Halloween Party Ideas

halloween-1751903_640It’s that time of year again and Halloween is just around the corner. You can spend hours hunting on Pinterest for the perfect party food, games and décor. Or you can just use the recipes, games and DIY décor ideas found here.


Food:

  • Yetti cupcakes are perfect for a monster themed party. In order to make these cute little cupcakes you will need googly eyes, vampire fangs, cupcake mix, frosting and coconut. You can find the full recipe and instructions here.
  • Mummy dogs put a twist on a childhood favorite: Pigs ‘N a Blanket. You simply cut crescent roll sough into thin strips and wrap the hot dogs like mummies. You can even leave a space for ketchup or mustard eyes and a mummy turban. Cut the hot dogs in half for a bite-sized Halloween treat.
  • Witches Wands are the perfect treat to snack on. They also give your party a little pizzazz. Start by dipping pretzel rods in melted chocolate. Then sprinkle on Halloween themed or colored sprinkles. Once dry, you can stick them in vase in some candy corn to prop them up.


Games:

  • Pass the pumpkin is the perfect game for little ones. You need several smaller sized pumpkins. Start by arranging the youngsters in a circle. Give out the pumpkins to all but one child. They pass the pumpkins around while listening to Halloween music. When the music stops, the child without a pumpkin is out. But they get to take a pumpkin with them. Which can then be carved or decorated for added fun. The last child left gets a prize.
  • The Mummy Wrap game combines great with the mummy dog snacks and monster theme. You will need rolls of toilet paper. Start by dividing your guests up into pairs. Give each pair a roll or two of toilet paper. One team member will wrap the other one up with the toilet paper. Then the wrapped one will wrap their partner. The first team to be fully wrapped or run out of toilet paper wins!
  • Pin the Tail on the Black Cat takes a Halloween twist on pin the tail on the donkey. Hang up a large picture of a balck cat. Give each guest a tail with a piece of sticky tape on it. One by one, the blindfolded guests take turns trying to get their tails closest to where they belong. The guest who gets the closest wins.

Décor:

  • Paper Skeletons provide the perfect Halloween feel without breaking the bank. You can make them as small or as large as you want. You will need paper, scissors and something to stick the parts together such as glue, tape or pins. You can find detailed instructions here.
  • Toilet paper roll bats turn those leftover rolls into spooky party favors and decorations. You will need toilet paper rolls, black paint, black construction paper, scissors, googly eyes and glue. Start by painting the rolls black and folding the ends in to look like a bat. Then cut out and glue on wings made from the construction paper. Finally, you are ready to glue on the eyes.  
  • Bloody Handprints spook even the bravest of guests. You will need red poster paint. Dip your hands in the paint and start leaving prints on the windows, mirrors and any other easily wiped surfaces in your house.

Home Buying Process

Buying a home is a big decision. One that no matter how much research you do, there are still so much you probably didn’t prepare for. As you move through the process of buying a home, the most important thing you can do for yourself is hire a real estate agent to help you navigate the process. In the end, you’ll be glad you did. window-1601423_640

To help you prepare for the home buying process, especially if this your first time, here are 5 important factors to be aware of.

Pre-approved. Before you begin your search for your dream home, take a moment to get pre-approved. This is important so you know how much you can afford and have realistic expectations going in. Too many times first time homebuyers skip this process and they start looking at homes that are way out of their price range, which can put throw them off once they see what they really can afford.

In addition to this, being pre-approved before talking with a real estate agent will help your agent support in your house hunt—and yes, you’re going to want to have an agent help you.

Search for dream home. The house hunt can be a frustrating experience or a wonderful experience, depending what you’re looking for and what the market is like. However, with a qualified agent helping you along the way, this will take a lot of the stress away. While looking for your dream home, remember to take some time to look at various homes to give you an idea on what you’d like. Also, don’t fall in love with just one home, in case someone makes an offer before you’ve had a chance to. During this process, your agent can help and answer all your questions about making counter-offer and negotiations.

Earnest money. This can be a surprise if you’re not prepared for it. When you make an offer on your dream home, putting down some earnest money to show the seller you’re serious. Depending on the situation, either the earnest will go towards your closing costs or will be returned to you. Again, your real estate agent and loan officer can answer your questions.

Inspections. Once the seller has accepted your offer, prepare for home inspections. Three of the more important ones are a meth test, mold test, and radon test. In addition to having these tests, hiring a professional inspector to inspect the property, both inside and out. This is important to know if there are any foundational and structural problems you should be aware of. If you find out these before the set deadlines, you can pull out of your offer which out losing your earnest money.

Loan Process. This is another in depth process you should be prepared for. Depending on the type of loan you’re applying for, your credit score, and other financial documents, this may be a long process as your lender determines if you qualify for a loan. Going into this process, make sure you have your last 2 years tax information, w-2s, paycheck stubs, and any other information your lender may need.

There is a lot that goes in the home buying process and at times you may feel like it will never end and you’ll never buy your home. However, the process is worth it because in the end you’ll have a home you love, will start building equity, and have pride in owning your very home.

Remember buying your first home? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

5 Reasons To Hire A Property Manager


Are you interested in renting out your home? Many people enter the home rental business thinking it will make them a lot of money. While most renters will take care of your property, some aren’t as considerate and may leave you with a lot of stress and headache associated with being a landlord.

One way to help keep the stress is by hiring a property manager. If you’re fed up with the stress of being a landlord or are interested in owning rental property, here are 5 reasons to hire a property manager.

  1. No more wake-up calls. One thing about being a landlord is that if problems or emergencies arise, you’ll be the first person called. However, by hiring a property manager, they’ll be the ones dealing with any issues that may arise in the night.
  1. Tenant sourcing and screening. Property managers have access to a lot of great resources to help them find new tenants fast, keeping those vacancy rates down. In addition, because of the resources they have, property managers are able to thoroughly screen tenants.tie-690084_640
  1. Regular upkeep and repair. Not a fan of all the maintenance that come from rental property? Well, that is another great part of hiring a property manager. When repairs are needed, property managers are the one’s who’ll be there the moment trouble arises. Plus, they have access to all sorts of vendors and contractors who can do the repairs at reasonable prices.
  1. Avoid legal problems. Another part of being a landlord is keeping up with the landlord-tenant law, which can be time consuming and expensive (if you’re not up to regulations). New regulations and other requirements are always changing and staying current is important to avoid any legal trouble that may come up. With a property management company, a professional property manager can make sure everything is on the up-and-up.
  1. Keep an eye on your property without having to watch it. Regardless if you’re a long-distance landlord or are renting from down the block, a property manager will check the property often and make sure everything is in order and the home looks lived in. This can be extremely important when the home goes through vacancies to ensure the empty property isn’t prone to vandalism or break-ins.

Have some other questions about hiring a property manager? Check out the full article here at Realtor Magazine. Have you rented out your property before? Tell us about your experience.

 

4 Things Your Homeowners Insurance Won’t Cover

house-409451_1920Homeowners insurance is important (and required), but there are a few things it won’t cover. Here are 4 things to be aware of when looking over your insurance policy.

  1. Flooding. You never know what Mother Nature has in store for the future and making sure your home is protected against floods can save you a headache in the long-run. Regardless if you live in a flood zone or not, you should seriously consider looking into flood insurance. According to Flood Smart, flood claims over the past 5 years averaged $39,000; whereas the annual average cost for flood insurance was $700.
  1. Mold. Most species of mold are harmless, but certain types of mold can be harmful to your health. Nasal stuffiness, throat, eye, and skin irritation, and wheezing are some side effects, which can be worse for children and older adults. If you suspect your home has mold, any repairs you’ll need will come out of your pocket (unless your insurance policy covers it).
  1. Earthquakes. California is the only state who has earthquakes and insurance to cover damage from an earthquake is not covered under a standard homeowners’ policy. If you live near a fault line, your rates may be a little costly (compared to those who don’t). However, the out of pocket costs associated with earthquakes can get pretty expensive.
  1. Pools. Nowadays, everyone seems to have a pool. Before you let the neighbor kids take a dip or jump in the pool for a quick lap, talk with your insurance company about pool-related injuries. You will also want to take precautions such as installing locks around the pool and a fence around the pool area.

Read more about what your homeowners insurance won’t cover and make sure you are fully protected.

Perks of Spring Cleaning

Spring is officially here and with the warmer weather, for many, now is the time to get a start on their spring cleaning. Although not many are excited of the idea of spring cleaning–sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do–there are a lot of benefits to cleaning out your home and getting things organized. small faucet

How are your new years resolutions coming along? For those who put on their 2015 goals to get their homes in order, there is still time to accomplish all those things you wanted to get done. Use this time to get all those things patched up, thrown out, and repainted.

While you are cleaning your home from top to bottom, you are getting a great exercise in and without the hassle of going to the gym. Put on some great music and you can make your workout even better.

You know that pile of dust and all those dust bunnies behind the fridge? Just think how great you will feel when all that is gone. Although it won’t last forever, you will feel great when you’re done and can look around at your sparkling home.

Do you have any spring cleaning tips you want to share? Feel free to tell us about them on our Facebook page.

 

How to Downsize and Stay Sane

Not everyone wants to move into the biggest house on the block or are tired of maintaining a large home. Whatever your reason, how do you decide if downsizing is the right choice for you?

There are a lot of things to weigh when you begin to consider downsizing. If you are like most people, you have a lot of furniture, mementos, and clutter you’ve collected over the years, downsizing may not be the right decision. If you are overwhelmed with stuff, trying to put all of that in a smaller home could add to your stress and frustration.SmHuts

To get a better sense of the pros and cons of downsizing, talk to people who’ve downsized before. What was their experience like? What were some of the challenges they faced? Would they do it again? Through your conversations you can gain more clarity and decide if you should downsize.

When you have a better idea of what would be your best option, you find move forward with certainty and find ways to reduce any additional stress in your life.

Check Your Heating System

light-bulb-3229-830x550The cold weather is upon us and it more important than ever that you keep up with the maintenance of your heating system. This season, keep your system working efficiently by following this simple tips:

Change your heater’s air filter monthly and remove dust from your vents to keep your system working better. While you are changing your filter take time to check the blower belt and oil the blower motor in accordance to your owner’s manual.

If your heater is old, you may want to seriously consider replacing it with a more modern gas furnace which can make your heating system more efficient and save you money.

Check to ensure your vents are open and are not blocked by furniture or other items. By keeping your vents clear of debris you will have better circulation around your home.

Take some time to remove flammable objects from around your furnace and water heaters.

 

Removing Your Popcorn Ceiling

One of the worse trends from the 1970s was popcorn ceilings. Many homebuyers are finding their homes sporting the outdated look, but getting rid of the popcorn decor is not always the easiest. However, don’t fret! Here are some simple tips to help you get rid of the dreaded popcorn ceiling.

First, prepare the room. Seal off the room with plastic sheets from floor to ceiling to keep the debris from spreading through your home. Also include a fan in the window for ventilation.

Spray the ceiling down with an adhesive bond to make the removal easier. Wait 10-15 minutes before scraping.

Another note, cover electrical sockets and turn off the electricity in the room before starting your project.

What are some home projects you are working on right now? Have you removed popcorn ceiling? What are some of your tips?

How to Sell Your Home During the Holidays

Selling your home during the holidays can have a lot of benefits, but with the holidays can bring added stresses if you aren’t prepared. Firstly, when preparing to sell your home, hire a qualified and experience real estate agent. This will help take a lot of the load off so you can enjoy the holiday festivities with your family.

Tea_House_in_winter_-_Vihula_Manor_Country_Club_&_SpaStaging your home to entice potential buyers is a key factor when showing your home to potential buyers. With the holidays, it is easy to want to deck the halls and really show off your decorations. However, keeping it simple and with less decor is best when showing your home. 

With the holidays, you have some advantages too. There is less competition when selling during the holiday season. Most homeowners take their homes off the market during this time of year and will put their homes back on the market in the spring. Use this time to get an edge on the market for a buyer who is looking to buy now. 

Steps to Home Ownership ~ Made Easy

  1. Buyer obtains pre-qualification from Lender.
  2. Buyer purchases desired home with a Real Estate Agent’s help.
  3. Contract is accepted / Home is placed in escrow
  4. Loan application is submitted to lender.
  5. Lender orders title & property appraisal.
  6. Loan materials are reviewed & processed.
  7. Loan submitted to underwriting for approval.
  8. Closing agent – signing, transfer of final materials.
  9. Loan documents are signed.
  10. The loan is funded & recorded.
  11. Buyers get the keys to their new home.

Purchasing a home can seem complex. Obtaining a mortgage shouldn’t be.

Let us help you make your home ownership easy. Give us a call

 

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