Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate

Posted by Thomas Murphy on 12/17/2017

Buying a new home is an exciting prospect. Touring a house can feel like walking around your favorite store, picking out all of the things you love. It's easy to get distracted by things like fresh paint or nice furniture and forget to look for important structural aspects of the home that can make or break a deal. Most sellers will be honest and straightforward with you about the state of the home. In some cases, they are required by law to inform you about costly issues with the home (lead paint or sewage issues, for example). Other times, a seller is under no legal obligation to inform you about potential problems with the home. In these instances, you'll need to rely on your own senses. To help you out, we've compiled a list of the top ten red flags to beware of when buying a home.

  1. Fresh paint  It's common practice when selling a house to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. It's an inexpensive way to spruce up the home for potential buyers. Sometimes, however, the paint is used as a quick fix for hiding more serious issues. Water damage, mold, and mildew can all be covered up, momentarily, by a coat of paint.
  2. Strong odors We say "strong" rather than "bad" odors because sometimes someone selling a home will try to mask bad smells with air fresheners or candles. Bad smells in a house can be the result of plumbing issues, humidity, indoor smokers, water damage, pet urine, uncleanliness, and any number of undesirable things.
  3. Bad roofing Missing, broken or stacked shingles are all signs that the roof is in need of repair--a costly fix you probably want to avoid if buying a new home.
  4. Cracked foundation A damaged foundation could be a sign of serious structural problems with the house. Especially in sloped areas, cracked foundations can lead to water damage in the basement.
  5. Poor wiring  Don't be afraid to ask to test out the lights and outlets in a home or take a look at breaker boxes. Flickering lighting and faulty outlets are signs that a home is in need of electric work.
  6. Pest issues  Many people underestimate the power of insects when it comes to damaging a home. Wood-eating termites and carpenter ants can both devastate the structure of a home and usually results in an expensive repair. Noticing ants is a huge red flag, but if you suspect a home could have an infestation for any reason try to get it inspected by a pest control firm before you make the deal.
  7. Locked doors and off-limit rooms  When touring a home there should be no areas that you aren't allowed to see. A locked door or "do not enter" sign are all red flags that the seller may be hiding something in that room.
  8. Leaking faucets Small plumbing issues like leaky faucets or toilets that run excessively are signs that there could be even larger issues with the plumbing in the house.
  9. Deserted neighborhood Multiple homes for sale in the neighborhood, deteriorating buildings and closed businesses are all signs of a problem neighborhood. It could be due to economic issues or a decaying community, but either way these are things you'll want to consider before moving into a new neighborhood.
  10. Defective windows  Windows that are sealed shut, fogged up, or won't open or close are all signs of costly repairs. You're going to depend on windows for the security of your home, lighting and aesthetic, and to a minor degree for retaining heat. They should all function properly.

Posted by Thomas Murphy on 12/3/2017

It's no surprise that buying in bulk is cheaper. Manufacturers can offer you the same items with less packaging and fewer processing steps. Then, at the store, less time is required for employees to stock these items onto the shelves. Basically, bulk buying is a win-win for everybody. Knowing which items to buy in bulk, however, is a bit trickier. We would all buy everything in bulk if we had the storage space in our homes or a cart big enough at Walmart. There are certain home goods you can count on for always being smarter to buy in bulk. In this list, we'll cover the top bulk items that are worth the space in your closet and where to find them. 1. Toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins The trinity of paper items. These three purchases are always worth buying in bulk. Running out of them can range from an inconvenience to an emergency, so it's good to have plenty stocked up. The undisputed champion when it comes to buying toilet paper is Costco. However, most warehouse clubs also have good deals. If you'd rather spend a bit more and not have to carry a huge box to your car, Amazon also has some good deals on these three paper goods. 2. Liquid hand soap and body wash Those tiny bottles of liquid hand soap won't get you very far and can be quite pricey. If you have a favorite, odds are you can find a large jug of it on Amazon to refill your smaller bottles as needed. 3. Tupperware One good set of tupperware will outlast 5 cheap plastic sets. That said, you can still get a good deal on a large set of tupperware and it's worth it if you pack lunches in advance or have a large family. Amazon is also the price to beat when it comes to plasticware. 4. Batteries One item that typically isn't cheaper online is batteries. Walmart is the place to buy large packs of batteries. If you really need to have a lot of them on hand, however, it will probably save you much more money in the long run to buy some good rechargeable batteries, especially AAs. 5. Diapers If you're a parent, you've most likely noticed the magical disappearing properties of diapers. A full box of diapers seems to vanish into thin air within a couple days time. Frugal parents have found that off-brand diapers, such as Target's Up & Up diapers, are high quality and much more affordable than name brand options. Alternatively, Amazon Mom will help you save on gas and on diapers, and offers many other baby-related goods as well. 6. Over the counter medications First, go generic--it will save you a ton of money on non-prescription meds. As to where the best place to buy medications, consumer reports show that Costco and Sam's Club are the cheapest, whereas drug stores like CVS, Rite Aid are the most expensive.

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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 11/5/2017

If you're moving homes, odds are you have a lot on your mind. You're trying to keep track of all your boxes, making sure the moving truck arrives at both locations on time, and focusing on getting all of your belongings to your new home in one piece. In all of this chaos, it's easy to overlook basic safety precautions. If you have a moving day coming up, read these important safety tips to make sure you and your belongings arrive safely.

Packing boxes

  • Practice good lifting technique. It has long been taught that you should "lift with your knees" when picking up heavy objects. However, if you look at the people who lift things for a living, professional weightlifters, you'll notice that they use a combination of muscles.Before lifting, test the weight of the object to see if it's feasible for you to move alone. Then make sure you can get a good grip on the box. When lifting, be sure to keep your chest facing the object and avoid twisting your back. Lift from a squatting position relying mostly on your leg muscles.It's also a good practice to stretch and warm up your back before lifting to avoid injuries.
  • Pack properly. To ensure the safety of you and your possessions during the move, be sure to use boxes that are the correct size and pack them fully. Empty space in boxes can cause them to crush one another and tip over in the moving truck, harming you or your fragile belongings.Double up on tape on the bottom of your boxes and tape a "plus" sign so that the box is reinforced fully. This will stop heavy objects from falling out of the bottom of the box and breaking, and from hurting your feet.

On the road

  • Stack smart, not higher. When stacking boxes, always put the heavier boxes on the bottom. Don't stack them too high or too close to the door of the truck. Think of stacking boxes as playing a game of Tetris--an organized stack will have much better stability than a disorganized one.
  • Test drive the route. Driving in an unfamiliar place is difficult enough without having to do it towing all of your most valued possessions. Travel the route beforehand to get a feel for the roads and for safe places to stop for gas or food.

In your new home

Once you arrive at your new home it's easy to let your guard down and start dreaming about relaxing on the sofa in your empty living room. However, you should ensure the safety of you and your belongings first.
  • Don't leave things unattended. Even if your neighborhood is a safe place you should still keep track of where your boxes are outside at all times.
  • Unpack the truck safely. If you can't reach a box, use a step ladder to get it down. If boxes are too heavy to move, use a dolly.
  • Clear the path. It's easy to lose track of objects and trip over a box in the hallway when carrying your bed frame in. Make sure you and your helpers keep the paths clear while moving.

Tags: Real estate   Safety Tips   home   moving   safety   moving day   house   tips   advice  
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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 6/16/2013

What in the world is home automation?  Almost everyone knows what a timer on an outside lamp post is for, you can program your outside lights to turn on when the sun goes down and back off in the morning.  There are lots of ways to setup lighting to prevent waste and still maximize the benefit.  So what if you whole house could be managed and from one place or even when you aren't at home?  The kids left some lights on when they left for school, and you can turn them off from your phone, with some systems. A product known as X10 has been around for quite some time now, now there are other options.  Home depot has their own products and even Google is making contributions these days.  The whole idea is convince, for example there are products that work with the X10 system that allow you to change the lighting in your home from an iPhone or Android device, you can use this from anywhere you phone works. Setting up a system like this can start to prove costly.  The more devices you want to control, the more expensive the project ends up, naturally.  You should also be aware some products require a moderate level of know-how in the electrical sense.  One of the most useful products is a replacement switch; changing one should always be done with care and proper precautions of course. Spend some time and figure out what your goals are with your project, it can be as simple as putting a few outdoor lights on timers to being able to control and monitor everything in your house no matter where you are.  It's a fun idea at the very least.