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Many times I go to do a home to complete an inspection for a potential buyer, only to find the home not ready for an inspection. The home not being prepared then makes the buyer suspicious tha…

Getting Ready to Sell

Sometimes when selling your home it is necessary to make a few improvements to realize the value that you want or to gain the attention that is necessary to sell a home on today's real estate …

Home Buying : What Can You Afford?

Okay, you've decided to buy a home and are trying to figure out what you can afford. Before you go home buying, you need to carefully consider what you can afford as far as a mortgage payment.…

7 Worthwhile Kitchen Remodels

If you're looking into remodeling your kitchen and you're not trying to chase flighty fads, you might want to check out this list of 7 timeless kitchen remodels.   #1 Making white as the d…
Katherine Farber

 

 
AVAILABLE EVENT DATES: 
2/18/2018
TIMES: 11:15 AM TO 4:00 PM
PRESENTED BY: THOMAS JEFFERSON'S POPLAR FOREST
LOCATION: THOMAS JEFFERSON'S POPLAR FOREST
EVENT ADMISSION: INCLUDED WITH GENERAL ADMISSION TO POPLAR FOREST. $16 FOR ADULTS; $14 FOR SENIORS (AGES 65+) AND MILITARY (MUST SHOW ID); $8 FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS (MUST SHOW ID) AND TEENS (AGES 12 - 18); $4 FOR YOUTH (AGES 6 - 11); AND FREE FOR CHILDREN UNDER AGE 6
1542 BATEMAN BRIDGE ROAD
FOREST, VA 24551

 
 
 
 
 
 
Phil Vassar - Hometown Show
AVAILABLE EVENT DATES: 
FEBRUARY 17, 2018
TIMES: 8:00 PM
LOCATION: PHASE2 DINING & ENTERTAINMENT
EVENT ADMISSION: GA: $22, VIP: $64.50, VIP W/ MEET & GREET: $84.50
4009 MURRAY PLACE
LYNCHBURG, VA 24501

 
 
 
Acoustic Open Mic
RECURRENCE: RECURRING WEEKLY ON THURSDAY
TIMES: 7:00 PM TO 9:30 PM
LOCATION: BAINES BOOKS & COFFEE
205 MAIN STREET
APPOMATTOX, VA 24522
(434) 352-3711
 
 
 

And Still I Rise
AVAILABLE EVENT DATES: 
FEBRUARY 18, 2018
TIMES: 3:00 PM TO 5:45 PM
PRESENTED BY: ACADEMY CENTER OF THE ARTS
LOCATION: ACADEMY CENTER OF THE ARTS
EVENT ADMISSION: FREE
600 MAIN STREET
LYNCHBURG, VA 24504
 

5 Women: A Discussion of the Impact of Women in Art, Culture, & SocietyS: 
FEBRUARY 17, 2018
TIMES: 6:00 PM TO 7:30 PM
LOCATION: ACADEMY CENTER OF THE ARTS
EVENT ADMISSION: FREE
600 MAIN STREET
 
 
 
 
 
 
Live Irish Music
RECURRENCE: RECURRING WEEKLY ON THURSDAY
TIMES: 8:00 PM
PRESENTED BY: KEGNEY BROTHERS
LOCATION: KEGNEY BROTHERS
1118 MAIN STREET
LYNCHBURG, VA 24504
 

 
 
Thursday Salsa Nights
RECURRENCE: RECURRING WEEKLY ON THURSDAY
TIMES: 8:00 PM TO 11:00 PM
PRESENTED BY: LYNCHBURG SALSA
LOCATION: GLASS HOUSE, THE
EVENT ADMISSION: $5
1019 JEFFERSON STREET
 
 
 
Academy Center of the Arts
RECURRENCE: RECURRING MONTHLY ON THE 1ST FRIDAY
TIMES: 5:00 PM TO 8:00 PM
LOCATION: ACADEMY CENTER OF THE ARTS
EVENT ADMISSION: FREE
600 MAIN STREET
LYNCHBURG, VA 24504
 

 
First Fridays Art Reception
RECURRENCE: RECURRING MONTHLY ON THE 1ST FRIDAY
TIMES: 4:00 PM TO 8:00 PM
PRESENTED BY: RIVERVIEWS ARTSPACE
LOCATION: RIVERVIEWS ARTSPACE
EVENT ADMISSION: FREE
 
 

 
 
First Fridays Lynchburg
RECURRENCE: RECURRING MONTHLY ON THE 1ST FRIDAY
TIMES: 5:00 PM TO 8:00 PM
LOCATION: LYNCHBURG DOWNTOWN
MAIN STREET
LYNCHBURG, VA
 
 

Lynchburg Museum First Friday
RECURRENCE: RECURRING MONTHLY ON THE 1ST FRIDAY
TIMES: 5:00 PM TO 8:00 PM
PRESENTED BY: LYNCHBURG MUSEUM AT THE OLD COURT HOUSE
LOCATION: LYNCHBURG MUSEUM AT THE OLD COURT HOUSE
EVENT ADMISSION: FREE
901 COURT STREET
LYNCHBURG, VA 24504
(434) 455-6226
 

Virginia Distillery 1st Friday
RECURRENCE: RECURRING MONTHLY ON THE 1ST FRIDAY
TIMES: 12:00 PM TO 5:00 PM
LOCATION: VIRGINIA DISTILLERY COMPANY
EVENT ADMISSION: FREE
299 EADES LANE
LOVINGSTON, VA 22949
(434) 285-2900
 
 
 
 

 
 
AVAILABLE EVENT DATES: 
FEBRUARY 17, 2018
TIMES: 2:00 PM TO 5:00 PM
PRESENTED BY: THOMAS JEFFERSON'S POPLAR FOREST
LOCATION: THOMAS JEFFERSON'S POPLAR FOREST
EVENT ADMISSION: $10 PER PERSON
1542 BATEMAN BRIDGE ROAD
FOREST, VA 24551
 
 
 
 

 
 
Forest Farmer’s Market
RECURRENCE: RECURRING WEEKLY ON SATURDAY
TIMES: 8:00 AM TO 12:00 PM
LOCATION: FOREST RECREATION CENTER
1088 RUSTIC VILLAGE ROAD
VA 24551
 
 
 
 

 
 
Saturday Market Day
RECURRENCE: RECURRING WEEKLY ON SATURDAY
TIMES: 8:00 AM TO 2:00 PM
PRESENTED BY: MATTHES-HOPKINS TRACK COMPLEX
LOCATION: LYNCHBURG COMMUNITY MARKET
EVENT ADMISSION: FREE
1219 MAIN STREET
LYNCHBURG, VA 24504
 

Sunday Brunch Buffet
RECURRENCE: RECURRING WEEKLY ON SUNDAY
TIMES: 11:30 AM TO 3:30 PM
PRESENTED BY: PEAKS OF OTTER LODGE
LOCATION: PEAKS OF OTTER LODGE
EVENT ADMISSION: $18.95 - ADULTS; $9.95 - CHILDREN (12 YEARS & UNDER)
85554 BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
BEDFORD, VA 24523
 
 
 

 
Sunday Classics
RECURRENCE: RECURRING WEEKLY ON SUNDAY
TIMES: 8:00 PM
LOCATION: THE GR8 PL8 CAFE & LOUNGE
EVENT ADMISSION: COVER CHARGE $5.00 AND FREE FOR THE LADIES BEFORE 9:00PM
1415 KEMPER STREET
LYNCHBURG, VA
 
 
 
 

 
More Music Mondays with Daniel Kepel-Young at Jimmy's on the James
RECURRENCE: RECURRING WEEKLY ON MONDAY
TIMES: 6:00 PM TO 9:30 PM
PRESENTED BY: JIMMY'S ON THE JAMES
LOCATION: JIMMY'S ON THE JAMES
610 COMMERCE STREET
LYNCHBURG, VA 24504
 
 
 
 

 
Naked Monday
RECURRENCE: RECURRING WEEKLY ON MONDAY
TIMES: 11:00 AM TO 2:00 PM
LOCATION: FAVORED FLAVORS
912 MAIN ST.
LYNCHBURG, VA 24504
(434) 238-0801
 
 
 
 

Green Market Wednesdays
RECURRENCE: RECURRING WEEKLY ON WEDNESDAY
TIMES: 10:00 AM TO 2:00 PM
LOCATION: LYNCHBURG COMMUNITY MARKET
1219 MAIN ST.
LYNCHBURG, VA 24504
(434) 384-3190
 
 
 
 
Line Dancing
RECURRENCE: RECURRING WEEKLY ON WEDNESDAY
TIMES: 6:30 PM TO 9:00 PM
LOCATION: MADISON HEIGHTS RURITAN CLUB
EVENT ADMISSION: $6.00
270 MAYS STREET
MADISON HEIGHTS, VA 24572
 
 

 
Brandon Farber

It's the New Year still and it's never too late to make a plan!  Let's take the first step to getting a little organization into our lives and put together a fully functional command center. 
Here are some ideas for items to add to create a command center to fit your family's needs:
1. Hang individually labeled baskets, containers, or folders that each family member can place ALL important papers that come home. 
2. A personalized month or 2 month calendar that is easily labeled so everyone can see what is going on and when. 
3. Corkboards so you can pin up things like invitations, cards, or announcements that need to be seen
4. White board to add any extra notes , "To Do's" or grocery lists  that don't want to be lost in conversation (Don't forget to provide an easily accessible place for dry erase markers!)
5. A wall clock to keep timeliness in case there is no other place that has one!
6. A menu for the week in case you are a fan of meal planning.
7. Your chore (and reward) chart so there is a central place for everyone to see what jobs are left to do (and what incentives there are)
Don't forget to create this command center to fit YOUR family.  There are many printable charts online that you can add to your wall for extra personalization.  
Tackle the new year with a plan!
 
 


Brandon Farber

If you are a homeowner or you're planning to become one soon then you should make building equity in your home one of your number one priorities. The reason for this is that equity in your home is like having cash in your bank account because you are able to borrow against it for a variety of different purposes. Also, when you build equity in your home it means you are that many dollars closer to owning your home outright. There are quite a few things you can do in order to build equity in your home that include making a higher down payment, additional principal payments, shorter mortgage, as well as focusing on home improvements.
Making a large down payment helps you build equity in your home because every dollar you pay in your down payment goes directly to your equity. Because of this, saving money in order to make large down payments has several benefits. First, it automatically increases your equity as means that you will require a lower loan amount which means you will pay less money in interest. So, if there is any way you can make a large down payment make every effort to do so.
Another way to build equity in your home it makes more payments on principal than is required. This is important because every dollar paid on principal means another dollar built in equity and less money that will accrue interest. So, even if you can only make small extra payments on principal now still go ahead and get in the practice of doing so. It will really pay off in the long run.
Also, sacrifice in the short run and have a short mortgage term rather than a long one. By doing this you do several things. First, you pay more money per month on your loan, but you will have less money accrued in interest and build equity significantly faster. Also, if you have a short loan period you will save a considerable amount of money that would be accrued in interest otherwise and the peace of mind of knowing that you own your home much faster.
Investing in home improvements is another way you can build your equity. The reason this builds equity is because when you make home improvements you increase the value of your home, which means you will be able to build more equity. However, there are some things to keep in mind when considering home improvements. For example, home improvements to kitchens and bathrooms always increase the value of your home more so than external improvements like swimming pools or fences.
If you are interested in building home equity then make a plan that includes the following tips and make sure you follow it diligently. By doing this you will build equity in your home quickly and efficiently.


Brandon Farber

From cyan to cobalt, kitchen cabinets that are painted blue add a splash of distinction to cooking spaces full of neutral tones. But if you're not ready to commit to changing all your cabinets to Robins Egg Blue consider breaking up the monotony of a stark white cooking space by adding a blue kitchen island instead. 


Brandon Farber

Smalls ways to jazz up your kitchen without costing an arm and a leg. 
1 )  A budget-friendly idea for updating boring kitchen cabinets is to add decorative glass to cabinet inserts, then line the interior with whimsical wallpaper.
2) In just 15 minutes you can swap out all your knobs on your kitchen cabinets and drawer pulls for something with a little more spunk. 
3) Clean up your drawers and organize by storing measuring cups and other hanging objects (like a spatula) inside a cabinet door with a simple stick on hook. You can even get creative with chalk board paint to doll up your labels for these items. 
4) Convert your shelves to  pull-out shelves so you can see exactly what you have (and how much of it) without having to tear apart your kitchen to find your can of corn.
5) Dress up your outdated tile floor by paining the tile a new fun color or paint them all white to give them a new clean contemporary look!
 


Brandon Farber

For those investing in real estate, you may find that there are several unknowns that have to be accounted for that are related to money.  This investment relates to both home owners as well as those involved in the real estate business.  There are several common fears that are related to money in real estate.  
One of the major problems that are part of real estate investing is taking risks.  If you are investing in a property to own a home, you will have to take out a loan.  If you are unable to pay taxes or the loan at any time, you will be at risk of loosing the home.  This can cause several levels of fear to occur, which may lead to the wrong loan being purchased for security.  Knowing how much risk you are willing to take with your loan will define what type of loan you should get.  
Another common fear factor with money is in relation to investing in a property during the wrong time.  If the economy is at a low or if the market price is not good, investing in a certain property may mean a loss.  This is a risk factor that many real estate companies will decide to take in order to sell a home.  When deciding if this is a good investment or not requires some risk and can cause fear if you are unsure about the economy and sale of the home.  
Money in the real estate business means taking risks.  Whether you are a home owner or are in the real estate business, there will be several times where you will have to determine logical decisions without knowing if there will be money to back up the decision.  It is important to acknowledge these fears so that certain boundaries can be set in relation to them.  This means that you know when you are going too far with a purchase or investment or when the fears are holding you back from making the right moves.  By knowing the financial details of a home purchase, you can move past your fears and make the right investments.


Brandon Farber

When a house is a home it can hold fond memories, neighbors and people we care about, and emotional ties.  Many people that sell their house have a connection to it as their home.  One of the best ways to get a seller to accept your offer is to write a "love letter" about their house.  A letter shows the seller your emotional investment in addition to financial investment into the home you're hoping for.  This letter should list the things you love about the home and touch on how much you notice the seller put their love into those things as well.  If you're observant while you tour the home and can mention that baseball themed room and your love for the same team, it could be a plus.  Sometimes a letter written by your children can help a seller know how much the whole family wants to make this place home.  Whichever way it is done, tugging at the sellers heart strings can really help sway the decision toward your offer. 


Brandon Farber

In a seller's market, a prospective home buyer needs to be a little more cautious when negotiating a purchase; however, in a buyer's market, incentives are an accepted part of the deal. It certainly never hurts to ask. It's not uncommon for a seller to  wait for three months or longer to sell their home, especially during this time when the market is saturated with homes for sale. They need to make their home stand out amongst the rest, and often times, offering sales incentives is the easiest way to accomplish this.
Here are a few of the more common closing requests that never would have been considered a few years ago in our previous seller's market.
House Price & Closing Costs   
It's quite acceptable to negotiate 5 percent off the price of the house and then request another 3 percent for the closing costs associated with the purchase of the home. 
Inspections
Home Inspection: Everyone asks for a house inspection these days. It's the most sensible way to avoid costly surprise  that may result from  rotten beams, water damage, faulty wiring or cracked foundations to name a few. Once the inspection is completed, the buyer can take his list of deficiencies, associate costs with them, and either request that they be fixed or deducted from the purchase price.  It is also common practice to request the seller to arrange and pay for the inspection. 
Radon Inspection: This used to be a common inspection in the 1980's and 1990's. There are approximately 20,000 deaths in the U.S. each year as a result of this cancer causing, odorless gas. A test to determine radon levels in a house costs less than $50, and if the levels are high, repairing the problems cost about $1,000.
Well Inspection: When purchasing a home with a well, the seller should be responsible for a thorough inspection of the system including:

       -Functionality of the pump and overall well system.
       -The well quantity, or the amount of water drawn per minute,  to ensure an adequate flow and water pressure.
       -The water quality has to be tested to ensure that it doesn't pose a health risk.  
Septic Inspection: In rural areas with no connection to sewer lines,  the seller also has to provide proof of a certified inspection of the septic system. 
Home Warranty
Including a home warranty can go a long way to providing peace of mind in a home negotiation. At an average cost of $250 - $400, it is a reasonable request to make of a seller.
Decorative Improvements
Sometimes a carpet or paint job may be in dire need of upgrading and a buyer can either request replacement of these items or deduct the cost from the offer. 
Non-Fixed Items
Generally, any fixed items stay with the house, but often times it is to a buyer's advantage to request certain things to be included, such as:
      -Drapery
      -Appliances
      -Lighting fixtures
      -Decorative items
      -Lawn tractors or snow blowers  
      -Vehicles
New Home Buyer Incentives
When purchasing a new home from a builder, the incentives are almost endless, and range from new appliances, landscaping, big screen TV's and even swimming pools.
A buyer's market won't be around forever but when it is be sure to take advantage of it.  If you have any questions about things you can negotiate for, your real estate agent is a great resource to check with. 
 


Brandon Farber

Money is one of the elements that easily comes and goes just as easily.  If you have a home, you want to make sure that the flow of money coming and leaving is to your advantage.  By investing in a home equity line of credit, you will have the ability to invest, finance and profit off of what you are able to have in property value. 
A home equity is where one can borrow against their own home with the loan that they are using.  It will allow you to take out a second loan in order to consolidate debt and pay off major parts of your loan.  When this is in a line of credit, the way in which the transaction is made will differ.  A regular home equity loan will give you a sum of money at one time.  When this is in a line of credit, it will shift the balance as you pay the loan back.  During the loan period, you can borrow a certain amount, much like a credit card.  With a line of credit, you can borrow what you need at certain times or leave parts of the loan in the bank.  
The major advantage of having a home equity line of credit is that you can use it like a credit card.  This means that you can use as much or little as you need at one time, and pay back the line of credit at your own convenience.  If you don't use the full line of credit, you can use the extra amount of money later on in order to make more investments.  If you sell your house, you only responsible for what you have spent with your line of credit.  
The major advantage of using home equity like credit is that it won't be as risky as other types of home equity loans.  Because you can take it in any type of dose that you want, it will give you the ability to spend as you need and pay back as you want.  For anyone wanting to make a little more of an investment in order to add onto their home, or for other reasons, this is a great way to do it.  


Brandon Farber

If you are a homeowner then you should make building equity in your home one of your number one priorities. The reason for this is that equity in your home is like having cash in your bank account because you are able to borrow against it for a variety of different purposes. Also, when you build equity in your home it means you are that many dollars closer to owning your home outright. There are quite a few things you can do in order to build equity in your home that include making a higher down payment, additional principal payments, shorter mortgage, as well as focusing on home improvements.
Making a large down payment helps you build equity in your home because every dollar you pay in your down payment goes directly to your equity. Because of this, saving money in order to make large down payments has several benefits. First, it automatically increases your equity as means that you will require a lower loan amount which means you will pay less money in interest. So, if there is any way you can make a large down payment make every effort to do so.
Another way to build equity in your home it makes more payments on principal than is required. This is important because every dollar paid on principal means another dollar built in equity and less money that will accrue interest. So, even if you can only make small extra payments on principal now still go ahead and get in the practice of doing so. It will really pay off in the long run.
Also, sacrifice in the short run and have a short mortgage term rather than a long one. By doing this you do several things. First, you pay more money per month on your loan, but you will have less money accrued in interest and build equity significantly faster. Also, if you have a short loan period you will save a considerable amount of money that would be accrued in interest otherwise and the peace of mind of knowing that you own your home much faster.
Investing in home improvements is another way you can build your equity. The reason this builds equity is because when you make home improvements you increase the value of your home, which means you will be able to build more equity. However, there are some things to keep in mind when considering home improvements. For example, home improvements to kitchens and bathrooms always increase the value of your home more so than external improvements like swimming pools or fences.
If you are interested in building home equity then make a plan that includes the following tips and make sure you follow it diligently. By doing this you will build equity in your home quickly and efficiently.

 


Brandon Farber

Welcome to the home buying market! This is an exciting time to be purchasing a home, with an array of new homes coming onto the market these is some excellent value to be found. All it takes is a little time and effort in looking and you can find your dream home for a dream price. But you should always be a smart buyer. There are those out there that will take advantage of someone who is eager to buy so, if you do your homework; the deals will follow. 
The first thing you should do is get your finances in order. This involves finding out your credit score, fixing any outstanding issues affecting your credit, ensuring that these are properly released from your report, and finally securing your mortgage before you start looking. When I say secure your finances I do mean being pre-approved fully, this is different from a pre-qualification in that a pre-qualification does not "secure" you any amount of money, it is simply a judgment of whether or not you qualify to receive a mortgage.
Next, start working with a realtor that knows the area you are looking to buy in. This is a huge step so be prepared to move from merely wanting a home, to actively looking for one. Sit down with your realtor and make a list of things you require in a home. This is a list of those things that you can absolutely not be without. Once this is compiled, then list the things that you would like. With these lists ready, its time to start looking at homes. Your realtor should be able to provide you with a complete list of homes that fit your criteria, and some that come close. Also, they will be able to guide you to properties that fit your pre-approved mortgage amount. 
After finding a home or homes that suit you make sure to have a certified inspector take a thorough look through the home. Have them check all questionable areas of the home. Don't forget to have the inspector check for mold as this is something that is often overlooked. If the home passes the inspection than carry on with the offer if you are so inclined. If it doesn't then either continue shopping, or utilize the necessary repairs as a bargaining point. Usually you should be able to have the cost of these repairs deducted from the cost of the home. Its a good idea to bring in your own contractor or expert to get these estimates. By doing this you know that everything is above board. 
Buying a home is a huge process and one that you must be careful to handle with all due care and attention. Such an important investment can benefit you financially for years to come as well as providing safety and financial security. Don't sell yourself short on what you buy as your home. After all, your family deserves the best don't they?

 


Katherine Farber
Open House and New Price! 
523 Capstone Dr Lynchburg VA 24502
3 bedroom 2 bath home 
Listed at $254,900 
Open Feb 11th 2-4
 
 
 
Cornerstone Community offers a beautiful low maintenance one level home. The stamped concrete & brick front porch enters into a spacious great room with a rock fireplace, trey ceiling, as well as a bright and airy dining room overlooking the spacious chefs kitchen offering stainless appliances, granite, counter tops, tile backsplash with ample bar area for additional seating. Master Suite offers a spectacular ceramic tile shower, double vanities, walk in closet and cathedral ceiling as well as 2 additional bedrooms & 2nd full bath. Rear load oversized 2 car garage offers a huge storage closet & pull down attic. A drop zone and spacious laundry room is located conveniently off the garage. READY FOR IMMEDIATE OCCUPANCY and minutes to Liberty University, Shopping, Dining and more. Tons of amenities including a swimming pool and twenty-five acre park with walking/jogging/bicycle trails. Tons of storage in this home!

 
Brandon Farber

The impending move is getting closer, but that's ok, you're on top of everything. You've done your due diligence, researched various movers, received three estimates and have a good idea of your final moving costs. Now it's time to build all those extra costs into your budget. 
You will be shocked when you start building up your inventory of boxes and packing supplies. This is big business and companies are making a lot of money selling this stuff. Try to re-use whenever possible. I found our local liquor store and grocery store to be most helpful when I moved. Actual moving companies sell re-used boxes and packing materials at a discount as well. Start collecting early to build up your supply. 
Inquire as to the cost of purchasing last minute boxes in case you run out on moving day. It's quite costly to purchase these new directly from the moving company.
Providing lunch and beverages for the movers is a gesture that is extremely appreciated. It also ensures they aren't running off to get lunch elsewhere and using up your valuable moving time. You may want to plan on a morning snack and pizza later on, with the occasional coffee run.
You may consider tipping your movers, it's totally optional, some do, and some don't. 
If the movers are paid hourly, they may not have estimated enough time for the job and every extra hour gets added to your bill. 
Replacing damaged goods during packing or delivery can add to your budget. If you've purchased added insurance, the guidelines for making a claim are stringent, ensure you read the fine print. Generally your standard homeowner's insurance does not cover contents while they're in transit.
Certain larger items may require special handling such as a piano, artwork, a billiard table or a vehicle, which translates into more dollars. 
How are you getting to your final destination? Don't forget to include your own traveling costs, hotel, meals, and transportation.
If you are shipping your vehicle to the new home, those costs should be added in as well. 
Generally movers do a pretty good job of estimating the final weight of a shipment, but it's never exact and rarely do they estimate lower than the final tally. Be prepared to owe more than planned for the final cost per pound. 
If you will be requiring storage for your contents, make certain you understand not only the cost of storage, but the cancellation and late fees that may also apply.
One ray of sunshine that may be available to you, if your move is job related and a specified distance closer to your new job, the expenses could result in a tidy deduction. Research your tax laws and see if this applies to you.


Brandon Farber

Upgrading a bathroom is one of the more popular home improvement projects. Handling the plumbing for draining your shower can be exceedingly simple unless you go overboard. 
Handling Your Own Shower Drain Installation Project
Whether you are a bathtub or shower person, most people look for shower only options when buying a home. This simple fact means more than a few homeowners spend a weekend upgrading or installing showers in their bathrooms. Fortunately for you, it is a fairly simple process.
A collector or pan refers to the horizontal surface located at the bottom of the shower. The collector typically consists of a non-slip surface slightly banked towards the center or wherever the drain is located. Combined with three to four inch walls around the side, the goal of your shower drainage plumbing is to get the water to flow to and down the drain. 
You can physically build a collector for your new shower, but you really need to think about it. Do you really want to get into the complications of getting the sloping correct, not to mention making sure every aspect of it is waterproof? And I mean every aspect! It is much easier to simply buy a pre-cast collector online or at your local Lowes, Home Depot or hardware store. Building one might sound like a great idea, but you will probably feel differently after a couple of hours.
Regardless of how you go about getting a pan, you should make every effort to use one that has the drain located in the same spot as the original pan. Moving the drain pipes can be a task, particularly if the builder used a unique framing structure. If you are determined to move the drain, you are going to have to cut back the pipe or lengthen it, which may mean ripping up large chunks of the floor. Put another way, you are going to be looking at a multiple weekend project. 
Assuming we have our drain lined up, the actual hook up is fairly simple. The drainage pipe should be facing vertical up to the collector. It will often look like a ìUî, which means it acts as a clean out to keep nasty smells from coming back up from the drain. To connect the drain, you are going to create a water tight connection between a drain cap on the top of the pan and the drainage pipe. Systems vary, but you are typically going to do this by putting a coupling piece on the top of the drainage pipe. This is then covered with gaskets and literally screwed into the drain cap. The drain cap should act as a locknut, to wit, it screws directly onto the coupling.
The tricky part of this process is getting your drain cap to fit into a watertight position in the pan. This is accomplished by backing off the drain cap once you are sure everything fits together. At that point, you put plumbers putty around the underside of the cap and then screw it back on. The putty should form a tight seal between the cap and the shower pan, which keeps water from trickling under it and into the framing under the shower. 
Obviously, bathroom showers come in a wide variety of styles these days. If you purchase a collector, they almost always come with plumbing instructions or the store can note anything unusual you should know. It sounds complex, but is typically pretty straight forward. Have fun!

 


Brandon Farber

 
Welcome to the home buying market! This is an exciting time to be purchasing a home, with an array of new homes coming onto the market these is some excellent value to be found. All it takes is a little time and effort in looking and you can find your dream home for a dream price. But you should always be a smart buyer. There are those out there that will take advantage of someone who is eager to buy so, if you do your homework; the deals will follow. 
The first thing you should do is get your finances in order. This involves finding out your credit score, fixing any outstanding issues affecting your credit, ensuring that these are properly released from your report, and finally securing your mortgage before you start looking. When I say secure your finances I do mean being pre-approved fully, this is different from a pre-qualification in that a pre-qualification does not "secure" you any amount of money, it is simply a judgment of whether or not you qualify to receive a mortgage.
Next, start working with a realtor that knows the area you are looking to buy in. This is a huge step so be prepared to move from merely wanting a home, to actively looking for one. Sit down with your realtor and make a list of things you require in a home. This is a list of those things that you can absolutely not be without. Once this is compiled, then list the things that you would like. With these lists ready, its time to start looking at homes. Your realtor should be able to provide you with a complete list of homes that fit your criteria, and some that come close. Also, they will be able to guide you to properties that fit your pre-approved mortgage amount. 
After finding a home or homes that suit you make sure to have a certified inspector take a thorough look through the home. Have them check all questionable areas of the home. Don't forget to have the inspector check for mold as this is something that is often overlooked. If the home passes the inspection than carry on with the offer if you are so inclined. If it doesn't then either continue shopping, or utilize the necessary repairs as a bargaining point. Usually you should be able to have the cost of these repairs deducted from the cost of the home. Its a good idea to bring in your own contractor or expert to get these estimates. By doing this you know that everything is above board. 


Brandon Farber

Do you have a piece of furniture that has drawers that stick every time you pull them out?  Does it frustrate you when the drawer no longer glides smoothly?
Pull the drawer out and turn it upside down.  Then,  rub a simple bar of soap on the drawer glide and it will lubricate it just enough to make access into your things easy again!
 


Brandon Farber

Shutters will offer great light control and privacy, which will make a big difference in how cozy and comfortable our house feels inside. They’ll add statement to the interior and exterior, without being fussy or messy. Shutters bring character and really work well with any direction you are heading for in your home!


Brandon Farber
 

When you find a home you want to buy, it's not as easy as saying "I'll take it".  The process of making an offer to the seller can almost feel like an intricate dance that has to be done with no time to waste, just the right way.  An offer will be made up of a monetary amount on how much you're willing to pay the seller, how you're planning to pay the seller, how long the offer stands and stipulation on what needs to happen for you to continue.  Here is a little more detail on what the offer is made up of: 
First off, setting the amount you are willing to offer to the seller should be compared to other nearby houses that were sold recently and that are currently on the market as well.  Aside from checking it out yourself, your real estate agent will be the one to guide you to the most reasonable value to offer on the home you want to buy.
If your offer isn't looking as high as the asking price listed, it'll be beneficial to include a letter explaining compared market values or explaining yourself as to how you came up with your offer.
Discuss a good timeline for your offer to expire with your real estate agent.  It can depend on the popularity of the home and the current market.  Don't forget that you'll be adding the date you'd be hoping to close the deal of the house, as well. 
You'll want to prove to the sellers that you have a plan to come up with the money as well as a pre approval letter that states that you can execute your plan in your offer letter. 
With the offer you will be providing an "earnest money" check that serves as a down payment or deposit that shows sellers you're serious about this offer.  The earnest money will be added to your escrow account as part of your down payment. 
Adding an escape route of contingency's like financing and inspection issues can keep you and your earnest money safe just in case you decide (within the contract time) that this isn't the right path for you.  Be aware that sometimes contingency's can work against you in a sellers market if other offers don't have any safety nets. 
After completing your offer your real estate agent will present it to the selling agent and it'll be a waiting game to hear back from that agent. 
If the seller accepts your offer you are now legally bound to what your offered.  If the seller rejects your offer it usually means that they accepted another offer or it amount you offered is non-negotiable.  If the seller counters your offer it essentially means that they rejected your first offer and but they are sending back an offer of their own that they is a negotiation to what they prefer. If you cannot come up with an agreement the offer and the earnest money deposit will be cancelled.  If an agreement is reached then you will be moving to the next step.
Lastly, once the offer is accepted and the contracts are signed the seller has one last chance to provide a full disclosure on any last things that they are aware are defective on the property.  You as the buyer will have a certain amount of days to either continue, modify or safely exit this contract with no consequences. 
Putting in an offer on the home you have your eye has to be done with precision and timeliness.  Having the guidance from your real estate agent is crucial so you make the best informed offer without missing any steps. 


Brandon Farber

These days with all the cold weather the heater is running all the time. Energy bills are skyrocketing and cutting costs is helpful in anyway.  Here are some tips to ways you can lower your electric bill.  
1. Lower your water heater to 120 degrees.
2. Only run your dishwasher if its completely full versus on a daily basis.
3. Wash your clothes in cold water.  Modern detergents usually clean clothes very well so unless something is excessively soiled, cold water is sufficient.
4. Switch off lights when you leave a room.  (Tip: make it a game with kids with rewards to those who remember to shut off their lights most often for a week)
5.  Install countdown timers in intermittently used rooms like the bathroom and laundry room. 
6. Make use of windows by opening curtains on cold days and warming up with the sun but close curtains on hot days to keep the heat out.
7. Install ceiling fans for frequently used rooms.
8. Adjust your thermostat by 10 degrees for the 8 hours your leave the home so you're not heating or cooling an empty house.
With these simple changes you can make a big dent in your energy bill for the year. 
 


Brandon Farber

The impending move is getting closer, but that's ok, you're on top of everything. You've done your due diligence, researched various movers, received three estimates and have a good idea of your final moving costs. Now it's time to build all those extra costs into your budget. 
You will be shocked when you start building up your inventory of boxes and packing supplies. This is big business and companies are making a lot of money selling this stuff. Try to re-use whenever possible. I found our local liquor store and grocery store to be most helpful when I moved. Actual moving companies sell re-used boxes and packing materials at a discount as well. Start collecting early to build up your supply. 
Enquire as to the cost of purchasing last minute boxes in case you run out on moving day. It's quite costly to purchase these new directly from the moving company.
Providing lunch and beverages for the movers is a gesture that is extremely appreciated. It also ensures they aren't running off to get lunch elsewhere and using up your valuable moving time. You may want to plan on a morning snack and pizza later on, with the occasional coffee run.
You may consider tipping your movers, it's totally optional, some do, and some don't. 
If the movers are paid hourly, they may not have estimated enough time for the job and every extra hour gets added to your bill. 
Replacing damaged goods during packing or delivery can add to your budget. If you've purchased added insurance, the guidelines for making a claim are stringent, ensure you read the fine print. Generally your standard homeowner's insurance does not cover contents while they're in transit.
Certain larger items may require special handling such as a piano, artwork, a billiard table or a vehicle, which translates into more dollars. 
How are you getting to your final destination? Don't forget to include your own traveling costs, hotel, meals, and transportation.
If you are shipping your vehicle to the new home, those costs should be added in as well. 
Generally movers do a pretty good job of estimating the final weight of a shipment, but it's never exact and rarely do they estimate lower than the final tally. Be prepared to owe more than planned for the final cost per pound. 
If you will be requiring storage for your contents, make certain you understand not only the cost of storage, but the cancellation and late fees that may also apply.
One ray of sunshine that may be available to you, if your move is job related and a specified distance closer to your new job, the expenses could result in a tidy deduction. Research your tax laws and see if this applies to you.


Brandon Farber

Whether or not the world is getting more dangerous is debatable. However, the safety of your family should always be an issue of concern, and rightly so. Whether you've recently experienced a break in or are just anxious about leaving your children home alone, there are many things you can do to improve security around the house. While nothing is completely fool proof or guaranteed, making a few changes can go a long way in deterring would-be troublemakers and give you some peace of mind.
Trim hedges and shrubbery away from walkways, windows and doors so that the path is visible and no intruders can hide in the landscaping. Install motion detector lights that will flood the area with light upon your arrival or other movement. 
Install a wide-angled peephole in your door so that your family can see who is at the door before you answer it. Pair this with a quality door (solid wood is the safest) on a good frame with a decent lock. Invest in door and window braces for other potential entry points in the house.
Get a dog - although they won't deter all thieves, they still have the potential to scare someone off or alert your neighbors. And don't forget the "Beware of Dog" signs, which might be useful even if there's no dog to actually beware of. A monitored alarm system can also be a great deterrent. Post visible signs warning that the house is alarmed, even if you can't afford the real thing.
Varying your schedule can deter thieves who might be watching the house. Using timers to turn lights on and off can give the impression that someone is home. These are also useful when going away for longer periods of time. Setting your radio or television on timers may also give the impression of inhabitants, discouraging thieves.
Also, if you are going away for a while, cancel the newspaper delivery and ask a trusted friend to pick up the mail. If you'll be away in the winter, arrange for snow removal while you're gone. If you're leaving for an extended period in the summer have someone mow your lawn. Don't tell strangers about your trip out of town, but do let your neighbors know so that they can keep an eye on your house. Developing a friendly rapport with the neighbors can help with security - when you know who lives in the neighborhood you're more likely to notice suspicious behavior. Arrange to keep your spare key on the neighbor's property instead of your own.
Don't give thieves any incentives: when you buy new appliances or electronics, don't leave your boxes at the curb for all eyes to see. Break them down and recycle them.
Keep valuables out of sight - don't leave your tools or mountain bikes lying around the yard where thieves might pick them up or be attracted to see what else you've got. Tools can also be used to break into your home, so be sure to keep your shed locked.
Find a good spot to hide your valuables inside your house. A fire safe box may protect your loot from fire, but many of the locks are easily breakable. Safes should be built in to a wall or other structure, well hidden and kept locked. It's also a good idea to list and photograph all your possessions as a record for your insurance company. In the event of a break in, this will help simplify your insurance claim.

 


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