The Good, the Bad and the Indifferent; Choosing a Realtor

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in How To's | 0 comments

realtors, choosing a realtor, buying a homeNot all real estate agents are equal; some are good, some are bad, some are indifferent. Given the recent havoc created by the recession there’s also a lot of competition in the industry and local, national, discount and more expensive realtors abound. While it’s a buyer’s market these days the choice of available properties can be overwhelming, never mind the offers on the table from realtors fighting for your business. So how do you choose a good realtor, is there any such thing and how discounted are discount realtors?

Finding the Discount in Discount Realtors

Let’s dismiss the discount realtor first; most discounted realtors offer their services on a menu-style basis. This is not a bad option for experienced investors and developers. If you’ve the time, energy and negotiating skills to do much of the work yourself, then a basic listing service offered by a discount real estate agent can be an affordable way to market a property. Realtors offer access to the Multi-Listing Service (MLS) which is not easily available to individuals; this means that a basic listing service might work well for an investor/developer. For individuals, however, the combination of viewing, negotiating, spotting time wasters or real prospects is not only time consuming but can be fraught with mistakes. The verdict here is unless you’re a professional investor (or a realtor yourself) the basic listing on offer from discount realtors may not be worth the money. Discount realtors do offer additional services – at additional costs and sometimes adding these together works out more expensive than simply hiring a full service from a realtor!

Do ‘Good’ Realtors Really Exist?

In many respects there is simply no such thing as a good realtor; this is not a judgment on their ethics, personal qualities or lifestyle! It’s simply that ‘good’ is subjective here and it depends on your circumstances. Two factors are often on sellers’ minds; the price they can achieve and the timescale that they need to make a sale in. ‘Good’ is better described as ‘effective’ in this case and experienced realtors offer a wealth of knowledge in property and how to sell it. Finding one that suits your circumstances requires some research. Start with friends and family, neighbours or colleagues. Ask who they’ve used and what experiences they’ve had. Also check your own area for sale boards and see which realtors are concentrated in your neighbourhood. Use sites like Agent Harvest to build a fuller list of realtors. These routes should provide you with a shortlist of potential realtors.

Stylish Realtors

For domestic sales and purchases there’s a very important factor to consider; buying a home is often an emotional decision. If potential purchasers like a realtor there’s a good chance they’ll trust them. When you have a short list of realtors, try to attend any open houses they’re running, to get a feel for their personality and style. This point can’t be under-emphasized; while realtors should have good local knowledge and sales skills, they should be people-people, with an ability to gain trust quickly. If you come away from an open house feeling thoroughly schmoozed, drop the realtor in question from your list!

The Bottom Line

Fees and references are important when it comes to choosing a realtor. Compare fees and services offered by different firms or individuals. Menu-style fees (as mentioned above) can work well for developers but if you’re new to selling and buying consider the full service option as the most feasible. Find out where and how your property will be advertised and ask for references from your short list of realtors. Ask for three or four recent references specifically, as some agents will simply pick their favorite! Much of this part of the selection process can be done on paper, or via email, but make a point of meeting your final selection of realtors face-to-face; this is how potential purchasers will see them and your gut instinct here should not be ignored. In terms of performance ask realtors for information on their sales figures in the last year and the ratio of marketing price/closure price. Here your own needs will influence what constitutes a good realtor; those with a good ratio on marketing price/closure price are ideal if you have a figure set in your mind, while those with a fast turnaround may suit those needing to move quickly.

Image credit: foxnews.com

Read More

Oven Care Tips for Busy Homemakers

Posted by on Mar 5, 2014 in Care Tips | 0 comments

cleaning oven, oven care, ovenIt’s so easy to overlook the insides of your oven when you clean your kitchen. When you roast and bake your food, you can have accidental spills and splatters all over the insides of your oven. These can turn into stubborn stains and gunk when you do not clean them up right away. As much as you would like to make a fairy wish to get your oven sparkly clean again, you do have to put some elbow grease into your oven clean up.

Here are some tips on how you can care for your oven the good old traditional way:

Read the Manual – There are different types of ovens in the market today with specific care instructions for each type. You cannot go wrong by reading and following the manufacturer’s manual. Your manual should contain detailed instructions on how to clean your oven properly.

Wipe Down After Cooking – Spend the extra time giving your oven a quick wipe down after cooking. Remember to cool the over first before doing anything with the insides. Conventional ovens can be cleaned with a cloth warm soapy water. Others like the bottom of their ovens with aluminium foil before roasting or baking. This makes clean up quicker as spills are caught by the foil, leaving you with only the sides and ceiling of the oven to clean up.

Soak and Scrub – More stubborn dirt and grime requires more effort. You can soak oils and liquids with baking soda and then wipe it down with a warm damp cloth. Give it a second wiping with another clean wet cloth. Burnt substances stuck on your oven’s walls and bottom can be doused with an oven cleaning solution and scrubbed with a scouring pad. To prevent this from happening again, it is recommended that you clean up spills, drips, and splatters as soon as possible.

Image credit: spice4life.co.za

Read More

Gift the Newly Grads with Energy and Good Health

Posted by on Feb 24, 2014 in Appliances, Green Goods, green living | 0 comments

Do you know someone who’s graduating this year? Do you already have a gift perfect for him or her? There are actually many things we can give to our loved ones who just finished a stage in their lives and are bound to face new challenges.

Be it for leveling up to high school or building a new career, you can find a perfect graduation gift for your loved ones at Lazada Philippines. There are so many items to choose from in this great online shop but one item caught my eye. I think it’s the best choice and will not only benefit the graduate but his or her entire family as well. It’s the Koii Power Juicer.

power juicer, lazada, lazada ph

Power juicer, to keep the graduate healthy

Let the graduate make all his favorite fresh juices with this powerful juicer and give him energy and good health. Since the graduates have different activities, their energy requirement also differ from each other. The little graduate spends hours in playing so replenish his thirst more. Let him enjoy his favorite fruit juices and put in a small amount of his not so favorite vegetable to let him stay healthy. For the teens, give them brain food juices to keep them alert and focused with their studies. And for the yuppies, power them up with energy juices to fight stress and enjoy the fruits of their hard work.

Living green is eating healthy so make this great tool a part of the graduate’s kitchen, and yours too.

Read More

Make Sure your Kitchen is Fully-stocked with Fantastic Neff Appliances

Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in Appliances, Home Essentials, How To's | 0 comments

It is essential that your kitchen is fully stocked with high quality appliances, as this will allow you to easily make delicious meals every single day. Investing in quality items means that these appliances will not deteriorate over time and you can rely on them to work day in, day out for many years to come.

appliances, fridgeAnyone will tell you that you don’t find the heart and soul of a home in the lounge – it’s in the kitchen. Families bond over food, whether it’s homemade or comes out of a packet, and if your kitchen is big enough then this might also be a good place for you to sit around and socialise in too. This means that you want this area of the home to be as nice and fully stocked with cooking  equipment as possible. Nowadays there are hundreds of different appliances that can be used in the kitchen, and they make the preparing and cooking of food very simple and straightforward – many of us would be completely lost without them.

appliances, dishwasherWe are completely reliant on some of these appliances, and because we use them every single day we end up putting quite a bit of strain on them. When you use an appliance of any kind enough times, it may struggle to not deteriorate in quality, and this is why it is best to buy your appliances from various well-known and established brands, as this way you know that it will last you for many years to come. The cheaper options may be appealing at first glance, but they will deteriorate over time and not be able to do their job properly, which may result in you have to repair and or replace them on a regular basis.

The big names are usually the big names because they have the best quality and reliability reputations, meaning that you’ll  probably end up saving a fair amount of money over the years. These high quality items will meet the demands of your lifestyle and make it much easier for you, so if you have just moved home or need to replace one then consider investing in a range like Neff appliances. Neff is a company that specialise in kitchen appliances, including hobs, cooker hoods, dishwashers, fridges, ovens, freezers, microwaves and plenty more. When your kitchen is fully stocked with items like this it can make cooking complex meals very straightforward and easy, and will allow you to eat well every day and not have to stress too much over the preparing and cooking of the food.

We too often take all of these appliances for granted – think about just how many you use from the moment you wake up through to when you go to bed. When you realise how high this number is you will realise how dependent we are on them, and how important it is that we always buy the best (as far as our wallets allow). This will make your life easier and allow you to do things that you would not be able to do without them – with new models developed and released on a regular basis to make our lives more manageable, check some of them out today.

Read More

Ceramic Cookware: Adding Functional Flair to Your Kitchen

Posted by on Feb 10, 2014 in Care Tips, Green Goods, Home Essentials | 0 comments

The everyday task of cooking and preparing meals is made more enjoyable when you have a kitchen that is pleasant to work in. Some home cooks even aspire to have kitchens that are cooking show-worthy, from the layout and fixtures right down to the pots, pans, and utensils. More than aesthetics, home cooks should think about functionality as well. In choosing cookware, for example, you have to consider those that are easy to use and at the same time look good while sitting on your stove or your countertop. Ceramic cookware fits the bill perfectly.

ceramic pots and pans, ceramic cookware, ceramic

With all the talk about healthy pots and pans in recent years, ceramic cookware fast rose to the top as one of the most preferred cookware of home cooks today. Home cooks love their ceramic pots and pans because of the following features that put both flair and function in this type of cookware. · Available in various designs. This type of cookware comes in a colored surface made of enamel or glaze. It is usually available in a variety of colors and patterns so home cooks can choose the designs that best match their kitchen theme or even their serving platters and dinnerware. The decorative quality of these cookware allow home cooks to display their ceramic pots and pans in the cupboards or overhead pot racks in their kitchen. · Can withstand a range of temperatures. Ceramic pots and pans let home cooks enjoy the same even heat distribution of a cast iron pan without the inconvenience of having to go through the seasoning process. This cookware can also cook at high temperatures without the risk of warping or having hot spots that can burn food. · Convenient to use, clean, and store. Home cooks do not have to worry about food sticking to their ceramic cookware. They also do not have to worry about the chipping or peeling of any cooking surfaces. Caring for these cookware is easy enough with nothing more than a quick wipe of a kitchen towel to remove any particles left on the cooking surface. These cookware are also dishwasher-safe.

There are plenty of different cookware brands offering ceramic pots and pans. Among the top brands are Le Creuset, Tramontina, and Cuisinart. Home cooks can browse through various cookware shops online to find the ceramic cookware to add to their kitchens.

Image credit: ceramcor.com

Read More

Transforming Rooms for a Space Efficient Home

Posted by on Feb 4, 2014 in Home Design Ideas, Home Furniture | 14 comments

Switching to a green lifestyle involves a conscious effort to conserve resources and make the most out of everything around you, including space. Homeowners who need extra space for their growing needs usually have two options. One is to build an extra room or create an extension or move into a bigger house. However, there is also the option of exploring the house for underutilized space and converting it into one that serves your need better. For instance, an attic that is used for storing old and discarded items may be transformed into an office loft or a personal nook where one can be more productive.

The attic and loft areas are commonly used as storage spaces or extra bedrooms for guests, but it can also be a good office space for those who work at home. There are several things to consider when redecorating your home attic and transforming it into an office loft. First is the layout, you need to know the amount of available space you have and how to distribute available space according to your needs. You may also want to check the access point and decide whether you want to make adjustments on it too. Ladder or spiral stairs that are sometimes used to access the attic can be difficult to use when carrying bulky objects. You may want to consider changing it into traditional stairs if you plan to turn it into an office.

ergonomic furnishings, home office, office loft

Images from Luxdeco

Another consideration is the furnishing and storage. You would want to create a space that inspires you to be productive. This requires good lighting and ventilation, ergonomic furnishings, and stylish decors. You can tap into your green side and have a few glass or clear roof panels installed so you can take advantage of natural light and save on light bulbs and electricity. Find office furnishings that are equally efficient in covering both utility and decorative requirements of your work area so you can also save on décor costs. Gorgeous furnishings with multiple functions for work and storage are sometimes worth the splurge.

Converting storage spaces like the attic into an office loft offers two benefits to home owners. One is you get to de-clutter and you get extra space that can help you be more productive.

Read More

Looking Clean is Only Half the Battle

Posted by on Jan 20, 2014 in Green Goods, Home Essentials | 0 comments

Have a houseful over the holidays? Need to clean and freshen your home after Grandpa smoked his pipe and Uncle Joe his cigars? Your home will not only smell as fresh as it is clean when you attack the source of the odors, the air will be as clean. Machines that go after the minuscule particles that invade cracks and vents use ozone (O3) to battle them out. O3 will always be the winner because O3 is simply oxygen (O2) with an added atom. Lightening is one method nature uses to create ozone naturally. But man has found a way to mimic nature with machines that produce ozone by electricity. The added oxygen atoms that cling to O2 molecules charge after pollutants that cause offensive smells. Smells are effectively eliminated. Because O3 can go into the smallest of crevices, no nasty smells can avoid its path.

odorfree machine

Mold odors, pet odors, food odors are just some of the odors these machines can eliminate. So they not just make our home smell clean but eliminate odors that could cause helath problems.

These machines are very easy to use. They come in several sizes so you can choose the one that best fits the space you need to treat. For examples of numerous options available you can look on Odorfreemachines.com. After you find the one you need all you have to do to use it is plug it in and vacate the space for the designated, recommended amount of time. Depending on the area to be treated the odors can be eliminated in as little as one hour.

Many times we put air freshners after we clean our rooms or any area in our homes. It just means that not just we want our home look clean but also to smell clean. These odorfree machines are just perfect for every household.

Read More