Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 1/4/2016

Many people think seven is a lucky number but if you are looking to get the most bang for your buck the number you want in your address is an eight. According to a study done by the University of British Columbia, houses and street numbers ending in eight sold at a 2.5 per cent higher rate than homes and street numbers ending with any other digits. In fact, the study also found homes and street numbers ending in four sold at a 2.2 per cent discount. House numbers have recently become more important with the influx of Chinese buyers in the marketplace and the increasing popularity of Feng Shui. Numbers that sound similar to Chinese words that have positive meanings are believed to be lucky. The number eight sounds similar to the word for prosper or wealth. The fear of the number four, or tetraphobia, is because the pronunciation of the word for four is similar to the word for death in Mandarin, Cantonese and several Chinese dialects. Thinking of rolling the dice on the number 13? Many large casino hotels in Las Vegas omit floor numbers 4, 14, 24, 34 and 40 to 49. The number 13 is not however, considered unlucky in the Chinese tradition. Other numbers with perceived good luck are two, three, five and seven. Two because of the Chinese saying good things come in pairs. The number three sounds similar to birth and the number five is associated with the five elements (water, wood, fire, earth and metal). Considered the luckiest number in the West, 7 symbolizes togetherness. Even though house numbers may influence a buying decision there is no evidence to support actual bad or good luck in homes with certain numbers. The thought of good or bad luck has more to do with the psychology of people than actual events.      





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 12/7/2015

Mold could be lurking in your home, often found in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and laundry rooms. You can also find mold near leaking pipes, faulty air ducts, leaking roofs, and areas that have previously been flooded. Mold found in your home can cause you serious health problems and major damage to your home. The only way to truly know if you have a mold problem is to have a professional mold inspection. Here are a few reasons why you should hire a professional home mold inspector: 1. To see if you have hidden mold growth. A professional mold inspector has special equipment to locate mold. Hidden mold is found in places like in the drywall, under the carpets, and in the air ducts. 2. Do you suffer from allergies, coughing, or headaches? All of these could be symptoms of mold exposure. 3. Before you buy a home have a mold inspection to identify and address any mold issues before closing on the home. That way you will feel more comfortable and confident with purchasing the home. 4. Most home insurance policies do not cover major mold damage. It is important to protect your investment by knowing if the home has mold that needs to be addressed. A professional mold inspection can help protect your health and protect your investment as well.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 11/9/2015

If you have a water well in your home or you are considering buying a home with a well there are some things you need to know. When purchasing a home with a well the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends an initial water quality test. The test should include coliform, bacteria, nitrates/nitrites, and pH. Additional recommendations for well testing include arsenic, lead, copper, radon, a gross alpha screen, and volatile organic compounds. While living in the home the well should be tested annually. If the home has a water treatment system, a test should be done on both the raw water coming into the house before the treatment system and after the water has passed through the treatment system. This will identify contaminants in the water and ensure the treatment system is functioning properly. If the home is being financed with an FHA or VA loan, the lender will most likely require a well test. The FHA Scan tests for coliform, lead, nitrates and nitrites. Prospective buyers should also hire an independent professional to have the water tested at a state certified lab. For more information on drinking water quality standards, visit EPA's website: www.epa.gov/safewater. In addition to a well quality water test, the mechanical workings of the water system should also be inspected also known as a quantity test. The pump, pressure tank, water treatment system, condition of the area around the well, and the well's proximity to potential contamination sources will all be examined.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 10/19/2015

If you have been dreaming of owning a vacation home now may be the time to buy. Home prices and mortgage rates continue to fall and there are some great deals for buyers looking for a second home. Here are five things you need to know before taking the leap. 1. Prices are at all-time lows In many second-home hot spots, prices are still close to their five-year lows. When the real-estate bubble burst, some of the hardest-hit markets were vacation destinations. Many vacation home areas experienced overgrowth and may now be suffering from foreclosures. 2. Think ROI Consider the possible return on your investment. Whether or not you decide to rent the home out, you will want to consider buying a place that has good rent potential. That's because a home's rent ability can affect its resale value. Before you bid on a house, make sure the homeowners association or township allows short-term rentals. 3. Don't count on rental income If you are planning on counting on rental income to cover the costs beware. According to HomeAway.com, a typical second home property rents out just 17 weeks a year. Make sure to account for the weeks the home won't rent. Plus, you'll need to pay for cleaning, maintenance, insurance, and maybe management fees. Make sure to plan on the maintenance costs of the property being at least 15% of the income. 4. Your mortgage rate depends on how you use the home How you use the home depends on the mortgage rate you will receive. If you plan to use the property primarily as a second home and you'll pay about the same mortgage rate as you would on a primary residence. If your plans are to use the home for rental income and need that income to qualify for the loan, you'll need to have as much as 25% for the down payment and pay up to one percentage point more in interest. 5. Take advantage of tax benefits Talk to your tax guy before you buy. If you rent the home out for two weeks or less you won't have to report a cent of income to the IRS. The good news here, you can still deduct property taxes and mortgage interest. On the flipside, if you stay there for less than two weeks or 10% of rental days, you can deduct operating costs in addition to interest and property tax. But where should you buy? According to CNBC here are the top places to buy a second home. If you are thinking about buying a second home I can help you find a professional agent in that area.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 9/28/2015

Moving can be stressful. The best way to not get overwhelmed is to have an organized plan and a step-by-step timeline. A little preparation will help make the move go a lot smoother. Here is a checklist to help keep you on track: 60 Days Before You Move

  • Sort and Purge-Go through every room, decide what needs to come with you and what can go. Make piles of things to throw away and things to donate.
  • Plan a Yard Sale-Start planning a yard sale to reduce the amount of stuff you need to move. Some extra money for the move will also come in handy.
  • Hire a Mover-Contact at least three moving companies. On-site estimates are better than over the phone or internet estimates. Get each estimate in writing, and make sure it has a USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number on it.
  • Create a Moving Binder-Store all of your move-related paperwork (checklists, contracts, receipts) in a binder. You may also want to inventory all of your items with photos or lists.
Six Weeks Before Your Move
  • Get Packing Supplies-Determine how many packing supplies you’ll need and designate a room where you can begin to store and organize.
  • Take Measurements-If possible get room dimensions of your new home. Make sure large pieces of furniture will fit.  Don’t forget to take measurements for appliances too.
30 Days Before Your Move
  • Confirm with Mover-Check with your mover the details of your move.
  • Start Packing-Begin packing out-of-season clothes and unnecessary items.
  • Label-Make sure to label boxes with what rooms the boxes will go in at your new home.
  • Start/Stop Utilities-Make arrangements to connect and disconnect your cable, internet and utilities.
  • Change your Address- Contact or visit your local Post Office to obtain a Change of Address form. You can also obtain this form online at http://www.usps.com.
  • Make Notifications- Change your address to the following: registry of motor vehicles, banks, schools, friends & family, insurance companies, doctors and specialists, cell phone providers, credit card companies and magazine and newspapers.
  • Contact Service Providers—Notify landscapers, cleaning services that you are moving, and look for new ones in your new hometown.
Two Weeks Before Your Move
  • Call Locksmith- Have your new home’s locks changed on moving day or before.
  • Arrange Services- Have a cleaning company prepare the new home before you arrive and tidy the old home after you leave. Arrange for carpet cleaning too.
  • Pack the bulk of your items.
  • Start Cleaning-Begin cleaning any rooms in your house that have been emptied, such as closets, basements or attics.
One Week Before Your Move
  • Pack Suitcases- Finish your general packing a few days before your moving date. Pack suitcases for everyone in the family with enough clothes to wear for a few days.
  • Gather Keys- Organize all keys, alarm codes and garage door openers so that you can be prepared to hand them over to the new owner or real estate agent.
A Few Days Before Your Move
  • Defrost the Freezer- Empty, clean and defrost the freezer at least 24 hours before moving day.
  • Make Payment Plans- You will need to make sure you have made arrangements to pay the mover and have a tip (usually 10%-15%).
Moving Day
  • List Contact Info- Write out a list for your movers of things they’ll need: phone numbers, exact moving address and maps.
  • Take Inventory- Before the movers leave, sign the bill of lading/inventory list and keep a copy.
  • Walk-Through- Do a walk-through of your new home with your real estate agent.
  • Layout New Home- Tape names to doors to assist movers in placing furniture and boxes.
  • Have Director- Arrange for someone to direct the movers at your new home.