The Benefits of Using a Buyer’s Agent

Photo by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

It may be tempting to purchase your first home without the help of a real estate agent. If you want to risk not having professional help to buy your first house, you can, but you’ll be leaving a lot of benefits on the table and assuming all the risks.

The Benefits of Using a Buyer’s Agent

A buyer’s agent works entirely on behalf of the buyer in the purchase process. The benefits of using one include:
  • Expert negotiations – Professional agents know the market, costs and what you’re looking for. They can combine the three, plus other variables, to create a formula for negotiating within both your price and comfort levels.
  • Full disclosure – A real estate expert knows what to ask regarding disclosures about the property. They’ll ask for items you may not even think of because of their experience. It’s not that the seller is intent on deceiving you, often they don’t know what to disclose either.
  • Neighborhood specialist – Some agents choose to represent buyers in specific neighborhoods and can tell them about local facts such as planned road construction or rezoning issues that might have an impact on your decision to buy there (both for and against).
  • Closing costs – Your buyer’s agent fights for the best deal for you, the buyer. Relying solely on the seller’s agent could end up costing thousands in extra charges.
  • Lender recommendations – An experienced buyer’s agent knows which lenders tend to close on time and which ones might drag out the process. If you’re closely timing a move, your agent can help you avoid being bogged down with a slow underwriting process. They’ll have recent experience with rates, terms, appraisals and comparable sales.
  • Making the offer – Real estate purchase offers have a lot of forms and papers that cover all sorts of things from contingencies to mold and asbestos mitigation. Your agent knows the right forms and what needs to go into your offer to both protect you and give you the best chance of having your offer accepted.
  • Inspection referrals – having a home inspection protects buyers from unexpected repairs and required renovations once the deal completes. Your agent knows reliable inspectors that look for basement seepage, dry rot, hidden mold, damaged roofs, sewer line issues and a host of other things. You might not think to check the chimney, but your inspector will, saving you from a potential house fire or other issues down the line. A failure in a major system such as electrical wiring, HVAC, or plumbing can wreck your budget if you don’t know about it.
Bottom line is that purchasing directly from the seller without the protection of a knowledgeable agent puts you at risk for all kinds of issues. Remember that the seller pays both agents from the proceeds of the sale. 

Plants that Improve Indoor Air Quality

Photo by Karolina Grabowska via Pixabay

House plants can add color and texture to your home and allow you to bring a touch of nature indoors, but some can also help improve the air quality in your home. According to a study from NASA, choosing one of these plants allows you to enjoy the added beauty and breathe easier at home, too.

5 Plants that Improve Indoor Air Quality

Plants improve indoor air quality by removing or neutralizing chemicals that may be present in the air. Building materials, cleaning products, home furnishings and other items can all release fumes into the home; even if you don’t smell them, you are breathing them in. The following plants are top air purifiers and neutralize a surprising amount of these harmful substances.

  • Boston Fern: Fast growing and easy to care for, this textural beauty is also one of the top air purifiers; Boston Fern removes more formaldehyde from the air than any other plant studied. Formaldehyde can appear in upholstery foam, paints, rugs and more.
  • Rubber Plants: These potent air cleansers also make wonderful plants for rooms without direct sunlight. If you’re having a tough time finding sunny spots for plants, choose a rubber plant – they can’t bear direct sun, instead preferring the cool comfort of a dimmer room.
  • English Ivy: Cultivate this easy care plant if you want to improve your home’s air quality, but don’t have the world’s greenest thumb. Ivy grows quickly and climbs, making it ideal for training to a frame or topiary – it also won’t mind if you forget to water it for a day or more.
  • Peace Lily: While most of the potent air purifiers are pure greenery, peace lily has striking white flowers that can help accent your home. This delicate looking purifier is a favorite for bridal bouquets and decorations, and is surprisingly robust for growing in the home, too. Peace lilies do require some attention, but if you are willing to water daily, it could make an elegant and striking air purifier for your home. Skip this one if you have curious pets, though; the leaves can cause stomach upset if eaten.
  • Spider Plant: This hearty variety also reproduces swiftly; the babies can be potted and create even more natural purifying power for your home. Spider plants are pet safe, easy to care for and add both color and texture to their décor, making them a natural choice for any home.

Choosing a few plants from the list can help you breathe easy and feel more comfortable at home. Incorporating these easy care plants into your home décor will help have a more natural, greener environment in more ways than one.

Create a One-of-a-Kind Bathroom Vanity

Photo by Zbysiu Rodak on Unsplash

Antiques can bring a unique feel and vibe to almost any decor. But what happens when your antique piece doesn’t exactly work in the room it was designed for? If that is the case, it may be time to upcycle it for use in a different room. Below you will find out how to turn your one-of-a-kind antique dresser into a unique vanity for your bathroom. Please note, if at any time you feel this project is a little more than DIY, contact a professional to help you through it.

1. Purchase the Sink

You will need to find a sink that can fit within the measurements of the top of your dresser. When measuring, always be sure to measure the actual with of the base of the cabinet or dresser, not the overhang. The sink will be deep enough to pass this point, and most overhangs will be at least an inch or more.

2. Trace & Cut the Sink Hole

After removing the top drawer from the dresser, trace the template that came with the sink onto the top of the dresser with a permanent marker to give you a guide for cutting. Next, use a jigsaw to follow the lines, and cut the piece of wood. Once done, check to make sure that your sink fits, and remove more if needed to accommodate.

3. Finish the Dresser

Once you know that the sink fits, remove it, and sand down the cut area until it is smooth. Then, finish the dresser using your favorite stain or paint. After the paint or stain has dried, add a protective clear coat as this area will be affected by water. 

4. Affix the Sink to the Dresser

After your dresser is completely dry, you will need to apply some clear caulking around the rim. Then place the sink on top and press down firmly. You should not need to add any caulking after placing, but make sure you can see the seal all around it. 

5. Cut the Back to Accommodate Plumbing & Connect Your Pipes

Determine where the plumbing pipes will need to be attached to the dresser, and cut a hole to allow them to pass through. Next, connect all of your plumbing, making sure to use plumbers tape when connecting to reduce the risk of leaks. 

6. Secure the Dresser to the Wall

You will want to make sure that your new vanity is tightly affixed to the wall by more than just the plumbing. Once flush against the wall, secure the dresser to the wall-in studs.

By following the few simple tips above, you can convert your favorite antique dresser or cabinet into a fully functional vanity. This can make a great option for those looking for more vanity drawers or storage in their bathroom. 

What is a Natural Ventilation System?

Image by Rvector from Shutterstock

What is natural ventilation? It’s utilizing wind with the “chimney effect” to draw warm air out of the home and replacing it with cooler air from outside. As the wind blows against your home, it forces air into open windows on one side of the house while a vacuum effect draws the air out of the windows on the other side. The vacuum effect relies on convection. As cool fresh air is pulled into the home it absorbs heat from the room, the warm air rises and exits through rooftop vents or skylights on the upper floors. As the warm air moves out of the space, cooler fresh air is pulled in behind it. When mechanized to operate by a thermostat, natural ventilation systems modulate the temperature in your home efficiently. Countless benefits come with natural ventilation. Here are a few:

Low utility bills

One of the primary advantages of using a natural ventilation system is the decrease in your energy bills. Natural ventilation and hybrid ventilation consume much less energy (or no energy at all) compare to these mechanical systems. To save more on energy consumption, perhaps going for a natural hybrid ventilation system that cuts down on your energy use would be best.

Efficiency 

Natural ventilation systems have a low energy consumption level. This makes them the best choice when looking to increase efficiency in a building or home. You can save up to 70 percent of your emissions, much more than the traditional mechanical ventilation.

Maintenance

The overall cost of maintaining HVAC ventilation is high, compared to natural ventilation systems. Natural systems generally come with fewer, more affordable parts.

Space saving

A natural ventilation system takes very little space, especially as compared to an automated system. If you don’t want bulky components, a natural system is the better option.

Natural ventilation systems work best in areas where the days are warm and the nights are cool. If you live in an area that is very humid or where day and night temperatures are similar, natural ventilation systems are less effective.