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LONG-DISTANCE HOUSE HUNTING

Regular house-hunting isn't always easy, but adding distance into the mix can present challenges you don't have when looking a few neighborhoods over for a new home. While it may not be a walk in the park to buy a home from far away, it is possible. If you find a great agent and follow these steps, you can take away some of the stress that comes with moving long-distance.

1. Start Your Research

Knowing what is in your neighborhood is something we tend to take for granted. You know where the best sushi place is and exactly what grocery store is closest to your home for those last minute runs. When moving to a new neighborhood, especially in a new state, it is key to decide what is important to you when it comes to proximity. Does your new house need to be near a park for your kids? Do you need to be 5 minutes from the closest Starbucks? You'll also want to look into crime rates and school ratings if you have children. Researching your potential neighborhoods...

HOW TO FIX 5 COMMON BATHROOM ISSUES

Homeownership has plenty of perks. You can make changes whenever you want, but that also means you are responsible for making any fixes that you want (or need)! Instead of calling the local handyman every time something small goes awry, you can try out these quick fixes for common bathroom issues that arise while saving yourself some money along the way.

1. Shifting Toilet Seat

Is your toilet seat wobbling every time you sit down? Sometimes, there are visible bolts to tighten, but that just doesn't fix the issue. Many are unaware that you can actually purchase a toilet seat tightening kit. Most home improvement stores will carry an inexpensive kit, usually around $10. Rather than investing in a new toilet seat, you can save time and money by picking up a kit the next time you're out.

2. Slippery Shower

There are two main options to remedy a slippery shower. If you have a geriatric family member, a shower chair may be the best option...

Pa. Realtors® Wholesaling Legislation Approved by Pa. Senate

Legislation to address the practice of residential wholesaling passed the Pennsylvania Senate on June 4.

Senate Bill 1173 (Stefano, R-Fayette) will require a real estate salesperson license under the Real Estate Licensing and Registration Act (RELRA) to conduct residential wholesale transactions in the commonwealth. The legislation now heads to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for consideration.

The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Pat Stefano, chair of the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, a Realtor® champion and a member of PAR’s Real Estate Caucus.

In addition to amending RELRA to require a license, SB 1173 also ensures that consumers are made aware they are engaging in a wholesale...

5 Painting Mistakes to Avoid

DIY interior painting can be a money-saver if you know what you’re doing. While saving a few dollars is definitely worth trying out painting yourself, it is important to avoid mistakes often made in the process. Here is how to avoid them!

Mistake #1: Not Using The Correct Applicator

If you are willing to pay for premium paint, you should be willing to invest in a good applicator. Invest in good brushes or rollers up front to avoid hair on the wall or lumps of roller lint under the paint.

Mistake #2: Not Preparing Correctly

You always want to do repair work first so that your walls are smooth, clean, dry and free of loose debris before you begin painting. A repair will be much less obvious if it is done before a new coat of paint!

Mistake #3: Overextending Your Brush Dips

One of the most frequently made mistakes by DIYers is that they often continue applying a dip of paint until the brush or roller is dry. When you overextend each dip, the paint can...

What Is Earnest Money and Why Do I Need It?

If you’ve never been through the home-buying process, some of the terminology can seem a bit foreign. One of the many phrases you might come across is earnest money (aka hand money).

When making an offer on a home, it is often encouraged to include earnest money with that offer. Earnest money is a payment of 1-3% of the offer price that is intended to show the seller you are really interested in their property. The amount isn’t set in stone and it usually depends on the market. So how is that money used?

When you make it to closing, that earnest money will be directed towards any closing costs, down payments, or other items you would typically pay out of pocket. It is treated as a credit toward any expenses that come up in the process, and is in no way a bribe for the seller.

There are a few situations where your earnest money will be refunded if you don’t make it to close. This usually requires a stipulation or clause (contingency) to be added to your offer,...

7 Signs You're Ready To Buy

Living in an apartment or rental home does have its perks: You can test out different neighborhoods and locations, you have the flexibility to move, and you have access to great amenities like a gym or pool. But there’s a reason that owning a home, rather than renting one, is a highly desired achievement.

Maybe the thought of having your own place has crossed your mind only recently, or maybe you’re regularly saving a chunk of your paycheck for that future down payment. No matter where you are in the process of considering homeownership, here are the unmistakable signs that you’re ready to buy your first home.

1. You Want to Get to Know Your Neighbors

Because renters don’t tend to live in one apartment for very long, it can be difficult to meet people who live in your building. But when you buy a home and are more invested in your community, it’s easier to forge lasting friendships.

2. You Want to Customize Your Space

Many rental communities...

Is It Time to Update Your Bathroom?

Just like your bedroom, your bathroom should be a relaxing place. Whether you unwind in the shower or with a hot bath, making sure your bathroom is a place of comfort and not stress is key to making your home a happier place. Because it is a room you will definitely spend time in every single day, these signs might indicate that it is time for some changes and some tips to help you do so.

1. Poor Lighting
You can consider investing in brighter bulbs and updating your light fixtures.

2. No Storage Space
You may want to install a larger vanity or additional shelving about the toilet

3. Outdated Paint Color
Updating your wall color with something more neutral, light, and timeless can help bring your bathroom back to life.

4. That ‘Bathroom’ Scent
Checking for mold, fixing any leaks, or adding ventilation can help relieve any scent you can’t seem to get rid of.

5. Leaks
Calling a plumber to make repairs is usually necessary if you have brown...

How to spot a walkable neighborhood

Strolling to a cafe for breakfast, walking around the corner to yoga—isn’t that the life? Before you buy or rent, here’s how to suss out whether a neighborhood you’re interested in will let you get out from behind the wheel.

See what locals have to say.

When it comes to picking a neighborhood, do a search for “What Locals Say.” It is a good way to find stats that show what percentage of locals say the following about their neighborhood:

  • It’s walkable to restaurants
  • It’s walkable to grocery stores
  • There are sidewalks
  • People would walk alone at night
  • Streets are well-lit
  • Car is needed

So, for example, in Boston’s very walkable Beacon Hill neighborhood, 93% of residents say there are sidewalks, 92% say it’s walkable to restaurants, and only 18% say a car is needed.

Scope out the commute.

A truly walkable...

7 Ways to Compete in a Sellers Market

Buying a home is a team sport, and that’s especially true when buyers are facing the kinds of affordability challenges they are now. Volatile interest rates and tough competition for a limited supply of homes are posing unique issues for home shoppers. If you've been writing offer after offer — even competitive offers over asking price — and still not getting anywhere, then it could be time to change tactics.

Strategies tied to mortgage products and seller incentives can help buyers, even in situations involving cash buyers or shoppers offering above list price. These tactics won’t apply to every situation, but they offer buyers an idea about the kinds of adjustments to their offers or financing that can make the difference between getting the keys or attending yet another open house. It is important to note that every real estate market and buyer/seller transaction is unique and results may vary.

1. Offer a partial appraisal waiver
An appraisal establishes...

People Are Still Moving, Even with Today’s Affordability Challenges

If you're thinking about buying or selling a home, you might have heard that it’s tough right now because mortgage rates are higher than they’ve been over the past few years, and home prices are rising. That much is true. Take a look at the graph below. It breaks down how the current affordability situation stacks up to recent years.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains how to read the values on the graph:

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