Allergies, asthma attacks, or skin problems a common occurrence in your household? Make sure your home environment isn’t to blame. Some household supplies and items around your home could be easily overlooked health hazards. These items can be a source of toxins, pollutants, and chemicals that trigger a host of health problems including nervous system imbalances and even kidney damage. Whether you have a house full of kids or live alone, make sure your living space is free of compounds and materials that could be hazardous to your health.
Here are five home health hazards you may have overlooked.
No. 1: Antibacterial Soap
A common addition to the lineup of products at the kitchen or bathroom sink, antibacterial soap contains compounds such as triclosan and triclocarbon that may affect your endocrine system. These compounds are carcinogenic and put you at risk for developing some serious health problems down the road. Your safest bet is to use natural soap products. Read the ingredients list to ensure your favorite antibacterial soaps are free of these toxic compounds.
No. 2: Cleaning Products
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a byproduct of many household items including plastics and cleaning products. Sometimes you can smell them and VOC emissions can be hazardous to your health. According to the Sierra Club Green Home website, some side effects of inhaling or exposing yourself to VOCs include memory loss, nausea, throat irritation, and central nervous system damage. Be careful when using abrasive cleaners and other powerful household cleaners to avoid contamination.
No. 3: Rug Mold
You take the time to clean your carpets, but what about the area underneath rugs and mats? The rubber layer under many mats that sit on hardwood floors can attract grime and fungi spores. You need to keep the underside of rugs in the kitchen and bathroom as clean and dry as possible or you’ll start to notice patches of fungus developing underneath. Also make sure you’re regularly removing rugs that sit on top of a carpet so you can clean under them and check for spots of mold. Use a vinegar and alcohol cleaning solution to keep rugs free of dirt and mold.
No. 4: Plastic Containers
Those handy plastic containers you have stocked in the kitchen or lying around the house could be made with toxic materials that end up affecting your health. Check the underside of the containers – numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5 are all considered safe; anything else could be harmful to your and your family’s health.
No. 5: Dust Mites
No matter how often you dust and vacuum your home, you could be exposed to allergy-causing dust mites on more than one occasion. Make sure you regularly wash bedding in very hot water and take the time to clean windowsills, high shelves, and ceiling fans. Dust mites can circulate in the air for days and days after a cleaning session. Make sure your air vents are clean and clear of dust and debris, and consider investing in a standing fan with an ozone filter to keep the air clean.
Once you’ve found the perfect home, you’re now ready to begin the process of filling out an Offer to Purchase form. Though your real estate agent is a trained negotiator, it’s still important to understand the process enough to ensure that you write and develop a contract that wins.
The truth is, developing your offer can be a thing of science. Offer too low and other prospective home buyers will outbid you or the sellers will wait to receive a higher offer. Bidding too high, although it gives you a more likely chance to get the house, can be unnecessary at times when you could’ve saved thousands. Submitting terms that will make all parties in the transaction is what you’re striving to do. Here are a few things to consider when making an offer on a property:
Day on Market
As a real estate agent, this is the first thing that I look at when a client of mine wants to make an offer. How long the house has been on the market tells me how anxious and motivated the sellers are. If the average days on the market are four months and the house has been listed for seven months then I will recommend the buyer bases their offer on 90-91% of the list price. However, if the house has only been on the market for a few weeks then they’re probably going to hold out for a higher price if you come in too low. In this event I recommend closer to 94-95% of the list price.
Earnest money is a deposit that you give when making an offer on a house. The deposit, usually 1% of the overall purchase price, is held with the real estate firm or attorney until closing. Earnest monies are important when making an offer because it provides the seller with a certain level of comfort depending on how high the earnest money deposit is. For instance, if a buyer gives $3000 toward earnest money and defaults on the contract, the seller will get the money. Obviously, the higher the figure lets the seller know that the buyer is more serious about the property. If a seller receives two contracts that are both the same amount, earnest money could be a deciding factor. In a highly competitive real estate market, I recommend between 1-2% for all earnest monies.
Before you submit an offer, your real estate agent should provide you with comparable homes that have sold in the community you’re interested in. The comparables should involve homes that have sold in the last six month and should be quite similar to your home including size, location, age, and number of rooms. This will give you a great idea as to what price level is fair to offer on the house, and I recommend that your agent should submit comparables along with the offer to support your price.
Needs and Wants of the Seller
Keep in mind that price is not the only deciding factor in an offer. For example, your flexibility and sensitivity to the seller’s needs, including extending the closing date for a seller who can’t move until later on or not requiring the seller to fix repairs can be very effective on a contract. Time and energy are two important factors. It could be that submitting a contract is not contingent on you selling your home first could attractive enough to make the seller accept it. You can submit an offer with a lower price in exchange for the willingness to be flexible on time and other terms.
The purchase price on an offer depends entirely on the real estate market conditions. In a hot market, it’s normal to see houses selling for 10% over the asking price. You’ll want to arrive at an amount that is just enough to get you the home. Some buyers will go 30% over the asking price to get the house and stop the searching process, but it’s these buyers that will lose in the end. Stay strong and negotiate the deal out. Obviously, in a cold market you have more room and I suggest negotiating a strong low offer.
The last thing I suggest doing is accompanying your offer with a prequalification letter from a mortgage broker. This assures the seller that you have are a qualified buyer and you have started the process of researching different finance options and talking with mortgage brokers. Buyers that haven’t talked with mortgage brokers tend to raise suspicion with sellers. Get ahead of the game by having your mortgage broker type this letter up. It’s one more tool that makes your offer solid and allows you the power to keep the ball in your court and negotiate on other terms.
I have seen many things in my many years in the home improvement business. I got into home improvement naturally, as a child I always tried to fix things, so my fixit spirit was born at an early age. Before a series of strokes took my ability to work with my hands away, I had witnessed every thing from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Doing anything on a home that has a bad foundation, before addressing the problem is a no-no. A cracked foundation is a major structural concern. Pump jacks, repairing concrete, braces, etc can all be used to fix the issue.
Adding amenities that you cannot possibly get a return on! $5,000 -$10,000 for a spiral staircase in a $600 a month rental property is an unwise financial decision .A $2,000 car port addition that would allow your renters to get from their door to their car dryly, may be a better selling feature.
Not choosing the correct paints. Rental property demands paint coverings that have staying power. Invest in a quality finish; make sure that the property exhibits both beauty in the color you have chosen and durability. This is one of the least expensive ways to improve your property. Wwhy not score big with your choices?
Forgetting your community. I had a friend who made it big in a band in the seventies and he decided to improve his mom’s home. She now owns the most beautiful house in the “ghetto” but no dollar he spent raised the real estate value of the property. Her home is now a shiny pearl but it’s still in the ghetto
Not knowing when you are in over your head. If your chosen project is getting out of control cost wise; learn when to cut your losses and call in an expert. No matter how much you have lost, a change of direction may save you in the end.
Do not do unnecessary things. If you want to landscape, try to use the natural environment to it is full potential. Instead of removing a tree, consider reshaping it. Instead of moving a boulder, try to design a plan that includes it as part of the landscaping.
Paying too much for labor. When ever possible pay your help by the job rather than by the hour.
Being “out of the know”. Be present during all work that you do not personally perform. You do not know how often work stops or how much the quality falls off when you exit the premises.
Using Low quality materials. Buy quality supplies, from reputable dealers, at good prices. Do not be afraid to tell the store manager or owner what you are trying to accomplish. Let him know that of his competitors you have chosen his establishment to renovate your home. Keep yours eyes open for deals at other reputable stores and give your chosen store the first chance to beat the competitors price.
Having an inflexible budget. You should know what you could afford to spend before you begin your project. If possible, tackle the most important projects first and save the others until last.
Following these few tips can make your next project more satisfying spiritually and more do-able finacially.