Joe Kull and Katie Riley - Heritage Homes Real Estate



Posted by Joe Kull and Katie Riley on 8/13/2017

Depending on its condition, a basement can be a mixed blessing. On one hand, basements can provide an abundance of storage space to help keep your home organized. On the other hand, basements can be plagued with water leaks, excess moisture, and mold growth.

Some solutions to wet basement problems can be expensive, such as installing French drains, perimeter trenches, or exterior waterproof membranes. If you're considering buying a house that may have basement moisture problems or water damage, a good home inspector can identify these issues beforehand and let you know how serious they are.

Moisture Control Tips

Relatively simple solutions to wet basement problems include buying a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier extracts excess water from the air and can help prevent mold growth and moisture damage to your belongings. Ideally, a home basement should be a place where you can safely store everything from clothing and holiday supplies to tools and family heirlooms. A humidity meter, also called a hygrometer, can be a good way to keep track of relative humidity (RH) in your basement. Whether you'd want to buy a cheap one or a more costly model depends on the value of the items you want to protect.

The EPA's Energy Star program recommends maintaining a humidity range in your home of between 30% and 50% to prevent bacterial and mold growth. (For homeowners living in colder climates, it may be necessary to keep the RH level below 40% to prevent window condensation.) Note: If you're storing moisture-sensitive items like wooden musical instruments, important documents, or cigars, it's vital to carefully monitor humidity levels and follow all recommendations for optimal care and preservation. (Depending on the situation, it may also be necessary to keep track of other climate control factors, such as room temperature, dust, and air quality.)

What to Do About Clutter

Another common basement problem that often develops after homeowners have lived in the house for several years is clutter and disorganization. The ideal scenario is to set up an organization system in the basement immediately after moving into a house. In the real world, however, many people tend to postpone unpacking moving boxes and allow clutter to accumulate over a period of years.

The solution may consist of buying shelving units for the basement, setting aside and organizing things you want to keep, and dispensing with items that no longer serve your needs. Options for getting rid of unwanted stuff may include holding a garage sale, donating old belongings to charitable organizations, giving them away to friends and relatives, or paying a junk removal service to haul them away.

Although keeping your basement dry, organized, and clutter free is an ongoing task, the benefits almost always outweigh the short-term inconvenience.





Posted by Joe Kull and Katie Riley on 8/6/2017

Do you know the history of your home? How you respond to this question may dictate whether you're equipped to maximize the value of your residence. As a home seller, you'll want to know when your home was built and other facts about the condition of your residence before you add it to the real estate market. And with the right amount of research, you should be able to find out plenty about your residence and share this information with prospective homebuyers. Some of the key home history questions that every home seller should consider include: 1. How Old Is Your Home's Roof? An old roof could become a costly repair that no homeowner wants to encounter. However, home sellers who understand when their roof has been repaired or replaced can share this information with homebuyers and empower these buyers with additional details to help them make an informed decision. Remember, an old roof won't necessarily deter homebuyers from checking out your house. At the same time, you'll want to account for your roof's condition when you price your residence. Also, you may consider completing roof renovations before you list your home on the real estate market, as these repairs may help differentiate your residence from similar homes that are available. 2. When Was Your Hot Water Heater and/or Furnace Replaced? A homebuyer surely wants a home that is easy to heat. And if you've replaced your home's hot water heater or furnace recently, you likely will be better equipped to optimize the value of your residence. If you're uncertain about the age of your home's hot water heater or furnace, you'll want to have these items tested by professionals to ensure their quality. Typically, an average hot water heater will last between eight and 12 years; comparatively, an oil furnace usually will last up to 10 years, while a gas furnace may perform well for up to 20 years. And if it's been some time since these products have been repaired or replaced, you may want to consider installing new ones before you add your home to the real estate market. 3. What Is the Age of Your Air Conditioning System? While the hot water heater and furnace are likely to generate concerns from homebuyers, the condition of your home's air conditioning system probably will do the same. Like many appliances, your home's A/C system will start to break down over an extended period of time. This commonly happens after 10 to 15 years, but home sellers who have maintained and repaired their A/C system regularly may be able to reduce the need to replace this unit. Focus on finding out as much information as possible about your home and sharing this information with homebuyers. By doing so, you are able to be fully transparent about what your residence offers homebuyers. Thus, you may be able to speed up the process of selling your home. Dedicate the time and resources needed to learn about the history of your home, and ultimately, you'll be better equipped to find homebuyers who are interested in your residence.





Posted by Joe Kull and Katie Riley on 7/30/2017

Selling a house is a major life event. Generate a sizable profit on the sale of your house and you could use the money as a down payment for a new house. You could also use the profits to launch a business, travel or enjoy another life experience that you’ve been putting off due to finances. But, first you have to get the word out, announcing that your house is for sale.

Great places to announce that your house is for sale

Incorporate the internet into your house sale announcements. Also, take advantage of offline announcement opportunities. Below are great ideas and places to spread the word that your house is on the market.

  • Put a “House for Sale” sign in your front yard. Go for big, bold fonts and colors like red and white or purple and yellow.
  • List your home online. Zillow, Truila and Home Finder are examples of online listing sites. Check out the types of houses listed at the sites before you add your property. By reading through existing home listings, especially for houses that are similar to yours, you can get ideas on how to write a listing that grabs potential buyers’ attention.
  • Schedule open houses. Create a monthly schedule of when you’ll hold an open house. Space open houses out to give yourself enough time to clean and prep your home. Be open to partnering with a professional stager.
  • Hold a yard sale. Yes, a yard sale. It’s a great way to get rid of items you’re not going to take to your new house. Let everyone who stops by the yard sale know that your house is for sale.
  • Take out an ad in your local newspaper. Local magazines are another great place to announce that your house is for sale. Not only will you be telling people that your house is on the market, you’ll be taping into the very people who may be most interested in buying your home.
  • Create a website that highlights your house. As a safety tip, clear furniture out of a room, then take pictures and post them on the internet. Highlight the layout, spaciousness sand functionality of your home. Also, provide details on the front and back yard space. This is a time when great landscaping can really pay off. Pictures of your beautiful yards can easily attract house buyers who appreciate the outdoors.
  • Market your website at social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Google Plus. Target your marketing to people who live in the area where your home is located. Another demographic to target is military members.
  • Let your family, friends and colleagues know that you’re house is for sale. If you attend a worship center, tell people who attend the worship center that your house is on the market.

You’ve taken great care of your house. It’s the place where you may have started a family.The steps that you’re taking to begin the house sale process will allow someone else, perhaps an entire family, to become first time homeowners or to move into their dream home. By taking advantage of online and offline house sale announcement options, you could alert larger numbers of house shoppers about your real estate offering.





Posted by Joe Kull and Katie Riley on 7/23/2017

A yard sale offers a valuable opportunity to get rid of items before you sell your house. As such, it is important to promote your yard sale effectively; otherwise, you may miss out on a chance to declutter and earn extra cash at the same time.

Ultimately, there are many quick, easy ways to stir up interest in your yard sale, such as:

1. Post flyers in your city or town

Old-fashioned flyers can help you promote your yard sale to large groups of people in your city or town. That way, you can create a buzz around your event and increase the likelihood of selling your stuff.

If you use flyers to promote your yard sale, be sure to include essential information like the location, date and time of your event. Also, using bright, vibrant paper and colorful markers may help your flyers stand out.

Ensure that all of your yard sale flyers are legible, accurate and easy to understand. This will help minimize the risk of miscommunication with potential event attendees.

Of course, it never hurts to ask business owners for permission to post flyers at local companies, either. The more flyers that you post, the more likely it becomes that your yard sale will be a resounding success.

2. Create an online posting

An online posting makes it simple for you to provide details about your yard sale to large groups of people.

Putting an online posting on Craigslist or local community websites may prove to be worthwhile. And in some instances, you may even be able to include photos of items that you plan to sell at your yard sale.

In addition, invite friends on Facebook and other social networks to attend your upcoming yard sale. By doing so, you can boost your chances of stirring up substantial interest in the days leading up to your event.

3. Select the right date and time

Oftentimes, Saturdays and Sundays are the best days to host a yard sale, and for good reason. Many people don't have to work on weekends, and as a result, may have free time to attend your yard sale.

After you know which day of the week that you want to host your yard sale, consider the date and time of your event closely.

Take a look at the holiday calendar, and you should have no trouble selecting a yard sale date that works well for most people in your area.

Think about the time of your yard sale too. And remember, if you host a yard sale that coincides with local community events, it may be difficult for some people to attend.

Lastly, if you need extra help stirring up interest in your yard sale, don't hesitate to reach out to your real estate agent. This housing market professional may be able to share details about your upcoming yard sale with clients and colleagues.

Generating buzz in a yard sale can be easy, and with the aforementioned tips, you can stir up plenty of interest in your event.




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Posted by Joe Kull and Katie Riley on 7/16/2017

When the nice weather finally arrives, many of us look for any excuse to get outside to enjoy it. I've even been known to mow the lawn every once in a while just for the pleasure of being outdoors. But you don't have to put yourself to work to enjoy the nice weather. Finding a new hobby can be an excellent way to get outside. But that doesn't mean you have to spend a ton of money on a swimming pool or a membership to your local tennis courts. So, if you're used to spending your afternoons and evenings with Netflix on your couch but want to take advantage of the nice weather while it's here, take a look at these frugal outdoor hobbies that will help you get outside without breaking your wallet.

Fitness

Every time I buy a gym membership I go in with great intentions. I'm motivated and excited to start working out. Then a few weeks go by and slowly my gym bag begins to collect dust. The terrible music, the crowded treadmills, the bros grunting into the mirror... it all adds up to a bad experience. We lose interest in our hobbies when they stop being fun. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get fit outdoors that are fun and cheap.
  • Run. The simple act of running has been spreading joy since Pheilippides ran from Marathon to Athens to spread the news of victory against the Persians. Once he arrived, however, he supposedly dropped dead. Use that as a reason to start slow and remember to buy a decent pair of running shoes to protect your joints.
  • Bike. Cycling is a great workout and a great way to go sightseeing. Your first thought might be "cycling isn't frugal" but that's only true if you aren't willing to hunt down the great deals on Craigslist and at yard sales, of which there will be many this time of year.
  • Hike. Odds are there are dozens of parks and trails in your area that you've never explored. Throw a sandwich and a water bottle in your bag and go exploring.

Relaxation

If you don't feel like running a marathon just to get outside there are several other hobbies that can help you expand your level of chill while still working on your tan.
  • Meditate. This is truly the master of frugal hobbies in the sense that the only thing you need is yourself. Go out into your yard and the woods, sit or lay down in a comfy position, close your eyes, then notice the sounds and the smells around you.
  • Read. Grab your lounge chair and your library card--that's all you'll need to keep your brain busy all summer outside.
  • Yoga. Even if you don't want to admit it your body needs to move, at least a little bit. But that doesn't mean you can't still be relaxed while doing it. Bring your cell phone or laptop outside and watch one of the many great beginner yoga videos on YouTube.
  • Gardening. Not only is gardening frugal, but you'll actually save money once you start harvesting all the vegetables you've grown. Gardening allows you to play in the dirt, learn new things, get outside, and enjoy food you've grown yourself. It's an all-around awesome hobby.




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