Karen Adelson - Barrett Sotheby's International Realty



Posted by Karen Adelson on 7/18/2017

Mother-in-law suites are multi-purpose housing units, offering a variety of benefits and usages. The chance to keep your extended family in close proximity, potentially strengthening communication and generational bonds, are just a few reasons why mother-in-law suites work. But, mother-in-law suites arenít only used to house extended family members. Opportunities abound with mother-in-law suites These convenient structural housing additions are used as rental property, independent living spaces for adult children and music and art studios. Mother-in-law suites are also used as business locations. For example, a dentist might use the space to perform non-surgical procedures out of. Even if it cost more to purchase a house with a mother-in-law suite, the buy could be a good investment. Turn the suite into an apartment and you could generate $500 or more a month from the space. Operate a business in the suite and you could save on commercial rental property fees. Use a mother-in-law suite as a traditional living space for your aging parent and you could be there should your parent need emergency assistance. Homes that donít have existing mother-in-law suites could work. For example, an attached garage can be converted into a mother-in-law suite. A large, three-car garage might offer you 350 square feet or more to work with, giving you room to design a bedroom, living room, bathroom and small kitchen. Existing multi-generational suites may come with a front porch, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and a den or living room. Opt for an open floor plan and your parents or in-laws may be able to enjoy outdoor views from several locations in the house. Should you buy or build a mother-in-law suite for an aging relative, consider installing safety support rails in the bathroom and sticking to a one-level floor plan. Additional considerations Itís important that relatives enjoy a sense or independence while living in mother-in-law suites. Although your parents are nearby, itís a good idea to give them a heads up before you drop in. If youíre taking the business route with your mother-in-law suite, design a waiting area. Make sure that thereís sufficient customer parking, so that customers arenít forced to park in front of your neighborsí houses. Measurable benefits Once a quarter, total how much you are spending on the mother-in-law suite in utilities and property fees. Add up revenues that you are generating from the property. Make adjustments as needed, if youíre spending more than you're generating from the property. The exception is if the property is being used as a traditional mother-in-law suite.




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Posted by Karen Adelson on 7/11/2017

If you've been putting off organizing your closets for months -- if not years -- you're not alone! Since closets are not usually a "high visibility" area of the house, cleaning them often ends up being relegated to the bottom of people's priority lists.

It's easy to postpone tackling the project because you can simply close the door and forget about what a disaster area it's become!

There are, however, several sound reasons for bumping it up on your "to do" list.

  • First of all, you'll probably find valuable things you thought were lost forever. Depending on how long it's been since you last cleaned out your closets, there's a good chance you'll find miscellaneous valuable items ranging from missing gloves and address books to lost photo albums and unopened gifts. There's no end to the possible treasures you could stumble upon in a closet that you haven't organized for a while. You may even find lost items you were considering replacing. In that case, you can save your money or spend it on something else!
  • It's an opportunity to help others. All communities have charitable organizations that distribute warm clothing, shoes, essential kitchen supplies, school backpacks, and other useful items to underprivileged families in your area. By giving away things you no longer need and use, you can accomplish two objectives: clearing out the clutter in your home and helping needy families or organizations in the community.
  • You'll enjoy a sense of accomplishment. On one hand, when you keep putting off a project that you know needs to get done, it creates an underlying feeling of frustration. However, once you get the task underway and completed, you'll feel like you're making progress with your goals and moving forward. (Not only that, but your closets will no longer be an eyesore that cause you to cringe every time you go to grab a jacket or hang up your clothes!)
  • Completing one project helps create momentum for getting started on something else. As Sir Isaac Newton, the famous physicist, stated more than 300 years ago, "A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.Ē (Source: Live Science) That principle applies as much to human behavior as it does to inanimate objects. Once you force yourself to get started on a project -- whether it involves organization, cleaning, repair, or home improvement -- you'll discover new-found energy and motivation for other tasks.

While it may seem as if cleaning your closets is a monumental task that makes you feel physically and mentally drained just thinking about it, the hardest part is getting started -- taking those first few steps. By picking one closet to organize and setting aside just an hour or two to do it (and creating a semblance of order), you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish in just one session!





Posted by Karen Adelson on 7/4/2017

Everyone uses a slightly different set of guidelines when it comes to food safety, but some people's standards are a bit more "flexible" than others. The perfect example is the so-called "five second rule." If you're not familiar with it, that "rule" states that if you drop food on the floor (or ground) and pick it up within five seconds, then it's safe to eat!

In some cases, you can wash and safely eat food that has fallen on the floor, but it depends on the condition of the floor and what type of food you're dropping. While some mothers may jokingly say, "My kitchen floor is so clean you could eat off it," eating food that has fallen on the floor can be somewhat risky.

Although the 5-second-rule has its humorous side, food safety is a very serious subject. Making sure that perishable food is properly prepared, cooked, and refrigerated is one way to help keep your family healthy. There's also a psychological benefit to being careful with food safety: When you and your family know that your food is fresh, safely stored, and properly prepared, it helps give you peace of mind and makes mealtime more of a pleasurable experience.

Basic Food Safety Tips

One way to keep track of food freshness is to pay attention to expiration dates and other information printed on food labels. Another step involves putting your own labels on perishable foods and leftover food containers. "When in doubt, throw it out," is also a good policy to consider.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DOH) offers a number of helpful food safety guidelines to keep in mind and discuss with your family. To reduce the chances of cross-contamination and harmful bacteria growing on food, the agency recommends the following practices:

  • Wash hands for 20 seconds before preparing food
  • Wash food preparation surfaces, utensils, and cutting boards after each use
  • Wash the outsides of fruits and vegetables to help remove bacteria and other impurities
  • Promptly refrigerate food and follow recommended storage times and refrigeration temperatures
While there are a lot of safeguards to be aware of when preparing, handling, and storing food, the DOH breaks it down into four easy-to-remember categories: "clean, separate, cook, and chill." A couple related topics worth researching and keeping in mind  are minimum cooking temperatures for meat and recommended refrigerator storage times for perishable food (often three to five days).

As an afterthought, the other advantage of putting dates on your food packages and leftover containers is that you avoid wasting food by throwing it away prematurely.

Healthy food preparation and storage does involve heightened awareness and sometimes creating new habits, but preventing food poisoning and other digestive ailments in your family is well worth the effort!





Posted by Karen Adelson on 6/27/2017

At a glance, buying a home seems like a daunting and complicated process. If it's your first time buying a home you're probably hearing a lot of terms that don't mean much to you like "rate commitment," "prequalify," and an array of acronyms that no one has ever really explained like APR and ARM. What many first time homebuyers don't realize is that the mortgage application process is relatively straightforward. It's a way for lenders to determine if they will lend money to the homebuyer. The lender will require some documentation on your part and you'll want to do your homework when it comes to choosing the right mortgage for you, but if you're confused about where to begin, here's everything you need to know about the home mortgage application process.

Gather your documents

Each lender will be slightly different when it comes to what records and documents they require from you. In general, lenders will require two years of work history, proof of income, and tax papers. They†will also ask for your permission to run a credit check.†Some things you should bring when applying for a mortgage include:
  • Your most recent pay stubs (at least two)
  • Your most recent W-2 forms
  • Completed tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Gift letters
  • Debt - credit cards, student loans, etc.

Filling out the application

The actual application for the mortgage is pretty simple. Be expected to provide your personal and marital information, as well as your social security number. When you apply for a loan you'll also be determining if you're applying singly or with another person, such as a spouse. Some people apply jointly to seek a higher loan amount. However, you should be aware that if this is your plan of action the lender will require income and credit information from both of you. Keep in mind that it isn't easy to remove one person from a home loan once the contract is signed, so you should make certain of this decision before applying jointly.

Locked-in interest rates

It won't come as a surprise to you that, like in other industries, interest rates on mortgages fluctuate. For this reason, many home buyers attempt to "lock-in" their interest rate, meaning the lender is no longer allowed to change the interest rate after signing. The benefit of locking in your interest is that it can avoid having your interest rate raised before you sign on the home. The disadvantage is that since rates fluctuate, you could miss out on a lower one. This is also the difference between APR (annual percentage rating) and ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). With an APR, the cost of borrowing money (interest) is fixed. For an ARM, the interest rate can increase, decrease, or stay the same at different points in the repayment process.

Refinancing

Your financial situation is bound to fluctuate throughout your life, hopefully for the better. At some point down the road, it might make sense to refinance on your mortgage. Essentially this means you are agreeing to change the details†of the mortgage to either accept a different interest rate or to alter the length of the loan term. Refinancing usually involves fees, however, so you don't want to rely on it too heavily as a fallback.





Posted by Karen Adelson on 6/20/2017

Selling your home presents many opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, home sellers have an opportunity to earn a profit if they can stir up substantial interest in their properties. Comparatively, selling a home can be difficult, particularly for property sellers who are working in a buyer's market.

Ultimately, the home selling experience should be memorable for all the right reasons, and we're here to help you get the most out of the property selling journey.

What does it take to enjoy an unforgettable home selling experience? Here are three tips to ensure you can do just that.

1. Conduct a Home Appraisal

You love your home, but you also understand that your residence is far from perfect. As such, a home seller should perform a property appraisal before adding his or her house to the real estate market.

During a home appraisal, a property expert will examine your residence and identify any problem areas. That way, you can uncover "hidden" problems with your residence and correct these issues as needed.

A home appraisal is exceedingly valuable, especially for home sellers who want to get the best price for a property. The appraisal may require only a few hours to complete and will provide you with comprehensive insights into your home's strengths and weaknesses.

2. Prep Your Home's Exterior and Interior

Your home only gets one chance to make a positive first impression on property buyers, so why not make the most of it?

With a dazzling home exterior, you can boost your home's chances of generating plenty of interest from property buyers.

Home exterior improvements often are simple to complete. In fact, quick, easy tasks like mowing the front lawn or removing dirt and debris from walkways can make a world of difference in the eyes of homebuyers.

Don't forget to clean your home's interior as well. Mopping the floors, wiping down countertops and performing other home interior maintenance may help your residence stand out to property buyers during home showings and open houses.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble enjoying a terrific home selling journey.

A real estate agent is a housing market professional who understands what it takes to sell a residence. He or she can provide extensive insights into real estate market trends and ensure you can make informed home selling decisions.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf and promote your residence. This housing market professional also will respond to your home selling concerns and queries. By doing so, a real estate agent can help you accelerate the home selling cycle and optimize the value of your residence.

When it comes to selling your home, hiring a real estate agent is a must. This real estate professional will go above and beyond the call of duty to streamline the home selling process and help you can get the best results possible.




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