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5 Ground Rules for Home Buying Success

There are few purchases in life that carry the financial and psychological weight of buying a home.  Whether you are buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing your home and your life after the kids have gone, it is important to understand the ground rules for success in the world of buying a home.

Making the wrong decision in buying a home can have devastating and long-lasting effects, while making a wise decision in home buying can greatly enhance the overall value of the investment.  It is necessary to learn all you can about the world of home buying and mortgages before setting out to purchase the home of your dreams.

While there are plenty of web sites designed to help first time homeowners learn all they can, most financial experts say that there is no substitute for the good old one-on-one learning. Fortunately, most mortgage lenders, home inspectors and real estate agents will be able to provide this kind of one-on-one learning.

When buying a home it is often best to use a systematic approach as this is often the best way to be sure that all decisions are based on information and reason, not on impulse or emotion.  Buying a home can be an emotional process, nevertheless it is imperative to keep your emotions under control and not let them cloud your judgment.

There are five basic ground rules when it comes to buying a home and shopping smart, and they are:

#1 – Get your financing before you get your home.

There are few things in life as disappointing as losing out on the home of your dreams due to not being able to secure funding.  While the desire to get out there is search for that great home is understandable, it is vital to line up the financing you will need before you start shopping for a home.

Getting the financing ahead of time has a number of important advantages, including knowing how much you can buy and gaining more respect from the listing agents.  By knowing how much home you can afford before you shop you will avoid wasting your time looking at unaffordable properties, and the listing agent will be more than willing to show you the homes in your price range.

It is also important to take a good look at the various types of mortgage on the market before getting started in the home buying process.  These days, mortgages come in far more choices than the typical 15 or 30 year. For that reason, potential home buyers need to understand how each type of mortgage works, and to gauge which mortgage is the best choice for their needs.

#2 – Look at the community, not just the home.

It is a good idea to look at the entire community, instead of focusing on a single home. This can be a particularly important thing to consider for those moving to a new metropolitan area, as these buyers will be unfamiliar with the local climate and lifestyle.  It is crucial to determine the areas of town that are most desirable, and to consider things like distance from work and local shopping opportunities.

We have all heard that location is the key consideration when it comes to real estate, and that is certainly the case.  Buying a house in the wrong area can be a big mistake, and it is important to choose the location as well as the home.  Potential buyers can learn a great deal about the nature of the various neighborhoods simply by driving around town, as well as by talking to other residents.

#3 – Be fair with your first offer.

Trying to lowball a seller on the first offer can backfire, as can paying too much. It is important to carefully evaluate the local market, and to compare the asking price of the home with what similar houses in the neighborhood have sold for.

Comparing the sales of comparable homes, what are known as “comps” in the industry, is one of the best ways to determine what is fair, and to make sure that you neither overpay or underbid on the property.

#4 – Always get a home inspection.

Always investigate the home for any possible defects before making an offer.  Compared to the cost of the average home, the price of a quality home inspection is virtually negligible. Hence, get a good home inspection done before you buy.

To find the best home inspector, it is a good idea to seek out word of mouth referrals as many of the best home inspectors rely on word of mouth advertising.

#5 – Do not alienate the sellers of the home.

Many real estate deals have fallen apart due to the personal animosity of the buyer and the seller.  It is important to avoid alienating the seller of the home during the process, and to avoid nitpicking every little detail during the sale.

Keeping the good will of the seller will help the transaction go smoothly, and it will provide the best environment for seller and buyer alike.

Choosing The Right Exercise For You

The type of exercise you do all depends on you and what you like to do.  What you hate doing, paying membership fees, and whether or not to buy equipment are all things you need to consider as well as answer.

If you choose something that you don’t like to do, you aren’t going to keep doing it for a long period of time.  Give it some thought – if you don’t like jogging, you aren’t going to get up at 6 AM and go running.  If you can’t find something you like to do, choose something you hate the least, which will normally be walking.

Walking is great exercise, as it suits all levels of fitness.  Anyone can start a walking program at any time, it’s normally the intensity and duration that differs.  Walking is also a social exercise, as it isn’t difficult to find a training partner to chat with while you exercise.  Walking with a partner will also make time go by faster.

No matter what exercise you choose, you should start at a low level of intensity and build it up over a period of weeks, which is essential to the longevity of your exercise program.  If you start off too hard, you could end up with an injury which will require time off to get over.

If you are really in bad shape, you should start off by walking for 10 minutes each day.  Then, increase it by 5 minutes every 2 weeks.  To make things more interesting, you should try walking a different course every few days.  You can also roster a different friend to walk with you each day of the week.

If walking isn’t your thing, then you may want to try a fitness center.  They have loads of variety and normally have trainers on hand to answer any questions you may have.  When you choose a fitness center, make sure that they give good service.

If they aren’t willing to treat you well before you join, then they certainly won’t after you join.  You should also make sure that the equipment they use is well taken care of.  It’s easy to find out, as all you have to do is listen to the machines.  If they squeak a lot or make noise, then chances are they aren’t being taken care of.

If you still aren’t sure what you should do, then you should look into golf or tennis.  Both are good social activities in most areas, and you can even meet new friends.  Tennis is great for fitness although it isn’t for someone who is just starting out.  If you haven’t exercised in a long time, then golf may be the best activity for you.

Must Have Accessories for All Backyard Activities

Backyard activities, there are literally an unlimited number of them. Whether you enjoy the water, playing sports, or just relaxing, there is likely at least one backyard activity that will appeal to you or to your family. While backyard activities are nice, there are many that require the purchase of equipment or additional accessories. If you are interested in participating in a popular backyard activity, you may want to first examine the equipment or supplies that you may need.

One popular backyard activity that many enjoy may not really even be considered an activity. When relaxing, many individuals are taking a small break. However, in addition to using relaxation as a break from many other activities, there are others who use it just for the purpose of taking in a piece environment. Many enjoy just sitting outside alone, reading a book, doing homework, or working on other projects. While it nice to relax outside, you will need to have the proper equipment. This equipment often includes patio or lawn furniture.

While patio and lawn furniture is most commonly used for relaxation, it is also important for other activities, such as eating or outdoor crafts.  In fact, whether you regularly participate in backyard activities or not, it may be a good idea to have patio furniture on hand.  If you do not already have lawn furniture, you may want to start looking for some. You can easily find a selection of patio sets or picnic tables online or at most retail stores. In addition to patio furniture, you may also want to bring a small pillow or blanket outside.

Depending on the amount of time you plan on staying in your backyard, you may also want to bring out a few snacks and drinks.  Whenever you are outdoors, especially during the summer, it is important that you pick your drinks and snacks wisely. During the hot weather, you are advised to stay away from caffeinated beverages or sugary drinks. Instead of a sports drinks or soda, water may be a safer and healthier alternative. As with your drinks, you may also want to avoid snacks that are high in sugar. 

Aside from lawn furniture and snacks, most of the other equipment and accessories you will need will depend on what you are doing. For instance, if you are planning on swimming, you will want to look into purchasing pool accessories and pool supplies.  Depending on the type of pool you have, these supplies may include, but should not be limited to, pool toys, pool furniture, lifesaving devices, pool fixtures, and pool cleaning supplies. For more information on the accessories and supplies available for pools, you may want to visit the website of an online pool retailer or your local pool supply store.

Even if you are unable to have a pool, you can still enjoy a number of different backyard water activities.  Many individuals, especially teenagers, enjoy playing with water balloons or water guns. For a more relaxed water activity, you may want to look into purchasing a water sprinkler. Water sprinklers are a nice alternative to swimming pools.  In addition to purchasing water guns, water balloons, or a sprinkler, you may also need to purchase a garden hose.  Garden hoses are available for sale at most retail stores, including hardware stores, sports stores, and traditional department stores.

Outdoor sports games, in addition to swimming and other water activities, are also enjoyed by many. If you or your family is interested in playing backyard sports, you may need to purchase some sports equipment. The equipment that you need to have will all depend on which specific games you are planning on playing. For instance, if you are interested in playing volleyball, you will need to purchase a volleyball and a volleyball net. In addition to volleyball, other popular backyard sports games include baseball, softball, soccer, and kickball.

Whether you and your family decide to participate in one of the above mentioned backyard activities or another, it is important that you have the needed supplies and equipment. A baseball game just isn’t the same without a glove; in fact, it may even make the sport dangerous. That is why it is important that you know what accessories are needed to make your next backyard outing safe and enjoyable.

New York City is a Gold Mine for the Nature Lover

You probably don’t realize that New York City is in fact the greenest city in America. Of nearly 200,000 total acres, more than 50,000 of those acres are of park or open space. While Central Park is the most famous of green spaces in New York City it is only number five of the top 10 largest parks in the city.

For those who love nature, New York City may not seem to be the oasis for wildlife that it actually is. There is plenty to do in New York City that will enhance your appreciation of nature and/or allow you opportunities to educate yourself about nature or simply be out and about enjoying it.

New York is home to some 1,700 parks and playgrounds where you can enjoy activities such as bike riding, inline skating, ice skating (seasonally), row boating, basketball, skate boarding, softball, soccer, tennis, Frisbee, or even a rousing game of tag with the little one that lights your eyes. Be sure to bring a blanket so that you can lie on your back and watch the clouds roll by. While you’re at it, see if there’s a stray bird or two that you can identify.

For those who love nature there are plenty of places to get close to it in New York City. For those who are interested in bird watching New York Botanical Garden offers guided tours. Blue Heron Park is another great place to watch birds. Some of the varieties you’ll see her include: Woodpeckers and Warblers. Clove Lakes Park not only offers bird watching but also fishing, row boating, paddle boating, and outdoor ice skating when the weather permits.

For those who prefer nature activities that require a little more action than bird watching (well sometimes), there are plenty of excellent opportunities to go fishing in and around New York City. Central Park’s Charles A. Dana Discovery Center is a great place to go ‘catch and release’ fishing. They’ll even lend you a pole. You can also go fishing in Willowbrook Park. While you’re there be sure to let the little ones ride the Carousel, it will net you a tremendous amount of smiles for the small price (in today’s world) of $1. Other activities available at Willowbrook park include: archery, ice-skating, an archery range, football, soccer, horseshoes, tennis, and horseshoes.

If plant life is more your speed or you just enjoy seeing the more obvious signs of nature, then there are plenty of chances for your to observe the amazing wealth of plant life and greenery in and around New York City. Central Park Conservatory Garden offers six acres of beautiful plant life to enjoy. You can see three distinctive patterns in the gardens here. The North Garden is meant to be a formal French inspired garden, the central garden is meant to lend an Italian atmosphere, while the south garden is styled after a traditional English garden. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers another opportunity for enthusiasts to enjoy the finest in greenery that New York has to offer. This garden even has a special club designed to help youngsters bring out their inner green thumbs. Be sure to check it out.

Another area of Central Park that bears mentioning is Belvedere Castle and the turtle pond that runs below it. Belvedere castles is a great place for bird watching and the other wildlife surrounding it only magnifies its appeal. Be sure to stop by the Central Park Conservatory at Belvedere Castle in order to borrow a backpack that contains binoculars, a sketch pad, and a map of the park to help you bird watch like a pro. You must provide ID and children under the age of 6 cannot borrow.

If you love nature, don’t fret, there’s plenty of nature to be shared and enjoyed in New York City. Make sure that you take the time to enjoy several of the parks that are available to your during your stay in this wonderful and exciting city.