Condos need maintenance …

Everything built by man requires some maintenance at some point.

Even so-called maintenance-free homes require some attention. So when making the transition from renting to buying, one aspect of home ownership that must be considered carefully is maintenance.

Renters enjoy few advantages over buyers, but one benefit of renting is that in most cases renters needn’t worry about the expense of maintaining a property. Many first time buyers aren’t ready to take on the hassles and expenses of yard work, gutter cleaning, painting and so on, and for this reason condos are a viable and interesting alternative.

In the case of a condo, maintenance can be separated into two categories: owner’s responsibilities and association responsibilities.

These exact nature of these duties and responsibilities will vary from condo to condo, but there are a few rules of thumb. For example, certain retirement communities provide maid service as part of the condo, but most often the condo owner is responsible for cleaning his own unit.

In most cases, the condo owner must clean the condo interior, including all windows which are reachable from the interior. The condo owner must clean of his or her private balcony or patio. Most renters are accustomed to this type of arrangement already.

Unlike renters, condo owners own the appliances in the unit. Thus, the condo owner cleans and maintains all the appliances, but the condo owner also pays for repairs and replacements as needed. A condo owner
has the power to pick his own appliances, but with that benefit comes the duty of maintaining that unit.

In most older condos, the association supplies the heating and cooling to the unit, and the condo owner owns the convector or radiator (heat transfer appliance) in the unit. In new condos, the owner typically owns the HVAC (heat pump / air conditioner) that heats and cools his unit.

Plumbing and electrical concerns remain for owners of single family homes and townhouses, but in all but a few rare cases the condo owner need only worry about systems that are outside the walls.  For example, the condo owner typically owns the bathroom vanity and the pipes supporting that vanity but not the pipes which supply water and take sewage away from the bathroom. A condo owner owns his kitchen cabinets, but not the electrical wires inside the wall that bring power to his kitchen appliances.

Relaxing in Old Town

In general, the condominium owner is responsible for his personal space, but the condo association is responsible for all common areas.  This includes maintaining and operating the elevators and outside doors.  In most cases this includes the windows. Most always, the association maintains the lawns, flowers and shrubs. The condo association maintains the roof.

While the owner of a single family home must maintain his own driveway, a condo parking lot is maintained by the condominium association. The parking garage can be private, common, or common with assignments.  If the parking garage is common, with or without assignments, the condo association will clean and maintain the parking. A private garage is the domain of the condominium owner.

Review your docs

Ultimately, you’ll want review your condo documents, charter and by-laws to determine exactly how your condo association interprets its domain.  Rest assured, a condo owner will have more to maintain than a renter, but significantly less responsibility than the owner of a single family residence or townhouse.

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$139,900 at River Place

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For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.

Moving With Pets

Moving to a new home can be stressful on your pets, but there are many things you can do to make the process as painless as possible. Experts at The Pet Realty Network in Naples, Fla., offer these helpful tips for easing the transition and keeping pets safe during the move.

1. Update your pet’s tag. Make sure your pet is wearing a sturdy collar with an identification tag that is labeled with your current contact information. The tag should include your destination location, telephone number, and cell phone number so that you can be reached immediately during the move.
2. Ask for veterinary records. If you’re moving far enough away that you’ll need a new vet, you should ask for a current copy of your pet’s vaccinations. You also can ask for your pet’s medical history to give to your new vet, although that can normally be faxed directly to the new medical-care provider upon request. Depending on your destination, your pet may need additional vaccinations, medications, and health certificates. Have your current vet’s phone number handy in case of an emergency, or in case your new vet would like more information about your pet.

Portrait of a parrot
Moving your parrot

3. Keep medications and food on hand. Keep at least one week’s worth of food and medication with you in case of an emergency. Vets can’t write a prescription without a prior doctor/patient relationship, which can cause delays if you need medication right away. You may want to ask for an extra prescription refill before you move. The same preparation should be taken with special therapeutic foods — purchase an extra supply in case you can’t find the food right away in your new area.

4. Seclude your pet from chaos. Pets can feel vulnerable on moving day. Keep them in a safe, quiet, well-ventilated place, such as the bathroom, on moving day with a “Do Not Disturb! Pets Inside!” sign posted on the door. There are many light, collapsible travel crates on the market if you choose to buy one. However, make sure your pet is familiar with the new crate before moving day by gradually introducing him or her to the crate before your trip. Be sure the crate is well-ventilated and sturdy enough for stress-chewers; otherwise, a nervous pet could escape.

5. Prepare a first aid kit. First aid is not a substitute for emergency veterinary care, but being prepared and knowing basic first aid could save your pet’s life. A few recommended supplies: Your veterinarian’s phone number, gauze to wrap wounds or to muzzle your pet, adhesive tape for bandages, non-stick bandages, towels, and hydrogen peroxide (3 percent). You can use a door, board, blanket or floor mat as an emergency stretcher and a soft cloth, rope, necktie, leash, or nylon stocking for an emergency muzzle.

6. Play it safe in the car. It’s best to travel with your dog in a crate; second-best is to use a restraining harness. When it cI love my ball...omes to cats, it’s always best for their safety and yours to use a well-ventilate

d carrier in the car. Secure the crate or carrier with a seat belt and provide your pet with familiar toys. Never keep your pet in the open bed of a truck or the storage area of a moving van. In any season, a pet left alone in a parked vehicle is vulnerable to injury and theft. If you’ll be using overnight lodging, plan ahead by searching for pet-friendly hotels. Have plenty of kitty litter and plastic bags on hand, and keep your pet on its regular diet and eating schedule.

7. Get ready for takeoff. When traveling by air,check with the airline about any pet requirements or restrictions to be sure you’ve prepared your pet for a safe trip. Some airlines will allow pets in the cabin, depending on the animal’s size, but you’ll need to purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you. Give yourself plenty of time to work out any arrangements necessary including consulting with your veterinarian and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If traveling is stressful for your pet, consult your veterinarian about ways that might lessen the stress of travel.

Walking his way8. Find a new veterinary clinic and emergency hospital. Before you move, ask your vet to recommend a doctor in your new locale. Talk to other pet owners when visiting the new community, and call the state veterinary medical association (VMA) for veterinarians in your location. When choosing a new veterinary hospital, ask for an impromptu tour; kennels should be kept clean at all times, not just when a client’s expected. You may also want to schedule an appointment to meet the vets. Now ask yourself: Are the receptionists, doctors, technicians, and assistants friendly, professional and knowledgeable? Are the office hours and location convenient? Does the clinic offer emergency or specialty services or boarding? If the hospital doesn’t meet your criteria, keep looking until you’re assured that your pet will receive the best possible care.
9. Prep your new home for pets. Pets may be frightened and confused in new surroundings. Upon your arrival at your new home, immediately set out all the familiar and necessary things your pet will need: food, water, medications, bed, litter box, toys, etc. Pack these items in a handy spot so they can be unpacked right away. Keep all external windows and doors closed when your pet is unsupervised, and be cautious of narrow gaps behind or between appliances where nervous pets may try to hide. If your old home is nearby, your pet may try to find a way back there. To be safe, give the new home owners or your former neighbors your phone number and a photo of your pet, and ask them to contact you if your pet is found nearby.

Yes I DO have wonderful lips [Explored 2007-09-25    #461]
Even guinea pigs need to move sometimes …
10. Learn more about your new area. Once you find a new veterinarian, ask if there are any local health concerns such as heartworm or Lyme disease, or any vaccinations or medications your pet may require. Also, be aware of any unique laws. For example, there are restrictive breed laws in some cities. Homeowner associations also may have restrictions — perhaps requiring that all dogs are kept on leashes. If you will be moving to a new country, carry an updated rabies vaccination and health certificate. It is very important to contact the Agriculture Department or embassy of the country or state to which you’re traveling to obtain specific information on special documents, quarantine, or costs to bring the animal into the country.
photo credit: cjnzja
photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar
photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar
photo credit: FlyNutAA

Source: The Pet Realty Network

Single Women, Condo Living and Everything In-Between

Recent studies suggest that single women currently make up approximately 47 percent of the condominium buying market in the United States. The reason is pretty obvious, if you think about it. Condominiums are an increasingly popularly housing choice for single women because of the various benefits that condos offer including convenience, security, and often virtually maintenance-free living.

For starters, security matters. For single women living alone in large, urban areas, one of the many benefits of living in a condominium are 24-hour concierge and security desks, video and security cameras in hallways and stairwells, and gated or enclosed parking areas. So if you’re thinking about buying a condo, carefully consider first the kinds of security features and amenities that are available in the unit; very often peace of mind is worth its weight in condo fees. Additionally, it’s important to know your potential new neighborhood. Condominiums tend to be located in urban areas where there are other young, working professionals as well as families. Make sure you know your neighborhood inside and out before you make an offer on a condominium and check the local county website for crime rates, local community news, and other annual statistics and reports.

Next, convenience is the key. Another factor that is crucially important when considering buying a condo if you are living as a single professional woman. In many condominium communities and developments there are office personnel to receive packages as well as other day-to-day business services such as dry cleaning, tailoring, and spa and fitness facilities. Some of the larger condominium developments also feature even more advanced amenities such as a grocers, bank branches and ATM’s, and many other services that make a single working woman’s life just a little easier.

Finally, consider maintenance in relation to time and money. Many single family homes require lengthy, time consuming and ongoing maintenance such as painting every three to five years, worrying about pipes freezing during the winter or getting the rain gutters cleaned. While it’s true that you as a condo owner must be financially responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of your condo’s common area, typically condo associations oversee the day-to-day management of the property itself. What does this mean for the busy single woman? Well, if the doors stick and the roof springs a leak, you can bet that your sassy self won’t be called upon to find someone to fix it. But be sure to check your condo buildings’ rules and regulations first. Most condo associations have a list of rules and regulations that you will have to agree to before you purchase a unit in the building. These rules may limit the number and weight of pets; how many visitors you can have at a time including how often and for how long; if you can rent out your unit; and when you can have work done in your unit. Ask the listing broker for the complete set of building rules and regulations.

Before you make an offer on a condo you want to be sure to consider what matters to you most as a busy single woman and those major concerns include safety and security, convenience and location, and matters of maintenance compared to other home ownerships costs. Happy Hunting Miss Independent!

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For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.

 

Home Owners Want More Color in Their Houses

Seventy-four percent of home owners say they want more pops of color in their houses, according to a nationwide survey conducted by Sherwin-Williams.

Twenty-nine percent of home owners surveyed say the living room or family room are the areas of a home that they’re most looking to spice up with color, according to the survey. Nineteen percent of respondents said they want a more colorful bedroom, and 10 percent said the kitchen.

While grays and beiges are still the most popular choices, more home owners are reaching for colors like burnt orange and baked clay as well. They’re also showing more willingness to incorporate pops of color in social areas of the home “because it’s an environment you want to feel energetic in,” says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams.

About 39 percent of home owners say the artwork is the most colorful element in their homes, not their walls. However, 23 percent of home owners polled cited the walls as the most colorful element in a home, making it the second most-popular response in the survey.

Source: “Bright Ideas for Colorful Homes,” The Wall Street Journal (April 15, 2013)

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Homeowners are special people

Of course as a homeowner you’ll be responsible for maintenance and repairs on the house. As a condo owner, many of these responsibilities are handled by the condo association. Either way, you’re the type of person who has taken charge of his or her life. You can paint your wall any color you want. You don’t need your landlord’s permission to get a pet.

Fred

As a homeowner you’re more likely to be a part of the neighborhood watch and the garden club. According to some studies, home owners are more likely to vote, and more likely to participate in local government activities. As a condominium owner you have become one of America’s landed gentry. According to the Rossi and Weber National Survey of Families, home owners possess significantly higher levels of self-confidence than renters.

Tax advantages are one of the biggest financial benefits of home ownership. The typical home owner that pays a $1,000 house payment will realize tax savings of about $120 each month. (As a general rule, most homeowners can deduct most or all of their interest payments on their home loan, property taxes and loan points, but check with your tax advisor about your situation.) What this means is that next year your rent won’t go up, but your liability will go down. Generally if you can afford the cash flow, it’s cheaper to buy than to rent. Because you’re a homeowner, you know what this means.

This increase confidence and wealth will have an impact on your family life as well. According to Boehm & Schlottmann, University of Tennessee, “Children of home owners are 59% more likely to become homeowners. Their children are also 25% more likely to graduate from high school and 116% more likely to graduate from college.”

As an owner, you’ll stop paying rent and you’ll start building ownership equity. A survey of consumer finance by the Federal Reserve Board found that the median net worth of most modest-income owners is almost $60,000 compared to less than $10,000 for renters in the same income group.

In many cases, your home will provide you with more privacy than rental living. For some, this means a quieter living environment, for others it’s the ability to have a grow garden, have a backyard barbecue or a build a garage. You’ll have the freedom to make whatever changes or improvements you like. Now that you control your living environment, you can make adjustments as your family changes or just as your personal taste dictates.

For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.

Owners Optimistic About Home Values

More than 16 percent of home owners say their houses increased in value during the past year, the highest percentage in nearly two years, according to a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey.

While 75 percent of home owners viewed current home-buying conditions as good, citing attractive prices and low mortgage rates, about 89 percent thought market conditions for selling a home were poor. While still an overwhelmingly negative number, it was still better than the results of the May 2009 survey when almost 100 percent of home owners panned the climate for sales.

Some 43 percent of home owners said their home decreased in value during the past year. Nevertheless, home owners believe their homes will ultimately rise in value, with the average annual anticipated gain over the next five years at 2.1 percent.

Source: Reuters News, Julie Haviv (05/21/2010)

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