10 Things People Who Adore Old Homes Think When They First Walk Inside

There is a certain mystique to older homes. With each one there is always a veil of mystery to be pulled back with every structure that predates the 1970’s. This mystery has a level of attraction to a certain subset of homeowners. So popular are these stalwart buildings that defiantly stand against the withering of time that whole magazines, movies and TV shows are dedicated to their existence and upkeep.

From ‘This Old House’ to ‘The Money Pit’ the souls of these homes bring out the wonder and love from within people. The common thread that connects these folks are the thoughts they have as soon as they enter these homes. If you don’t understand why people love old homes, maybe you will after you read these.

1. “Oh, The Possibilities!”

Lovers of old homes walk into these dilapidated structures and they don’t see rot and ruin; they see potential. Their eyes glaze over like a toddler who’s filled-to-bulging Halloween sack has just been dumped out in front of them on their living room floor. Their own desire and gritty determination to resurrect the structure to its former and even greater glory sets them apart from your average buyer.

2. “If I dig for it, it will come!”

Via Flickr | LEONARDO DASILVA

They know it’s there, lurking under the floorboards. When they think of what lies beneath, they aren’t thinking of that horrible movie where Han Solo played a bad guy for once. They’re seeing beyond the thirty layers of atrocious wallpaper. They see original wood, original paint and history undiscovered.

3. “I’m telling you, there’s buried treasure in here!”

Via Flickr | denisbin

They’ve read the Enquirer. They’ve seen the stories on TMZ. They know buried in these ancient walls is treasure. NO, not original crown molding. We’re talking the sacks of old coins, bonds and cash that the original owners stuffed under the floorboards because they “didn’t trust no banks.”

4. “There is a special history attached to this house, I know it!”

Via Flickr | Calvin Hodgson

These folks that love older homes have souls that have lifetime subscriptions to the History Channel. Not only do they revel in the idea of sitting around the campfire listening to elders telling tales of days gone by, they would LOVE it if the home they just bought has some unique history attached to it. Olde Tyme street cred.

5. “OMG…original hardwoods!”

Via Flickr | Juhan Sonin

Like a motorcycle collector finding an Indian with its original engine in working order, to these lovers of all things old and homey anything original is a check in the ‘win’ column. The more original items in the house, the more their interest will swell.

6. “SHHH! Did you hear that?”

Via Flickr | Chris Waits

Every old home has a personality. Memories burned into the fibers of the wood from a lifetime of being lived in by its previous inhabitants. Some of those leftover impressions can be good, some can be bad. Either way, people that frequent old homes can feel that “vibe” every time they walk inside… and they love it.

7. “Ow… my wallet hurts.”

With older homes comes the inevitable shock to the bank account. Repairs can cost a lot because most owners want to bring the home up to a livable and also, original, condition. The difference between your average buyer and people who love older homes, people who love older homes look forward to the challenge.

8. “Oh yeah, you smell that?”

Via Flickr | Bill Bradford

One of the quickest paths to memory is through smell. You catch a whiff of apple pie or a stack of old books and it takes you back to a favorite time from your childhood. To these folks the dust, mustiness and aroma of days gone by that would make others cringe, makes them inhale and say, “aww yeahhhhh…”

9. “Let’s just move here…now!”

Via Flickr | Megan

Instant gratification is the name of the game anymore in this thirty-second society. With people who love old homes the desire to drop it all and move into an old home they love comes from a different place. The connection they feel is so deep that if you ask them why they’ll tell you that they “just know.”

10. “Here, life would be perfect!”

Via Flickr | Megan

Unfortunately for people that love old homes, this statement rings true for EVERY old home they step into.
Featured image via Flickr user David Sawyer

6 Ways To Winterproof Your Home

If you want your home to make it through the winter months unscathed, you’ll need to take the proper measures to protect it. In other words, you need to winterproof your home.

But if you wait until you’re hearing Christmas carols on the radio to take the necessary steps to protect your home, you’ll be too late. Here are 6 ways to winterproof your home this fall so your home is ready for the cold temperatures, snow, and whatever else the season wants to throw at it:

1. Store patio furniture

Winter isn’t the time for barbecues and dining alfresco, so it’s important that you protect your grill and patio furniture in the winter months — that way, they’ll be ready to roll when the weather starts to warm.

Take your patio furniture and grill and put them into storage. This is especially important if you have aluminum patio furniture, which can rust once the snow hits. If you don’t have a place to store your grill and furniture (or if your furniture is made of a more durable material), you should at the very least cover it up to protect it from the elements.

2. Empty and store hoses

You’ll also want to store your garden hoses before the temperature drops. If you leave your hoses as is, the water in them can freeze, which can cause holes and leaks.

Drain each of your garden hoses and store them inside until the spring.

3. Protect your home from chilly winter air

One of the trademarks of winter is cold air, and if that cold air finds a way into your house, you’re likely to find yourself shivering no matter how high you turn up the heat.

It’s important to seal off your house to keep cold air from getting in. Look for any gaps in the walls or foundation and seal them with foam or caulk (you can also use caulk to seal any gaps around windows). If your home is notorious for being cold in the winter, you’ll also want to check the insulation. Your attic and basement should be insulated, and if the insulation is old or improperly installed, it can cause dropping temperatures in the colder months.

Redoing or adding insulation isn’t cheap, so if you’re unsure of whether your insulation needs an upgrade, consult an insulation professional and get an estimate.

4. Get the right thermostat

One of the most important ways to protect your home in the winter is keeping it at the proper temperature. But “proper temperature” is relative; obviously, you’ll want your house warmer while you’re home, but it’s fine to turn down the heat while you’re out. But if you turn OFF the heat, you run the risk of the temperature dropping too low.

A programmable thermostat will allow you to control the temperature in your home at all times. You can program your thermostat to automatically lower the temperature when you leave, and raise the temperature before you get home so you get to return to a nice, toasty environment. Many of the new thermostats even connect to your smartphone, allowing you to control the temperature in your home straight from your mobile device.

5. Switch to winter fabrics

When the winter chill kicks in, you’re going to want lots of warm, cozy fabrics to keep you warm. Replace your summer linens with more substantial fabrics, like velvet, fleece, or faux fur, to match the season. Put a throw or blanket in one of these fabrics in each room so you always have something on hand to wrap yourself up with when the temperature drops.

6. Replace your furnace filter

Old, dirty filters will make your furnace less efficient, driving up your energy bills and making your home more difficult to heat. Replace your furnace filter this fall to ensure that your furnace is in tip-top shape when winter hits.

Colder temperatures are on their way, so it’s important to protect your home while you still have time. And with these winterproofing tips, getting your home ready should be a cinch.

Ideas for Accent Walls

An accent wall can totally transform a room, taking it from boring and drab to bold and exciting. Accent walls create a new focal point for your space, add liveliness and contrast, and are typically a very inexpensive DIY project.

The starter accent wall

You can easily add an accent wall to your room in one afternoon by applying a new paint color. Deep blues and bright oranges are common choices for accent walls, but choose a color that will complement your existing decor and overall design aesthetic.

Interesting textures

Bright, contrasting paint is a good starting point, but there are other options for accent walls that are even more eye-catching and distinct. Floor-to-ceiling wood planks can make your home seem both rustic and modern all at once and provide a natural, outdoors-inspired feel. It’s more work than simply painting a wall, but it’s still relatively inexpensive. You can source the wood from pallets on Craigslist and stain it yourself before attaching it to your wall. It takes a little extra elbow grease, but it’s worth the effort.

Patterns, murals, and more

Paint and wood are bold enough on their own to transform a room, but they’re still pretty subtle compared to other accent wall options. A chalk paint accent wall is a creative idea for any room and makes for some fun moments when you’re entertaining. There are also endless options for wallpaper and stenciling if you want some patterns or you can get really bold with a mural or oversized art print.

Negotiating Tactics that will Kill the Sale

Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:

  1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.
  2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
  3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
  4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
  5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.

Finding The Right Mattress

It’s that time of the year when we will see everything on sale for the holidays. You’ve got more options than ever when mattress shopping these days with no shortage of brick-and-mortar and online-only retailers to choose from. Here are the factors you should consider when you’re shopping for a perfect night’s sleep.

  1. Mattress construction: The most popular mattress types are inner spring mattresses, memory foam mattresses, and adjustable air mattresses. Each has pros and cons when it comes to durability and comfort customization.
  2. Firmness: Mattress firmness plays a huge role in the quality of your sleep. Mattresses that are too firm or too soft can cause aches and pains, so it‘s recommended that you test a mattress for 10- to 15 minutes in store before making a purchase.
  3. Sleeping position: Your mattress should match your sleeping style (side, back, face-down, etc.). You want a mattress that keeps your spine in proper alignment. For example, some mattresses are better for side sleepers, while others are better for back sleepers.
  4. Size: It’s not quite as simple as choosing between a king and a queen mattress. You should also consider your height, as some mattresses are a better fit for shorter people while tall people will want a longer mattress so their limbs aren’t hanging over the edge of the bed.
  5. Stability: For couples, you should consider how the mattress reacts when one person moves, so the other person’s sleep isn’t disturbed in the middle of the night.

Dispelling Refinancing Myths

“Refinancing” is a scary word for many people, but that shouldn’t be the case for you. For many homeowners, refinancing can not only lower your monthly payments and help with your monthly budget, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

YOU’RE NOT TOO LATE.

For years now, we’ve been hearing that interest rates will be on the rise, and although there have been some small increases, you’re still in a great position to drastically lower your interest rate. The general rule is if your mortgage interest rate is more than one percent above the current market rate, you should consider refinancing.

IT’S NOT TOO TIME CONSUMING.

Don’t brush off refinancing just because it seems like a long and daunting process. An informational call with a lender to see how rates compare will only take a few minutes. There are also some programs for streamlining the application process. And besides, isn’t the amount of money you could save worth the time and effort?

ARMS CAN BE REFINANCED, TOO.

Seeing your Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) increase after the introductory period can be incredibly stressful and place a squeeze on your budget. Many people assume they’re stuck, but ARMs can be refinanced, just like fixed-rate mortgages. You can even switch to a shorter term fixed-rate mortgage, such as 15 or 23 years. The longer you’re planning to stay in the home, the more sense it makes to look into refinancing

Things to do before you Move into your New Home

Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.

Change the locks

Even if you’re promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It’s worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.

Steam clean the carpets

It’s good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner—your local grocery store may have them available.

Call an exterminator

Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home.

Clean out the kitchen

If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances