Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 9/4/2017

When I was younger I loved to read books and collect my favorites in my room. I dreamed of someday having my own home with a massive library of books, the shelves going all the way up to the ceiling. As I grew up and it came time to move out on my own, I realized my accumulation of books became an obstacle to moving. My bookcase was huge and heavy, as were my books. It wasn't until I started packing things into old milk cartons for moving that I realized I had a ready-made bookshelf. In my new home I painted the milk crates fun colors and stacked them in a way that best utilized the space in my small apartment. This is just one of the many simple and fun ways of storing your beloved books in your home. Read on for more creative bookshelf solutions that you'll wish you thought of years ago.

Deciding what books you need

Even though we live in the era of smartphones and ebook readers, there is still value in owning a physical copy of a book. There's the joy of holding it in your hand, admiring the cover art, flipping the pages, and--of course--that new book smell. However, you might not need to own a physical copy of every book you've read. With interlibrary loans, ebooks, and the Kindle app there's really no need for a huge collection of books. Weed out your collection and keep the ones that are most valuable to you. It will be hard to part with them, but if you donate to your local library or a charity you can feel good about your decision. You'll soon realize it's great to have the extra space.

Creative book storage

If you want to a fun, minimal bookshelf but aren't into the idea of having old milk crates stacked up against your wall, fear not--there are innumerable other options.

Staircases

There have been countless fun and minimal staircase bookshelves created over the years. Sometimes people build on to the side of their staircase, other times they utilize negative space underneath to build a bookshelf that fits opposite each step of the staircase. If it's children's books you need to store in your kids' rooms, consider building a staircase bookshelf that leads up to the second bunk of a bunkbed. It will safe space and provide a safe way for your child to reach the top bunk.

Invisible bookshelves

If the idea of having another piece of furniture in your living room just to put a few books on drives you crazy, consider using an invisible bookshelf. These wall-mounted systems are totally invisible behind your books and give the illusion that the books are just floating up against the wall, creating a minimalist's dream bookshelf. If you're more into cozy than minimal, try stacking the books from biggest to smallest on top of one another on a corner table. It's also a good way to hide wires that come from an outlet on the wall.

Built-in bookshelf

Some older homes were built in a time where reading was a highly respected (and admittedly, one of the only) indoor pastimes. Many of these homes have walls with built in bookshelves. They add a stately look to a room and can serve as storage for items besides books too. It's possible to make your own if you're savvy when it comes to building. However you can also purchase bookshelves that give the illusion of being built into the wall.  




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Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 8/28/2017

Watching a once thriving neighborhood decline is one of the hardest things to witness. It makes it hard to look outside your window. It's not easy to take in the sight of dilapidating houses, tall grass and weeds that are starting to over run the sidewalks. That may be one of the worst views to digest.

Are any of these sights keeping you from looking outside?

Sight of a declining neighborhood raises strong emotions. It surfaces happy memories that you experienced when you first saw your house. The memories serve as a sharp contrast to what you're feeling as you look outside your window now and what you felt when you first moved in.

As bad as it sounds, there are other home views that people hate. Ten home views that people hate, the very views that could be forcing you to avoid looking outside include:

  1. Less than a quarter mile from your house is a garbage dump. To avoid thinking about the health dangers that could be lurking at the garbage dump site, you keep your window treatments closed. That or you avoid looking outside one or more of your house windows.
  2. Dead trees signal change. If you've come to love the trees, the last thing that you might want to do is cut the trees down. So, you turn away from looking outside.
  3. Boarded buildings are dull. If boarding buildings have been in the neighborhood for several months, it could be a sign that local government officials don't value where you live.
  4. Pet parks that aren't well maintained are nothing to write home about. Piles of dog feces may turn your stomach when you look outside.
  5. Storm damage is another reason why you might want to look outside your window. Sight of flattened houses across the street and in the surrounding area, fallen trees and debris are not easy to look at day after day.
  6. Construction not only brings views of cement trucks, drywall and metal railings, let construction take place near where you live and you'll have to listen to banging, sawing and other loud construction sounds.
  7. Gas stations seem innocent when they are miles away from your home. When gas stations are right across the street from your house, they can become eyesores.
  8. Schools are signs of learning. They do good work in the world. They also bring rows of school buses and cars near your house. Live close to a school and you may have to limit your driving speed to 15 miles per hour while school is in session.
  9. Vacant lots are among the views that people hate to look outside their house windows and see.
  10. Chemical plants are not only unattractive. They push harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

You deserve to feel good when you look outside your house windows. The views should be attractive and satisfying. They certainly shouldn't force you to turn away from the window when you enter certain rooms of your home. They also shouldn't force you to keep window treatments closed.




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Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 8/21/2017

If you're getting ready to put your home on the market, every little detail can make a huge difference in its marketability. Not only is it vitally important to make a great first impression on prospective buyers, but you also want those good feelings to linger after they walk out the door. Although homeowners generally don't need to concern themselves with the marketing aspects of selling their property, there is one sales principle which is well worth keeping in mind: More often than not, people make buying decisions based on their emotions and subconscious feelings, rather than on concrete facts and rational thought. It's only after they've made their emotion-based buying decision that they attempt to justify it with facts and logic. So "gut feelings," intuition, and emotions can play a central role in how and why people choose to buy one home over another. Easy Home Staging Tips That's why it can be beneficial to have the fragrance of freshly brewed coffee, cookies, cinnamon buns, or homemade bread wafting through the air when prospective home buyers visit. It can help put your visitors in a positive state of mind, and cause them to associate your home with those enticing aromas and good feelings. Unfortunately, the opposite effect can also come into play during a house showing. For example, offensive odors in the air could raise questions about the cleanliness or desirability of your house. If pet smells, stale tobacco smoke, or dirty laundry odors are among the recollections that linger in the minds (and noses) of would-be buyers, you can be sure they'll be less likely to make an offer. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to counteract unpleasant odors and keep your home smelling fresh and inviting for real estate showings. Two other key things to consider when preparing your home for potential buyers are lighting and clutter. When one or more rooms look cluttered, it creates two negative impressions in the minds of prospects:

  1. It makes the living space look small and confining, which detracts from the perceived value of your home.
  2. It also creates an impression of chaos and disorganization. Whether that's a description of your family's lifestyle or not, you definitely don't want to convey that to prospective buyers.
Lighting Sets The Tone Lighting can be a tricky thing to get just right, because there's a thin line between soft lighting and gloomy lighting. Also, if the lights are too low, people might be wondering what flaws you're trying to hide. Harsh lighting can also have a negative effect on how people perceive your home, so if you notice visitors squinting or shading their eyes when they enter a room, it may be time to install a dimmer switch! Get an Expert Opinion In most cases, home sellers need input from a real estate agent, Realtor, or experienced home staging consultant to be able to show their home to its full potential. A professional can help you focus on specific areas in need of improvement, and can often provide cost-effective suggestions for making it more appealing to buyers. If you've been living there for a number of years, it's almost impossible to be objective about what needs to be changed, repainted, rearranged, or replaced. A seasoned real estate professional can look at things from the perspective of a potential buyer, and make recommendations that could help improve your curb appeal, present your home in its best light, and sell it faster and for the best possible price.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 8/14/2017

As a first-time homebuyer, it is important to understand what it takes to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible. By doing so, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

What does it take for a first-time homebuyer to seamlessly navigate the housing market? Here are three tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.

1. Make a Homebuying Checklist

The definition of the "perfect" house differs from homebuyer to homebuyer. As such, a first-time homebuyer should allocate the necessary time and resources to determine what he or she wants to find in the ideal home. That way, a first-time homebuyer will have no trouble finding a house that matches or surpasses his or her expectations.

With a homebuying checklist, a first-time homebuyer can move one step closer to making his or her property ownership dreams come true. This checklist can help a homebuyer differentiate between home "must-haves" and "wants" so he or she can narrow a home search accordingly.

Furthermore, a first-time homebuyer can update a property buying checklist as he or she begins to check out houses. And if a homebuyer evaluates available residences, this property buyer can update his or her checklist as needed.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A first-time homebuyer likely wants to purchase a house as quickly as possible. Fortunately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help a homebuyer move through the property buying process without delay.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a first-time homebuyer should try to meet with several banks and credit unions. Each meeting will allow a homebuyer to learn about assorted mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to his or her finances.

Moreover, a first-time homebuyer should be unafraid to ask plenty of questions when he or she meets with potential lenders. This will allow a homebuyer to make an informed decision about a mortgage.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to buying a house for the first time, a homebuyer should seek out expert support. Lucky for you, many real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can make it simple for you to purchase your ideal house.

A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house for the first time. He or she will teach a first-time homebuyer about these challenges and ensure this property buyer is prepared to take a diligent approach to purchasing a home.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and negotiate with home sellers on a homebuyer's behalf. This housing market professional will even keep a homebuyer up to date about new houses, ensuring homebuyers can pounce on opportunities to acquire great houses as soon as they become available.

For a first-time homebuyer, there is no need to leave anything to chance. But with the aforementioned tips, a first-time homebuyer can accelerate the homebuying process and improve his or her chances of purchasing a stellar house at an affordable price.




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Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 8/7/2017

There are few things more frustrating than finding out that the plants you’ve been tending to all summer have been overrun with insects and aren’t producing any fruit. Perhaps even worse is when you find a trail leading into your pantry where your food has been compromised by a tiny army of ants.

Keeping the pests out of your home and garden is a difficult task made even harder if you want to do it without using harsh chemicals and pesticides. However, there are ways you can effectively keep your food safe. In this article, we’ll show you how.

Protecting your garden from pests

The most important tool you have at your disposal when it comes to protecting your lawn, flowers, and garden from pests is your own vigilance.

In the garden, take note of the condition of your plants’ leaves. Look on the underside of them for small, yellow or brown dots. These are often insect eggs that will soon hatch and result in your plants being devoured before they can produce crops.

As a last-ditch effort to keep the bugs away, you can try spraying your plants with a homemade insecticidal soap spray. These sprays are usually 95% water and then a small amount of  pure castile soap or vinegar. Be sure not to use too much or this can harm your plants or soil.

Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or in the country, there are likely to be some furry creatures who see your garden as a food source. One way to keep many away is by framing the garden with a simple metal wire fence.

If it’s flowers you’re worried about, try planting them in mulch and keeping the leaves dry when possible. This will avoid excess moisture which can cause plant-killing diseases. Using a watering can rather than a hose will help you target the base of the plant and keep the leaves dry.

Keeping the bugs outside

Regardless out whether your home is old or new, you’ll likely someday find yourself with an insect problem. Some are lured in by warmth in the cold seasons, others are seeking a food source.

Let’s begin on the exterior of your home. Check for cracks in your foundation and along doors and windows and seal these cracks up. Next, if there’s a space under your door, install an aluminum door threshold if there is a gap between your door and the floor. While you’re there, make sure the weather stripping on your door is in good condition.

Next, make sure all of the screens in your doors, windows, and other ventilation areas are in good condition. Even the tiniest tear can be enough to let in flies and other insects. 

The final step in keeping the bugs out of your home is to remove what’s luring them there in the first place. Store your food in airtight storage containers within your cabinets. Not only will this keep bugs away, but it can also make organizing food easier, especially things you might not use often, like flour or a large bag of sugar.




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