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10 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Home

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 posted by Tommi Crow

10 Tips for Finding the Perfect Home

Buying a home can be stressful and exciting all at the same time. It’s quite the adventure! We recently purchased our second home and I found a few tips very helpful while searching for the perfect home for my family.

1. Figure out what your ‘perfect home’ looks like. Write down on a piece of paper all of the things you must have in your new home, things that would be nice to have and things that don’t really matter.

2. Purchase a home that stays in budget. Make sure to get pre-approved for a loan before going out to look at houses. It will make the buying process much easier and you will know which houses to look at.

3. Bigger isn’t always better. While we all dream of having a huge mansion, it’s good to think about what will be best for your family. Figure out how many rooms you need to fit your family comfortably and look in that range.

4. Think about remodeling. Many homes you will look at may not be in the best condition, but think about the potential of the house. Would painting and new wood floors turn it into your dream house? How about a kitchen or bathroom remodel? There are many easy fix-ups such as adding new light fixtures and painting that can turn your house into the perfect home.

5. Location is important. Check the surrounding area of the home. Drive around the 2 mile radius to see what is around your home. Make sure it is in an area you feel comfortable with. Find out what school district you’ll be in. Even if you don’t have kids, you may want to think about the school district you live in for resale. You may also want to take the commute to your work and see how long it will take you.

6. Do your research. Research property values in the area. Stalk your neighborhood and find out what it’s like at all times of the day. Is it a family friendly neighborhood? You could even knock on the neighbors’ doors before buying.

7. Do a home inspection. The home inspector will look at everything in a home and give you a non-biased opinion. They will also tell you the true value of the home you are looking at. It’s better to spend a couple hundred dollars doing a home inspection than finding out the house had several problems.

8. Picture your family living in the house. When you walk into the home, can you picture your family living there? Does it have a good feeling? Picture your family living in each room and see you how feel.

9. Leave room to grow. Make sure your ‘perfect home’ has extra storage and gives you room to grow.

10. Don’t put your expectations to high. Realize that most houses aren’t perfect to begin with. Even if you are building your dream home, there are always things that could have been different. Be flexible. Once you move in and add your own style it will soon become your dream home.

InfoTube.net has thousands of Homes for Sale.  Please search our site for listings seen no where else on the web.  Thank you for reading our Blog and if you Love Real Estate…LIKE InfoTube for Real Estate on Facebook.  We post really cool things every day.

 

The warning on the gates, ‘These Plants May Kill’ should not be taken lightly by anyone, for with familiarity comes contempt, and from contempt – danger.

Come take a stroll with us through a deadly garden located in Northumberland, UK.    Behind the locked gates of the Poison Garden, guides and marshalls share tales of deadly plants. Myths and legends are uncovered, along with facts from science and history.   No touching, no sniffing and no cutting is allowed. 

The Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens is on around the clock surveillance for the safety of the public and would be thieves.  Some of the plants are even kept in specially fenced areas to avoid accidental poisoning or theft of the plants for use in making narcotics.  In this garden, the plants are so dangerous and toxic that they may be kept in large cage like structures.   To highlight its hazardous nature the garden’s beds are laid in the shape of flickering flames.  

There are over 100 plants of varying deadliness grown in the Poison Garden.  Some of the plants are beautiful despite being deadly, and other look so harmless it is hard to imagine their dangerous, even fatal, qualities.    Also grown within the guarded confines of the Poison Garden are many other plants which are easily recognisable by even the most reluctant gardener, for many killers grow in your own back yard.

Foxgloves, Wolfsbane, Mandrake, Ricin, Belladonna, Poppies, Laburnam and varieties of Aquilegia thrive among the rarefied atmosphere of the Poison Garden.  Those who work here treat the plants with the utmost respect, wearing gloves when working with them.   The owner also has  a licence to grow marijuana, cocaine and magic mushrooms in the poison garden – for educational purposes.

A few of the plants you will find inside this poison garden….

 Foxglove (digitalis) may contain several deadly physiological and chemically related cardiac and steroidal glycosides.  Thus, the digitalis plants have earned several, more sinister, names: dead man’s bells and witch’s gloves.  The entire plant is toxic (including the roots and seeds). 

Foxgloves fatal accidents involve children drinking the water in a vase containing digitalis plants.   Drying does not reduce the toxicity of the plant.   The plant is toxic to animals, including all classes of livestock and poultry, as well as felines and canines.

Belladonna or Nightshade (Soleanaceae) has a long history of use as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison.  It was used as an anesthetic for surgery and embedded a poisonous sting with arrows made for battle.  The name “bella donna” is derived from Italian and means “beautiful woman” because the herb was used in eye-drops by women to dilate the pupils of the eyes to make them appear seductive. 

Nightshade is an incredible poison, but an amazing aphrodisiac, too, and you see it everywhere.  In Argentina, even nowadays, some people put a bell of datura like this one (pictured above) on a baby’s pillow at night, then take it away after five minutes and the baby has gone to sleep.  If it were left all night the baby would be dead in the morning.   Victorian ladies used to sit around a table with a nightshade plant in the middle and play cards or have tea.   They’d pop their cup under a bell, tap it, and pollen would fall into the cup.  They would experience similar effects to that of LSD.

Belladonna is one of the most deadly plants on the earth.  All parts of the plant are poisonous, but the sweet, pretty berries are especially alluring for children.   Although no eye surgery is performed today without the help from the nightshade family…The plant’s deadly symptoms are caused disruption of the nervous system, inhibiting its ability to regulate involuntary activities, such as sweating, breathing, and heart rate.

Lily of the Valley, popularily used in wedding bouquets is highly poisonous. Its toxicity is the plant’s defense against animals eating its seeds.  All parts of the plant—the stems, the leaves, the flowers and the berries—are extremely poisonous and close to 40 different cardiac glycosides have been found in the plant so far.

Ingest just a bit of Lily of the Valley if blurry vision, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, disorientation, drowsiness, headaches, red skin rashes, excessive salivation, sudden alterations in your cardiac rhythm and possible death sound like your idea of fun.

Its Nux vomica’s Latin name implies much, but it perhaps rings more bells as strychnine. Interestingly, hemlock, a poison in its own right, can be used as an antidote to Strychnine, but don’t tell Socrates, who was sent to his death with a cup of hemlock.

Strychnine (pictured above) is not the most poisonous substance known to man (you need at least 50 mg to kill someone), but a you’d have to go a long way to find something that provokes a more violent death.

Strychnine poisoning can be fatal to humans and animals and can occur by inhalation, swallowing or absorption through eyes or mouth, as explained above. It produces some of the most dramatic and painful symptoms of any known toxic reaction. For this reason, strychnine poisoning is often used in literature and film. It is also used as a rat poison, but is not specific for unwanted pests and may kill other small animals.

Hemlock was used in ancient Greece to kill condemned prisoners, including Socrete’s, as mentioned above.  The plant also kills animals.   A dose of the poison results in an ascending muscular paralysis with eventual paralysis of the respiratory muscles which results in death due to lack of oxygen to the heart and brain…but it has also been used in medicine to treat arthritis, muscle spasms and works as a seditive.

Those of a certain age will be familiar with Castor Oil, which is made from the plant Ricinus communis (above), but a single seed from the same plant will kill an adult in the most horrible way. Ricin causes nausea, severe vomiting, convulsions and subsequent disintegration of the kidneys, liver and spleen…

The old expression ”It will either kill you or cure you” could not have been more apt!

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Follow our blog and LIKE our Facebook page.

Explore the Lost Garden of Heligan

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

On a palatial estate in Cornwall, a massive and unique garden has been restored to its original beauty after 75 years of languishing unloved.

Since the late 1500s, The Lost Gardens of Heligan belonged to the Tremayne estate evolving and becoming more extravagant with each passing generation. One head of the household inspired the jungle gardens, while another requested that giant rhododendrons be cultivated. Although the Tremayne family often inspired new additions to the garden, they were above manual work and hired countless low-paid gardeners to take on the tasks of improving and maintaining the gardens.

Throughout the 19th century, the gardens thrived, growing larger and requiring greater staff to manage them. Before the outbreak of World War I, the Tremayne estate employed 22 gardeners. Many of those loyal gardeners went to fight, and after the war their numbers had diminished so that the gardens fell into severe disrepair. As the rest of the estate was rented out, the gardens became an afterthought and were not rediscovered until the 1990s.

Their rediscovery by a distant relative of the Tremayne estate, led to a widely publicized attempt to bring the gardens back to life. The restoration of the Heligan Gardens was undertaken by Tim Smit, the same architect who conceived The Eden Project, the largest Greenhouse complex in the world.

Under his innovative and watchful eye, the Heligan Gardens were restored to their original size. Besides restoration, floral art was commissioned as well, resulting in the Giant’s Head and the Mud Maid, a sleeping woman of the forest made out of wood, grass and earth. As the gardens quickly became a tourist attraction, the gardens also served to bring life back to St. Austell, and some of the other neighboring towns in Cornwall.

Today, the spectacular gardens feature everything that they were once renowned for including massive rhododendrons, Italian gardens and the jungle gardens. Along with being beautiful, they are also productive, growing large amounts of vegetables for consumption and sale.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  We love gorgeous gardens and if you do, as well, follow our blog or “Like” our Facebook page.  We will be highlighting some incredible places you may not have imagined….

Buyer Beware! DEA List of Known Meth Houses

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

 

Meth House Nightmares –  Buyer BEWARE!!!

This post will hopefully educate you on some of the risks involved when purchasing a property that may have been used as a meth lab.   Single family homes are frequently used as a place where methamphetamine is manufactured.  

The dangers that go along with meth houses include exposure to cancer causing chemicals that can saturate walls, carpets and other building materials as well as all contents. Lead and mercury are common byproducts. Chemicals, such as solvents, may be disposed of in plumbing or simple poured on the ground. If not removed properly these can cause various health problems.

Meth Labs ~ Tell tale signs to look for…

• Yellow discoloration on walls, drains, sinks and showers

• Blue discoloration on valves of propane tanks and fire extinguishers

• Fire detectors that are removed or taped off

• Experiencing physical symptoms while inside the house, such as burning in your eyes or throat, itching, a metallic taste in your mouth and breathing problems

• Unusual strong odors that smell like materials from a garage, such as solvent and paint thinner, cat urine or ammonia

• The use of security cameras and surveillance equipment

When you enter a property take a deep breath.  A cat urine smell is often associated with meth. Other odors to be aware of are ammonia, vanilla, solvents or metallic smells.  These are warning signs.

Meth users sometimes become obsessive about objects.  They may dismantle things like remote controls, watches or electronic devices.  The objects can sometimes be found in a pile dismantled down to the smallest part.

Large amounts of household products are a tip off.  Common products are used to manufacture meth that can found in an average home, except in a meth lab large quantities of common items may be in odd places.  If you see multiple packages of lye, Heet, Coleman fuel, peroxide, pseudo-ephedrine or coffee filters in odd places, like stored in a bathroom, closet or kitchen, this is an indication that it may be wise to forget any involvement in the property.  The occupant may be a warehouse club shopper with no sense of organization, but he/she may not be.

Propane bottles, or fire extinguishers, that have been altered, or have a blue stain on the connector, may indicate that anhydrous ammonia has been stored in the container. Anhydrous ammonia can be explosive in the right circumstances. It reacts with the metal leaving the connector corroded.

Iodine may be used in meth manufacturing.  Iodine is a substance that goes from solid to gas state without becoming liquid. It sticks to everything and spreads on contact. Iodine stains walls and everything else. The stain may be red or yellow. It may be very noticeable if a photo, or other wall hanging is moved, revealing the contrast between stained and unstained.

Meth labs may be hidden behind false walls or other building alterations.  Alterations that make no sense should be suspect, such as: exhaust fans mounted where they have no logical use; bootlegged power supply; rooms that are unexplainably small.

Another thing all home buyers and Realtors should do before writing a contract on a home to purchase…is to check out the DEA Meth Laboratory Registry to see if the home has ever been used to manufacture drugs in the past.  The DEA link is http://www.justice.gov/dea/clan-lab/clan-lab.shtml .  Click on the state and scroll to the county where the property is located BEFORE you buy.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Remember that you can’t always spot a meth house.  They are often nice homes located in nice area’s.  Check before you buy to avoid a nightmare that you may never recover from.

The Perforated House by Kavellaris Urban Design

This once vacant site is nestled at the eastern bookend between a row of single fronted Victorian terraces and a double fronted Edwardian weatherboard house.   The strategy was to critique and respond to ongoing research into the Terrace typology.   The built form is essentially an urban infill within a 5.5×14.4m envelope.  The perforated house is our response to establish an alternative language to the accepted notion of our cultural attitude towards critical questions of identity and heritage.

Kavellaris wanted the house to be more than just a facade.   More than just a message or a graphic stuck to a building.  The building was not an urban canvas paying tribute to Venturi’s “decorated shed”, instead the external facade could be experienced internally and is also a multi functional device that constantly transforms the built form from solid to void, from private to public, from opaque to translucent.

By day the building is heavy and reflective and by night inverting into a soft translucent permeable light box. The operable wall or the absence of the facade enabled us to remove the idea that houses are static.

The use of operable walls, doors, curtains and glass walls enables the occupants to change the experience and environment. This architectural manipulation of space blurred the boundaries between inside and outside, the public and private realm. The manipulated spaces overlapped and borrowed the amenity and context of it’s surrounding environment.

The plan inverts the traditional terrace program with the active living zones on the first floor opening onto a north facing terrace thereby generating a primary northerly orientation to a south facing block.  The perforated house incorporates passive sustainable interventions by orientating north glass bifolds doors and louvers for cross ventilation as the primary means of cooling.  In addition, solar hot water and 5 star rated sanitary ware fixtures were incorporated. The north facing terrace redefines the “family” backyard, reinforced by the childlike mural reminiscing on a past era and making commentary on the changing demography of the family unit and ultimately the inner city house typology.   The mural also hides a not so attractive view of the back of the neighbors house.

InfoTube Loves this house…and the way it transforms to fit the life of the owners.  We need to see a lot more of this type of architecture in the USA.   If you aren’t a Friend of InfoTubes Facebook page, you are missing a lot smart, fun and cutting edge stuff.  Click the button at the top right of the page and never be out of the loop again.

ALL HomeBuyers HATE Popcorn Ceilings

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

   When trying to come up with a list of items that all homebuyers HATE..the first thing that came to my mind is Popcorn ceilings.   They scream dated.  They collect cobwebs, dust and dirt.  They are impossible to clean or paint.  And, if your home was built before the 1980′s, the popcorn may contain cancer causing asbestos.  (Asbestos was outlawed in 1977, but old supplies were used for years.) 

If you are selling your home, get rid of it….even though that is easier said than done.  If your home was built before 1980, you should first have the ceiling tested by a professional to see if it contains asbestos.  (Read the handout “Asbestos in Your Home“).   If asbestos is found, call a professional asbestos removal company to spray paint over it ($2-$6 a square foot), if it is in good shape.  Or, better, have the pro’s remove and properly dispose of it ($54-$64 a square foot).  Do not attempt to remove asbestos yourself!   There is a lethal reason it is a banned substance.                        

Whether the popcorn contains asbestos or doesn’t…removing popcorn ceilings is a messy, difficult and possibly expensive project.   Do it yourself with the proper gear, or expect to pay a painter about $2.50 a square foot to get rid of it, patch holes and repaint your ceiling.  

There are a few alternatives to sealing or removing popcorn ceilings.  You can opt to cover it up.   Depending on the architectural style of your home…you can consider installing beaded board or press tin ceiling tiles to hide the popcorn….forever.

If you are selling a home…get rid of the popcorn!!!  No one in the world likes popcorn ceilings…if you have them, you hate them, too.   Today’s buyers have so many choices, they won’t even consider a home with popcorn.  

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Please get rid of those dated, dirty, ugly and possibly dangerous ceilings today!!!    Popcorn is blowing your sale!

Click Here to Read What Buyers Hate Most…Second to Popcorn Ceilings

If you are one of the millions of Americans who would love to take advantage of record low home prices and record high levels of foreclosures, but your cash on hand is coming up  little short… consider using a portion of your IRA funds to buy a piece of rental property.

Millions of Americans have billions of dollars tied up in IRA’s that nay be paying little to no interest or gains to investors.  Maybe it’s time you considered diversifing from stocks or mutual funds… and add some tempting real estate bargains into the mix.

Here are the basic rules:

  • The funds used to buy the property must be held in a self directed IRA.  You can not use 401K funds or Roth IRA’s to buy real estate, but you can roll over those funds into an IRA before you buy.
  •  The property you buy must be an investment property.   You can not buy a second home or primary residence with IRA funds without paying a penalty.
  • You must pay cash for the investment property.  You can not borrow or take out a mortgage against your IRA investments.  
  • Monthly rental income must be placed back into the IRA account.
  • When the property is Sold…the sale proceeds must be deposited back into the IRA.
  • No taxes are due on rental income or capital gains held in the IRA, until the money is withdrawn at retirement age, so earnings grow tax free.
  • The IRA can pay all expenses associated managing and maintaining the property.
  • You can use a property manager or manage it yourself.

Real Estate IRA

Here is a simple example of how the investment could grow and fund your retirement.

  • You buy a $100,000 rental property with IRA funds.
  • You collect $10,000 a year in rent that is paid directly back into the IRA. 
  • After 10 years, the entire $100,000 you invested in the home has been paid back into the IRA.  Bonus, you still own the property and you can sell it anytime you chose and put the proceeds into your account, too.
  • You pay NO TAXES on income or capital gains until you withdraw money from the IRA.

Tax deferred gains

Buying a foreclosure with IRA money can be a great way to diversify your retirement portfolio and take advantage of historically cheap real estate prices and highly motivated sellers.  As with any tax related investment…ALWAYS consult your tax expert before investing.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  The spring home selling season is underway and it looks to be the best one in several years.  If you are in the market for home, this is a great time to be shopping.   Check out some of the great deals on our site…or place your property listing on our site for FREE.

If you are selling a home, we can set you up with an MLS listing and you can still sell the property yourself.  Click Here to learn more.

Infotube LOVES smart and flexible housing like this worry-free, Fold and Go Writers cabin.

Fold down one wall to make it cozy..or fold down all four walls to become one with your surroundings. 

When the walls are lowered, they make a great ourdoor deck to set on and take in the starlit skies.  

Smart and worry free design inspires your artistic side.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Search free, private website to find your dream writers cabin.

Would you like to see what the housing market has in store for 2012?  If so, take a moment to watch this video.

Housing Market 2012

Remember that in spite of the doom and gloom…10,000 sets of keys are handed to new homeowners every single day!!  

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net…a FREE marketing website for owners, builders and agents.  

Remember that… Who you buy From is as important as What you Buy!   Look for Made in the USA products and support US workers!!

InfoTube, Hillman and China. An Update

Thursday, May 26, 2011 posted by Tommi Crow

I am very happy to report that the public outcry about outsourcing American products, specifically Infotube and Infobox, to China has been encouraging, enlightening, motivating and best of all…it may be working to save jobs and keep American made products on the shelves.

As a result of your emails, calls, petitions, Facebook posts, etc. some strange things have happened.  We have been contacted by a US Senator, offering his assistance.  We have been interviewed on radio news and talk shows and our story has shown up in print across the country.   And, we still have our fingers crossed that we might receive a call from Diane Sawyer and ABC news about our story and products. 

If you haven’t told Diane and ABC what your favorite American products are, click this LINK and do so, today!  Please don’t forget to mention InfoTube and InfoBox!   

Perhaps, the most surprising outcome, so far, has been our two discussions with senior management at The Hillman Group.  Surprising, because it is happening at all.  Surprising, again, because we are each sharing information and I feel that everyone is sincere about wanting to reach a resolution. 

Rest assured that we won’t give up the fight until we hear that Crow Erickson will continue to sell Infotubes and InfoBoxes to our major d-i-y retail customers, like we have done for nearly two decades.

Sadly, during our meeting yesterday, Hillman management confirmed  that they have shipped some of the Chinese copycat product…identifible by its Yellow lid…to Home Depot, Lowes and Menards.   The retailers, in turn, hung it up in the sign department where the InfoTube and InfoBox used to proudly hang.  

Please ask for InfoTube and InfoBox by name at the store!!  Simply, refuse to purchase the Chinese Yellow Lid product.  You know what is at stake and your money is counted as your vote. 

A concerned consumer may have said it best in their reply to an email they received from the Hillman Group. 

“See, we American voters may truly be powerless, but we American consumers are not.  We are fed up watching big corporations, like yours, screw American businesses, and so if you think this lame email has calmed me, you are wrong.  I am just getting started.”  Cynn Chadwick

If you have a problem finding our products in the stores, you can purchase through our secure our website or through one of our valued, loyal internet vendors….many of whom took action on our behalf…even though by doing so, they face more sales competition.

Thank you again for your support, your comments and your encouragement.  If this little company can find a way to beat the competition over in communist China…then, so can other companies!  

Buy American and Support your Homeland!!!  We aren’t anti-chinese…we are just Pro-American!

Tommi Crow

President, Crow Erickson Inc.  1854A Hendersonville Rd #221 – Asheville, NC  28803.  1-800-858-6000.

I was interviewed on Clear Channel News this morning about our Fight to Save our Company and American jobs from the chinese, copycat imports of InfoBox that are being brought into the US by The Hillman Group, distributors for Lowes, Home Depot and Menards.

After the radio interview, we received a call from Senator Richard Burr’s (R) office to inquire about our story.   The Senator’s office is looking into the matter to determine how they can help.   Thank you, Senator Burr!

Tommi Crow radio interview on Jameson show

I would like to say a BIG thank you to Jerri Jameson at WWNC News Radio 570 for having us on her show this morning.  

Thanks for following our story and for your support!  Please continue to sign our petition and send emails to Lowes, Home Depot and Menardsn telling them that InfoTube and InfoBox SHOULD NOT be replaced with chinese imports.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

National Home Improvement Stores Outsource American Jobs to China                                                                                                                            Home Depot, Lowe’s vendor ignores U.S. patents, outsources popular INFOBOX®  

ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (May 10, 2011)—Recently, Hillman Group, vendor to national DIY home-improvement retail giants Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Menards, replaced the store’s popular American-made INFOTUBE® and INFOBOX® products with Chinese factory replicas. 

INFOTUBE® literature boxes were invented 23 years ago in a garage in Dallas, TX, to provide Realtors®, builders and homeowners with an affordable way to sell their homes. Today, millions of these patented real-estate literature boxes are being used in neighborhoods across America. 

In March, Hillman informed Crow Erickson it was replacing INFOTUBE® and INFOBOX® products effective immediately, leaving thousands of boxes stranded on the docks and effectively closing the doors of the Asheville, NC-based manufacturer and inventor. Caplugs® factory jobs in Erie, PA and Buffalo, NY will also be affected, two areas already hard hit in this economy. 

Crow Erickson’s patent attorney has inspected the Chinese product, currently available on Home Depot’s website, and it does appear to be copy of the INFOBOX® design, something Hillman insiders have conceded. The Chinese knockoff provides no cost savings to the consumer. 

This is not the first time Hillman has ignored U.S. patents and put American jobs in jeopardy, including the hundreds of disabled and handicapped American workers that Crow Erickson has employed at competitive wages in partnership with vocational rehabilitation centers.

 In the 1990s, Hillman tried to outsource INFOTUBE® products, a patent violation against which Crow Erickson took legal action. The settlement required Hillman to renew its contract for INFOTUBE® and agree not to compete in its product niche. 

Apparently Hillman is banking on the rising cost of lawsuits to deter the small, woman-owned business from pursuing legal remedy this time around. 

Crow Erickson has made numerous direct appeals to the Hillman Group and senior management at Lowe’s and Home Depot, citing its 20+ year successful partnership, patent concerns, and a desire to work with all parties for a mutually beneficial and cost-competitive resolution. 

To date, Crow Erickson has not been able to engage Hillman, Lowe’s or Home Depot in any meaningful discussion and has been left with no recourse other than pursue costly legal action or close its doors and watch another American-made product fall victim to Chinese factories. 

Crow Erickson is currently launching a public media campaign to save American jobs. More information can be found on www.infotube.net and the company’s blog. INFOTUBE® is also sponsoring an online petition to save American jobs from export to China which can be viewed and signed on The Petition Site at Help-Save-American-Jobs.

Contact:

Tommi Crow

President, Crow Erickson, Inc.

800-858-6000 (o) 828-230-2260 (cel)

tommi@infotube.net

7 Secrets to Selling Your Home Now

Thursday, April 21, 2011 posted by Tommi Crow

In today’s’ super-competitive housing market, it is essential that homebuyers picture themselves living inside the home you are trying to sell.    

7 Secrets to Selling Your Home Now

  • For starters, take down the Wallpaper – Trust me when I say, “Buyers just do not like wallpaper.”   If you doubt how personal wallpaper is…just walk into any wallpaper store and stare at the thousands of available patterns.  Chances of your tastes matching are at least a thousand to one.  Don’t risk it!  Pull that paper down!
  • The Clutter HAS to Go!  Living in a house is alot different than Selling a house.  It is easy to get blind to your own clutter.  Ask a friend, neighbor or neutral party to be honest with you.  Then, pack away every single thing you don’t use.  And, clear the kitchen counters completely.
  • Smelly Homes Will NOT Sell.  Agents have an old saying, “If I can smell it, I can’t sell it.”  Pet smells, musty odor’s, etc will kill a sale everytime.
  • White is not a Color.  But, paint is your friend.  Every room should have a fresh coat of paint in a warm, neutral color.
  • A Spot of Color.  Everyone loves flowers.  Place pots with colorful annual flowers by the front door or plant seasonal color in the beds to make your home inviting and memorable.
  • Househunting Begins on the Internet.  If your property is not exposed on the internet, your chances of a buyer finding you are very small.  Tip the odds in your favor by advertising your home on the MLS and all the major search engines for real estate.  InfoTube also offers FREE property listings on its website.   Also, make sure your listing includes at least 10 good photo’s of the interior and exterior of your home.  If possible, also include a video tour of the house and neighborhood.
  • Forget About Comp’s and Sold Properties.  Study your competition, which means homes currently For Sale.  If your home is priced too high when compared to your competition, it is going to sit for a long, long time.

Homeowners should please keep in mind that Buyers have a lot of choices.  The homeowner who can make their house stand out among the vast inventory of “For Sale” signs will the one who wins the selling game.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net homes for sale and rent website.  For up to the minute real estate news and tips follow InfoTube for Real Estate on Facebook.

Winter Home Sales Tips

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 posted by Tommi Crow

   Seller’s often wonder if they should take their home off the market during winter.   My answer is usually “NO”.   Seller’s expend a lot of money and effort to get a home ready for sale and it does no good if the property isn’t on the market.   And, while there are fewer buyer’s during winter, there are also fewer homes for sale.  

But, if you’re still debating…consider the following:

  • Winter, spring, summer or fall…if you’re priced above the rest of the market, your home will help sell the well priced listings, but not yours.
  • There is less competition from competing homes during winter and less inventory benefits sellers’.
  • Buyer’s who are househunting during winter are serious and truly motivated.
  • Interest rates trend lower during winter months, when loan demand is low.
  • Gardens and landscape don’t look as appealing in winter.   If your home won’t exactly win ”yard of the month” during summer…a snowy winter may actually level the playing field for you.
  • Don’t believe that if you pull your home off the market during winter, you can bring it back in the spring as a new listing.   No one is fooled by this trick.  Your listing will still appear as canceled and relisted in the MLS.
  • If it’s not on the market, the right buyer may come and go.

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Insulation Upgrade Saves Energy and Money

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 posted by Tommi Crow

One of the easiest and most cost-effective energy upgrades you can make to your home is to improve the level of insulation in your attic. Upgraded attic insulation makes your home easier and less expensive to heat — and to cool next summer — and also makes for a more comfortable living environment.

Depending on what you have now, an insulation upgrade may be a do-it-yourself project, or it may be one that you want to leave to the pros. Some utility companies have programs in place with rebates or low-interest loans to help with energy upgrades, so you’ll want to check with them as well before you get started.

How much do you need?
How much insulation you need is always a good question. The easy answer is “as much as you can get,” but actually there’s a point where continuing to add more insulation really won’t pay you back much additional dividends.

For example, if you have R-19 in your attic, doubling it to R-38 will be a huge improvement. But doubling R-38 to R-76 wouldn’t be nearly as effective.

The R-values for new homes are set by the building codes, so that’s a good place to start. Many areas have established R-38 as a minimum for attics, and some colder areas have increased that to R-49. The further your insulation is below what the codes require, the more you’ll benefit from the upgrade.

What’s up there now?
How much you’ll benefit from upgrading your insulation depends on what’s in the attic now. So you’ll want to start with a trip into the attic to determine what kind of insulation you have, and also to measure its average depth. Here are the four most common types of attic insulation:

  • Loose-fill fiberglass: This is probably the most common, and will be fluffy strands or cubes of pink, white or yellow material. It has an average R-value of 2.5 per inch, so if your measurements show that you have about 6 inches of the stuff, you have an R-value of approximately 15.
  • Fiberglass batts: This is the same material, but it’s woven into thick mats instead of lying loose. It’s typically lying between the joists, but it may be on top of the joists as well. Batts have an average R-value of 3.2 per inch, so your same 6 inches would give you an R-value closer to 19.
  • Mineral wool: This is another loose fill material, although it’s also made into batts as well. It’s gray, and will appear thicker and more fibrous then fiberglass. The average R-value is about 2.8 per inch, so 6 inches would have an R-value of around 17.
  • Cellulose: This is essentially a recycled paper material, with other additives. It’s a light to medium gray, and is a loose fill but not as fluffy as fiberglass. It has a distinct “ground cardboard” look, and averages 3.7 per inch in R-value. Six inches of this material would give you an overall R-value of about 22.

What type of insulation to install?
What type of insulation you’ll want to use for the upgrade depends on a couple of different things, including the costs in your area, and whether you want to do the work yourself.

For attics, blown-in insulation works best. It’s easy to install, covers everything to a uniform depth, and is cost-effective. If you want to do the work yourself, both fiberglass and cellulose can be blown in using a blower that you can rent. Many home centers and other insulation retailers have the blowers available, and they’re sometimes loaned free of charge with a minimum insulation purchase.

Either of these types of insulation produces a lot of dust as they’re being blown, so you’ll want to wear a respirator, as well as some eye protection. For a complete list of safety gear, safety precautions and installation tips, refer to the manufacturer’s specific instructions.

The other alternative is fiberglass or mineral wool batts, which come in standard widths and thicknesses. These work best for attics that don’t have any insulation at all, since you can lay the batts between the joists. If there’s already batt insulation in place, you can install a second layer over the first. Use unfaced batts only, so that you don’t create a double vapor barrier and trap moisture between the layers of batts. Also, install the new layer perpendicular over the original layer, for better coverage over any gaps and cold spots.

Safety first!
You need to keep the insulation away from anything that produces heat, such as fireplace chimneys, wood stove flues and exhaust fans. Recessed light fixtures can only be covered if they’re specifically rated for that purpose. To keep the insulation away, use sheet metal to construct a dam, creating a 1- to 3-inch air space as per the insulation or fixture manufacturer’s recommendations.

It’s also important that you don’t do anything to block the ventilation in your attic, so you also need to install vent baffles to keep the insulation from sloughing down over soffit vents. These can be wood or cardboard, attached to the face of the rafters at each of the vents to keep the air flow clear.

Finally, to prevent moisture buildups that can damage wood framing and lead to mold growth — in addition to robbing R-value from that new insulation — be sure all exhaust fans are vented completely to the outside of the attic!

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