Brian O'Neil - RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Brian OíNeil on 5/2/2021

The weeks and days leading up to a home closing can be stressful, particularly for a homebuyer who is already trying to do everything possible to secure his or her dream residence. Fortunately, we're here to help you simplify the process of getting to your closing date.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can enjoy a fast, easy home closing.

1. Get Your Paperwork Ready

It often helps to get all of your homebuying paperwork ready before you pursue a residence. That way, you can minimize the last-minute stress associated with searching far and wide for pay stubs, tax returns and other documents that you'll ultimately need to get financing for a residence.

Furthermore, you should meet with local banks and credit unions as soon as you can. If you can get approved for a mortgage prior to starting a home search, you may be able to speed up the process of acquiring your ideal residence.

2. Be Prepared to Cover Your Closing Costs

Although you might have financing to cover your monthly mortgage payments, it is important to remember that you may need to pay closing costs to finalize your home purchase. As such, if you begin saving for your closing costs today, you can guarantee that you'll have the necessary funds available to purchase your dream residence on your scheduled closing date.

Also, you should be prepared to present a cashier's check or wire funds when you close on a house. If you plan ahead, you should have no paying off your closing costs when your complete your home purchase.

3. Schedule Your Final Walk-Through Before Your Closing Date

When it comes to a final walk-through on your dream house, why should you leave anything to chance? Instead, set up the final walk-through at least a few days before you're scheduled to close on a house.

If you find problems with a house during a final walk-through, you'll want to give the seller plenty of time to address these issues. Thus, if you schedule a final walk-through several days before your closing date, you can ensure that any home problems can be corrected without putting your closing date in danger.

For homebuyers who are worried about a home closing, there is no need to stress. In fact, if you work with an expert real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey.

Typically, a real estate agent can explain what you should expect in the time leading up to your closing date. If you have any concerns or questions before a home closing, a real estate agent is happy to address them. Plus, when your closing date arrives, a real estate agent will help you remain calm, cool and collected as you purchase a home.

Ready to streamline the process of closing on a house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can reap the benefits of a quick, seamless home closing.




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Posted by Brian OíNeil on 4/25/2021

Photo by JayMantri via Pixabay

When you buy a new-to-you home, foremost on your mind is changing everything to make it yours. You paint the inside and even remodel the kitchen. A priority is removing the old carpet and installing new flooring. Lower on the list are changes to the exterior, but they are on the list. If you bought the house from family or people known to you, they might want to come check out the changes youíve made. Sometimes, though, you notice a former owner driving by, and because you donít know them, you donít know what to think.

Should You Worry?

Itís doubtful. People move from a home for many reasons. Sometimes, itís because theyíve improved their income and moved to a bigger home. Other times, the move was due to financial hardship, divorce or death. In the case of the latter three, the former owner naturally needs a time of grieving to deal with their loss and the home may represent a place of happiness for them. Or, it may be a reminder of their lost spouse or family member. Some folks like to drive by the homes theyíve lived in merely because theyíve moved away and are home for a visit. If the former owner built the house, seeing it may evoke a sense of pride that something they created still stands and shelters another family. If the house belonged to their grandparents or parents, they may simply need to see it to be in contact with their roots now and again. Humans form an emotional attachment to their homes and, even though theyíve moved on, might find it hard letting go.
Some families stay in the same neighborhood when they move so that children remain in the same school. Or, they may still have family and friends in the neighborhood, so driving past is incidental. It could simply be happenstance that they must drive past the old home to get to the new.

Does It Matter?

It might be worth your time to meet them and find out. They may have stories about the house that inform how you proceed with a remodel. What you thought of as an odd niche may be a boarded up dumbwaiter or fireplace. Each tree in the yard may have been planted at the birth of a child. Knowing your homeís history might give you a sense of its place in the community and even make it more valuable when you go to sell it.

Safety First

If you feel unsafe, for any reason, contact the police. Thereís likely no cause for concern. In fact, you may find yourself doing the same thing when you move away. Make the effort to change a few things like painting the front door a vibrant color. Or, change out the garage door. Rearrange the flowerbeds and plant some bushes or a hedge. The more it visibly becomes your home, the less it will seem like theirs.
If youíd like to meet the former owners, talk to your real estate agent to see if they can arrange a meeting for you. Who knows, they might have a wealth of information that saves you from renovation mistakes down the line.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Brian OíNeil on 4/18/2021

Photo by Andrey_Popov via Shutterstock

Is your house leaky? According to the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency), household water leaks account for up to a trillion gallons of water wasted each year. According to their calculations, the average home leaks about ten thousand gallons annually or more than 90 gallons every single day. So how do you tell if your home is leaking?

First, pull out your water bills from the past year. Organize them by the months of colder weather when youíll use less water for landscaping purposes and hotter weather when youíll use more. In the winter months, December through February, the monthly average for a family of four should be under 12,000 gallons. If itís more than that, you may have a leak.

Where does the leak come from?

The most common source of leaks is a worn toilet flapper or a dripping faucet. When you hear a hissing sound from the toilet tank, or it flushes randomly, you need to update the flapper. Dripping faucets start slowly, but unless you correct the problem, the leak only gets stronger. In fact, homeowners can save around ten percent on their water bills by merely fixing a few leaking fixtures.

How do you find them?

Turn off all the running water in your home, then read your water meter. Wait for two hours with no water use and then reread the meter. If the meter changes, itís likely that you have a leak. Note that some water utilities have electronic meters with smartphone apps so you can track water leaks while youíre away from your home.

To determine if your toilet leaks, youíll need some food coloring. Add one to two drops to your toiletís tank. Wait for about 10 minutes to see if any of the colored water appears in the bowl. If you see it, that means your flapper does not seal properly and needs replacing. Once youíve determined if itís leaking, you should make sure to flush your toilet right away to completely expel the colored water from the tank to avoid staining your toilet bowl. A leaky faucet or showerhead is more straightforward. Often, youíll see the drip coming from the fixture. Other times youíll see a rust stain on the sink bowl or tub from the slowly dripping water. Other leaks can come from the connectors under sinks and behind toilets. If the valves are damp it could merely be condensation, so wipe them dry and leave them exposed to the air (leave cabinet doors open). Recheck them in an hour or two. Also, check for mold or mildew build-up since damp, leaky areas promote their growth.

Another area to find a hidden leak is in your landscaping. If your grass is greener in one area, or the ground sinks in when you step on it, you may have a broken sprinkler pipe. Landscaping and sprinkler professionals can trace the leak for you so that you can have it dug up and repaired.

How do you fix them?

If youíre handy, you can purchase a new flapper seal at your local hardware or DIY store. Youíll find instructions on YouTube, other websites or you can inquire about it while in the store. Leaky showerheads and sinks might need new gaskets, so start there. If your faucetís fittings are inside walls, or itís a complex system such as a touchless fixture, seek professional help in tracking down the leak and replacing seals and gaskets. Some leaks in valves and pipe joints only need plumberís tape or pipe glue, but others might require replacing. To avoid flooding your home, let a professional handle the more complicated repairs.

For a referral to a plumbing or landscaping professional near you, ask your knowledgeable real estate agent.




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Posted by Brian OíNeil on 4/11/2021

If youíre looking to make your home smell nice, but arenít sure about using chemical air fresheners for your home, you can turn to the natural odors that nature provides. Below, youíll find some of the best natural air fresheners and how to use them to make your home smell fresh and clean. 


Lemon And Rosemary


Who knew that one of the best natural air fresheners was right in your kitchen? All you need is a mason jar, vanilla extract, rosemary, water, and lemon. Mix together and leave in the jar for a fanatic smell. 


Lilac Room Spray


You can leave your home smelling like springtime the whole year through. Just combine water, vodka, and lilac oil in a container with a sprayer. This compound is the ultimate room refresher.


Natural Carpet Freshener


You can freshen your carpets quickly and naturally by combining baking soda, dried rosemary, and lavender right on your carpets. Just let the mixture sit on rugs for about 15-20 minutes, then vacuum it up and voila, youíll have quite a fresh smelling room. 


Natural Refills For Plug-In Air Fresheners


You donít need to throw away empty plug-in the wall air fresheners. You can reuse the glass container. You can use your favorite essential oils and water, place back in the jar, and keep your rooms smelling fresh and clean.


Fall Into A Season


If youíre not a fan of burning candles, you can combine cinnamon oil, orange oil, and water. Boil it together, and your home will smell like a fresh fall day. 


Stove-Top Potpurris


There isnít really any one particular scent that you have to use in your potpourris. Just look for recipes that intrigue you. Your home will smell like a new world when you combine sweet and spicy smells to make a long-lasting scent out of potpourri.


Make Your Own Diffuser


To make your own reed diffuser, all you need is a small glass container, rattan reeds, alcohol, almond oil, and your favorite essential oil. Some examples would be lemon oil or lavender oil. It all depends on what room youíre using the diffuser in and what effect you hope to have. The reeds soak in the scent, giving it off to the entire room. 


As with many kinds of cleaning around your home, you donít need fancy cleaning products or air fresheners. Things that you probably already have in your home can work as great cleaners, deodorizers, and odor neutralizers. Give these natural air fresheners a try and see if they make a difference in your home.          







Posted by Brian OíNeil on 4/4/2021

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Depending on where you live, recycling may not be an easy task. Some communities don't even have a local center. And beyond that, reusing something has less of an environmental impact than recycling. So when you can reuse, you absolutely should. But it's not always easy to see treasure when "trash" stands before you.

Here are some simple and creative ways to re-purpose your recyclables for storage.

Coffee Creamer Bottle Salad Sprinkles

Are you trying to add more healthy nuts and seeds to your salads? Make it easy for yourself by re-purposing a creamer bottle. Simply remove the label and wash. Then add things like:

  • Almond slivers
  • Crushed walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Orange Juice Bottle Watering Can

    After cleaning the bottle, simply use a small drill bit or hammer/nail to bore some tiny holes into the lid. Fill it with water. Screw on the lid tight. And then, turn the bottle at an angle to allow the sprinkles to cascade over your plants.

    Single-Use Plastic Bottle Wastebasket 

    You'll need a couple of metal rings for support here. So look for old furniture or machinery that has them. Then string four bottles together with a wire running through top to bottom. Glue the bottle columns to each other to create a cylinder. Use a recycled piece of wood, metal or hard plastic for the round base, and Voila! 

    Old Desk Recycling Station

    Do you have a table, desk, armoire or dresser that's on its way out? Turn that old wood into several crates. Use them for anything. But they're perfect for recycling.

    Carefully disassemble the furniture. Then cut the wood into slats. Nail those slats together to form a crate. Paint each container with a different vibrant color. Then stencil on a label such as:

  • Paper
  • Cans
  • Bottles
  • Now, when someone visits your home, they immediately sort recyclables into the right bin. 

    Hopefully, these ideas will help you see other recyclables in a new light to create your own up-cycled storage solutions. 




    Tags: recycling   storage   Repurpose  
    Categories: Uncategorized