A fire is always a tragedy, and a fire during the holidays is even worse. The holidays bring about a lot of hazards including plugging a bunch of lights into one surge protector (think Ellen Griswold checking the PLETHORA of plugs in the garage trying to figure out why Clark’s lights aren’t working). Real Christmas trees also raise concerns since watering them is a MUST if you don’t want your tree going up in flames. Here is a quick list to stay safe this Holiday Season!
- Keep trees away from candles, fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources (Fake and Real trees are both flammable!)
- If you have a real tree, water it DAILY!
- Check holiday lights for fraying, bare spots, gaps in the insulation or excessive kinking in the wire
- Turn off all lights and decorations when not in use
- No more than 2 sets of lights should be plugged in to the same outlet
- Keep your lights from dangling where your pets could chew on them
- Keep potential poisonous plants away from pets and kids (Holly, Mistletoe, Amaryllis, Jerusalem Cherry)
- When preparing meals, wash your hands, utensils, sink and anything else that touches raw meat
- Heat all leftovers to at least 165 degrees
- Refrigerate hot and cold leftovers within 2 hours of being served
- Designate a Sober Driver
- Don’t put your travel plans on social media (burglars exist in the cold, too!)
- Clean your Chimney (because how else is Santa supposed to get in??)
The Holidays are stressful, hopefully these tips will save you any unnecessary headaches this Season.
Does the thought of buying a home scare you? Are you thinking there’s no way you would qualify? And where would you even start? Is it really that hard? I’ve outlined the major steps here, and I’m willing to bet it’s much easier than you think.
Step One: Get a Realtor
Step Two: Figure out your budget
Step Three: Get Pre-Approved
- Going to your local Bank or Credit Union will usually take you less than an hour and will give you a starting point for your budget.
- Make sure you have all your documents with you: Bank statements, Check stubs and Tax Returns for the past 2 years.
- Shop around! Talk to more than one bank, find the best deal for you.
Step Four: Start Shopping
- You can look for houses from your couch (or bed!) anytime you like. Here are a few websites: NextHome TriState, Realtor.com or download our App (NextHome Mobile Connect on iOS/Andriod)
- Drive around potential neighborhoods, some For Sale By Owner listings may not be on the internet.
- Ask your friends! Some homes for sale may be private listings, or not quite on the market yet.
- Be realistic about your needs. Cosmetic changes (paint colors, carpet, etc) are easy fixes!
Step Five: Make an Offer
- If you’re asking for the Seller(s) to cover some or all of your closing costs, keep that in mind if your offer is lower than asking price.
- Consider other potential offers, if you’ve found the house of your dreams, don’t go too low! Other people probably like it, too.
- Be patient. Sellers love to make you wait.
Step Six: Get A Home Inspection!!!!
- Self-explanatory and will save you a headache or twelve, trust us.
Step Seven: Down Payment
- Definitely the scariest part! How will you ever come up with that much money?!? Good news, a lot of states have First-Time Home Buyer Down Payment Assistance programs, which you can find here.
- More and more states are also offering Tax-Free Savings Accounts for Down Payments! Find out if yours does here!
- If you still don’t have enough, consider picking up a seasonal part-time job or de-cluttering your home and selling all the stuff you don’t need.
Step Eight: Closing Time
- Be sure not to make any other large purchases while searching for a home. Your credit needs to be as close to what it was at pre approval as possible.
Step Nine: Move In!
- Congratulations! You did it. Relax, open some bubbly and take it all in.
If you have any questions about anything, someone from NextHome would be more than happy to help you!