Veronica Rodriguez's Blog
When guests first pull up to your home, they take a visual survey of the property that they are entering. While they are excited to see you, they also want to feel at home in your space while they’re visiting. Below, you’ll find some ways to make your home one of the most welcoming on the whole block from the outside.
There shouldn’t be any type of clutter on your front lawn. Clutter is a broad term. This can include hoses, lawn ornaments, toys, and other household items. You don’t want your front yard to become a catchall for everything that’s outdoor maintenance. These items should be put away in a garage or towards the side yard. Everything needs a proper place. Any of these items should be out of sight from the front view of your home.
Make The Entrance Welcoming
If you have some kind of a structure near your entryway, the home looks much more welcoming. This could include a covering over your front doorstep, a trellis, an arbor, or pergola. This helps to clearly define the main entrance and give the home an inviting feel.
Keep It Well Lit
The entryways to your home should all be well illuminated. Anyone entering the home at night should be able to see a clear path to the doorways. For decorative purposes, you should also try and highlight the features of your home that you like best such as statues or artful shrubbery.
Add a few planters to the front of your home. You can use large pots for a dramatic effect, or you can use several smaller planters such as windows boxes to really fill in the front of your home with greenery. For best results, vary the sizes of the containers that you choose to bring the eyes of those viewing the front of your home to several key focal points.
Fix It Up
You should fix up the front of your home and leave it looking flawless. This will include repairing siding, retouching peeling paint, updating hardware, power washing the home, replacing lighting fixtures, and more. Even replacing or painting your front door and accompanying fixtures can bring on a brightening effect to your home.
Clean Up The Driveway And Walkways
Few parts of our homes are as neglected as the driveway is. To bring about a great first impression of your home, patch up holes and dips in the asphalt. Even out the terrain if you have the resources to do so. Give the driveway a good cleanup including a sweep and a hose down. Your walkways should be cleared of debris and patched up as necessary as well. These little touches can make a big difference in the impression your home gives.
Did you know that Florida is the state with the most Home Owner Associations in the country? We have more than 47,000 with California right behind us at 45,000. If you’re a first-time homebuyer or interested in a house that is a part of an HOA here’s what you need to know.
First, you should know that Home Owners Associations or HOA’s are in place via deed restrictions which are tied to the title of the house, not the owners. This means that when buying a home with deed restrictions you will automatically be joining the HOA. You will be under obligation to pay yearly fees to keep the association running and follow the bylaws in place.
An association can legally enforce hefty fines if you do not follow these bylaws and they usually do. When there isn’t an association in place please do not make the mistake to think you are “off the hook”. A neighbor can decide to sue and take you to court for not keeping within the rules.
You might be wondering why have deed restrictions at all. The truth is there are quite a few positives that many people find well worth the rules and fees. Having an HOA in place protects your home’s value. By requiring neighbors to maintain their homes and lawns your home’s value can’t be brought down because of someone else’s actions. Deed restrictions are also frequently put into place to protect a particularly stunning view for the neighborhood. This is to prevent it from being obstructed so the whole community can enjoy it.
A Home Owners Association can create a sense of community. It helps to ensure everyone is happy and that the roads and facilities the neighborhood uses are well maintained. It is up to community management to ensure trash, road repairs and storm damage are duly taken care of. Often, communities with associations even have amenities for everyone to use like a pool, playground or hall.
Common restrictions you should keep in mind when considering a home under deed restriction are:
the number of people who can live in a home
what type and number of pets you can/can not have
if cars can be parked in the driveway
if there is a limit on how many cars can be parked on the driveway
if motor homes, boats, and motorcycles are not allowed
What sort of home business can be operated
The colors used for siding
Types and style of materials used when renovating
What type, size and extent of renovations can be done
If you have or plan to have, a large family, a lot of leisure vehicles or run a business with a lot of foot traffic in and out of your home it is probably best to look for a home that does not come with deed restrictions or an HOA. You should also look elsewhere if you plan for major renovations now or down the line and enjoy having a unique one of a kind home.
If you don’t plan on major structural changes to your home, aren’t bothered by all the houses more or less looking the same, and following some restricting rules an HOA might be the right fit for you.
The heat of the summer can spell tons of outdoor enjoyment. It can also spell a lot of danger to the health of you and your loved ones. Whether you’re at the beach, hanging out in the park, or simply enjoying an outdoor BBQ, you’ll want to have sun safety at the top of your list.
Sun Is A Good Thing
Sunlight is a good thing. It helps plants and flowers to grow. It provides us with much needed vitamin D, and it gives us happiness as we bask in the glory of the sun. There’s one major problem with sunlight and that is the harmful UV rays that come from the light itself and can cause health problems and damage to our homes. Read on for more tips and information surrounding UV rays and how to stay safe in the sun.
UV rays stand for ultraviolet radiation. There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate the skin at a deep level and are responsible for aging cells, causing wrinkles, and other visible signs of aging. UVB rays are what cause your skin to burn when you’re out in the sun. Both of these types of UV rays have been shown to be responsible for causing various types of cancer.
If you know when and how to avoid UV rays, you can protect yourself and your family from danger. UV rays peak between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. The forecast sometimes includes something called the UV index which helps you to know how strong the rays will be that day. As a hint, when the UV rays are the strongest, your shadow will appear shorter than your actual size. If you see that short shadow, it may be a good time to stay out of the sunlight, at least directly.
Damage To Your Home
If the windows in your home aren’t equipped with UV protection, you could be facing UV damage inside your home as well as out. High quality windows and window films can help to protect the inside of your home from up to 99% of harmful UV rays. The good news is that you don’t need to replace your windows in order to get the protection. A simple UV protectant film will do.
Your Fabrics Fade
UV rays can cause the fabrics in your home to fade and deteriorate over time. Everything from your window treatments to your sofa can lose their color. Buying the right kind of window treatments (like blackout shades and curtains) and positioning your furniture strategically can help you to avoid the effects of UV rays inside of your home. Stay safe in the sun this season both indoors and out by taking the right precautions.
If it always seems like your money disappears as fast as you earn it, you're not alone. All too many people live from paycheck to paycheck -- even when their income is well above average.
Why is this condition so widespread? Well, the reasons are as varied as people's spending habits, lifestyles, and financial obligations, but there is one factor that is often overlooked: self-defeating attitudes toward money. Here are a few examples you may be able to relate to:
- "I don't have the time or patience to compare prices." The truth of the matter is that it doesn't really take that much time to do a few quick price comparisons when you're in the supermarket, department store, or on the Web. During the course of a typical week, you probably make dozens of spending decisions, many of them almost unconsciously. By simply increasing your awareness of how much you're spending and what the alternatives are (if any), you can often save hundreds of dollars a month.
- "People who use coupons are penny pinchers." Although the term "penny pincher" is frequently used to describe someone who's stingy or overly careful with their spending habits, some people consider it a badge of pride to be frugal and careful with their money. It's all a matter of perspective. There are numerous blogs, small businesses, and newspapers that have no reluctance about including the words "penny pincher" in their name While few people want to be thought of as cheap or stingy, frugality has different connotations. It's associated with being economical and thrifty.
- "I don't want people to think I'm cheap." This can be a tough self-defeating thought to overcome because it's often so deep rooted. However, if you're a compulsively high tipper or often feel obligated to pick up the check at restaurants (rather than splitting it with your fellow diners), this could be a contributing cause of your budgetary problems. Generosity is a wonderful thing, as long as it's not based on a desire to be liked, accepted, or approved of by other people. As a side note, concerns about being perceived as "cheap" is one reason some people don't take a closer look at their retail receipts, restaurant bills, and other invoices. Remember this: There's nothing cheap about being unwilling to pay extra for cashier or restaurant staff mistakes -- which are more common that you might think -- and unauthorized or redundant fees on bills.
American homes have been growing larger for decades. This trend is partly due to personal preference for more space, and partly caused by local laws mandating minimum square-footage of all new properties.
Owning and maintaining a home is a huge expense. Especially if you’re heating and maintaining parts of your home that you don’t really need.
As a result, a growing number of people are renting out parts of their home in various ways. From Airbnb to subletting, and all the way up to renting out their basement as a separate apartment, there are a number of ways you can earn money on your home.
The appeal is obvious. However, there are a number of factors you should consider before renting out part of your home. After all, your home is the place you and your family spend your days and nights, and sometimes the idea of having a stranger in your midst can be frightening to some homeowners.
For others, however, welcoming people into their home is a fun way to meet new people, help someone find affordable housing in a place they otherwise wouldn’t, and earn some extra money.
Know your local laws
It should be noted up front that not everyone can just legally rent out a portion of their home. Whether it is due to local laws, building code requirements, or homeowners association rules, there are a number of reasons you might not be able to rent out part of your home.
Before you consider listing a room or portion of your home, read up on the landlord-tenant laws in your area to make sure you’re comfortable with your legal obligations.
Make the necessary preparations
Renting a room in your home isn’t just a matter of giving someone the key to the front door. You’ll have to plan to install deadbolts, remove doorknobs with inside locking mechanisms, make repairs to the room and any amenities the tenant will have access to and document the state of your home.
Make a clear renter’s agreement
Would it make you uncomfortable to have a dog or cat in your home? Does your home have a smoking policy?
There are a number of things you should think about and add to your renter’s agreement and any online listing you post. This will help you narrow down your renter options and give you a better chance of finding someone right for your home.
Finding a tenant
There are a number of ways you can find people to live in your home. Most homeowners list their spare room or apartment online, but it can also be a good idea to reach out to people you know and trust.
Once you have interested parties, you might want to purchase a background check and determine if you’ll require certain documents (proof of income, credit score, etc.).
There’s a reason you have to do so much paperwork when you rent an apartment--the landlord wants to make sure they are covered in case anything goes wrong.
Before signing an agreement with your new renter, make sure it covers all of the “what-if” scenarios that could happen. There are several sample lease agreements online that you can use as a template.
Furthermore, once the tenant moves in, be sure that your discussions and agreements are documented. If the tenant denies you access to perform a check for pests, make sure you have some documentation that shows this denial.