Susan Coleman's Blog
Baking soda is something that most of us have in our homes. We use it for cooking, but have you ever thought that you can use it for cleaning as well? Baking soda is actually a fantastic thing to clean with. It deodorizes and is non-toxic, so it’s safe for kids, pregnant women, and pets. Below, you’ll find some of the household chores that you can complete using baking soda.
Scrub Down The oven
Since ovens can become really dirty, really fast, you need something that can take on the grease. Baking soda is great for this purpose. Make a paste using baking soda and water or vinegar. Let the paste sit in the oven for up to 24 hours. Then wipe the mixture down with a sponge or cloth. You can heat the oven after you do this initial cleaning to help you loosen any additional grease, grime, or food particles. Let the oven cool and wipe it down again.
Keep Drains Clear
If you notice that your drains are a bit slow, you may want to avoid harsh chemicals and start with the baking soda right in your kitchen. Pour some baking soda into your drain. Then, run some warmed vinegar down the drain immediately afterwards. After you let that mixture go to work for about 10 minutes, you should flush the drain with boiling water. This won’t work on already clogged drains, but it’s great for maintenance on your drains that may be a bit slow.
Keep Your Fridge Fresh
Your fridge can become a breeding ground for germs, crumbs, and spills. All you need to clean the refrigerator up is a simple solution made up of baking soda and dish soap. The soap will help to cut any grease that has built up in the appliance, and the baking soda acts as an abrasive to get the gunk up. Just create a paste and apply it in the refrigerator. Then wipe down the shelves with warm water and a sponge. You can even disinfect your sponge in the microwave after you do this. Just place the sponge in the microwave for 2 minutes and you have a sponge that’s like new!
Freshen Your Washing Machine
Baking soda helps to deodorize things. To deodorize your washer, just pour half a cup of baking soda into the detergent dispenser of the washing machine. Run a cycle through with hot water. Your clothes will be cleaner than they have been in months! Make sure you do this to your washer about once per month to keep it smelling fresh and deter those funky odors from building up in your laundry room. The only thing that should be smelling funky in there are dirty socks!
When it comes to buying a home, there is no reason to let negotiations get the best of you. Fortunately, we're here to help you become an expert negotiator, i.e. someone who understands the ins and outs of obtaining a high-quality residence at a budget-friendly price.
What does it take to become an expert homebuying negotiator? Here are three negotiating tips that every homebuyer needs to know:
1. Act Quickly on a Home That You Like
If you fall in love with a home and are ready to make an offer on it, don't hesitate to put your best foot forward. Submit a competitive offer, and you may be able to avoid stressful negotiations with a home seller.
Understanding the true value of a residence is paramount for homebuyers. Conduct plenty of housing market research before you submit an offer, and you can better understand the prices of comparable houses in your area.
Also, if a home seller counters your initial offer, don't be afraid to negotiate. Be flexible, and you can boost your chances of securing your dream residence.
2. Do the Math
How much can you afford for a new home? You'll want to establish a homebuying budget before you enter negotiations with a home seller. Otherwise, you risk spending too much to acquire a residence.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage may make it easy for you to avoid the temptation to overspend. With a mortgage in hand, you can search for houses that fit your price range.
In addition, be sure to account for closing costs and other fees that you may encounter down the line. If you fail to do so, you may wind up overspending on a residence.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Homebuying negotiations can be time-consuming and expensive if you're not careful. Thankfully, real estate agents are available who can negotiate with a home seller on your behalf.
Hiring an experienced real estate agent usually is a good idea, particularly for first-time homebuyers. Stress and anxiety can be problematic during homebuying negotiations, but a real estate agent will ensure that you won't have to deal with these issues.
Your real estate agent has a simple goal: to ensure that you can purchase the best house at the best price. He or she will go above and beyond the call of duty to accomplish this goal. As such, employing a real estate agent to handle homebuying negotiations can make a world of difference for homebuyers nationwide.
Furthermore, your real estate agent will keep you informed throughout negotiations. This real estate professional will offer expert tips and recommendations and will never make a move without consulting with you. Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent will be happy to answer any of your homebuying concerns and queries, guaranteeing that you can make informed decisions throughout the homebuying process.
Work with a real estate agent as you prepare to enter negotiations to purchase a residence. By doing so, you can simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
Two terms that you may have heard when talking about real estate is fair market value and assessed value. These two terms are not the same or even interchangeable terms.
The assessed value of a home can often be higher than the price the house is being sold. These properties can often be seen as a “bargain” in the real estate community. The problem is that this is often a red flag. The property may be overassessed by the town which means the taxes are higher than necessary.
Homes can also be listed at a higher price than the assessed value. Contrary to popular belief, a low evaluated cost doesn’t mean that the value of the home is less than the asking price. The asking sale price for a property is based on many factors, none of which are what the town deems the property is worth.
Fair Market Value
Fair market value is what a buyer is willing to pay with no outside influence. As a homeowner, the best way to determine the fair market value of your home is to look at what’s real estate agents call a “Comparative Market Analysis” or CMA. The agent will look at similar properties in the area that have recently sold- generally within the last six months. This analysis will often include things that the assessor doesn’t take into account when pricing a home.
When you buy a home, and the appraisal is done for the lender when the buyer is obtaining a mortgage, the purpose is specific. The lender is protecting themselves and the buyer. The lender wants to be sure that the property they are lending money on has a value greater than or equal to the purchase price of the home. Appraisals are also done in this manner when homeowners are refinancing the house.
Challenging Assessed Values
Often, homeowners will buy a property and then later challenge the assessed value of a home for tax purposes especially if the owner feels that the assessed value is worlds apart from the fair market value of the home. If you believe that the assessed value is out of sync with the fair market value of the house and out of line based on the values of another home in the town, you need to file what’s called a tax abatement. Your city or town hall has all of the necessary information for submitting these forms. From there, each city and town has their own timelines for how long the tax assessor has to address this.