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A Gift Guide for Grandma and Grandpa

With an average life expectancy of 85 years, seniors today have more time to enjoy all the things they love. But like the rest of us, home maintenance isn’t at the top of the list. Here are the top gifts for senior homeowners:

Automatic vacuum. The movements associated with vacuuming can be difficult for seniors with arthritis or other mobility impairments. Likewise, poor eyesight can make it easy to miss hidden dust bunnies, which can saturate the air and cause a host of respiratory issues. Consumer Reports tested dozens of automatic/robot vacuums and have narrowed it down to five that offer the best suck for the buck.

Amazon Prime membership. For $99 per year, your senior loved one can have everything from toilet paper to toothpicks delivered right to their door. And if you live in one of the hundreds of areas with Prime Now service, many of these items will arrive within a few hours.

Robotic lawnmower. For the homeowner who hates yard work, a robotic mower is the gift to give. With a substantial price tag, these mowers are a premium present you’ll want to save for the ones you love the most. Husqvarna’s lineup of premium robot mowers starts at $1,999. Less expensive models can be found at your local hardware store.

Voice activated lights. Voice-activated lights are today what The Clapper was in the 80s. Now, your senior loved one can illuminate any room with a simple command. This will add a whole new level of safety at night while giving your gift recipient complete control over the ambiance of their home.

Self-cleaning oven. Gone are the days when grandma has to spend hours cleaning up dried/burnt-on spills from the oven floor. Modern ovens are equipped with hidden elements that make wiping out dirt and debris a breeze. But, over time, gunk collects and, eventually, she’ll have to deep clean the oven. A self-cleaning oven eliminates the elbow grease by burning excess material at a temperature of about 880°F. What’s left is a layer of ash that can be easily wiped away. No muss, no fuss.

Automatic garage door opener. For those with outdated manual garage doors, consider gifting an automatic garage door opener, which will eliminate the need to bend over and potentially pull a muscle.

Smart home security system. Internet-enabled home security systems may be paired with devices that can do everything from control the indoor air temperature to locking the front door from anywhere in the country. These devices will help your aging relative manage their household and allow you to keep tabs on their safety and security from wherever you may be. PC Mag compares the nine most popular smart home security systems for 2017 here.

Slow cooker with liners. Perhaps one of the best gifts you can give for people with medical conditions that restrict the use of their hands is an easy way to clean up after cooking. A slow cooker and liners to fit is a gift that will speed up post-meal cleanup and ensure you get a regular invitation to dinner.

Scheduled maintenance. Depending on where your loved one lives, they may be within the designated service area of the heating, cooling, plumbing, or electrical company that offers annual maintenance plans. This is a gift that lasts all year and keeps your loved one’s systems in tip top shape.

Today, technology makes it easy to age in place without worry. Your elderly loved one doesn’t have to live in one of the top cities for technology-assisted living in order to enjoy their independence. With a little preparation and a few pieces of advanced equipment, your loved one can live alone no matter where they call home.

How to fix a leaky faucet: Cheap and Easy – DIY Home Repairs

In this video we are going to show how to fix a leaky faucet cheap and easy! Total expense of this repair is under $3.00 and it is so easy that you won’t have to hire a plumber!

  • Quick DIY home repair tips
  • Learn how to fix a leaky faucet cheap and easy
  • Watch a step-by-step video on how to fix a leaky faucet
  • Go fix your leaky faucet yourself!

So you have an old leaky faucet that you’ve been thinking of replacing but are delaying doing it because your whole bathroom needs a makeover? No worries, there are a lot of us out there! There is absolutely no need to get into another home repair project if you don’t have to.

Sometimes all you need is to replace a washer inside the faucet and your leaky faucet would be fixed in no time! Most of the time the repair is so minimal that you can do it yourself in under an hour. As you probably already learned, buying a home is often times a lot easier than owning a home!

Step 1: Turn OFF water supply

In order for you to take apart your old faucet, you have to turn off water supply. Most of the times, it is located behind the bathroom in a closet. Find it, open it and turn it off to avoid causing even more damage!

Step 2: Remove the faucet knob/handle

Remove the leaky faucet knob so you can get to the guts and find your faulty washer!

Step: 3: Take it apart

Once the faucet knob is off, take the guts out so you can take it apart, replace old washer with new and fix your leaky faucet.

Step 4: Take old washer off

Old washer comes off nice and easy. If it is too slippery or too tight to take it off with your fingers, gently remove it with a flat screwdriver.

Step 5: Install new washer

Same way you took the old one off, install the new washer. It really costs only about $2.50-3.00 at Home Depot or Menards.

Step 6: Lubricate

Make sure to lubricate all of the parts so they are working nice and smooth.

Step 7: Use sand paper to smooth the edges of the Seat

This is a very important step that is often times missed! If the seat has cracks or scratches, you will keep having leaky faucet problems!

Step 8: Put it all back together!

Now its time to put everything together the same way how you took it apart!

Step 9: Test your leaky faucet!

Once it is all said and done, test your leaky faucet and make sure nothing leaks.

To fix a leaky faucet should take you under 1 hour unless it has more problems than just a washer!

Not sure how each part is called? No problem! Here is a picture that shows names of all faucet parts!

Finding A New Home For Seniors

When major life events happen, people often move into a new home. In fact, you can live in several places over the years thanks to college, marriage, and having kids. Although moving can sometimes be a pain, it’s worth it to finally be in a home that matches your needs.

This is true for seniors as well, especially since many are facing major life changes like retirement or the “empty nest.” However, finding a new home as a senior can be difficult. That’s where you can come in handy. You can help a senior find a right place to love. It starts by understanding what options there are for housing.

Housing Options For Seniors

Chances are, the senior is still living in the same house they’ve been in for years. That can be a problem as the senior gets older, if it’s not already an issue. It can be difficult to keep a big house clean when you start to lose some vision or mobility.

Then what are the options? A Place For Mom explains there are several options so the senior can still live independently:

  • A smaller condo or apartment, especially if it only has one floor.
  • Retirement communities, especially those that offer social and medical assistance.
  • Senior apartments so your friend can live around those their own age.
  • Housing developments that restrict ownership to other seniors.

Depending on the health of the senior, you may also want to explore assisted living residences or nursing homes. While they might not sound fun, they can be a great home for seniors who need regular medical care — or at least to have someone on call in case of emergencies.

Tips For Moving Day Success

Once you’ve found a place for your senior friend, it’s time to start packing.

American Senior Care has a list of five tips for seniors moving into a new place:

  1. Hire movers if you can since they are trained and experienced in doing these jobs.
  2. Plan in advance what to move and what to donate.
  3. Make a list of items most important to the senior so they can be treated with care.
  4. Break packing into smaller, manageable tasks.
  5. Create a plan for where everything will go in the new place.

Another tip is to help the senior declutter by getting rid of unused items. Heirlooms can be given to family, while anything not used by the senior can probably be sold at a yard sale or donated to a local charity. Just make sure you explain everything to the senior before getting rid of anything.

Renovations On A Budget

Often after the move is complete, you start to notice problems in the new place. For seniors, there’s also the chance that they need some modifications as they grow older. That’s why you should look into renovations — but since the senior has a limited income, you need to do so on a budget.

Two of the most important places for remodeling are the bath and bedroom. Because many seniors have problems with vision and balance, installing grab bars is a must. You should also make sure there is adequate lighting, and consider adding a coat of high-contrast paint, which can help as well.

Many renovations require adding or repairing drywall, which should ideally be performed by a professional, since the walls of your home are critical to a sturdy structure. Depending on the scope of the job, drywall installation can run anywhere from $1,055 – $2,329 and take 9-10 days in the Minneapolis area.

The Senior’s New Home Is Out There

A senior has plenty to think about without stressing over a move. That’s why you can help. Explore different housing options, then get some movers and pack slowly over time. Then look into some simple renovations like grab bars so the senior can both be safe and love their new place.

Downsizing 101: How to Help Your Senior Loved One Transition to a Smaller Home

As your senior loved one ages, you may find that they have trouble getting up and down the stairs or fall behind on maintenance and cleaning due to the large space. Perhaps they are too far away from you and other family members, and would benefit by being a little closer. Downsizing is a great option for seniors looking to ramp up the safety, reduce the workload, and live out their golden years surrounded by family, friends, and a home that ages with them.

You’ll find several helpful tips listed below to help make this process as easy as possible (for more, check out Closetbox.com’s six tips for downsizing here):

Have a Plan before Downsizing

Downsizing isn’t something you can just jump right into – it requires planning and organization to avoid unnecessary stress. Once the decision to downsize has been made, the greatest downsizing tip is to start as early as possible. Go room by room and sort through every single item. If your loved one already has a home purchased, use the floor plan to determine how much room and storage space they have for items and keepsakes. However, remember that a smaller house means smaller rooms, smaller closets, and less storage space. Perhaps they decide to buy a townhome in Minnesota or explore an option of looking at condos for sale? This will also help to depersonalize the house and declutter since you have to sell a house in the end.

Although it is likely that if your loved one had the choice they would choose to keep everything, they must be reasonable and realistic. Don’t force your loved one to part ways with something they will regret. While it might just be an old silver platter to you, it is so much more than that to them. It served the carved turkey for over 30 years of family dinners and was the centerpiece for every dinner party. Put yourself in their shoes and show a little compassion and understanding.

Modify It

Downsizing into a smaller home is the perfect time to make home modifications, especially if your loved one plans to age in place. A smaller home will have less expenses, including a reduced mortgage, freeing up funds to create a home that ages with them, not against them. You may even find that the house they purchase has modifications already in place. The first room to inspect and change should be the bathroom, with the biggest concern being the bathtub/shower. Consider replacing the tub or shower with a walk-in version, and add grab bars for extra support and safety. Grab bars can be added to other areas of the home as well such as by the toilet or bed. If you loved one’s strength and balance just isn’t what it used to be, a bathtub chair or transfer bench could be the key.

While you may have never given much thought to the floor you walk on, flooring can create a serious tripping hazard, especially if it is old, shaggy carpet. An easy replacement would be shorter-nap carpeting, but hardwood, tile, or laminate would be ideal, especially for wheelchair use. Other modifications to consider are wider hallways/doorways, ramps, railings, extra lighting, and a security system. Want more assistance? Check out DailyCaring.com room-by-room home modification guide.

Location, Location, Location

Before your loved one moves right into the next house, take a look at the location and the neighborhood score for aging in place. Using the AARP Livability Index, neighborhoods are scored based on housing, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity. However, according to seniors ages 55 and up, the most important features are bus stops, parks, pharmacies, and grocery stores.

Accompany your senior on their home search, and look for a neighborhood that matches their lifestyle and demographic. Ask neighbors and local law enforcement about the crime rate in the area. Consider asking about the community feel of the area. Do neighbors look out for one another or is seeing a neighbor like spotting a unicorn? Make sure there is quick access to medical care in case of an emergency, and easy access to public transportation if mobility or driving becomes an issue.

Helping your senior loved one downsize doesn’t have to involve a headache. Have an organized plan in place and think to the future with home modifications and neighborhoods that support your loved one’s changing needs. Take your time and they’ll be enjoying their new home in no time.

If you need help with helping your parents downsize and sell a home so they can buy a home in Minnesota, fill out the form below and The Antonov Group agent will reach out to you!

Structural Damage Can Be a Deal Breaker

Homes With Structural Damage – What Buyers Should Know

Most homebuyers do not set out to buy a home with any sort of structural repair issue. But when statistics showing more than 5.5 million existing home sales for the year 2016 were published, it becomes apparent that not every home sold could have been completely free of defects – while it isn’t the norm, some home buyers will run across seemingly great properties for sale only to find that there is a structural issue.

With this in mind, when should a homebuyer entertain the idea of buying a home with structural defects and what type of structural defect should be approached with extreme caution?

Major structural repair issues to be aware of

Most people will attest that there are no perfect homes. No matter how carefully the sellers have worked to prepare their home for the market, there will always be at least a few small issues that were missed or cannot be fixed. But there are also some major structural issues that buyers should investigate carefully before deciding to move forward with any offer.

These include:

  • Foundation problems, including cracks in foundation walls more than one-quarter inch wide and any foundation or settlement issues that show the home may have shifted or moved, such as doors and windows that do not open and close properly and sloping floors inside the home
  • Severe termite infestations or unrepaired termite damage that endangers floor joists, sill plates, and other wooden structural components
  • Extensive mold or water damage that will require major renovation, including the replacement of some of the structural elements of the home
  • Shoddy workmanship or unpermitted renovations that negatively affect the structure and support system of the home. Many sellers choose to renovate before listing but, unfortunately, some try to cut corners

Understanding the scope of the structural defect

When sellers disclose a known structural defect or the buyer’s home inspection process reveals a latent one, it is important to understand the scope of the defect. In most cases, this type of expert assessment should always be performed by either a certified structural engineer or a reputable, experienced building contractor familiar with similar home designs and construction techniques.

Using the structural assessment information to renegotiate

Once the buyers have received the findings of the structural assessment and discussed it with their real estate professional and their lender, they should consider using that information to:

a) decide whether or not to remain in the transaction

b) renegotiate the price and terms of the purchase agreement to offset the expected cost of the repairs

c) renegotiate the purchase agreement to allow the sellers to make the repairs to the satisfaction of the buyers at seller’s cost

If the home is otherwise in good condition and the structural defect is repairable, buyers may benefit by renegotiating price and terms and moving forward. If the sellers are unwilling or unable to reduce the price or offer some other assistance to offset a structural defect, buyers should seriously consider withdrawing their offer and moving forward with another home.

Always make an informed decision when considering a home with any type of structural defect

Information is the best defense when considering the purchase of any home with a potential structural defect. Buyers can start by carefully examining the home while viewing it with their real estate agent, studying the seller’s disclosure carefully, and requesting further information for any issue that may be related to the structural condition of the home.

It is important to remember, however, that some home loans, such as FHA and VA mortgages, are contingent on condition. Buyers who are considering accepting a home with a structural defect should discuss the pros and cons carefully with both their real estate agent and lender before making a final decision.

Buying A House? Demand These 3 Things From Your Agent In New Brighton

If you’re thinking about buying a house in New Brighton, and if you’re going to buy one with the help of an agent, make sure you get the service you need. Read this blog post for information about buying a house? Demand these 3 things from your agent in New Brighton…

If you’re planning to buy a house, you might want to think about getting help from an agent. An agent provides many different benefits and services and they should be focused on serving you and help you.

So, buying a house?

Demand these 3 things from your agent in New Brighton. (And if you don’t get them, find another agent who can help you).

#1. Ask for their track record

Find out how good your agent will be in representing you. See if they can provide you with testimonials and success stories, or some other kind of indicator of how well they represent you. Remember, they should be able to find you plenty of houses to look at and then negotiate well on your behalf.

#2. Ask to look at lots of houses, multiple times

An agent wants to get you into a house as soon as they can. Although they want you to be happy, of course, they also want to minimize how long they take to work with you. Demand that they spend all the time you need.

One way to get their help here is to ask to see lots of houses, and, ask to see some houses multiple times. The reason is simple: An agent might want to show you five houses… but what if you find your dream home after looking at the fifteenth house?

Or, what if you look at ten houses and realize that you want to go back and look at the first house again? A good agent will comply with your wishes.

#3. Ask to drive around the neighborhood

Agents can often be focused on houses and they forget all the other reasons you want to buy a house. For example, you might want to know that there are good schools and parks nearby for your children; so, ask your agent to show you a house and then drive around the neighborhood to view what the neighborhood is like. Both pieces of information are essential for you to make an informed decision.

Summary

Agents are not all the same. Some will do more for you and some will do less. But if you want an agent to serve you make sure you know ahead of time what you want and ask the agent if they’ll do it. Buying a house? Demand these 3 things from your agent in New Brighton… and you’ll love finding the house of your dreams!

If you want to buy a house in New Brighton we can help you with that. Click here now and fill out the form or call our office at 612-840-6507.

4 Reasons Why Homeownership is a Good Investment in Fridley

Maybe in the past, you’ve thought about owning a house but you’re not sure if it’s right for you. Well, aside from owning your own home instead of renting, one consideration is that it’s a sound financial investment. Here are 4 reasons why homeownership is a good investment in Fridley.

There are many kinds of investments out there – from stocks to bonds, from funds to art – but one of the best investments out there is real estate.

It’s a stable, solidly performing investment. If you are curious about whether it’s right for you, here are 4 reasons why homeownership is a good investment in Fridley…

Reason #1. It’s a Real Asset

Some investments, like stocks, are just “paper” assets. That is, they represent an investment but they don’t have any real value themselves. If the company collapses, you’re left with nothing but a worthless piece of paper. However, with real estate, you have a real asset (something you can touch and see) and it has real value.

Reason #2. Upward Trend

One of the things that make real estate a great investment is that the price tends to go up. Sure, the price might fluctuate depending on the economy or what else is going on in the neighborhood, but in general, real estate prices tend to rise over time.

Reason #3. You Can Increase Value

A very powerful reason why real estate is a good investment is that you have control over the value of the property. If you buy a house for a certain price and them improvements, you’ll increase the value of the house.

A new paint job or an upgraded bathroom can raise the resale value of your home. (This is preferable to a stock, which you can’t really improve with a paint job!)

 

Reason #4. Stability

If you’re currently renting a place to live and not sure if a property will give you a good return, then consider this: one often-overlooked return is the stability you get from living in one house that you own.

And that stability translates into a better credit score. And that credit score is a valuable outcome that can improve your ability to borrow, and even your ability to find a job (since some employers will check your credit score before hiring you.)

So just my moving into a home and staying there for a while, you’ll get some stability and be able to increase your credit score.

Summary

If you’re currently renting and debating about whether you should buy a property, then think about the return you could get on that property. Real estate is often a solid investment and here are 4 reasons why home ownership is a good investment in Fridley.

Ready to invest in your next home in Fridley? We want to help. To talk to us about buying your next house, click here now and fill out the form or call our office at 612-840-6507.

4 Reasons To Sell Your Home In The Spring In Shoreview

If you’re thinking about selling your home and trying to decide if you should sell now or later, then you’ll want to read this blog post because it reveals 4 reasons to sell your home in the spring in Shoreview – you might be surprised!

“Should I sell now?”

“Should I sell later?”

“What is the best season to sell my house in?”

If you own a property and are thinking about selling then you might seriously want to consider selling in the spring. While houses are bought and sold all year round, here are…

4 reasons to sell your home in the spring in Shoreview.

Reason #1 More Buyers

The first reason is that this is often a time when buyers are looking to buy. You see, during the winter people spend a lot of time in their homes; and in January, they make plans for the future.

Those two things work together too often create a motivation to start looking for houses as soon as winter is over. So, by listing your house for sale at the very end of winter or beginning of spring, you’re catching the buyers who are very motivated.

Reason #2 Good Weather For Buyers

While people buy homes all year ‘round, some people find winter too cold (and snowy, depending on where you live) and some people find summer too hot for home buying.

Plus, for you, it can be really messy in the winter as sellers track snow and mud through your home. That leaves the spring – a time when people are already motivated to buy, and the weather starts to work in their favor (and yours!)

Reason #3 Timing

The spring is the perfect time for buyers, especially when you consider what else is happening through the year. In the summer, there are vacations; in the fall, it’s back to school; in the winter, it’s busy with holiday traditions and family.

So the spring is a time where there are fewer commitments and a little more time to shop for a home and move.

Reason #4 Easier To Move

The final reason is that it’s easier to move… for the buyers and for you! If you list your house at the beginning of spring and it sells in the spring, then the possession date might be late spring – which is perfect for moving.

The weather is nice and the days are long, which means you move your stuff out and the buyer can move their stuff in with relative ease and comfort.

If you are thinking about selling your house at any time of year, make sure you know all of your options. And, if you want a faster, easier way to sell then get in touch with us here at The Antonov group.

Want a faster way to buy or sell your home? We’re ready to help you right now. Click here now to fill out the form or call our office at 612-840-6507.

5 Reasons You Need To Hire A Real Estate Professional in Blaine

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a property in Blaine then you might be wondering if you should hire a real estate professional to help you.

In this blog post, you’ll read 5 reasons you need to hire a real estate professional in Blaine – these are our recommendations about why a real estate professional can help you buy or sell your real estate!

It used to be that everyone hired a real estate professional when they needed to buy or sell. Times have changed and many people are now exploring other options. So now, the first step is to decide whether or not you even need to hire a professional to help you.

5 reasons you need to hire a real estate professional in Blaine

Reason #1

A real estate professional knows what to do. If you try to do it yourself, you may not realize all the steps or “ins and outs” required of you, which could mean your transaction takes longer, costs more, or gets stopped because of some obstacle you didn’t know about.

Reason #2

A real estate professional has “insider knowledge” of the market. They’ll know whether now is a good time to buy or sell, who is buying and who is selling, where the best places are to buy or sell, and what will increase your chances of buying or selling.

Reason #3

A real estate professional has access to tools which might help them to find a buyer or seller for you faster. The tools might include technology, systems, and a network of other professionals that they can rely on to help them provide you with the service you need

Reason #4

Many people think they can handle the process of buying or selling a house without the help of a professional but when it comes time to negotiate, they realize they really miss that help! A real estate professional can negotiate on your behalf to help you and the other party find a price that will work for you both.

 

 

Reason #5

Once the transaction is almost complete, you’ll need to complete the paperwork. Do you know what paperwork you’ll need? Do you know how to make sure that you don’t get ripped off by the other party?

A real estate professional’s job is to help you understand the paperwork and check to make sure that there are no surprises.

Summary

If you’re wondering whether or not you should hire a professional these are 5 reasons you need to hire a real estate professional in Blaine.

Looking for a recommendation of a great real estate professional? Or maybe you read this list and decided not to hire one anyway. That’s okay, we buy and sell real estate directly.

To get in touch, click here now and fill out the form or call our office at 612-840-6507.

Why Won’t My House Sell In Lino Lakes?

You’re trying to sell a Lino Lakes MN house that just won’t sell?

And yet – the news says the real estate market is heating up. The media is practically shouting again about multiple offers, high demand, and record-setting prices.

So where’s your contract?

These tips could be just what you need to help you sell your [Lino Lakes] home.

Why won’t my house sell in Lino Lakes? – 6 Tips To Cure It

1) Get good help.

Just like before, there are novice agents and investors rushing into the booming market trumpeting that they know what they’re doing.

But they don’t. They’re getting hit hard with the nuances of financing, deal structure, and evaluation. Seriously, chances are good that real estate is your biggest investment – don’t trust just anyone’s advice. If you want great results, partner with the pros.

2) Don’t make too many improvements.

Too often we see over-improved properties – those where the owners have gone too far. Even with the best of intentions, exceptional craftsmanship and true artistic talent, it’s incredibly challenging to exceed what the market is paying. Plus, most buyers want to add their own custom touches. Get rid of all the clutter and think “neutral”.

3) Do make necessary improvements.

Unfixed stuff scares buyers. Show that you’ve been a responsible property owner and get all the little details fixed.

Don’t leave gaps in the trim or plates off of the switches. Get it inspected by a professional home inspector, and show off the healthy home report. This goes a long way towards establishing confidence that they’re making a good purchase.

4) Style and design matters.

Curb appeal is as important as the inside – so don’t neglect one part of the property to improve the other. Give buyers a cohesive impression of great style. Paint the walls, update the landscaping, and most of all – keep it immaculately clean. Consider hiring a professional designer to help tastefully stage the property.

5) Pricing matters a lot.

If you’re getting a lot of showings but not a lot of offers, you might not be too far off in price. If your best efforts to advertise your property aren’t making the phone ring, you’re probably overpriced.

6) Every property will sell – sometime.

There’s no magic formula – but there’s no substitute for experience.

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If you need to sell a house near Lino Lakes, we can help you. We buy Lino Lakes MN houses.

We buy properties like yours from people who need to sell fast.

Give us a call anytime 612-840-6507 or fill out the form here today!

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