It’s back to school time again. School clothes and supplies must be purchased in the mad rush of back to school blow out sales. Bed times must be adjusted to make the school bus shuffle a little easier in the wee hours of the morning. And some how we must pry the electronics out of our kids’ hands before bed to help them get their best rest.
But kids aren’t the only ones with big changes in store. Parents will have to prepare for after school rehearsals, sports practices, car pools and even late night, last minute school projects.
How do we make the transition as smooth as possible for both ourselves and our children? Remember, there is strength in numbers. Work with fellow parents to schedule car pool circles. Plan ahead and get a jump on all the extracurricular activities by contacting the school, don’t wait on the kids to bring the information home. Make a school activities calendar. First, purchase or make a large calendar and choose a central location in your home to hang it. Everyone needs to be able to see the calendar to know what is happening and when; it helps to avoid overlapping events and stretching everyone too thin. Consider color-coding events so that each family member has his or her own color, and enlist teenage kids to assist in driving younger siblings to dance, soccer, and other activities when you need to be two places at once.
It’s also a good idea to add a corkboard to the calendar so you can hang important papers, reminders, permission slips, and other materials near the calendar. Dry erase boards or chalkboards are some of the best choices for family calendars because you can change the calendar at a moment’s notice without having to cross things out and take up much-needed calendar space.
And finally, give yourself the extra time you need for the transition. Adjust your own bed time to make the early morning madness a little easier.
Check out the following links for more helpful back to school tips.
Eco-friendly Choices for Household Floors
Choosing new or replacement eco-friendly flooring is one of the emerging trends among house and condo owners. Eco-friendly flooring is generally identified as being made from and with more sustainable resources; materials that don’t deplete or permanently damage the environment (such as toxic laminates); or, material that is easy to reuse or recycle after its intended purpose. Here are some examples:
Renewable/Sustainable: Bamboo and cork are popular natural resources that renew relatively quickly. It should be noted that traditional woods are also renewable, as long as they are managed through sustainable practices. Before you buy natural flooring products, ask if the harvesting methods are verified through an accredited authority.
Repurposed/Reclaimed: Flooring made from old building structures (e.g. posts, beams, walls and planks) is a viable alternative option to grown and harvested resources. Likewise, recycled glass, plastic and rubber provide ample raw materials for creative flooring effects. Using them also reduces landfill. These products can be found through decorative flooring dealers.
Reusable/Recyclable: When purchasing any product, whether natural, synthetic and/or manufactured, it is important to know that the product can be easily recycled when it is beyond its usefulness, without causing environmental detriment in a landfill.
How to Deal with a Low-Ball Offer
If you take care to price your home correctly – that is, at a price that is in line with what similar properties in the area have sold for recently – then you have a good chance of selling it at or near your asking price.
That doesn’t mean you won’t get a low-ball offer. You might. So, what do you do when that happens?
First, understand that the buyer may not necessarily be trying to steal away your home at a bargain-basement price. He might simply be mistaken about its true market value. Of course, he might also be coming in at a low price in the hopes he’ll get lucky.
You will never actually know the buyer’s motives. So, it would be a mistake to get angry or dismiss the offer out-of-hand. That low-ball offer might end up being the beginning of a negotiation that results in the sale of your home at a good price.
Your first step is to work with a real estate agent to determine:
- Whether the buyer is serious.
- Whether the buyer is qualified. (For example, does he have a pre-approved mortgage?)
- How amenable the buyer is to a counter-offer that reflects the true market value of your home.
- What that counter-offer should be.
This isn’t an easy process. It takes the knowledge and experience of a professional real estate agent to get it right.
How to Decide If You Should Replace Your Windows
One of the most prominent features of any home is the windows. If they are well maintained, they will have a positive impact on the impression potential buyers have of your property. Of course, the opposite occurs when your windows look old and worn.
So, does that mean you should replace your windows?
That depends on a number of factors. Window replacement can be an expensive renovation. Here are a few things to consider before making your decision.
- Do you see water infiltration or mildew on the interior sides of any of the window sills? This means that moisture is creeping in from the outside, and you need to get those windows repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
- If your windows are double-paned – (two panes of glass) – check for any signs of moisture in between the glass panes. Moisture indicates that the thermal seal is broken and, at a minimum, the glass will need to be replaced.
- Take a look at your windows from the outside. Is the trim rotted or cracked anywhere? Are there dark spots or any signs of rotting on the wood frames? Repairs or replacement may be required.
- Check the operation of your windows. Do they open and close easily? Some windows, such as those in bedrooms, are often designed to be big enough to use as an exit in case of a fire. It’s important to make sure those work properly.
- Finally, are you happy with how your windows look? Do you feel that your property will look significantly better with new windows?
Although they are expensive, replacing windows can have a lot of advantages. Depending on the efficiency of your current windows, replacing them could cut your energy costs by 10-20%. In addition, new windows block out more exterior noise, making your home quieter.
Want more tips on increasing the value, and enjoyment, of your property? Call me today.
“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” John Wooden
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” John D. Rockefeller
“Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart.” Alan Alda