9 Ways to Make an Old Home Feel New

 

Whether you are planning on selling your home, looking to buy an older house or are looking for a few ways to give new life to your home, here are 9 easy tips on how to give your house fresh facelift.

 

 

1. Clean or Replace Carpetsvaccuum
Transform the room by making the space feel fresh. Deep cleaning vacuums can help remove odors and make your carpet feel almost new. If you want to take on a DIY project, you could try replacing your carpet with new carpet or even hardwood flooring.

 

 

2. Make it Cohesive
As the years go by, it is easy to lose focus or forget about making a room/entire house flow nicely together. An update here and an update there can leave the home in a state of mis-matched chaos. You should determine whether you want rooms to be the same throughout or to each have their own uniqueness.

 

outlet

 

3. Update Outlets, Light Switches & Plates
Small changes such as updating outlets, light switches and plates make a significant difference. Some may have yellowed, been painted over, various shapes & styles through the years. Updating plates can be simple but updating outlets and light switches can be tricky. Therefore, if you are not experienced hire a licensed electrician or find online tutorials to guide you through the process. While you are at it, you should also update old alarms, thermostats and smoke detectors.

 

4. Repair Walls
If your house has numerous holes in the walls due to hanging up pictures/mirrors, etc.., and/or have apparent DIY patching, you should consider getting your walls professionally repaired. You could even have your painters fix blemishes and fill the nail holes. Repairing your walls will make them look brand new!

how-to-add-light-to-a-room

 

 

5. Add Light
There are numerous ways to add light to your home beyond light fixtures. You could replace old blinds. Rethink the idea of curtains by making a curtain rod extend past the width of the window, making the window appear larger and not blocking any light. You should also consider adding or replacing light fixtures. Change out light bulbs to newer bulbs that give off a higher wattage and offer a different effect; soft or white.

 

6. Paint
Even though this is an obvious answer, changing the color or even adding a fresh coat of the same color can make a major difference. A current and cohesive paint palette brings the home into the present.

 

7. Remove Dated Fixtures
Updating lights and hardware are easy ways to freshen up your home.

 

8. New Doors/Door Frames
Replace your older doors with newer models. Sometimes older doors no longer fit in the door frame and may not lock correctly. Also adding a new front door will help with curb appeal and can even brighten up your foyer.

hardwood floors

 

 

9. Refinish Hardwood
If your hardwood floors are scratched up and have lost their shine you should consider refinishing your hardwood floors. Choose an appropriate stain and give your floors a makeover. This can either be a DIY project or you can hire a professional.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are considering selling, purchasing or even staying put in your current house and want to take on a new project such as updating an older home contact your local Homesale Agent today.

9 Ways to Make an Old Home Feel New

7 Things to Avoid Before Purchasing a Home

 

If you have been approved for a mortgage for your next home, you might be assuming you can breathe easy now and concentrate on packing. Not quite yet though.mortgage

While most of your hard work of building a good credit profile and gathering savings for a down payment and closing costs is behind you, it’s important to remember that the lender will recheck your credit just prior to your settlement date and will also need confirm a few details such as your place of employment to make sure nothing has changed.

That’s the key phrase—“nothing has changed.” You will want to maintain the same credit profile you had for the loan approval until your mortgage paperwork is completely signed.

Source: money.aol.co.uk

 

Avoid the following actions to ensure a smooth settlement:

 

1. Don’t apply for new credit: It may seem natural to apply for a credit card at a home improvement store or a furniture store when you are about to become a homeowner. It’s almost become cliché in the mortgage industry, but the warning still bears repeating: Don’t buy a truckload of furniture until after your loan closes. Applying for credit can lower your credit score. Not only will you lose a few points because of a credit inquiry, but if you are approved for new credit, a lender may worry that you will spend up to your new credit limit and then default on your loan.  If you absolutely need to obtain new credit or accrue debt before closing, talk with your loan officer as soon as possible.

 

2. Don’t close any credit accounts:You may be feeling that this is a good time to get your financial house in order by closing unused credit accounts or transferring your debt to a new credit card with a zero-interest balance transfer offer. While that’s a smart move financially, it’s a bad one for your credit score because you lose points when you have a higher usage of debt compared to your limit on one credit card and to your overall credit availability. Wait until your closing is complete before you make these changes. 

 

3. Don’t shuffle around your dollars & cents:Your lender will need the most recent bank statements before you go to settlement, so if you have any unusual deposits you will need to provide complete documentation of where the money came from. If possible, it’s best to move the cash you will need for your home purchase into one account before you apply for a mortgage. If not, make sure you have complete and accurate records readily available.

 

4. Don’t increase your debts:In addition to your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio is extremely important to a loan approval. If you take on more debt you could be in danger of going above the maximum acceptable debt-to-income ratio. Along with increasing your debts, do not co-sign on a loan. It is especially risky during the mortgage lending process since you will be financially liable for someone else’s debt.

 

5. Don’t skip a payment or make a late payment: One of the most important elements of your credit score is your history of on-time in-full payments. Payment history comprises about a third of your credit score. 

One solitary 30-day late payment can clip 60 to 110 points from your credit score. Maybe not a huge deal if you had an 800 score, right? Possibly. However, if that 30-day late payment is a mortgage or rent payment, some lenders will boot your application altogether. Many will require at least 12 consecutive months of on-time payments in order to qualify for a home loan. So don’t get so caught up in your move that you forget to keep up with paying basic bills.

 

6. Don’t buy a car: You may be feeling that a new car would be a nice addition to the driveway of your new home. Resist that feeling. Even if you can easily afford a new car, the depletion of your savings or the addition of a new car loan could derail your mortgage application. Wait until after you have moved to switch to a new car.

 

7. Don’t change jobs if you can help it: While a job change could mean a raise or a path to a better future, it could also delay your settlement. Your lender needs to verify employment and will need paystubs to prove your new income before your loan can go to settlement. Lenders crave stable, reliable income that’s likely to continue.

Lenders are likely to slam on the brakes if you take a new job in a different field, or if you decide to start your own business. Or even if you get a promotion but see some or all of your income shift to a commission basis.

The bottom line: Any change to your employment is significant. Keep your loan officer in the loop, and ask questions when in doubt. The last thing you want is to waste time and money on a home loan you have little chance in getting approval.

 

*****In other words, no matter how hard it is at this exciting time, it’s better to do nothing than to do anything.

 

Sources: Realtor.com & Yahoo.com
7 Things to Avoid Before Purchasing a Home

12 Things You Should Know About Pennsylvania

1.) Off To Market You Go….

marketSource: Roots Country Market and Auction

No matter which county you move to in Pennsylvania, you’ll see a vast amount of roadside stands and indoor/outdoor farmer’s markets where you can get fresh produce. You should venture out of the grocery stores and load up your reusable bags with fresh vegetables, fruits, baked goods and delicacies to support your local farms. Some of the major markets include, Green Dragon Farmer’s Market, Lancaster Central Market, Roots Country Market, Reading Terminal Market and Pittsburgh Public Market.

 

2.) Be Prepared For All the Sweet And Salty Temptations

tastySource: Facebook user Tasty Cakes

Pennsylvania is the snack food capital of the nation. As many know, Pennsylvania is the home of Hershey’s chocolate, but not many people are aware that we produce more potato chips than any other state. PA creates enough potato chips to fill 80 million 12-ounce bags every year. The original soft/hard pretzels (Sturgis) and the original animal crackers (Stauffer) were produced in the late 1800’s right here in Pennsylvania. Let’s not forget to pay homage to Philadelphia cheesesteaks, Tastycakes, marshmallow Peeps, Mrs. T’s pierogies, Lebanon bologna, shoo-fly pie, and the Heinz ketchup and relish on all those delicious hot dogs we love.

 

3.) We Have Four Seasons, But Autumn Knows How to Paint Each Town

Whether you already live in Pennsylvania or are considering moving somewhere within the state, residents are able to experience all four seasons, but the colors of fall truly compliment the state’s complexion. The changing leaves paint the open landscape’s scenery with breathe-taking colors and the crisp air is usually filled with the flavorful smells of apple cider and pumpkin.

 

4.) Sightseeing in Pennsylvania Is Endless

 rockySource: Totalrocky.com

Throughout the state, there are numerous historic monuments to see and nature sights to experience. Mountains, skyscrapers, museums, vintage railroads, coal mines and even the view from the Philadelphia Art Museum steps are just a few options to keep your weekends packed with family/friendly fun.

 

5.) Be Prepared for a Bouncy Ride

potholes Source: mediapatch.com

Due to various weather conditions, roads in Pennsylvania start to crack and eventually turn into large potholes. Therefore make sure you are aware of the mini ponds on the roads/highways while you are driving to protect your vehicle from any potential damage.

 

6.) Least Populated Municipality in PA is Centralia

 centraliaSource: Shadowactivity.tumblr.com

Over fifty years ago, it is believed that burning trash in a landfill near an old abandoned strip mine sparked an exposed coal vein. The fire quickly spread throughout the maze of mines underneath the town, creating an unstoppable blaze, which has yet to subside. Originally the town was home to over 2,000 people, but due to the toxic fumes and unsafe living conditions, the population has now reduced to around 10 people. Those who still reside there are fighting the state from eviction and demolition of their homes. Experts say that the amount of coal left will keep the fire burning for another 250 years.

 

7.) Pennsylvania is home to America’s oldest brewery…and many others

  lagerSource: Yuengling.com

Established in 1829, D.G. Yuengling & Son is one of the largest breweries by volume in the country. The brewery is headquartered in Pottsville, PA. Yuengling is an Anglicized version of Jüngling (aka the founder’s surname), and is the German term for “young man”. Due to the popularity of Yuengling Traditional Lager in Pennsylvania, it can simply be ordered by asking for a lager. Pennsylvania is also home to many other popular brewing companies such as, Slyfox Brewery, Rumspringa Brewing, Spring House Brewing, Troegs Brewing, Victory Brewing, Yards Brewing, Saucony Creek, Neshaminy Creek Brewing, Appalachian Brewing and many more.

 

8.) You will never run out of Wine

 wineSource: Facebook user Pennsylvania Wines

 

The first vineyard in Pennsylvania began in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. Today there are over 200 licensed wineries in Pennsylvania, with 12 wine trails throughout the state. PA is ranked 7th nationally in the number of wineries and is the 5th largest producer of grapes in the U.S.  No matter where you are in PA, there is never a winery more than an hour away.

 

 

9.) Kennett Square is the Mushroom Capital of the World

 mushroomSource: mushroomfestival.org

Over 65 percent of mushrooms consumed in the United States come from Kennett Square. Due to the large amount of mushrooms, enthusiasts within the community decided to host a small Festival to celebrate what their town is renowned for in hopes to raise money for a good cause. Today the Festival has grown to a large affair, hosting over 200 vendors and up to 100,000 guests.

 

10.) Remember in Pennsylvania, Amish is pronounced Ah-mish, not Ey-mish

amishSource: Facebook user VisitPa

Mainly focused around the Lancaster county area, Pennsylvania has the second largest Amish population in the country. The Amish travel all throughout the state to sell their delicious homemade goods to those who aren’t lucky enough to live close by. Be mindful of the parade of horse and buggy’s you will witness every Sunday, that is, if you live near Lancaster.

 

11.) Pennsylvania knows quality shopping

 shoppingSource: phillystylemag.com

The shopping options available suit any shopping personality whether you’re a spontaneous and impulsive buyer or a dedicated and true bargain hunter. PA offers large shopping centers, outlet malls, chic boutiques and unique main streets. Pittsburgh is home to the quaint and quirky Strip District, or at King of Prussia, you can shop at the largest shopping mall on the east coast. Pennsylvania also features Tanger Outlets, located in Lancaster and Hershey, and the Philadelphia Premium Outlets.

 

12.) The Amount of Entertainment Will Never Leave You at a Loss for Fun

entertain Source: 3riversartsfest.org

There are numerous events and festivals throughout the state all year round. Some Pennsylvania events, such as the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia, and the Flower and Garden Show, have been recognized as two of the Top 20 Events in the United States. Other popular events include the PA Farm Show (Harrisburg), Groundhog Day (Punxsutawney), Three Rivers Arts Festival (Pittsburgh), The Gettysburg Festival, Musikfest (Bethlehem), and the Square Applefest (Franklin). More information and events can be found at topeventsusa.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Things You Should Know About Pennsylvania

Helpful Holiday Tips

The Clock is ticking, time to get your home ready for the holidays. Getting it ready means more than simply decorating, especially if you are hosting a holiday party. Before you deck the halls, take time to get organized. Be the host everyone will be talking about, for all the right reasons!

Holiday Checklist

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AskHomesale.com provides real estate advise and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Prudential Homesale Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Prudential Homesale has more than 25 offices with over 1,000 REALTORS®. Prudential Homesale’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium.  Pennsylvania real estate offices include York, LancasterWyomissing, Chambersburg, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Helpful Holiday Tips

Getting your College-Bound Teen Ready

collegeboundWithin the next month many parents will face the tough task of preparing their teen for dorm life for the very first time.  For the majority of students the concept of a home away from home can be overwhelming and a little bit frightening.

Here are some tips to help guide you and your teen through this exciting and trying period:

Emotional Impact…Your kid may appear confident and eager to leave home, but the truth is this can be a difficult transition for both of you.  Getting to know the school before classes begin is a great idea!  The more you know, the more you will feel a part of his/her life.  Plan a trip to see the campus if possible, an online virtual tour is a great alternative if you can’t visit.

On-campus housing can fill quickly; hopefully the room reservation was sent in as soon as your teen was accepted!!  Also encourage them to reach out to their new roommate ahead of time.  Facebook is a great way to connect and to get to know the person before moving day.  Get to know their likes/dislikes, hobbies, about their family, etc.  It’s also a way to organize who is bringing what supplies and furniture so they don’t end up with duplicates.

Small things can be done ahead of time to help kids adjust to their new state of independence.  Sit down and talk to your student about the expenses involved and help establish a budget that will work for everyone!  Sometimes pre-college programs are available and will provide them with a “small dose” of college life.  Talk about the great opportunities ahead and don’t dwell on challenges.  There will be good days and bad days!  The first semester is usually the hardest!  Communicate regularly, but not too much.   Be open to communication, but let them initiate it.  During these calls, pay attention to the names of classmates and professors, remember the course names and other information he/she shares with you.

Parents will also need to discover ways to handle their own separation anxieties!  This is a great time to find a new hobby or activity and develop new routines.  If Friday was always family night, find something else to do; get together with friends or enjoy a date night with your significant other.

A little preparation, good communication, and a little bit of confidence can make the college experience a memorable one for all of you!

Shopping List:

Laptop / Printer / Ink Clorox Wipes / Swiffer
Sheets/Blankets / Comforter Desk Lamp
Backpack / Messenger Bag Mirror
Laundry Detergent / Bag / Quarters Alarm Clock
Small Fridge / Microwave (if allowed) First Aid Kit / Other necessary medicines
Power Strip Storage bins
Shower Caddy A little piece of home (pics, etc.)
Flip Flops! A must for walking back & forth to the shower Car Accessories – gas credit card and AAA card are highly recommended!
Academic Supplies Room Freshener!!
Small Fan / Space Heater (if allowed) Snacks

Do you have a child heading into Kindergarten? Read our blog post on Avoiding Kindergarten Jitters.

Getting your College-Bound Teen Ready

DIY Projects to cool your home!!

staycoolblogSummer is a great time for some of our favorite activities, like hiking, swimming, relaxing at the beach, or just enjoying the outdoors.  But at times the heat of summer can become a bit uncomfortable…..especially in your home.

Tackle these simple projects to make your home more comfortable for those times you are ready to take a break from the outdoor heat!

A/C Filter – Avoid costly air conditioning repairs by performing some basic maintenance……replacing the air filter.  This should only cost a few dollars and will help ensure that your a/c continues to run smoothly and efficiently.

Install Shades – A door or window shade can help block out a great deal of the sun’s heat.  They are simple to install and can be fairly inexpensive.  Be sure to measure carefully!  Keeping the blinds closed on extremely warm days can greatly reduce your cooling costs!

Shade Trees – Planting trees to shade your home is a great idea if you are planning to stay there for a while.  It seems like an ideal solution to have their canopy for shade, but we know trees do not grow overnight.  However, there are certain types that will grow faster than others!

Drafts – No matter what time of year, drafts can torment every homeowner!  In the summer, drafts can allow the stifling heat into your home, while allowing the cool air to escape!  You can detect leaks by guiding a candle around the frame of doors and windows, watching the flame for signs of a draft.  Once located, simply remove any old/worn caulk and replace it with new, waterproof filler!

Check A/C Ducts – If you have been using your a/c for a few years, chances are some of your duct work may have come loose.  Loose duct fittings can cause a 20% drop in your air conditioner’s efficiency.  Take the time to inspect the ductwork and repair any areas that show “wear”.

Bedding – This might seem like a very minor task to consider, but the difference you will feel with light-weight fabrics is quite noticeable!  Heavier fabrics trap heat making it harder to sleep if you are too warm!  Natural fibers like Egyptian cotton, will allow better circulation and a much more comfortable night’s rest!

Take care of these few DIY projects this weekend………so next weekend you can enjoy yourself whether you are out OR in!!

DIY Projects to cool your home!!

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!

Thinking about your next home project?