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10 Things to Check Before You Buy a Home

Many of us have learned the hard way that there are some very important things that should be checked before signing the papers to buy a new home. You will have to have a professional do an inspection and look over the place to make sure the home is termite and flood damage free. Here are 10 things fall into a different category - the immediate to-do list. You can even do these the first time you go see a house.

Even though there will always be cosmetic changes to make to a new home, trying to avoid costly repairs upon first moving in is always smart. Being able to save that money for the living room set of your dreams (or simply for gas and groceries!) is a big deal. Here are a few things we suggest checking into before you sign the papers and inherit all of the previous tenants past problems.

1. Check The Drains: This might sound silly, but many people have had homes with the same issues in the last several years. Somewhere between the house and the sewer line, there's a backup. Usually tree branches or a collapsed pipe, but either way, it's hard to spot unless you run a load of laundry, fill up the tub and sinks and let them all attempt to drain at the same time. This is tedious, but worth it! Sometimes a bottle of Drain-O can fix it, other times, you need a plumber!

2. Open All The Windows: Replacing windows isn't fun and it isn't cheap either. Open them all to find out if they stick, are stuck or just plain old won't open. While open, look inside the sill for any water damage to the wood.

3. Turn On All The Faucets: Although changing out faucets isn't exactly rocket science it's always a pain to lay under a cabinet and reach for the sky with funny tools to get things removed. Just check to make sure they all work, and don't leak, before buying to eliminate any additional costs.

4. Light A Fire In The Fireplace: Even though chimneys are usually installed by professionals, that doesn't mean they're always in tip top shape. Cleaning them is as simple as a phone call to a local chimney sweep, but finding out if all the fireplaces in the home draft correctly is another. To be safe, have this checked out by the inspector as well and be prepared to call in the chimney experts!

5. Taste The Water: This lesson is always learned the hard way. Even if your city has great water, your pipes might be old enough that they'll send a little extra something out of the tap and into your glass. Knowing up front if you'll need to install a whole house filter or invest in a few Brita pitchers is always helpful and keeps a funny taste out of your mouth!

6. Flush The Toilets: Knowing that all the toilets in the home can handle toilet paper is a plus. Although they're easy enough to replace or fix, finding ones that flush well are a bonus. If you're dissatisfied with the toilet, the previous owner could issue you money back to make the replacement, or replace it themselves, in order to get you to sign on the dotted line!

7. Open The Electrical Panel: A clean and labeled panel is a happy place. Something that looks like squirrels got up inside can signal trouble. Look for loose wires or ones that simply don't connect to anything. It could signal that there's live wires inside the walls!

8. Turn On The Heat/Air: Knowing that both of these things work prior to actually needing them can be a serious bonus. Check to make sure they blow their respective temperatures in addition to just turning on.

9. Pull The Carpet Back: Before you move in, you'll want to find out if there's hardwood floors and also any mold or mildew under the carpets. Look for the lowest side of the room and if possible pull a corner back. Many homeowners will have a section of carpet removed in a closet to allow you to see the condition of the floors below.

10. Basement Moisture: Although most home inspectors will do this one out for you, look for signs of dampness. Even if the walls aren't apparently wet, look for things like dehumidifiers, piles of silica or other things that grab moisture from the air and keep it at bay. Check in the garage and basement for any water lines on the walls. If the home owners are smart enough to move these things, look for places near outlets that look clean (or leave a dust ring) where something like this might have been.

 

 

Food Drive

Please help us FILL OUR TRUCK for the holiday season! Drop off non-perishable donations anytime between now and December 12. Mon-Fri 8-5 and Saturday 8-12. We will be having an all day event Dec 12 from 8-4 at our location!! Please share so we can help the less fortunate this holiday season!

Additional Drop off Locations:
Cafe 38
First Act Bakery
Kids Play Museum
More to come......

Simplifying Your Moving Day With Babies or Toddlers

 

While childcare is convenient for moving day, hiring a babysitter is not always an option. Some parents may prefer to keep babies and toddlers close for stability during this transitional time. On moving day, you may find yourself juggling the responsibilities of parenthood with managing belongings and directing movers.

Moving day doesn’t need to be stressful when you have young children. With a little extra preparation, you can put together a successful move, while keeping little ones comfortable and out of the way.

Prepare in Advance

First, have as much of the furniture and boxes as possible in easy-to-access locations. Remember, while preparing to get your items together, the closer to the front of the home, the better. This will prevent movers from having to wade through your belongings or trip over children to get things loaded into the truck.

Pack and load your child’s things last. This way, they will be easily accessed longer before the move, and will be among the first things unloaded and ready to set up in your new place.

Organize a Child Moving Day Pack

While you finish up those last day-before packing jobs, set aside one or two days’ worth of essentials in a small bag that’s easily carried and tossed in the car.

The moving pack for your baby or toddler might include:

o   Food or snacks

o   A couple bottles or sippy cups

o   Formula, water, or other drinks

o   3 or 4 changes of clothes

o   Diapers and wipes

o   A few familiar toys and books

 

Having these items ready in one go-to location will make meeting baby’s needs easier at this busy time.

Pick a Central Location with Activities

With things and people coming and going, you’ll want your little one in an easily supervised, yet safe location. A playpen is a great choice, especially for older infants and toddlers. Many playpens are compact, include wheels for easy transportation, and are quickly packed away.

For younger babies, a blanket on the floor or a bouncer may be a great place. For little ones needing more attention, try hanging toys nearby or putting on some fun relaxing music for your baby to listen to.

If your child is in another room napping during the loading process, you might want to consider an audio or video baby monitor so you can hear (or see) when your little one needs you.

Find Balance in Stimulation

Each child needs different levels of stimulation. Some are content to watch people and look around. Others, especially once past the newborn stage, need more interaction from people and things. Small, age-appropriate activities and toys in a playpen can help entertain older babies and toddlers while mom or dad is busy.

If your television is packed away, a tablet or laptop on a chair or table makes a great option for your child to watch favorite shows.

Choose Carrying Options

There are times when children, especially infants, need to be held. For those moments, you may want to think about one of the following options:

o   Wraps

o   Front carriers

o   Slings

o   Backpack carriers

   

These options make multitasking easier by allowing parents to use their hands for other tasks while keeping their baby close and secure. However, they aren’t recommended if you need to lift and carry heavy objects.

Simplify Mealtime

Food is an important routine that often comforts us. Meals with small children, however, can be messy. To minimize cleanup during and after the moving process, consider these suggestions for easier feeding:

o   Set your baby’s food aside in advance where it won’t accidentally get packed or thrown away.

o   Choose normal foods your child enjoys to increase security.

o   Select foods that don’t require refrigeration or cooking.

o   Keep plenty of easy snacks handy.

o   Consider a treat to make the day special.

o   Use disposable dishes, utensils, and bibs.

o   Have a pack of baby wipes ready for easy cleanup.

 

If your table is already packed and moved, you may want to lay an old sheet on the floor and eat there. With a quick shake outside, the sheet can be rolled up and stashed in the car. 

Plan Ahead for Peace of Mind

With a few extra steps, moving day will pass smoothly for both you and your children. Follow these tips and reduce the stress in your family’s move.

 

 

First-Night Box

Your first night in your new place, chances are, you’re not going to be able to unpack and organize your new home the day of the move. Pack a labeled box with all of your first-night essentials and load it last so it’s the first thing off the truck. Better yet; keep it in your personal vehicle. 

Some ideas you might want to include: toilet paper, toiletries, medications, snacks, basic cleaning supplies, COFFEE and coffee maker, a first-aid kit, a utility knife, pet supplies, a night light for the kids, bedding, disposable plates, cups, and utensils.

It is also a good idea for each member of the family to pack a small bag that contains personal belongings that they might need for the first couple of days. Just pack as if you’re going on a short trip! This way everyone has a change of clothes and anything else they might need.

If you have kids, make sure they have access to their favorite stuffed animal, special blanket, favorite toys, etc. Give them a new flashlight, or nightlight, to make them feel safer in their new home. Pack a good book or two and help get them back into routine.

 

Six Moving Tips When Relocating With Pets

With a long to-do list to complete before moving, it is important to remember preparation for your pets.

 

1. Gather Vet Records

If you are moving a considerable distance away from your current home, it is important to ask your current veterinarian for records that will be requested by the new vet office. These can usually be easily printed out of faxed over to the new medical-care provider, but the source says to always keep the former vet's contact information on file, just in case of an emergency.

 

2. Update Tags With New Address

It is also crucial to update your pet's tags with proper identification including up-to-date contact information and your new home's address. This will be helpful if something were to happen during the moving process. Including a cell phone number is best, as your new home phone may not be set up yet.

 

3. Manage Their Stress Exposure

Studies show that pets can easily be stressed out during moves, so The Pet Realty Network suggests keeping them secluded from chaos that can ensue on moving day. This means keeping them in a separate and familiar room or even asking a friend or family member to watch over them while multiple people are in the house and items are being moved around. If you're keeping your pet in the house while movers are present, make sure they are in a room that has already been cleared out and post a do-not-disturb sign to keep those helping out.

 

4. Remember Pet Meds and Pets First Aid Kit

When preparing a first aid kit be sure to  leave medications and food outside of moving boxes, as they could be needed in case of an emergency. If your pet is on medications, be sure to get them filled before relocating. When preparing your first aid kit, be sure to include bandages, towels and hydrogen peroxide.

 

5. When Traveling Protect Your Pets

If you are transporting your pet to your new home by car, be sure to keep them in a crate, as allowing them to roam freely around your vehicle can be dangerous and unsafe for both of you. Pets can be a major distraction when behind the wheel and giving them their own space can also keep them calm. When flying, be sure that you and your pet meet all necessary airline requirements and purchase a proper crate for their travels. The source notes you should also consult your veterinarian before making flying arrangements, as not all pets are fit to do so.

 

6. Ask Your Current Vet For a Referral

Pet owners should ask their former veterinary clinic for a referral for their new location, while talking to other pet owners in your new community can be helpful. Selecting a new vet is important, so be sure they are convenient and that facilities are kept up. Asking for a tour and meeting the doctors, technicians and assistants can help you make the best decision possible.