No one will give you a blue ribbon each time you do it, and it's not the subject of cocktail conversations. But housecleaning is a necessary evil, and someone's got to do it. If you clean your own house, however, you may just be shooting yourself in the foot with the methods you employ, creating a situation of diminishing returns.
Realtor.com's Larissa Runkle sat down with a few housecleaning experts to determine a few common (albeit well-intentioned) cleaning mistakes they see people make, as well as offer advice on how to avoid them.
First off, you are not a Proctor and Gamble. Making your own cleaning products is noble, but you may not know how those products can also ruin surfaces or even how, mixed together, they can be downright deadly. Vinegar can dissolve the coating of wood surfaces, and baking soda can scratch and destroy chrome-coated items or marble countertops. And no matter how strong the cleaning fumes may be, never mix bleach and ammonia. It can generate chlorine gas, producing toxic vapors.
Read labels! You may be using the wrong product. Using multipurpose cleaners on high-end pieces that include wood, marble, or stainless steel can cause discoloration, even those handy cleaning wipes can cause damage. You can use them on a lot of surfaces, but not on everything. So, when in doubt, READ what the manufacturer or supplier instructions about how the product can and can't be used to clean.
What about attacking odor? You have to know that you may have become odor-insensitive after a while, perhaps only noticing how your house smells after you've gotten back from a vacation or long business trip. The act of merely spraying a deodorizer may seem like a quick fix, but cleaning experts strongly advise against it no matter what those TV commercials claim.
"The biggest mistake I see is people trying to cover up odors instead of handling them at the source," says one of Runkle's expert sources. "Walking into a house that smells like Febreze, and has candles burning in every room, and still has an odd smell is a direct sign to me that the person is trying to cover up an odor of some sort." Solving the real problem may be a simple as using a fabric cleaner for the couch or carpet or taking out the trash more frequently. Dog baths help, as does making sure the kitty litter does not sit for long.
Did you know there is an order to housecleaning? You may not know this if your mom never explained it to you. You can't just push the vacuum around one day and decide to dust the next and what about that ceiling fan whose blade tops are never seen? Cleaning aficionados say to clean from top to bottom, starting with the ceiling fan, entertainment centers, and cables, and finish off by vacuuming up anything that may have fallen on the floor. Vacuuming comes last.
Clutter creates work, which means when you let junk accumulate, you'll end up cleaning it along with everything else. "Make a garbage pile and a to-do pile," suggests cleaning guru Jenna Haefelin in the article. "When the to-do pile piles up, take action!"
McGlone Mortgage Group would like to welcome Ken Sanford who recently joined our sales team.
There are so many people out there that think they can’t afford a home. Ken’s goal as a loan originator is to show them that they can. Ken is eager to guide others through the exciting process of owning their own home. He does this by focusing on his relationships rather than numbers. By taking the time to get to know his borrower, Ken develops a deeper understanding of who they are and what they are looking for, which makes for a better result.
Ken says he’s excited to be working at McGlone Mortgage because of the amount of resources that are at his disposal. He says, “I’ve worked at other places where they made it impossible to get my loans closed, which was frustrating for not only myself, but even more so for my borrowers. At McGlone, the process is easy, quick, and efficient.” When borrowers ask Ken if it’s possible to go from contract to close in 30 days, more times than not he can smile and say, “yes it is!”
To Learn more about Ken visit his webpage.
One common misconception about buying a home is that you need a 20% down payment. While there are some benefits to putting more money down, it may be possible to get a zero-down home loan.* This could help you purchase a home if you have a steady income but have not been able to save enough for a large down payment. Understanding what zero and low-down payment options are available is the first step in figuring out what program best suites your needs. Whether you are a first-time home buyer or a repeat buyer, at McGlone we have many options to suit all borrowers. With every option there are qualification requirements, so it is best to ask your Loan Originator for more details about these programs. The chart below reviews few of our best flexible options.
*Down Payment will be based on program type. Each program has certain qualification restrictions. Contact you Loan Originator for program qualifications.
Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval: What’s the Difference?
If you are starting the home buying process, you may have heard that you need to get pre-qualified or pre-approved. Although many people use these terms interchangeably, there are very important differences between the two terms that every homebuyer should understand.
Pre-qualification is seen as the first step in the mortgage process, and is usually done over the phone or online with a Loan Originator. You provide the lender with an overall financial picture, including your debt, income, and assets. The lender reviews everything and gives you an estimate of how much you can expect to borrow. Pre-qualification is based solely on the information you provide to the lender and can give you a starting point for your homebuying search.
A pre-approval can be done first or as a next step after pre-qualification. It requires the borrower to complete an official mortgage application and supply all the necessary documentation to perform an extensive check on your financial history and current credit rating. During the pre-approval process, you will discuss product and rate options because this is often based, in part, on your credit score. You may even lock in an interest rate. You will receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount, allowing you to look for a home at or below that price level. Pre-approval puts you at advantage when you are negotiating with a seller because they know you are one step closer to being able to afford their home.
The advantage of completing both steps before you begin house hunting is that you will have a good idea in advance of how much you can afford. You won’t waste time with guessing or looking at properties that are beyond you means. The pre-approval also enables you to move quickly when you find the perfect home, because the seller knows that your offer is serious, especially in a competitive market.
Tips and Tricks for First Time Homebuyers
- Start with a realtor that you trust. You might be spending a lot of time with this person. Make sure it’s a good fit.
- Get Pre-approved or at the very least pre-qualified. Make sure you know how much house you can afford BEFORE you start looking. Shopping for anything without a budget will only set you up for failure and disappointment.
- Know your deal breakers. It’s important to know your WANTS vs. your NEEDS and to remind yourself of them while you’re looking for houses.
- Take pictures! Start each photo with a picture of the house flyer with the address. You’ll thank yourself later. This will make life MUCH easier when you’re going back and looking at them. Also, make sure to take pictures of the home’s greatest strengths, but also any issues you see.
- Take notes! Keeping your thoughts organized about each home you view is key. Make sure to take notes as you go, or immediately after viewing EACH home you see. You won’t remember everything when you get home so this will be key when reevaluating the homes you’ve seen.
- Don’t just focus on the home. it’s easy to get caught up with the new white kitchen or beautiful hardwood floors, but you need to be careful. Make sure to take note the area surrounding the home. Will your commute to work be easy? Does the neighborhood meet my needs? (If you’re starting a family, a quiet street might be preferred over a busy one). Swapping out countertops or backsplash is relatively easy. Picking up the entire house and moving it to a more preferred neighborhood… not so much.
- Lastly, trust your gut. For some people, it might take viewing 20 homes to finally find the right one. But, for others, it might be the first or second home you visit. If you’re confident that you’ve found the right home, embrace that feeling.