Get the Most Out of your Outdoor Furniture by Cleaning it Properly

Well this summer has been hot and we still have a few more months of outdoor weather. You have been enjoying your outdoor furniture and want these pieces to last as long as possible – regular cleaning help the furniture last for years. Different types of finishes need different types of cleaning.

Wicker furniture is a bit tricky since there are lots of surfaces to clean. If something spills on the wicker wipe it up immediately. To do basic upkeep – clean using your vacuum – especially the small brush attachment to clean to remove the dust that can accumulate. If there is a stain on the wicker use a soft bristle brush and mild soap and then rinse with a low-pressure hose to clean. During the winter cover the furniture to protect from winter winds.

Wooden furniture needs extra attention. Spray with a wood cleaner and scrub with a soft brush every two weeks. Moisture is really not good for wood and can cause mildew. It is advised to apply wood oil on the wood surface and let it sit that way for several hours before wiping off. During the winter either store inside or invest in quality furniture covers.

Aluminum furniture is extremely durable and very versatile and doesn’t need much upkeep as it doesn’t rust. Wash aluminum with a low pressure hose to remove dust and debris. Use a mixture of mild soap and lukewarm water and wipe up with a clean cloth. To avoid corrosion and pitting, it is advised to coat your aluminum pieces with automotive wax or baby oil.

Wrought-iron furniture needs regular cleaning with a mixture of mild soap and water and then hose it off and make sure it is completely dry to avoid rusting. If the paint is wearing away repaint the furniture with spray-on paint. If the wrought-iron gets rained on or has bird droppings wash it immediately and make sure it dries completely.

Fabric and plastic on the furniture is especially sensitive to the desert sun, causing fading, cracking and other types of deterioration. Many types of outdoor furniture have removable pads.

These types of pads that can be cleaned as often as needed during the season with soap and water and should be stored indoors for the winter. Be sure they have completely dried before putting them away to avoid mold and mildew. Plastic pieces should also be covered or stored in a shed or garage.

Have fun and enjoy your backyard and be happy you live in Las Vegas where you can use your backyard almost all year long.

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff


Home Appraisals are (usually) Necessary When Buying a Home

Whether you are buying or selling, if the buyer is not paying cash (and on occasion, even if they are) the home appraisal is a one of the most important steps in the process and could make or break a deal on either side. So what exactly is a home appraisal?

A home appraisal is an expert opinion of a home’s value and it assures the lender that their loan will be in line with the fair market value of the property. A home appraiser is a licensed professional who has completed the required training, apprenticeships, and exams to carefully and impartially provide opinions about the value of real property, according to the the world’s leading organization of professional real estate appraisers.

This means your appraiser is not going to give a low estimate because they didn’t like your furniture. But rather, according to the Appraisal Institute, appraisers put together a series of facts, statistics, and other information regarding specific properties – then analyze this data, and develop opinions of value. The appraisal report will include recent sales information for similar properties (comps), the current condition of the property, and the location of the property as to how the neighborhood impacts the property’s value.

In most cases the buyer will need to cover the cost of the appraisal. Both the buyer and the seller should meet with their agent and find out what comparable homes in the area have recently sold for, which will give clues as to how much the property will ultimately appraise for.

If an appraisal comes in lower than you feel it should, the seller’s agent can use his/her knowledge of the area to challenge the appraisal. Home prices in the Las Vegas valley have been increasing so quickly that the comps that sold six months ago don’t yet reflect this improvement. There may not be adequate comps in your area, so the appraiser might have referenced comps from a less desirable community.

You have the right to see a copy of the appraisal report. Look it over as carefully as you look over your credit card statement each month you might just find errors or omissions and if that is the case the appraisal can sometimes be corrected.

If the appraisal is not adjusted enough to get to the original contract price, and both parties still want the sale to go through, it could make sense to split the difference, with the seller dropping the price a bit and the buyer adding cash to the down payment. For example, if the difference between the sales price and the appraised value is $10,000, the seller could lower the price by $5,000 and get the buyer to bring another $5,000 to closing. This solution depends entirely on the relative willingness and financial positions

of the two parties. Of course, neither party is obligated to compromise and if a new agreement is not reached, the buyer and seller can part ways and (most real estate contracts contain a provision that states) the buyer will have their earnest money returned to them.

When an appraisal comes in low, don’t panic. Remember to stay calm, assess the situation, and let your agent walk you through the process. Often, there is a fair and equitable resolution for all. It just may take some extra time.

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Tips and Tricks to Saving for a Home

So, you’ve made the decision to buy a home, but you don’t have a down payment saved up. Owning a home has been the American dream since shortly after World War II when owners first eclipsed renters in this country. Many people would love to own a home however can’t figure out how to save money to make it a reality.

The following are some steps to help you figure out how to be able to save money for a down payment, so you can get you and your family into a home of your own.

Track Your Spending and Expenses – know what your monthly expenses are and how you spend your “extra money”. This is something you should be doing anyway. Use an app or online tool that tracks your spending and keeps a running total of the amounts you spend on specific items. There are tons of options – just do a search for “create personal budget”. It’s easier to track spending if you use a debit card for everything (not a credit card) and then using a check register to track those debits. This process is quite eye-opening, as it’s easy to be unaware of a how much you spend on frivolous purchases each month. You would be surprised how quickly the amount adds up. Finding out where your money goes is the first step in figuring out how to keep more of it in the bank. Do you go to a fancy coffee place every day? Imagine how your savings could increase if you just eliminated that… and there are almost certainly other things you often spend your money on that you could skip.

Create a Budget and Stick To It – Once you have looked at your spending, you will likely find spots where you can cut back or eliminate extras. This is very challenging and often isn’t a lot of fun. Just keep focusing on your end goal – getting the keys to your home. It’s important to work a few small yet rewarding “splurges” into your budget to keep your spirits up – remember that you are trying to save so keep those splurges in check – use a specific percentage of your income (I suggest 10%).

Be a Deal Hunter and Savvy Consumer – put your monthly bills under a microscope. There’s a good chance you are paying for services and features you don’t really need. Call your service providers, credit card companies and other businesses you pay every month and see if they can lower your rate or offer you a better deal – they often will.

Save for a Down Payment – savings accounts that are set up for a down payment should be considered untouchable. Don’t even think of dipping into this account unless you have a major emergency. Think of this account as being a one-way street: funds should go in, but never come out—at least, not until you are ready to write out that down payment check. Some banks will even allow you to make this transfer automatic on a schedule, like every 2 weeks when you get paid.

Look for Ways to Boost your Income – Your budget consists of two parts: money coming in, and money going out. See if there are opportunities to work extra hours. You may even want to consider a part-time job. Think about skills or talents that you could parlay into freelance income. Maybe you could be a Lyft driver or a vendor on or mow lawns or pet-sit or ??? Just so you know, lender’s get touchy about “cash” being deposited – it could be from some illegal source as far as they know. Lyft & Fiverr as well as any part-time job with an actual paycheck will have you covered there… working any job for cash, won’t. If you are going with any kind of cash earnings, check with your lender to see what they suggest for how to handle those deposits. If you need a great lender, reach out to me, I work with more than one that I feel are worthy of recommending.

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

Selling Real Estate Without an Agent Will Likely Cost You Money

First, I realize this article may seem self-serving – after all, I earn a living helping people sell real estate, but I truly hate to see people lose tens of thousands of dollars, and statistics show that is what usually happens to FSBO’s. What does FSBO mean? For Sale By Owner — it’s the process of selling real estate without the representation of a real estate broker or agent.

This way of selling your property is not the greatest idea in most cases (trust me – I was that guy many years before I got my real estate license). That is why you hire a real estate professional – their job is to know the local real estate market and put the most money in your pocket. Let’s face it, people pay more when a salesperson is involved. Think about it; when you have a garage sale, even if you are selling quality items, the buyers always expect a discount. And if the discount on the property you are selling turns out to be as much (or more) than the commission you would have paid, then you did all the work and still did not make more money. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like doing more and getting less.

Sellers who choose to sell their home on their own just may experience “seller’s regret” when they see how much less they get for their properties (or worse, not even realize how much they lost). FSBOs sell for an average of $60,000 to $90,000 less on the sale of their home than sellers who work with a real estate agent, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Here’s the breakdown:

* All agent-assisted homes: $250,000 (median selling price)

* All FSBO homes: $190,000

* FSBO homes when buyer knew seller: $160,300

With the knowledge of the numbers shown above – why would anyone want to sell their home on their own? Some sellers want to avoid paying a commission to an agent — but even factoring in a commission; researchers from the NAR researchers have stated “The closing price for the agent-assisted seller is likely going to be way above a FSBO. [And] in reality, homes sold by the owner make less money overall.”

Sorry (not sorry) for the Las Vegas based pun… but don’t gamble when selling your house; hire a professional.

This message is getting through to homeowners: Only 8 percent of home sellers in 2017—an all-time low—chose to sell their home themselves, according to NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. This figure has been falling since 2004, when 14 percent of homeowners sold their own homes.

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

Yuck…That’s Gross

We all have parts of our homes that we clean and clean and it seems that it is not clean enough. The following are some of the grossest parts of a home and how to clean them:

FLOORS – they are the most bacteria riddled parts of every home. Unless you and everyone that enters your home go shoeless this surface has to be cleaned the most. It would be wise not to follow the 5 second rule – just throw out the food item that fell.

Carpeting is the hardest to clean – germs go deep into the roots of the carpet. Have your carpets cleaned professionally once a year. Hard flooring like ceramic tiles, marble and wood should be cleaned with material appropriate disinfectant cleaners.

COUNTERTOPS – It seems we do almost everything on our countertops and they have lots of bacteria 24/7. The best way to keep bacteria at bay is to use disinfectants that kill the germs. If your countertops are old and you are considering replacing them – think about quartz or stainless steel – these surfaces are bacteria resistant.

SHOWERS AND TUBS – The accumulating moisture in both the spaces are a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Clean regularly with a disinfectant cleaner. If mold has spread you should consider a mold remediation service to come and remove mold professionally.

KITCHEN SINKS – Moisture and bits of food are a great mix for bacteria, E. coli and salmonella. You should clean the sink with soap and water and make sure you dry it at the end of each day. You can also pour hot water and bleach down the drain once a month, as well as cleaning the disposal with bleaches.

WASHING MACHINE – Your clothes leave germs in the washing machine every time you wash them. At least once a month run an empty wash with hot water and either bleach or vinegar to get the germs out and dry the inside of the washer.

REFRIGERATOR – Clean the shelves twice a month with a disinfectant and throw out anything past its expiration date.

OTHER GROSS THINGS THAT SHOULD BE REPLACED OR DISINFECTED OFTEN – We all have lots of “things” in our homes that we overlook when cleaning. Remember to clean door knobs and handles, cutting boards, area around stove, light switches, stove knobs and microwaves. Replace your sponges and dish rags often.

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

Light up your Backyard with String Lights

String Lights are a wonderful way to make your backyard look festive and give people the feeling of “this is a happy place”. This type of outdoor lighting has become a hot trend for the last couple of years.

You can use them to highlight seating areas, decorate gazebos, decks and patios. String lights give your yard a more casual look than other types of outdoor lighting.

To start- make sure the lights are commercial grade outdoor lights and come with cords that are in the 14-18 gauge range. The all weather products are certainly worth the extra investment.

If you are going to install the lighting as a DIY project, make sure you have a unified spacing between each light bulb. Also before purchasing measure the space carefully so you have enough string lights to cover the area you want to illuminate. Buy extra light bulbs to keep on hand so you can replace bulbs that burn out. It is suggested that you use bulbs with a Kelvin range between 2,700 and 3,000 for a nice warm glow that is inviting however not too bright.

The experts advise to pay attention to the style of bulbs you use. Avoid the small bulbs – you don’t want them to look like Christmas tree lights. When looking at bulbs check out the “Edison” style of string light bulbs. They are classic looking and works well with either classic or modern home designs. It is also advised to install a light switch near the door that opens to the backyard – it might cost a little more but it is better than plugging in and unplugging them all the time. You can also use commercial grade wireless switches.

Before putting up string lights check with your HOA to see if this type of lighting is approved.

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

Budgeting for Remodeling Projects

Ok you have decided to remodel parts of your home – creating that dream kitchen or bathroom is very exciting however paying for the remodel is an important concern that you have to look at. Here are some tips for your financial plan for major remodeling to consider:

1- Get everything in writing before you make any decision. It‘s vital for you to nail down the payment terms and be vigilant in enforcing them. A good contractor will work with you towards a reasonable payment plan that includes a fair amount for a down payment and payments that are tied to the progress of the work. If you can negotiate a provision in your contract that allows you to withhold a final segment of your last payment until you are completely satisfied with the job.

2- Financing options – if you cannot pay for the remodel up front there are a few options you can look at. Look into a home equity line of credit, home equity loan or cash-out refinance.

A home equity line of credit is a revolving line of credit – sort of like a credit card that typically requires at least 20 percent equity. A home equity loan or second mortgage is usually a fixed rate and fixed term loan based on the equity in your home and paid in monthly installments.

Cash-out refinancing is the refinancing of your existing mortgage loan. This is a loan for a larger amount than your current loan, and the homeowner gets the difference in cash.

You should shop around for the best terms. It is not necessary to go with the bank that holds your primary loan.

And please, if financing, be quite certain that you can easily afford the extra payments. One of the factors that really fueled the last big fall of real estate prices was people over leveraging themselves.

3- Factor a 10 percent buffer zone for unexpected costs – always expect the unexpected. Having a contingency budget is advised as it will save you many headaches that come with additional costs.

Remember home improvements that enhance your home living experience, may raise the value of your home when it comes time to sell, but, sometimes, not by as much as you spent. You’ll want to make sure that you will enjoy the improvements enough to justify the cost, especially if your design choices are not neutral. I remember seeing a bathroom remodel that had over $50,000 in Italian Marble that had a very unusual design. The owner who had it installed loved it, and pretty much no one else did. When he went to sell, instead of buyers appreciating the expensive upgrade, they all thought about how much money they were going to have to spend to get rid of it and put something else in its place.

Finally, when looking for contractors, it is very important to get recommendations. Contact your Realtor – we always have lists of contractors that are reliable and trustworthy. If the work to be done is going to cost $500 or more (total of labor and materials) Nevada requires (for your protection) that you hire a licensed contractor.

I know, I know… licensed contractors cost more money, right? Or do they just charge more? What I mean is if you hire an unlicensed contractor and they get hurt on your property, your insurance does not cover that accident – also if you are not satisfied with their work or they run away with your deposit, you will not have much recourse.

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff