The time has come to buy a home and you have a list of questions a mile long. How many bedrooms does it have? What is the down payment? What are the taxes? What school district is it in? But there are some questions you should be asking that you may not have considered and these answers will not be disclosed on the property’s listing sheet.

In order to make a smart buying decision you will want to dig a little deeper into the neighborhood’s crime rate, area residents and what safety measures are in place to keep your family safe.

Here are a just a few things you will want to research before buying your next home:

1. Check the sex offender registry. Most states have provisions like Megan’s Law and other registries where individuals with histories of criminal convictions must register their home addresses with local authorities. Check the address of the home you are considering to see who is living in your potential new neighborhood.

2. What is the history of the home? You may think this unusual but some abandoned homes have been used as drug labs. Homes that were used as drug labs are hazardous to your health. A home that served as a methamphetamine lab contains chemicals that often make unsafe to live in. These homes are usually but not always sold by banks as foreclosures. If the bank or real estate agent does not know the home’s history they don’t have a legal obligation to disclose it so you will have to do your own homework. First, talk to neighbors to see if they have any information. You can also search the federal Drug Enforcement Association’s Clandestine Laboratory Registry.

3.  Check the neighborhood’s crime rate. Don’t look at just the numbers of crime but also consider what sorts of crimes happen in the area. Are the crimes violent and non-violent? Will you need to invest in a car alarm or a security system after a rash of break-ins? SpotCrime.com gives detailed crime data, breaking down crime types with easy-to-scan icons and providing data for communities all over the country.

4.  What precautions are in place in the neighborhood? Does the neighborhood have a watch program? Talk to the home’s seller and the neighbors about what type of precautions are in place. For more information on neighborhood watch programs check out the National Crime Prevention website.

5. Visit the neighborhood at different hours of the day; watch for unsavory visitors, traffic and vacant homes.

Buying a home is an investment in your family and your future. If you have any other questions regarding local information your real estate professional can help point you in the right direction. You can also always call the local police department and ask for any statistics they have on the area.

Living in an apartment can sometimes be a frustrating experience. Paying rent every month makes you feel like you are throwing money away.

Today’s housing market makes it a great time to buy and in some cases you can buy a home for less money than you are paying in rent. Living in an apartment with tenants above or below you in some older apartments can be noisy. Single family homes do not have this problem, as none of the walls in your home will be attached to any other home in your neighborhood. This in turn means that you will have more privacy, and more importantly, there will be less noise coming from your neighbors, no matter what time of the day it is.

Another reason why owning your own home is so great is because you will generally have your own yard, allowing you to have outside furniture, gardens and entertain which can be harder to do in an apartment

When it comes to shopping for a home, it is important that you do a good amount of research beforehand. While single family homes do have a lot of advantages, you have to make sure to take your time and find that perfect home for you. Some things to think about is location, neighborhood, schools, and being close to amenities like shopping, restaurants or other places that may be important to you.

One of the best ways to research for homes is on this website. This website is updated every 15 minutes with new listings, price changes, back on markets and open houses. This will allow you to easily browse through homes for sale until you find the perfect home for your needs.

Bottom line is buying a home today can be a great invest down the road and can come with a lot of benefits over renting. Feel free to call if you would like help in buying or selling your real estate.

These days everyone is looking to go green? Knowing when, how and where to start can be the hard part. So, why not start in the kitchen? Here are some items from your kitchen that you can use on your way to a greener home.

Baking Soda

Baking soda can be an effective cleanser for your bathroom. Use one cup of baking soda mixed with a teaspoon of liquid soap, a bit of water, and a few drops of antibacterial essential oil (such as tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary, or peppermint) make a great cleaner.

Milk

Milk can be used as an all natural stain remover. Soak the stained garment in a bowl of two parts milk and one part white vinegar. This works especially well for ink stains.

Herbs

Many herbs are natural cures for aliments like stress, digestion, immunity, and more. Use seeds from plants like lavender, mint, lemon balm, and thyme to make your own natural remedies.

Compost Pail

Make your own nutrient rich soil to grow plants in by composting. Keep an airtight container in your kitchen and use it to dispose of food scrap items such as vegetable and fruit waste, meal leftovers, coffee grounds, tea bags, stale bread, grains, and general refrigerator spoilage.

Reusable Tote

When you shop for all of these items make sure to use a reusable tote. You can find these for sale at grocery stores and other shopping centers. This will cut down on plastics.

There are many ecologically friendly cleaning products available in stores today, however, they can do a number on your wallet. There are great alternatives to these costly store-bought items that you can make in your own kitchen. Orange peels for instance, are an inexpensive and powerful base for an effective all-purpose cleaner.

Here is a recipe for an orange peel cleaner:

Things You Need:

  • 1 dozen oranges
  • Baking soda
  • 24-oz. or larger glass jar
  • 1 pint white vinegar
  • Strainer
  • Pitcher
  • Spray bottle
  • 1. Scrub a dozen oranges with a solution of 1 part baking soda to 3 parts water to remove pesticides and any trace chemicals.

    2. Rinse the oranges thoroughly.

    3. Peel the cleaned oranges.

    3. Put the orange peels in a clean glass jar, and cover them with the white vinegar.

    4. Cap the jar tightly.

    5. Allow the mixture to rest in a cool dark place for at least one month.

    6. Shake the vinegar concoction vigorously, and strain off the liquid into a pitcher or other wide-mouth, easy-to-pour container.

    7. Dilute the mixture with 1/2 cup water; shake or stir again, and strain the cleaner into a spray bottle for convenient use.

    Note: Lemon and lime peels can also be used with the orange peels.

     

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