal off heat ducts are available to insure that your family won’t be inhaling anything they shouldn’t be!
  • Less Interruption-Many folks plan vacations to escape the long, cold months of winter. That is a great time to have work done at your home. You won’t have to deal with the inconvenience and havoc that remodeling can sometimes cause in your daily life. So go on, relax, enjoy a break. When you return you’ll find only a beautifully, completed home renovation project; no mess and no hassle for you.
  • Outside Project? Yes, if the weather cooperates, you might even be able to cross one of these projects off your to-do list. Outdoor painting may not be such a good idea, but building a deck, porch, or other addition might just be a possibility.

It’s time to “think outside the box”. Get your contractor working during the off-season. You may be able to save yourself money and get your projects done a lot sooner than you thought! Your contractor may even thank you for keeping them working during these slow winter months.

It’s a win-win situation for all!

March 12, 2012

Don’t Rely on Luck for Your Next Real Estate Transaction!

January 23, 2012

Is now a good time to buy a home?

According to a report by JP Morgan thoroughly explained by KeepingCurrentMatters.com, now is the time to buy a home!

Price-to -Income Ratio
A measure of housing values is the ratio of income to home prices. “Since 1966, the median price of an existing single family home in the U.S. has varied between 150% and 251% of personal income per household. However, roughly three quarters of the time it has been in a relatively narrow band between 185% and 230%.”  Currently the ratio is only 153%.

Curent Mortgage Interest Rates
With current 30 year mortgage rates, housing prices are at historic lows as compared to income due to such low interest rates.  At a 4% interest rate:

“Assuming the use of a fixed rate mortgage with 20% down, this would make the median mortgage payment on a single family existing home just 6.9% of per household personal income, compared with an average of 14.4% since 1966.”

Monthly Rent vs . Monthly Mortgage Payment
A common question among renters, “Is it more expensive to own or rent a home?” 

“…we estimate that the implied median mortgage payment has fallen to just 78% of the median asking rent…”

Now Is The Time To Buy!
“The numbers on housing have an important message for American families today, and particularly younger families setting out on life’s great adventure: Five years ago, at the peak of the home-buying euphoria, it was emphatically a time to rent. Today, when home ownership is depreciated more than ever before, the numbers tell us it is a time to buy.”

 

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