Gainesville FL Real Estate Blog

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Entries Tagged as 'home ownership'

Now Is The Time For You To Buy A Piece of Real Estate

May 17th, 2017 · No Comments

So your life circumstances indicate that now is the time for you to buy real estate. Perhaps this will be your first home or you need a larger space to accommodate a growing family. You may be in search of a better school district or be forced to move because of your job. Whatever the reason for your housing search, there are four basic areas you need to investigate and specific questions you should ask before making a final decision on any house.

WISH LIST:

Before you actually tour any homes, you should determine exactly what you are looking for by asking yourself (and your family members) questions such as “What type of house do I want”? How much space will I need? What type of community and amenities are important to me? How much can I realistically afford to pay?

LOCATION:

Once you have narrowed down your neighborhood choices, do further exploration of these locations by asking about zoning, since apartments and commercial/industrial buildings lower the real estate value of homes. Is the appearance of the community appealing? Does the school district have a good reputation/rating? What about noise? Consider nuisance factors such as traffic sounds, barking dogs, railroad tracks, etc.–anything that will disturb or annoy you on a recurring basis. Ask, too, about property easements, commuting time to and from work, and demographics. Will you be the only family with young children or the sole 50+ resident in the neighborhood?

CONDITION OF Home:

In order to determine and structural or maintenance issues, ask about the age of the house, roof, and appliances. What kind of foundation and insulation does the home have? If you’re looking at an older property, ask if the plumbing and electrical systems have been updated. Has the house been inspected or appraised recently, and, if so, were any problems documented? Will the exterior of the residence require annual maintenance?

COST:

Asking the right questions in this area is extremely helpful in determining your offer on the Gainesville real estate. Inquiring about neighboring comps, what the seller paid, and how much he owes will give you an idea of the rise/fall of nearby prices and alert you to possible short sale or foreclosure status. Ask how long the house has been on the market and if there have been any offers; perhaps the seller will be willing to negotiate price or offer incentives. Addition inquiries should be made re: the cost of insurance and property taxes on the property and the amount of any homeowners’ association fees.

Arming yourself with answers to questions such as these should help you make an educated decision as to whether or not a particular piece real estate is for you.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home ownership

How to Go Green This Spring

May 3rd, 2017 · No Comments

These days it seems everyone is all about going green.  Have you ever given any thought on taking part in going green?  If so you have come to the right place.  Below are a few tips on how you and your family can go green this spring!   Why not add going green to your spring cleaning list!

  1.  One way that you and your family can go green this spring is to simply take your shoes off before you enter your house!  You read that right; you can go green by simply taking off your shoes. 40% of all indoor contaminants actually come from the bottom of our shoes so do your part to keep this from happening to you and your family by taking those shoes off!
  2. Learn what ingredients are considered to be green so that when you go to the store to purchase all of your new green cleaners you can be confident that you are actually doing some good for the environment.  Some companies that claim to be green actually have some ingredients that are not green once they are mixed together.   Just read up on what ingredients are green and what ingredients are not and are typically passed off as green and you should be heading in the right direction on what to buy and what not to buy.
  3. Don’t forget the outside of your home when you are going green.  Many grasses are able to grow and thrive without the help of any type of pesticides and /or fertilizers.  The best way to start going green with the outside of your home is to replace the grass you currently have with native grasses to your particular area.  One perk of this switch is that you may find that you have a lot less upkeep of your lawn once you do this!  Who wouldn’t enjoy having more time with their family and less time doing yard work on a weekly basis!

These are just a few ways in which you can help to make your home a bit more green this spring.  Once you get started going green it is likely that you will find more and more ways in which to do so.  It can become addicting once you make the decision to go green in and around your home!

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home improvement · home ownership · Seller Info

How to Clean Your Grill

April 26th, 2017 · No Comments

Spring is here and that means that summer is right around the corner!  Summertime brings with it many things but one of the awesome things about summer is that it means many meal prep times will move from inside of the kitchen to outside on the grill!  Yum!  You will have to do your part to get your grill ready for all the outdoor cooking that is about to begin!  Below are a few ideas on how best to clean your grill for the upcoming season!

  1.  The first place to start when beginning to clean your grill is to clean the grates.  These can get quite dirty during the outdoor cooking season.  If you were smart when the last season ended you cleaned them and wiped them down with cooking oil, however if you didn’t, there is still hope. One good and easy way to clean your dirty grill grates is to place them into your self-cleaning oven and let it do the work for you.  Another way to get your grill grates clean is to simply put them in the dishwasher.
  1. Clean the burner tubes by simply brushing them and wiping them clean.   Be sure not to use any metal brushes as these have been deemed unsafe if the metal pieces come off and get into your food.
  1. Clean the grease collection tray by scrubbing it with a clean damp cloth.
  1. If you happen to have a charcoal grill, your cleaning process will be a bit simpler than with a gas grill.  Scrub the grill with a nylon brush and then clean the grates and that is it!  If you have old charcoal simply throw it out and buy some new for the season.

These are just a few ideas on how to clean your grill to get it ready for the upcoming outdoor cooking season.  The best way to clean your grill is honestly just to clean as you go. If you do your part to clean up after yourself after each and every meal you will have a much easier time when it comes time to get the grill out again for the next season.  If you don’t do your part to clean as you go, at least now you have a few ideas on how to get rid of the grit and grime easily.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home improvement · home ownership · Seller Info

Spring Maintenance Check List for Your Home

April 5th, 2017 · No Comments

Spring cleaning has likely already become underway in your household.  What you may not have given much thought however is spring maintenance for your home.   There are several things that folks generally check around their homes before the winter months but there are also a few things you need to check in the early spring months.  Below is a spring maintenance check list for your home.

  1.  Springtime means it is time to start mowing your lawn again.  If your lawn mower has been outside all winter due to lack of storage space you may need to do a bit of maintenance on it before you get it going.  Sharpening the blade is always a good idea before a new season so that you get a nice clean cut on the grass.  It’s also a good idea to check the oil on your lawn mower before beginning to use it for the warm season.
  2. Spring is a great time to check your house for worn paint areas such as your shutters.  If you find worn or chipped paint on your house what better time to fix that than in the typically perfect weather of spring.
  3. Be sure to check your crawl space vents for any debris that may have accumulated there over the winter months.  Also you want to keep your eye out for any animals such as snakes or rodents that may have made their home in your crawl space over the last few months.  Get rid of anything that doesn’t belong and repair anything that may be broken such as the vent covers.
  4. Get your flower beds and any garden areas ready for spring by cleaning out any debris that may have accumulated and trimming back any old growth.  It is also a good time to add mulch to your flower beds and fertilizer to your garden.

The above list of spring maintenance ideas is just a start in the right direction.  There is certainly much more that you need to do in and around your house before the summer time approaches.  Once you get started with these, you will likely find and think of more things that need to be done.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home improvement · home ownership · Seller Info

Keeping Our Children Safe in This Digital Age

March 29th, 2017 · No Comments

Technology surrounds us in every aspect of our lives, including this blog; it is always with us especially since it became handheld. Emails are sent and received, topics are searched for, books are written, video conferences are done, and listed homes are viewed online. Our kids aren’t just seeing us constantly be digital but they are becoming more tech-savvy at a younger age themselves, out of necessity in part. Even schools require students as young as lower elementary school to do projects involving computers. As parents we of course want nothing but the best for our children and always want them to be safe, keeping them safe in this digital age can be overwhelming to navigate.

Here are a few tips I think can be helpful in getting started to keep the kids safe.

Set Rules- Give them a set screen time when they can use digital devices and keep that time a constant. Decide what timeframe you are comfortable with beforehand. Create rules or actions if they break the amount of screen time they’re allowed or sites that are okay, e.g. losing the internet for a few days, not watching a show they enjoy, etc.

Be a part of their computer time– Know what sites your kids are visiting and check in on them to be sure they don’t need assistance and to be sure they are on ‘approved by you sites’.  Setting up an ad-blocker can be useful in aiding with younger children who are still navigating the web. Putting up the computer in a common family area like a dining room, living room or basement will make monitoring their online activity easier.

Make them aware– Let them know that things can happen online and to be careful of online encounters (e.g.- bullies, people talking to you that you don’t know, things that they know their parents wouldn’t want them to view, etc.). Telling your children, stressing how significant it is, on a regular basis the importance of protecting their privacy and always being aware and alert of what can go on in the digital world we live in.  Whether it is to understand there are cyber bullies around to the various cybercrimes, password strength and security importance and how identity theft works, or how to identify and handle it and being mindful of online profile.

Parent approved kid-friendly sites– There are sites out there that are parent approved yet kid- friendly and popular. Which still allows them to have fun online and gain experience with technology but they’re still child-safe. Options could include:

As a parent it doesn’t matter where your child goes when it comes to anything digital, when it comes to aiding in keeping them safe remember these guidelines. Teach them information and awareness, give them guidance, and encourage them.

A couple good websites for additional reading: SafeKids & iKeepSafe.

 

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home ownership · Just For Fun · Seller Info

Tips for Adding a Fence on Your Property

March 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

Owning a home is a wonderful thing, but you should always be really careful to make the best choices if you make changes to the outside of your home and this includes putting up a fence of any kind.  There are a few tips for adding a fence to your property that you might want to take into consideration before doing so and some of those are listed below.

  1. Before putting up a fence on your property be sure to talk with your neighbors about it. You need to keep in mind that you are not only putting up a fence in your backyard but you are also adding a fence to your neighbors land as well.  Talk with the neighbors that your fence will directly affect and discuss such things as property lines and types of fencing etc.
  2. Another thing to consider when adding a fence on your property is the color of the fence and also the style.  Will the color and style of your fence match your home?  If you need ideas of what style fence will look good with your house consider looking online at some ideas.
  3. You may want to consider planting trees to use as a fence if you decide you can’t find a style of fencing that will look good with your homes style. Cypress and pines are great for this type of privacy fencing and they never go out of style.
  4. If you decide to add a wooden fence, be sure that you know you will have to take care of it and paint or stain it every so often. If you want something that has less maintenance than that you may want to purchase a vinyl fence.
  5. You may want to consider cost as well when deciding what type of material you want your new fence made out of. Keeping within your budget is always a good idea when adding to your home.
  6. Longevity of the fence material is another thing to keep in mind when choosing fencing for your property. You don’t want to purchase a material that will need to be replaced sooner than you wish for it to.

These are just a few tips for adding a fence of any kind to your property.  Once you have gone over these tips you should be able to choose more wisely than you would have without them.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home improvement · home ownership · Seller Info

How to Use Color to Brighten Up Your Neutral Home

March 15th, 2017 · No Comments

adding color to brighten your house

Many houses these days tend to have very neutral colors in them.  One reason for this is because painting your house neutral can sometimes make it easier to sell.  If you plan to stay in your home for more than a few years, why not use a bit of color to brighten up your neutral home.  Below is a list of a few colors you might want to try and where you might want to think about using them!

  1. You might think that magenta would be a bit bright to use as a wall color in your home, but you may want to give it a try!  You don’t have to paint the entire room this color, why not just paint one wall magenta and let the others be a neutral color.  This will help make your room a bit brighter than it otherwise might be as it adds a bit of pop and pizzazz.
  2. Another color you may not have thought about adding to your neutral home is purple. A good place to use a deep purple color in your home to brighten it up a bit is a bathroom or hallway.  Deep purples can add a touch of class to an otherwise drab area of your home.
  3. You can also use blue and shades of blue to help brighten things up a bit. A good place to use blue paint in your home would be the dining room, living room or den.  There are quite a few different shades of blue to choose from these days but don’t be afraid to choose a bright blue to make a room stand out.
  4. Green is another color that can help to brighten up your neutral home. You can choose from shades of green all the way from forest green to lime green.  It may be a good idea to use a more calming forest green for an office space and maybe a lime green for your child’s room.  Greens are also good for sunrooms as they tend to help bring a feel of the outdoors inside.

These are just a few ways to use color to brighten up your neutral home.  Hopefully it has got you thinking of how you want to bring more color into your life  and what rooms you want to add the color to.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home improvement · home ownership · Real Estate · Seller Info

Tips on Purging Items from Your Closet

March 8th, 2017 · No Comments

If you are like most people you likely have a ton of stuff in your closet that you don’t really need.  There is something about having a full closet that makes one feel like they have all they need however the art of purging can make you feel so much better about life!  Below are a few tips on purging items from your closet to get you started in the right direction.

  1. When you begin to purge items from your closet  the best place to start is any clothing you haven’t worn in the last year.   A good way to figure this out if you struggle knowing what you have and haven’t worn is to turn all of your hangers backwards and as you wear a piece of clothing turn that hanger the opposite direction.  At the end of the year get rid of any clothes that still have the hanger turned backwards.
  2. Most likely you have a ton of shoes that you haven’t worn lately in your closet. A good idea for purging when it comes to shoes is to just look at them.  Do they have any holes or a lot of wear and tear?  If your answer to either question is yes then it is time to purge those particular shoes.
  3. Many of us have clothes in our closet that we simply can no longer fit into.  If this sounds familiar, do yourself and your closet space a favor and toss those clothes out.  Why waste much needed space in your closet with clothing you can no longer wear.   Make this fun by going out and purchasing a few new clothing items that fit you.  It’s always fun to purchase new clothes!
  4. If you have any clothes in your closet that you absolutely love but they have stains on them that just won’t come out….throw them away and purchase the same shirt or pants new if you just have to have them.
  5. T-Shirts and promotional clothing can also take up space in your closet that is unnecessarily wasted space. Find a spot or a drawer in which you can place these types of items if you feel the need to keep them for nostalgic reasons.

These are just a few ways in which you can get started purging items  from your closet to make the space a more useful and functional area.   Take what ideas work best for you and leave the rest.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home improvement · home ownership · Seller Info

Top Things to Purge from Your Kitchen

February 8th, 2017 · No Comments

Top Things to Purge from Your Kitchen

Let’s face it we all have stuff we need to get rid of in our homes, and typically the kitchen has a ton of stuff that doesn’t need to be there lying around in it.  Since we are currently in the cold of winter, there is no time like the present to start cleaning out your kitchen and making it look a bit more presentable.  Below is a list of the top things you should purge from your kitchen.

  1. We all have one, a junk drawer and that junk drawer is many times located in the kitchen. It’s where we put all the items we have no idea what to do with but aren’t; quite sure we want to get rid of just yet.  Take that junk drawer and go through it with a fine tooth comb and decide what you need and what you don’t need.  Throw away all that you don’t need.  Most times the things you don’t need are the items you haven’t used in the past 6 months.  I promise you won’t miss anything.
  2. Another thing we all seem to have lying around our kitchens is all those restaurant sauce packets we feel the need to keep. Sure you might use one once in a while but most times they just take up space either in the junk drawer or in the refrigerator.  Throw all the restaurant condiments out!  It will make your kitchen look much lovelier.
  3. Yet another thing we all need to purge from our kitchens is the dressings, sauces and other items that have long since expired. There isn’t much worse than getting ready to put some sauce on your food only to find that it expired two years ago.  Clean out your fridge and only keep those things that you are going to use within the next week or so or at least make sure that all the dates are current.
  4. Most everyone has some sort of a stack of lids in their kitchen that they just can’t seem to find a container for. If you have a bunch of lids that don’t have matching containers to secure them to, why not just throw them out.  They no longer serve a purpose.

Hopefully this list of items you need to purge  from your kitchen will get you starting thinking in the right direction.  At least it will be a starting point for you.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home improvement · home ownership · Seller Info

Money Saving Ideas for Furniture Shopping

February 1st, 2017 · No Comments

furniture shopping

If you have recently purchased a new house and you would like to fill it up with new furniture you have likely found that it can be quite the overwhelming task and an expensive one as well.  There are a few money saving ideas for furniture shopping that can help you out quite a bit in your search for new furniture and those have been listed below.

  1. One good thing you can do to help you save a bit of money when furniture shopping is to call a few of the stores you are going to be visiting ahead of time.  This way you can find out if they have prices you can afford and also if they have brand names that you are interested in.  This can save you a little bit of time and money so that you don’t waste it traveling long distances.
  2. Another money saving idea for furniture shopping  is to make sure to look at every piece of furniture that the store has by walking the entire shop.  Many times there are clearance items or items that perhaps are slightly damaged in the store but they are not out for all to see.  Do your due diligence and walk the entire space so you don’t lose out on any good deals.
  3. Yet another good way to save money when furniture shopping is to purchase consignment furniture. You can find lots of really nice pieces by shopping consignment.
  4. If you find a piece of furniture that you have your heart set on do your best to bargain with the seller. You never know unless you ask.
  5. Shopping estate sales is another way to get good prices on furniture. Many times you can get pieces at estate sales that are worth much more than you pay for them so you can make your home look very nice.
  6. Lastly if you want to save a good amount of money on furniture why not refinish what you already have!  Old furniture can become new again if you are able to successfully refinish it.

Hopefully this list of money saving ideas on furniture buying has gotten you thinking in the right direction before you begin making your purchases.   Now get out there and save some money and furnish your home with beautiful new furniture.

Courtesy Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · home ownership · Just For Fun · Real Estate · Seller Info