8 Things to Ask Your Realtor When Selling Your House

If you have decided to hire a real estate agent to assist you in selling your home, then you have probably made the right decision. A real estate agent can help you with a lot of things when you’re in the process of selling your home and can answer a lot of your questions. These are some of the things that you may want to ask your realtor when you’re preparing to sell your house.

1. Are You Licensed?

It’s always a good idea to check your real estate agent’s credentials first. Make sure that he or she has a state license and has access to the multiple listing service. If you’d like to hire someone who has had plenty of training, you may want to choose a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors.

2. How Many Sales Did You Make Last Year?

Of course, if a real estate agent doesn’t get a lot of sales in a rough year for the real estate market, then it does not mean that he or she is not good at his or her job. However, it is a good idea to ask how many sales your real estate agent had in the past year or so to get an idea of how successful he or she might be at selling your home.

3. What is the Real Estate Market Like in My Area?

It’s not a bad idea to do some research about the current real estate market yourself, but few people will have as solid of an understanding about your local real estate market as a real estate agent. Asking him or her how the market has been lately can help you get an idea of whether it will be difficult or easy to sell your home.

4. How Much Will We Be Listing My Home For?

Your real estate agent should have a big part in coming up with the listing price of your home. Make sure that you ask your real estate agent how much the home is going to be listed for and how he or she arrived at this number. You may want to work with an appraisal service to get help in determining how much your home might sell for.

5. How Much Will I Have to Pay?

You can expect to pay a commission to your real estate agent, and there might be closing costs and other costs associated with selling your home. Ask your real estate agent how much all of this will cost so that you will be prepared.

6. What Can I Do to Get the House Ready?

Your real estate agent should help you get your home ready for sale. He or she can give you advice about ways to spruce up your home so that it will be more appealing to potential buyers.

7. What’s the Best Way to Communicate?

You’re going to need to stay in contact with your real estate agent throughout the process of selling your home. Ask about the best ways to get in contact with him or her when you need to, and don’t be afraid to tell your real estate agent about your own communication preferences.

8. How Long Can We Expect it to Take?

Of course, your real estate agent won’t really know for sure how long it will take to sell your home. However, he or she may be able to give you an idea of how long it has taken to find buyers for other homes in the same area and price range. Additionally, he or she can tell you more about how long you can expect for the closing process to take.

As you can see, it’s good to ask your realtor a few questions when selling your home. Then, you can be well-informed about the entire process. Luckily, answering your questions is one of the main things that a real estate agent can assist you with.

5 tips for teaching children how to surf

Surfing is a fun surface water sport that can be enjoyed by persons of all ages, children included. Though it may be challenging, teaching children how to surf is feasible.

You can do it yourself as a parent or enroll them for surfing classes by a professional coach. If you are introducing your child to surfing here are a few tips that could ease the journey for you.

1. Be patient

Children are always eager and ready to learn because of their curious minds. In the same aspect, their morale is easily diminished and have a very short concentration span.

As the trainer you will need to learn how to exercise patience; when the child is feeling frustrated or scared do not shout at them, instead encourage them.

If they do not want to train but want to hang around the beach, let them be. An unwilling child is not easy to teach, and you will be taking steps backward instead of forward.

2. Have the right gear

Ensure you purchase the right surfboard and wetsuit for the young one. At first, the surfboard should be the biggest one you can find to help in making the surf ride a lot safer.

wetsuit should fit properly, if possible a size smaller as it is warmer and more comfortable. A large wetsuit rubs against one’s skin causing rashes and bleeding in addition to making it harder to stand up and saddle.

3. Make the child feel safe on water

Help the child learn how to swim first then help them understand the relationship between the two. Allow them to have a sense of security when standing near water to help them gain confidence.

You could also introduce them to surfing in warm water to help them feel comfortable and less afraid.

4. Allow them to play with the surfboard

When at home, allow the child to take the surfboard lay it on the carpet and crawl or stand on it. This will help the child feel comfortable once you go out for the lessons again.

5. Surf along

Children are great imitators of what adults do, so give them something to copy. If your child feels that they are not ready to surf, they will eventually want to join you if they see you doing it.

It also helps them feel secure as they can see that the water is not dangerous.

Keep it simple. Make the lessons as fun as possible. Make goals with the child and give gifts when the goals are achieved.

If surfing turns out not to be their favorite sport, don’t force them, instead enjoy each other’s company at the beach.

7 Tips for Finding the Perfect Gift

For years, gift giving has been the best way to show appreciation and care, to friends, spouses and, family or colleagues, pets and acquaintances. Furthermore, presents are the perfect way to express emotions and thoughts to another person without the need to verbally communicate.

Finding the perfect gift can be a headache especially when the idea of choosing a bad one haunts you every step of the process. Yes, selecting a gift is a process and a lot of variables have to be considered to avoid disappointing the recipient of the present.

1. Examine the relationship between the person you are purchasing the gift for and you

Relationships form the base of every encounter in life. They are one of the most natural pointers, especially when finding the perfect gift. The relationship category might be an acquaintance, colleague, friend, family or even your spouse. Consider how you relate with the person who is going to receive the gift and then choose the best gift. You wouldn’t give your fiancé the same gift you would give your colleague. There is a clear distinction between the degrees of both relationships.

2. Think of the message you want to send or emotions you seek to evoke

Every gift comes with its own emotion. Unique emotions found in most of the ordinary gifts in gift shops include love, care, an excitement. It is therefore vital to take care not to send the wrong unintended message whenever we are selecting gifts.

3. Occasion

Gifts vary by circumstance. The most common events are birthdays, weddings, graduation ceremonies among many other. Considering the occasion makes it easy to find the perfect gift.

4. Personal likes and interests

Many people love gifts that speak to their inner self. Everyone prefers a gift that shows that you know them well enough. A gift selected without knowing the person has no use and is most likely not even a gift in the first place.

If someone is interested in art, get them a painting or even a paint set for them to start painting. If someone is interested in reading, get them a book.

5. What do they need?

There is no use of buying someone a gift that would end up in the memorabilia basket and never be used. Finding out what the person needs or lacks is critical. Little decent stalking would help in cases where you do not know what the other person needs.

6. Examine the past

Examining the reactions and emotions people show when talking about past gifts might help you in deciding which charity to take home. It would be advisable to avoid gifts which the person speaks negatively of.

7. Ask

When all has failed, ask. It is the simplest way of knowing what the person wants. It might seem like a shortcut, but most people would appreciate if you dared to seek to understand what they wanted before you went ahead and made the decision yourself.

All said, finding the perfect gift might prove to be a very daunting task. It requires a lot of time, financial and energy input. With patience, strategical planning and using the tips as mentioned earlier, finding the perfect gift might eventually turn out to be just as easy as it sounds!

5 Easy Maintenance Tips for Lawn Mower Care

Regular lawn mower maintenance is an essential task in order to ensure your mower lasts you many years to come. Keeping up on just a few quick and easy tasks will increase the lifetime of your lawn mower and ensure peak performance. Most lawn mower maintenance can be done on your own and cost little to no money so it is a no-brainer to heed the advice that follows!

Sharpen the Blade
Making sure that that the mower blade on your lawn mower is sharpened regularly is a simple task and will ensure that your grass is cut evenly. You can either do this yourself if you are comfortable with it or take it into a lawn mower repair shop to have it done for a small fee. According to towayshomeowner.com, if you intend on doing this yourself it is a good idea to disconnect the spark plug wire to avoid the mower potentially turning on.

Clean the Undercarriage
If you are not regularly cleaning the deck or undercarriage of your mower, it is likely to be caked with dirt and old cut up grass. According to angieslist.com, neglecting this simple step can result in the clogging of the mower shoot. Other potential issues that can arrise from this are the corrosion of the mower or the spread of plant disease around your lawn.

Again, it is advised to remove the spark plug wire and/or empty the gas tank before starting this task. Once you have ensured it is safe to continue, use a brush or garden hose to remove any stuck on debris from the undercarriage.

Empty the Gas Tank At End of the Growing Season
According to thisoldhouse.com, unused gas left in the tank at the end of the growing season can result in rust due to the gas gumming up during the colder winter months. Running the mower until it no longer starts or draining the tank ensures that your mower will function as good as you left it come spring!

Change the Spark Plug
Changing the spark plug on your lawn mower once a year will ensure that it continues to start easy and runs at peak efficiency. To do this, make sure the spark plug wire is disconnected and then remove the old spark plug with a pair of pliers or spark plug wrench if necessary. Replace with the new spark plug and then reconnect the spark plug wire.

Clean and/or Repair the Air Filter
Running your lawn mower with a dirty air filter can result in reduced running efficiency and ends up costing you money as your mower burns through gas faster. It is a good idea to replace the filter once or twice a year, whenever it looks dirty, to avoid these issues and ensure top performance.

Keeping up on your lawn mower’s maintence by following doing these simple task will save you money over the course of years in avoided repairs and decreased performance due to suboptimal efficiency. Taking just a little time out of your day, a couple times throughout the grass growing season, is all it takes!

7 Tips for Electrical Safety

Electricity is integrated into almost every part of our lives, and using it without putting in safety measures could lead to damage and severe self-harm. Every year, thousands of people do not use proper procedures when dealing with their electricity at home. When you don’t know how to properly use electricity safely in your home, it can result in some severe injuries and electrical fires that could quickly take down an entire home. By learning and following the below tips on electrical safety, you can easily prevent any injuries and fires from happening.
Getting acquainted with your home electrical panel is of utmost importance. Essentially, the panel is like one giant light switch with smaller switches within it that control the electricity that goes out into your home. It has a main breaker that controls the panel and smaller switches control each room in the home. If some of the breakers trips, you can turn them off and on to reset them so they can go on working properly, however, if it trips again immediately you could potentially have an electrical problem that could cause a fire. Simply have an electrician come out for a consultation to see what is going on!
Grounding your older appliances will protect you from electric shock, injury, or fire. This means that you connect appliances to an electrical neutral so that the breaker automatically trips of there is any type of fault.
If by some unfortunate circumstance an electrical fire should happen, remember not to throw fire on it. Water conducts electricity and would only end up making the fire worse. Remember to instead always use a fire extinguisher to put out an electrical fire.
Always use extension cords the way they are supposed to be used. First, make sure it is the appropriate size for what it is connecting, never connect extensions cords to each other and never put them across doorways or under carpets as it can cause a fire.
Switches and outlets can come loose from the stud in the wall. Any face plates that are warm when touched means that there are existing electrical issues too. If there are existing issues coupled with a loose stud could result in a fire happening and catching on quickly.
Immediately take appliances out of a plug if they are working incorrectly or are causing sparks. If you are cleaning or repairing an appliance, always unplug it to avoid shock. Always cut the power to the outlets before making repairs or investigating anything at all.
Never hire an electrician that isn’t both qualified and licensed. Working with electricity can be dangerous so use someone who is qualified and trained to work with it to avoid any injury or damages.
Electricity is a tricky business! It can be dangerous to work with it, but putting forth these safety procedures can keep you and your home safe!


3 Things You Should do to Your Crawlspace Before Winter

Preparing your crawl space for the Winter season isn’t only about keeping it warm. You also need to ensure that moisture doesn’t leak in. This means constantly checking for leaks and making sure everything is airtight. Important components to your home’s functionality is present in the crawl space, so maintaining this part of the home is paramount in keeping your house comfortable.

1. Clean Drains

After the Fall season your drains may be full of leaves. It is important to keep the drains clean in the Winter season. If there is not a clear way for the water to run it will run into your crawl space.

Adding additional drains around the home is a great way to reroute water traffic. Using slanted concrete slabs with drains in the middle is also a good way to keep water out of your crawl space. Simply position the slab outside the doorway to your crawl space. Water that pools up outside the door will flow down the drain instead of under your door.

2. Insulate your Pipes

This is a necessity. You don’t want your pipes to burst during the Winter season. You’ll have to crawl under the house to make repairs during the coldest, wettest time of the year.

There are lots of options when it comes to insulating a crawl space. However, experts recommend foam spray to citizens of Buffalo, NY, one of the coldest cities in the United States.

To maximum heart retention in your crawl space you should use several types of insulation. Place fiberglass insulation between as many boards as possible and staple it in. Use foam spray insulation in all the corners, cracks, and crevices. You can also use foam spray as a sealant around the edges of your fiberglass insulation.

As for the pipes, special insulation is made for pipes. Polyethylene pipe insulation is the best product to purchase to wrap your pipes with. Alternatively, you can use fiber glass insulation and wrap it with plastic wrap and electrical tape to keep it secure.

3. Install a heat source

This may seem pointless after considering no one will be spending time in your crawl space; however, since heat rises, the entire home will benefit from heaters under the floor.

Heavy duty heaters, which are specifically made for crawl spaces, are available for purchase. However, it is pointless to use a heater in the crawl space if it is poorly insulated.

Don’t wait Another day

Winter is upon us, so don’t wait another day to insulate your crawl space. It can save money on your electric bill and prevent the need to replace or thaw pipes.

5 Reasons Football Players Crossover in Rugby

When looking at the sports of rugby and American football, it is easy to see parallels. To the layman, the shape of the ball, the physicality of the competition and scoring play similarities can seem strikingly alike. That said, it is easy to understand why players would transition from one sport to the other.
Because these sports are similar, rule differences can be picked up pretty quickly. If an athlete can’t have the career they would like in football, rugby provides another option. In American football, the goal is to take the ball across the opponent’s goal line or kick it through their goalposts to score points. In rugby, points are scored by placing the ball on the opponents touch line, or by kicking it through their goal posts as well. With the general purpose of the game being so alike, making the switch to rugby seems like a natural fit.
The biggest concern with football and its longevity moving forward is concussions. Frequent high-impact plays are producing an alarming number of head injuries. Rugby has shown less potential for these injuries. An athlete looking to prolong their career may want to make the switch from football to rugby. In fact, some National Football League, NFL, insiders want the league to do away with facemasks claiming it would cut down on head injuries.
Another reason for possible transition, is a football player’s potential to excel. In many cases, football players begin training at a very early age and are some of the best conditioned athletes in the world. Even football players who may not make active professional rosters often have the ability to translate to other athletic endeavors. Switching sports isn’t entirely one sided. There have been several rugby players who have tried their hand at American football. The latest being Jordan Mailata, who was drafted by the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles in April.
The popularity of these sports varies depending on what part of the world you live in. In the United States rugby takes a back seat. Internationally rugby can be more popular. The United Kingdom and Australia are two good examples of this. That said, an athlete moving from the United States to another country may have no other choice than to pursue other options.
Another reason football players may want to pursue rugby is that the game is still so new in the States. Players can get in on the ground floor to help develop and steer the US version of the sport for future generations. They can also compete on the world stage as a part of the Summer Olympics. That is a perk that America football just cannot match.
Regardless of the reason, football players are slowly moving toward rugby. Both games have plenty to offer athletes looking to partake in contact sports. It is important to weigh the pros and cons to decide what is the best option for a given athlete.

7 Whitewater Rafting Safety Tips You Should Know

Whitewater rafting is an experience you will never forget. This outdoor recreational activity has become extremely popular over the recent years. If you are on vacation or have decided to enjoy a day on the water, you are guaranteed to have an adventure while whitewater rafting. If you are a newbie or an experienced rafter following these 7 safety tips are key to keeping yourself out of harms way while still enjoying rafting.
One of the first rules of whitewater rafting is: wear a life jacket. In order to be completely safe, the life jacket must be worn perfectly. The jacket must fit correctly, and not too loose. A good way to check the fit of the jacket is, it must be snug and not able to be pulled off. All of the buckles will need to be fastened.
Another safety precautions is to wear a helmet. A helmet is part of the protective gear that you should never forget. You can use your helmet for kayaking, and other water sports as well.
A third safety tip is to listen to your river guide. They are trained professionals who will keep you safe while still having an enjoyable rafting encounter. Your guide will give hold a safety meeting before getting into the raft. Be sure to listen closely, they will thoroughly explain the commands.
Another whitewater rafting safety tip is wear the appropriate clothing. No open toe shoes, or bare feet. You can wear water shoes or an old pair of tennis shoes. Be aware of the climate when picking your clothing. If is a colder month, a wet suit would be best.
One more safety tip is to pay attention. If you are rafting and notice a fellow rafter in need of assistance, help them. There could be an incident where someone falls into the water. One reach of your hand is a simple task to will help someone in need.
An additional safety tip for whitewater rafting is to stay calm. Keep yourself in the raft by follow the commands. Most likely the current will be rapid, take a breath and remember a calm rafter is a safe rafter. Panicking will only put yourself and others in danger.
The last safety tip is to hold the paddle correctly. The guide will inform you of the proper technique. All rafters should be in-sync while paddling; this will ensure an effective whitewater rafting adventure.
Following these 7 safety tips are essential for any whitewater-rafting trip. Being safe is the key for an overall enjoyable experience. For a newbie or an experienced rafter listening to the guide, along with wearing the proper gear, and paying attention will keep you safe.

How to Keep Your HVAC System Energy Efficient This Fall

Summer is coming to a close and crisp, cool air is nipping at your face. Everywhere you look, leaves are becoming bright hues of yellow, red and orange. As you sip your pumpkin spice latte, thinking about that perfect Halloween costume, you should also give some thought to your HVAC system. Following a long summer, your HVAC is due for a checkup and some routine maintenance. In this article, you will learn how to ensure that your HVAC system remains energy efficient this fall.

The most important part of HVAC maintenance is to clean or replace your filters regularly. If your HVAC filter is not clean, it will not function correctly. Your system’s airflow will become restricted, causing decreased energy performance and substandard air quality inside your home. In fact, you should check your filters monthly and change them no less than every three months.

You will also want to check all floor registers and vents. Make sure you can open and close all of them, and that they will stay in the position they are set too. If any vents or registers are missing or rusty, replace them immediately. Use your vacuum to clean pollen and dust from all vents and registers. Make sure your vents and registers are free from obstructions to allow for proper airflow.

Another thing to take into account is your home’s insulation. Check the seals on your doors and windows. Replace damaged seals. If necessary, cover your windows with plastic sheeting. If your home has a crawlspace or attic, it might be necessary to install additional insulation in these areas.

If you have them, carefully check any outside units. The area surrounding them needs to be kept clean. Keep the area free of grass clippings, leaves, dirt, branches, and other debris. Such materials can block the intake area or reduce airflow, which results in inferior HVAC performance.

Consider your thermostat. First, if you have the old, dial thermostat, think about upgrading it. Both smart thermostats and programmable thermostats are inexpensive gadgets that will allow you to save money on your heating costs. That’s because these devices let you regulate your HVAC system to warm your home when you are there and reduce the temperature when no one is home.

Finally, run a sound check on your HVAC system. Turn off all televisions, radios, appliances, fans, etc. to eliminate all sounds from your home. Power up your HVAC system and listen for odd sounds such as banging, screeching or loud pops. Take note of any unusual smells too. These are indications that your system should be looked over by a professional technician.

As you can see, routine maintenance of your HVAC is simple and doesn’t take much time. A well-maintained system will ensure efficiency throughout the fall and beyond.

How To Make Your Vehicle Handicap Accessible

If you are a person who has a handicap you face many challenges, most during the course of one day. If you use a wheelchair for mobility, you must be aware of wheelchair accessibility when going into and out of buildings. You often have to use the service of a lift van, or other convenient mode of transportation with handicap accessibility. If you are a driver and do not want to give up your driving privilege, you might want to consider having your vehicle made into a handicap accessible one so that you will be able to travel when and where you want to go.

Wheelchairs are used to help people with a walking disability get around more easily. When it comes to traveling by vehicle, the wheelchair patron has much difficulty getting a wheelchair in and out of the trunk of a car. The auto industry has helped this situation by making vehicles that can be made accommodating to ambulatory aids. Modern technologies have made it possible for cars, truck, sports utility vehicles, and vans to have handicap accessibility made easy. Wheelchair lifts are designed to fit nearly every make, model, and year vehicle available on the car buyers market. You have your preference of having the lift placed on the inside or outside of the vehicle. For most small cars the wheelchair lift fits better on the outside.

By having your vehicle equipped for a wheelchair lift will help you secure your chair, and keep it from rolling whenever your car is in motion. To ensure that you are getting the right lift for your particular vehicle it is best to speak with a professional before purchasing the lift. They will be able to fit your vehicle with a lift that is designed for the make and model. They will also teach you how to properly use the lift to get the best advantage out of it. Installing the lift is not a long process, but be prepared to leave your vehicle for a day or two. Having a wheelchair lift installed allows you to have more freedom.

If you are not sure how to get started with obtaining your wheelchair lift, check with an auto dealer. They can usually recommend a top-notch professional service that can do the job efficiently and expertly. The wheelchair lift will have your chair at your fingertips with the push of a button. You will not have to try to get around the vehicle to get to your chair. The lift will put you in a better frame of mind, and it will help you to enjoy a better quality of life when you are independent and able to do things for yourself.