Cynthia Lanciloti's Blog
Canton, MA 02021
An active housing market has reduced the number of foreclosed homes in inventory, but there will always be foreclosed homes available to purchase. Many buyers are not aware of what to expect when purchasing a foreclosure. Here are some home truths about buying a distressed home.
You’re not always getting a deal.
Many buyers believe foreclosed homes sell at rock-bottom prices. They expect massive and unrealistic discounts. While the bank may be willing to sell for well below the fair market value, their goal is to recover the loss they incurred when providing the original mortgage. Additionally, foreclosed properties may have long-standing maintenance issues that require a substantial investment to remedy.
The bank may not have the only lien.
A foreclosure removes the primary mortgage debt, but a distressed property may have other claims for money owed in back taxes, for mechanical work and contractors’ fees. A complete title search should tell you if there are liens that need satisfaction when you purchase a property. Your real estate agent can guide you in how to discover unsatisfied liens or judgments against the property
You may find maintenance problems.
Most owners do not simply move out of the property when they can no longer afford to make payments. When an original owner loses income, maintenance often becomes a low priority. And, if they have a medical disaster, a decline in health often means a decline in care for the property. Storm damage, pests, and other hidden issues mean damage to a home that gets overlooked when the owner has different priorities.
You may find vandal activity.
Although there are some stories of angry owners vandalizing the foreclosed property that they invested their life savings into, more often are issues with opportunistic thieves. They remove plumbing and light fixtures, paver stones, and other readily accessible objects from an abandoned property.
Schedule a thorough inspection before you purchase if possible so that you know what you're getting. Your real estate professional specializing in distressed properties can connect you with an unbiased inspector. They will report on your potential new home and help you uncover any hidden costs lurking there.
Each year, flooding causes more than eight billion dollars in damages to homes in the United States. Despite that, many affected homeowners go on to sell their houses so that they can relocate. When your home has damage from a tropical storm, heavy rains, or rising water from a hurricane, here are ways to help your home retain its value.
The crucial first 48 hours
Do your best to minimize the damage. If you know flooding is possible, use sandbags around the foundation, board up windows, fill in crevices around vents and pipes with expandable waterproof insulation. After damage occurs, in the first two days, it is essential that you go through this checklist as quickly and thoroughly as you can.
- Protect yourself. Flood water often has contaminants and dangerous materials, mold and bacteria. If your flooding includes back-up sewerage, this is especially crucial. Wear industrial-quality gloves, rubber boots, masks, and other protective gear.
- Make lists of the damage. Walk around your home and write down everything that is affected by the water. Separate the list by those items attached to your home and those that are separate such as furnishings and personal belongings. These could be very long lists, so write down everything.
- Take photos of all the damage with your smartphone or digital camera. Capture images of the walls, floors, cabinets, outlets, doors, windows, and ceiling if water leaked in from above — document everything.
- Contact your insurance company. They will send out a catastrophic storm damage adjuster to assess the damages. Even if FEMA may cover the costs, ask your insurance adjuster to document everything as well. Compare their list to yours to make sure nothing is left off. Your insurance company may be able to help you restore and repair much of the damage. Professionally mitigated and restored damage makes a tremendous difference when you go to sell your home.
- Once you've documented everything, remove anything that retains moisture from the house. These include carpet and padding, fabric, bedding, furniture, clothing, drywall, and insulation. Doing so lowers the opportunity for mold to take hold in the house. It only takes mold 48 hours to begin germinating, so time is of the essence.
- Rent a dehumidifier to dry out your home. If your HVAC system is unaffected, run the air (heat or cold depending on outdoor temperatures) to help dry things out, too.
- Using a utility knife, cut away and discard any damaged or wet drywall or wallboard and any damp insulation behind it. Spray the remaining walls and the framing of the damaged walls with a solution of nine-parts water with one-part bleach.
Repair or Sell "As-Is."
Make all repairs that your insurance or FEMA covers. If other repairs remain, you might decide to fix them yourself or sell your home just as it is. If you completely restore your home, it likely will sell for more. But if the return on your investment isn't high enough, you may end up losing out in the long run. Here is where you need the advice of a professional. Your real estate agent can help you determine which items to repair and which won't give you any return. Remember, though, that if your relocation is time-sensitive, whatever sells quicker can save you in the long run.
Garden edging is an aspect of landscaping design that serves both practical and aesthetic purposes. You can use edging as a decorative border around plant and flower beds, pathways and lawns using a variety of materials. Here we will go over some of the key benefits of garden edging as well as commonly used materials.
Why Use Garden Edging?
Edging not only creates a visual edge to various portions of a landscape, but also creates a physical barrier between them. Unlike a fence or raised garden bed wall, most garden edging is laid into the ground to be perfectly level with the surrounding landscape. What might look like a small barrier can have large benefits. One benefit is that edging creates a physical barrier between different parts of the landscape to confine loose and delicate material like potting soil. This will prevent messiness and also add a layer of defense against pests and wandering plant life. Using garden edging between turf grass and a flower bed will prevent the grass from invading the planting space. Also, garden edging made from looser material like gravel or sand can also assist with proper drainage.
What Are Some Common Edging Materials?
Brick - One of the most popular and widely used edging materials is brick. Because of its size and shape, it’s easy to fit the edges of your garden in curves and straight lines. The color or brick can also create a great visual contrast when placed next to lawns, concrete or other stone surfaces.
Belgian Block - Belgian blocks are made of solid granite and are some of the most commonly used stones for pathways, driveways and patios. They are like brick in their rectangular shape but come in a variety of sizes and colors. Because granite is one of the toughest materials on the planet, Belgian blocks are extremely durable.
Concrete - Concrete is a great choice of edging material if you need specific measurements. You can cut concrete into custom shapes and sizes and even buy pre-made edging kits including corners and curves for easy installation. You can also make your own concrete blocks for an even more custom DIY approach.
Cedar - Wood edging is durable and a great way to create a natural and rustic look. You can use lots of different varieties of wood for garden edging, but cedar is by far the most popular because of its durability. You can find rolls of pre-made cedar edging in a variety of styles and use it to wrap around gardens of all sizes and shapes.
River Stone - Another excellent choice of edging material for a more natural and organic aesthetic is river stone. Since each stone is unique in size, shape and color, edging made from river stone will have lots of character and room for creativity. River stones contrast with other common materials like brick and Belgian block because they are rounded and smooth rather than rectangular. Unless set with mortar, however, river stone edging is typically loose and therefore not immune to being dislodged accidentally.
These are some of the most popular materials for landscape edging, but there are countless other ways to create borders between plant zones. Edging can be a great way to repurpose materials like glass bottles, cinder blocks or even plastic. Regardless of the material you choose, it can be an excellent DIY project and will benefit both the look and health of your landscape.