RECOGNIZING POTENTIAL MAJOR EXPENSES IN A NEW HOME
When you see a new home you like on the market, it’s easy to get distracted by all the features you love – the wrap-around backyard deck or the spacious recreation room that has plenty of space for entertaining. You just need to make sure that in all your excitement you don’t overlook any expensive maintenance issues that could be just around the corner.
Nothing lasts forever. The major components of every home – from the furnace to the roof shingles – need to be replaced eventually. But, knowing when those maintenance issues are likely to arise can help you make a smarter decision about the home you’re considering.
How do you do that?
When viewing the property, ask for the age of the major components of the home, such as the roof shingles, furnace, air conditioner, water heater, and appliances. You might think the roof shingles look merely weathered in spots and have years of service left – when in fact, they’re due to be replaced next year.
Also pay close attention to the backyard deck, fencing, flooring, and windows. Do any of those components look aged, worn, and in need of repair or replacement sometime soon?
Finally, don’t forget to check the kitchen and bathrooms. Sinks, faucets, bathtubs, showers, and cabinetry have a life-span of about 10-15 years.
Of course, there are things you can’t see on your own, such as wiring, plumbing, venting, and other components of a property that may require maintenance. That’s why you should always make an offer to purchase a home conditional on passing an inspection by a qualified home inspector.
Want more ideas on how to buy the right home? Call today.
CONSUMER PROTECTION VS. CONSUMER VALUE
It has become standard for retailers to offer low cost supplementary “insurance protection plans” on appliances and electronics. These plans may seem like a good idea, but before you buy one, be sure the plan actually offers real added value. Often, these plans overlap with other protection programs you already have.
For example, reputable retailers usually sell products with solid manufacturer warranties, because they don’t want the bad reputation or the hassles that come from unhappy customers. In fact, in today’s competitive world, many retailers already have a “satisfaction guaranteed” policy built into everything they sell. In addition, if you are paying by credit card, you may have purchaser protection that is activated by simply using the card.
Of course, there are many consumer protection plans that do offer reasonable value. For example, some extended warranties offer a safety net after the manufacturer’s warranty runs out (similar to extended warranty automobile plans). In those cases, be sure the product is one you’ll want to keep and use for the duration of the warranty period. For example, it makes no sense to pay an extra thirty dollars on a one hundred dollar item, if you expect you will be able to buy a newer version in a few years for even less. Some “total care” service plans for complicated equipment, such as a car, computer or HVAC unit, are quite popular, as are “price freezing” plans on home utilities, such as electricity, gas, and water. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your confidence in a product or service, and your willingness to put up with (or pay to avoid) the inconvenience of complaining, should it fail to meet your expectations.
AVOIDING WASTE WHEN WATERING YOUR LAWN
The following tips will help you avoid waste when watering your lawn:
- Use a low-angle, pulsating sprinkler. Water sprayed high into the air produces a mist that loses much of its moisture through evaporation.
- Water the lawn, not the sidewalk or driveway
- Lawns need about an inch of water per week. To determine how much watering time that requires, place an empty tuna tin within your sprinkler’s range, and note how long it takes to fill.
- When watering, account for recent rain.
- Use an automatic sprinkler system that allows you to adjust the area, frequency and/or duration. Set the timer to operate just prior to sunrise.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH: Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Nonstick cooking spray
8 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. hot sauce
1-2 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce, to taste
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Coat cauliflower with oil and salt in large bowl and spread mixture on prepared baking sheet. Roast cauliflower for 15 minutes or until it begins to brown. While cauliflower roasts, mix together hot sauce, Sriracha, butter, and lemon juice in large bowl. Add roasted cauliflower and toss to evenly coat. Place cauliflower back on baking sheet and continue roasting for 5 minutes. Serve hot as appetizer or side dish.
WEEKEND RETREAT: Nashville, TN
Packed with live music venues, oozing with Southern hospitality and chock-full of down-home cooking, Nashville has plenty to offer anyone who visits the Mecca of America for country music. You’ll want to plan your trip for the spring, summer or fall in order to soak up the best weather. However, December in Nashville can be quite charming during the holiday season.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Ryman Auditorium, Johnny Cash Museum, and Grand Ole Opry make this town the ultimate destination for history lovers and music aficionados alike. Catch a live show at one of the honky-tonks on Broadway, visit the famed Bluebird Café to hear up-and-coming artists, or head to Jefferson Street to take in Nashville’s rich soul and blues traditions.
Nashville’s culinary scene will satisfy any palate. Classic Southern food, smoky barbecue, street tacos, and boutique eateries are never far away. Check out Nashville’s famous spicy fried chicken at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken or grab a bite at Bartaco 12 South. Go for a quintessentially American burger at The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden or sip a latte at one of the Frothy Monkey locations. You should leave Nashville with sweet and savory dreams of its food scene.
Other things to do
No matter where you stay, a visit to the Opryland Hotel is a must. Take a walk through the lush greenhouse-inspired atriums and walkways, and enjoy the riverboats that connect the expansive hotel and convention center. If you’re a sports fanatic, a Nashville Predators hockey game or a Tennessee Titans football game both offer a high-energy experience.
There’s no shortage of photo opportunities in Nashville. The East Nashville neighborhood is adorned with 18 colorful murals that capture the city’s artistic style and flair. Amelia’s Flower Truck, a vintage Volkswagen Transporter, carries fresh flowers and smiling faces throughout the city. The more sights, sounds, and tastes you soak in during your stay in Nashville, the more you’ll want to book your return trip as soon as possible.
NOTABLE, QUOTABLE, QUOTES! “
“Live one day at a time emphasizing ethics rather than rules.”
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”