We are all guilty of it, some of us are worse than others. Homes all over America are brimming with clutter. Do the closets in your home trigger a small avalanche every time you open them? Are your basements and attics filled to capacity with boxes of your adult children’s baby clothes and toys? Do you have holiday decorations from 25 years ago tucked away in corners of your home? The typical American has the tendency to hoard objects and it is becoming an epidemic.
Most of us have more objects entering the house than we have exiting the house. It does not take long before all this stuff over burdens the storage systems in the home. We just keep shopping and bringing in more stuff than we are getting rid of. Eventually our counters are muddled with papers, our cabinets are stuffed to the max, and our garage is no longer a place we can store the car. Instead the garage is just another room filled to capacity with boxes and bins of junk.
All this clutter is suffocating us and stealing our time and energy. It complicates our life and causes stressful situations when we spend our time searching for missing items. Clutter can impact our social life as well, making us afraid to let our friends into our home. It's time to simplify our life and get rid of the clutter! By clearing out the clutter in your home you begin to reclaim your space and your time. Living a simplified life with less stuff will allow you to live in harmony with out all the chaos. Own less and live more, keep it simple.
It has often been said that real estate is about 3 things: location, location, location. However, finding the perfect city, town, or village to live in can be difficult especially if you have a family to look after. If you are still mid-career and not looking to retire you probably want to live closer to work (maybe not too close) , family, and to what is important for you to live in town. The first tip is simple, you can use sites such as city-data.com to find out more about the area. City websites with a .gov domain can provide a lot of insight, but don't forget to do a simple Google search or look at the Wikipedia page of that place when they are available. You can find out just about anything these days: population, school systems, cost of the average house, and even average city income of the residents. Most of this information is available thanks to the census, so this is a great time to do research as the information was last collected in 2010 as part of a 10 year cycle. Google maps has a great feature called my places. Other maps offer similar features if you prefer another, but essentially what you do is create your own map. There is a link to take an interactive tour underneath the big red create map button if you need help. It is a very well made tour. After all of your important locations are marked and labeled you can zoom out a bit and see all of the locations clearly. There are certain exceptions such as highway access, but somewhere in the middle is generally a good place to start looking. Combine this with the town information you can find and suddenly you are well on your way to being an expert on the area. You can even generate driving directions and estimates to and from each location. This is great news of course, because the more you know, the better your decision will be.
There are a lot of things you can do to raise the security of your home from installing better locks to defensive landscaping. A more active approach is to install an alarm system. There are a few companies that offer an actively monitored home security systems such ADT.
The real benefit is the piece of mind with a security system. You have to remember that an alarm system will not keep someone out of your home, but it does act as a deterrent. The signs and stickers that are provided with the systems actually can help deter a break in passively. This is a viable option for those who do not want to spend the monthly fee. The job of the alarm system is to do one thing: alert. When on vacation, a business trip, at work, or even out to the store your home gains a certain level of protection. You can be alerted while away by a phone call from the provider or by the alarm when you are sleeping at night. Sounds pretty good so far right?
The cost should be the next topic then. You have to pay for a service, after all there has to be someone to call you 24/7 /365 and they have to gather information from you very quickly when needed. Outside of any one time installation fees if they apply, the monthly cost is around $30-50 and the price can go higher. There is one more thing to keep in mind while in consideration of this purchase, a discount on homeowners insurance. You can save to the upwards of 20%. Assuming insurance is around $800 a year, you could save $160 of that and bring a $360 a year security bill closer to a $200 annual piece of mind.
Does your home have a basement? If you own a home with an unfinished basement, you have a prime opportunity to add significant value to your home. In fact, some states will allow you to count a finished basement's square footage as part of the house, thereby additionally increasing your home's value. Here are a few other incentives for you to start what may be the most lucrative home remodeling project you can undertake as a homeowner.
Freedom - Not only does finishing your basement add value to your home, it also gives you an opportunity to create an entirely new floor plan from scratch. You can make a new family den, a couple of small rooms for storage, study, or playtime, or you can construct a fully functioning extra level of your home, complete with a bathroom. The possibilities are endless.
Income - Creating a fully functioning basement level that can be rented out to tenants is an exciting way to independently earn some income from your hard work. While some may be turned off to the idea of renting space in their home to strangers, finishing the basement with an extra bathroom is still a lucrative endeavor if you ever plan on selling your home.
Utility Savings - When properly insulated, basements will tend to be the coolest level in the summer, and the warmest level in the winter. Many families benefit from turning their basement into a den for this reason.
Space - Many people use their basements for storage, but most don't utilize the space as efficiently as they could. Even a partially finished basement can provide you with proper storage capabilities that you wouldn't be able to utilize as effectively in an unfinished basement. For tips and floor plan ideas, visit
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