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Transitioning from Renter to Homeowner: What To Do

It’s always been the American dream to own your own home. The dream of singing your mortgage agreement and holding the title can create butterflies in our stomach though when you don’t know the first step of what to do. For those who have been renting, home ownership is a major milestone transition.

The idea of renting may be comforting (limited upkeep of your place, maintenance taken care of for you, plus any on-site amenities, etc.) but owning a home is one of the smartest financial investments you can make, and it’s never too late to get started! So, to help you transition to your new phase in life, here are some tips you can take note:

  • Understand the added costs to your monthly expenses. When you are renting, you need to set aside a budget for your monthly rent and utilities. Being a homeowner, there is the added expense of home repairs as they occur, insurance, taxes and your mortgage. Principle, Insurance, Taxes and Interest on your mortgage are typically all wrapped together in an acronym of your payment called PITI.
  • Know that you will take care of the maintenance. Is the sink dripping? Did the washer stop working? You are going to be the one to deal with any problems in maintenance. It’s always good to ask your Realtor for trusted referrals in maintenance professionals to get started in the right direction.
  • Your housing uncertainty ends! When you rent, your lease contract will come to an end, and it could mean looking for another place to call home. When you own a house, it all ends there. Keep up your payments on your taxes, insurance and mortgage, and you can stay there all your life if you want!
  • It becomes your investment. Paying rental dues is like money flushed down the drain… you are never seeing it again. However, when you own a house, you are living in an asset. As you pay down your mortgage, you increase your equity in your home. If ever the time comes and you wish to sell your home, you are able to reap the reward of the equity earned in your home + any appreciation on the overall home price. It can almost be like living somewhere for free when you get that money back!
  • Prepare your finances. Home loan rates are on the rise and it’s always best to seize the rates at their current level in the event they may go up again. Preparation is always key though in determining if you are ready for home ownership. Assess your current financial situation and prepare for extra costs in the future. Surprisingly, in some markets – it can be just as expensive, if not more so, to rent than to own your own home.
  • Learn how to do it yourself. It’s time to get handy! Rest assured, there will be a need to being learning to do repairs, landscaping, gardening, painting and more, yourself. Doing it yourself will save you a ton of money in the long haul and cut down on the additional costs of home ownership.
  • Find a good Realtor. Find a good Realtor who knows your city and areas you are interested in. If you are looking in or around the OKC area – I would be happy to help you find your first home!

Chris George Homes
Oklahoma City Realtor
Let’s get in touch: 405.843.8188

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Practical Tips in Preventing Mold Growth in Your Home

It happens all at once it seems – one day you look under your sink, in your tub, or even on your bathroom ceiling! The dark green and black fungi has set up shop and you know – where there is one, there must be more. Yes, we’re talking about mold!Mold grows all too easily, especially in places where there is high moisture in the air. Aside from the fact that molds look unappealing and dirty, they can also cause health concerns such as respiratory diseases, irritation and allergies.

Tackling mold as it grows is just a good practice to introduce at home. But, remember that prevention is always better than cure. So, why not prevent mold growth instead of waiting for it to grow before you address the issue?

Preventing mold growth can better protect the health of your family since there are no spores, even to the smallest level, that can harm your health. In addition, there will be no marks left by old molds on your things, thus keeping your property looking its best.

How do you prevent mold growth? Here are a few things you can do at home:

  • Ventilate your bathroom. This is the highest at risk place for mold growth. Since your bathroom is always humid and wet, mold can easily grow in certain areas. Ventilation can help dry out the place after you use your bathroom. Install an exhausted fan and open the windows to let the air in and the steam out.
  • Store your firewood outside. Freshly cut woods contain high levels of moisture thus encouraging mold growth. To prevent mold from contaminating your indoorenvironment, store your firewood in your shed or any dry place outside your home.
  • Dry wet rags and linens outside. Instead of drying your damp kitchen linens inside, dry them out thoroughly so these will not retain moisture for a long period of time and prevent mold growth. Even a little moisture cause problems if stored in your linen closet before fully dried.
  • Install a dehumidifier. Especially if you have had a lot of rain or live in a traditionally humid environment – one is recommended in your kitchen and other high-moisture areas like your bathroom. Dehumidifiers can regulate air moisture and condensation so your kitchen and other parts of the house stay dry and mold free.
  • Seal grouts. Otherwise, water will hold for a longer period of time and staining your grout. The retention of water can encourage mold to grow fast. Seal your grout to protect it. Reseal if you have done it before. Trust us, it’s time. Tiles is highly porous and will easily retain water if unsealed.

Fix plumbing problems. Even small leaks and other plumbing concerns can build up moisture and encourage mold. Fix the problem immediately!

Chris George Homes
Oklahoma City Realtor
Let’s get in touch: 405.843.8188

How to Take Good Care of Your Trees

Trees are beautiful accessories to our property that give us more benefits than many of us think of. They give us shade during the heat of summer,fresh air, and help create habitats for squirrels and birds to watch. Additionally, trees are assets that can add to the value of your property (everybody loves “mature trees”).

While trees may seem low-maintenance, taking good care of them is also important to ensure their health and longevity. To help in the upkeep of your trees, here are a few care tips below:

  • Regularly trim your trees – This will remove dead branches and leaves that still cling on to your trees sapping nutrients. Trimming can make your trees look beautiful. It can also maintain its good shape. If old branches and leaves are trimmed, new ones will grow more easily.
  • Water your trees – Just like you, trees and their roots need water. When watering, make sure that the amount you use is proportional to how big or small your trees are. Bigger trees with bigger roots need more water. If you are planting a new tree – dig the hole for your tree below ground level when filled in so that water can easily collect as a reservoir for your new tree.
  • Adding fertilizer to your trees – Fertilizers are like vitamins to your trees! When you fertilize your trees, you are helping in promoting its growth. Add more fertilizer during summer season to make up for any drought conditions that may rob your soil of vital nutrients.
  • Keep pests and diseases away – Harmful pests can also lurk around your trees inhibiting them from growing. Pests and diseases can also kill your trees if unaddressed! Look for signs of weaknesses in your trees and have these inspected.
  • Adding mulch around your trees – Mulch can do wonders for your trees. These can protect your trees, especially their roots. Mulch can also improve the oxygen level and temperature of your trees, thus keeping them well preserved.

Remove plants growing around your trees – Plants that are too near to your trees can compromise their growth by leeching nutrients from the soil around your trees. These should be removed, post haste!For the plants you wish to keep, you can transfer them, but remove weeds by hand, as weed-killer will also seep into the soil and risk damaging your trees.

Chris George Homes
Oklahoma City Realtor
Let’s get in touch: 405.843.8188

Keeping Your Home Safe During an Open House

When it comes to your home, one of your top priorities is safety. You do not let people simply come and go as they please, whether you are home or not. Right? But, when you open your house for potential buyers, you often cannot help but let the masses come in. Especially during open houses. Open houses may sound innocent but it can be an opportunity for visitors to steal or break your possessions.

 

So, how do you keep your home safe during an open house?

  • Safeguard your valuable items in a safe place inside your bedroom. Keep your jewelry, money, cards and other money-bearing items locked in a safe inside your cabinet. Make sure your Realtor has a method for checking in on visitors when they are in the house to keep an eye on them, especially in your bedroom.
  • Clean your house. Aside from helping with the overall aesthetic of selling your home. The more unorganized your house is, the more it is difficult for you to notice if something is missing. Clear off the clutter especially in places your visitorsmay linger.
  • If you are selling your home yourself, ask someone to be with your during your open house. They can help you accommodate the traffic and keep an eye on visitors.
  • Lock cabinets. If there are important things in the cabinet, lock it to ensure that nobody can snoop around inside! People don’t need to go through every single cabinet in your home to see what the cabinetry looks like.
  • Know who it is that enters your property. It is your right to know who you are opening your home to with potential buyers. Ask them to sign in with name and contact information. Additionally, feel free to ask them questions such as where they live now, how many are they in the family. This will help you get to know people that are already inside your home.
  • Keep dangerousobjects out of sight. This includes knives, firearms and other harmful objects that could put you or your family at risk. A little prudence can go a long way with these kinds of things.

Avoid telling too much about your personal life. While it’s important to be open about your home, it is okay to be a little cautious with trusting people too easily. If their questions begin to skirt on topics that you wish to not answer (your children, financial information, etc.), you may choose not to answer them. While it is rare, there are those who will case a house from an Open House – it’s best to leave personal information and valuables out of sight and out of mind.

Chris George Homes
Oklahoma City Realtor
Let’s get in touch: 405.843.8188

How to Make Your Living Room Look More Expensive

Presentation is everything in a home. Whether you are selling or just having friends or family over, your home is your sanctuary and should reflect your style. Creating a more elegant look for their home is something many people desire – whileit may involve a few expensive items, in reality you don’t need to go all out. Mixing “highs” and “lows” works beautifully when it comes to decorating.

How do you convert your living room into a moreelegant and glamorousroom? Here are a few tricks you can follow:

  • Make it simple. Too many decorations do not automatically mean luxury; it only means clutter. Simplify your decorations by having a few timeless pieces to decorate and functional items to add in your living room.
  • Choose a central theme. This can restrict you from venturing into decorations that do not easily work with the others. You can have a monochromatic theme or any personalized niche you want to feature for your guests.
  • Work with 2 to 3 color pallets. You can use different shades of color but limit your colors so as not to create a clutter of hues. Refer to the color wheels for combinations, or you can flip through any classic home decor magazines for trendy color combinations that will inspire you for your living room.
  • Pick out an elegant centerpiece. It can be a huge work of art on the wall, a wooden coffee table, your multi-functional TV stand or a beautiful couch. You can have 1 or 2 centerpieces in your living room for conversation pieces or something that will lead the perspective.
  • Be mindful of the small things. Carefully choose the style and color of the things you put in your living room. For instance, you can choose a good side table to go with your couch, as long as it complements in color and shape. Even your lamp can make or break an area of your living room if not chosen well.
  • Create a warm ambiance. Your living room needs to be inviting and pleasant. Make the room warm by opening the windows for natural light to come in or decorating with indoor plants for a more vibrant “living” interior.
  • Choose light colors for your wall. This will also add to the warmth and appeal of your living room. Work around with only 1 to 2 paint colors. Avoid too bold or risky colors. Stick with the classics.
  • Invest in a good rug. Make sure you have a decent quality rug on the floor. Choose a color and design that complements the overall theme of your room.

Dress your couch. Add textured throw pillows to make it look more elegant.

 

Chris George Homes
Oklahoma City Realtor
Let’s get in touch: 405.843.8188

Oklahoma City Council approves MAPS 3 Convention Center preliminary report

Civic leaders celebrate ribbon-cutting for first senior health and wellness center

Mayor Mick Cornett and other civic leaders gathered on Feb. 28 for a ribbon cutting and open house at the first MAPS 3 Senior Health & Wellness Center.

Healthy Living and Fitness, Inc. will operate the center. Anyone age 50 and older can join, not just Oklahoma City residents. Individual memberships are $30 per month, and two people from the same household can share a membership for $50 per month. Visit healthylivingokc.com for membership details and other information.

The 40,272-square-foot building has a heated indoor saltwater fitness pool, a full-sized gymnasium, fully equipped exercise room, an aerobics room, classroom space, a demonstration kitchen, an outdoor bocce ball court, art studio, café, lounge, health screening room and more.

Every aspect of the senior center is designed to be easily accessible for older adults. A gently sloping ramp provides easy access to the pool and a curb-less parking lot are examples of design elements with seniors in mind.

W.L. McNatt is the construction contractor, and GSB is the architect.

Oklahoma City Council approves MAPS 3 Convention Center preliminary report

The Oklahoma City Council voted in February to approve the preliminary report for the MAPS 3 Downtown Convention Center, bringing it one step closer to its scheduled groundbreaking late this year.

The convention center, to be located south of Chesapeake Energy Arena adjacent to the future MAPS 3 Park, will feature sleek modern design, sweeping downtown views, 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, 45,000 square feet of meeting rooms and a 30,000-square-foot ballroom.

The massive exhibit hall dominates the ground floor and features three operable walls that can divide it into four smaller spaces, providing flexible layouts for different uses.

Meeting rooms are on all levels of the building, and many also have operable walls to make the spaces flexible. They can be configured to provide up to 27 individual meeting spaces.

The fourth level of the building is dedicated to the ballroom, which is complemented by 10,000 square feet of pre-function space and a 4,000-square-foot panoramic balcony.

Informal meeting spaces, a kitchen, an expansive loading dock and administrative offices are also planned for the convention center.

The gleaming, angular façade has towering glass walls to make maximum use of natural light and takes its design cues from Oklahoma City’s sky, landscape and architectural character.

The building will also make use of design elements and construction materials to maximize energy efficiency and resilience against weather conditions, which is especially important for a west-facing building in Oklahoma City’s unpredictable climate.

The interior design combines metallic, reflective surfaces with warm, rich wood tones and stacked stone textures. Landscaping outside the convention center will use native plants and trees well-suited to the local climate, with a focus on sustainability, comfort and beauty. A central plaza and other inviting spaces will help the convention center’s exterior come alive with activity.

Wayfinding stations inside and outside the convention center will be interactive.

The estimated cost of the convention center is about $194 million. The MAPS 3 Downtown Convention Center project budget is $288 million and includes other costs like property acquisition.

 

Chris George Homes
Oklahoma City Realtor
Let’s get in touch: 405.843.8188

Basic Tips on How to Add Fertilizer to Your Home Garden

Growing your own garden can be a wonderful adventure right in the comforts of your own backyard. Starting with choosing the kinds of plants you want, up to doing the “dirty work”, every step in the process creates a sense of accomplishment. Best of all – second to maybe painting, having a garden is one of the most rewarding ways to see results from your labor, very quickly!

One way to ensure that your plants remain healthy is to add fertilizers. These can be natural or artificial food to sustain the life of your plants and help them to grow fast. However, when choosing a fertilizer, make sure to use what is safest (natural choices are typically the safest bet).

Adding fertilizers to your plants is not a difficult task. To help you properly add fertilizer to your home garden, here are a few basic tips below:

  • Test your soil. The type of soil you have determines the amount and kind of fertilizer you should use. Check the pH level of your soil so you can properly adjust. Too much fertilizer can indeed harm the plants.
  • Create your own fertilizers. There is no need to buy fertilizers! You can make your own by simply using kitchen and food waste. These are not only environmentally friendly, but it can help to save you money as well.
  • Fertilize on dry and less windy day. It will be more practical to add more fertilizer straight on the soil than allowing the wind to blow some of it away.
  • Water your lawn a day before adding fertilizer. When you add fertilizer, you don’t need to water a ton, just enough to wash the fertilizer in to the ground.
  • Spread your fertilizer when applying to ensure uniform and consistent distribution. Use a rake to spread out your fertilizer so all of your plants can obtain the same amount of nutrients.
  • Know how to properly use your fertilizer. When you buy fertilizer, read the instructions first! There are water-soluble fertilizers that you can directly spray on the leaves while there others you need to add to the soil. Make sure to understand the type of fertilizer you bought before using.

Use a rotary spreader if you have a larger lawn. This will help properly spread the fertilizer while minimizing the work for you.

Chris George Homes
Oklahoma City Realtor
Let’s get in touch: 405.843.8188

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