Maureen Harmonay - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 3/26/2019

If this is your first time buying a home, you might feel a bit intimidated by the purchase contract. Contracts are often filled with industry and legal jargon, making them difficult to understand for the average buyer and seller.

Contingencies in particular give some buyers cause for concern because their contract depends on the contingencies being fulfilled. However, in most cases contingencies are pretty standard and only serve to protect the interests of both the buyer and seller during a real estate transaction.

In todayís post, Iím going to give you an introduction to contingency clauses and break down some of the most common contingencies youíll find in todayís real estate purchase contract.

Contingency clause definition

Simply stated, a contingency clause is a statement within a contract that requires a certain event takes place before the contract is considered legally valid. As a result, contingency clauses are used to cancel or invalidate a contract if certain conditions arenít met before the sale is made final. So, if one party fails to meet the obligation of the contingency, the other party is no longer bound by the contract (or required to buy or sell the house).

Contingencies can get confusing when they are vaguely worded in the contract, making them difficult to interpret. In these cases, a court may decide the specific meaning of the clause or determine that it is too vague to be legally upheld.

The other instance in which contingency clauses can be confusing is when a party includes a contingency that is atypical for a real estate purchase contract. Buyers and sellers alike should be wary of unusual contingencies.

The main contingencies

  • Appraisal contingency. Designed to protect the buyer, appraisal contingencies require that a home is appraised at a minimum amount, which is stated in the contract.

  • Financing contingency. Another contingency geared toward protecting buyers is the financing contingency. It states the number of days that a buyer has to secure financing for the home. This allows the buyer to cancel the contract (and offer) if theyíre unable to secure suitable financing for the home.

  • Inspection contingency. One of the most important and most common contingencies is the inspection contingency. It allows the buyer to have the house inspected by a licensed professional within a certain number of days. This protects the buyer against unforeseen expenses and repairs that will need to be made in the near future.

  • House sale and kick-out contingencies. A house sale contingency gives the buyer a certain number of days to sell their home before financing a new one. However, since this can be a risky clause for sellers, a kick-out clause is often included. This contingency allows the seller to keep the home on the market and entertain other offers while the buyer secures financing and sells their other home or homes.





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Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 3/19/2019

Once you have bought a new house, you may feel lost as to where to start. Thereís a long checklist of things that you should do to get yourself established in a new space. Here, you'll find a plan on what to do next. 


Get Recommendations On Local People You Can Work With 


Your realtor is a good place to start in asking who they recommend for many types of workers including plumbers, electricians, contractors, and more. You may even want to talk to your next door neighbors and see who they have used in the past for these types of handy work jobs. Even if you donít need any kind of work done immediately, itís a good idea to have some names and numbers on hand for future reference.


Donít Paint Right Away


Although it seems much more practical to paint an empty house, once you live in your new home for awhile, youíll get a sense of where the light hits and what colors will complement your furniture. When you pick colors in a rush, you run the risk of choosing shades that you may not love in the long term. Focus on properly lighting your rooms before you even start to paint.


Donít Forget The Housewarming Party!


If you plan a housewarming party for a date thatís not too far after you move in, it will give you motivation to get things done in the house. The housewarming party is your accountability partner to get you to unpack those boxes and get decorating. Try to plan the party somewhere between one and two months after your planned move-in date. This will give you time to get things done, just not too much time!  


Meet The Neighbors


You should take some time very soon after you move in to meet your new neighbors. They can be a great resource for you as to what happens in your new neighborhood. Find out if any of your new neighbors have dogs that your own dog could meet for a friendly walk. Your new friends will even give you information about a neighborhood watch or important community activities as well.


Safety First


Youíll want to check all of your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and alarm systems. Be sure that they work. Then, change the batteries in each system to start fresh. You should also equip your house with a fire extinguisher or two. You can never be too prepared for an emergency. 


Next, you should check all of the door and window locks. Replace anything that used a key. You never know who had keys to the home before it was sold.

When you start small in a new home, things will begin to come together slowly but surely just like puzzle pieces.




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Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 3/12/2019

Before you decide what grass to purchase for your lawn take a moment to assess your life and yard to select the best warm or cool-season grass variety for you. Here are some crucial items to think about that will affect your choice of grass. 

How will your lawn be used?

Think about where and why you're planting sod. If your installing new grass for your front lawn the use may be more for aesthetics than active use. If planting for your backyard the grass might see more traffic, and if you have children who will play outside frequently or pets that live in the yard, youíll want to select a more rough and tough variety of grass for your climate zone. If the lawn is just for show, a beautiful but sensitive grass might do well for you.

What are the conditions in your yard?

Does your yard already allow for drainage? Your yard might already have an irrigation system, or you may need to install one. Make sure your yard is or can be well-prepared for the grass you select. If implementing an irrigation system will be difficult, or simply isn't cost effective so it won't fit in your budget consider a grass that won't need so much drainage. Look at the terrain of your yard. Will the area you're planting be easy or challenging to mow? If on a hill perhaps you want to plant a grass that only needs mowing once or twice a month or a grass that looks good if left to grow long. 

Assessing sun and shade

Even if you know what climate zone you live in youíll still need to assess the sun and shade situation for your yard in particular. Observe your yard throughout the day, over the course of a few days. Track where the sun hits throughout the day and what areas have shade, and at what times. Tracking will help you narrow down your grass selections before you start looking at costs. 

Cost. 

How does lawn maintenance fit into your budget? If you want a grass that needs lots of irrigation or regular fertilizer, you'll need to account for the ongoing cost. Make sure you can afford to continue taking care of your lawn over the long term so that you can protect your investment. 

With this information you can review the grass varieties available to you, that suit your climate zone and make the best selection. If a lush front lawn or hearty backyard that can handle kids playing is essential to you, discuss your needs with your real estate agent so that they can include information about each lawn in the houses they present you and help you find the right yard for your lifestyle.




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Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 3/5/2019

If you've bought a home that includes kitchen appliances, you may need to sell your current appliances before moving day. Fortunately, if you host a garage sale, you can sell a wide range of kitchen appliances in no time at all.

Some of the most popular kitchen appliances to sell at a garage sale include:

1. Refrigerator

In many instances, a homebuyer will request a refrigerator in a home offer. And if the seller accepts this proposal, a property buyer may need to get rid of his or her current refrigerator quickly.

Selling your refrigerator during your garage sale offers several benefits. First, you may be able to earn several hundred dollars for your refrigerator if it looks and performs great. You also can sell your refrigerator before your move, thereby eliminating the risk that you'll have to relocate this large, heavy appliance to your new address.

Evaluate the age and condition of your refrigerator prior to pricing it. That way, you can establish a competitive price for your appliance.

In addition, spend some time cleaning your refrigerator's interior and exterior. This will increase the likelihood that your refrigerator will stir up interest from garage sale shoppers.

2. Microwave

Although your kitchen microwave has served you well for many years, you likely have no need for two microwaves at your new address. Luckily, you can sell your current microwave now to earn extra cash prior to moving day.

Many microwaves are available, and as such, you'll want to learn as much as possible about your microwave. This will enable you to provide garage sale shoppers with plenty of information about your microwave's features.

Don't forget to test and clean your microwave before you add it to your garage sale inventory. By doing so, you can guarantee your microwave performs correctly and looks outstanding when you try to sell it during your garage sale.

3. Toaster

Your toaster has been a mainstay in your kitchen, but there may be no time like the present to sell it.

Remove crumbs and other food particles from your toaster as soon as possible. These particles can affect a toaster's performance, and in some instances, create fire hazards.

Furthermore, wipe down your toaster's exterior. An in-depth toaster cleaning will help you generate interest in your appliance during your garage sale.

Kitchen appliances usually are in high demand among garage sale shoppers. If you dedicate the necessary time and resources to clean and maintain these items, you should have no trouble selling them at a garage sale.

Lastly, if you plan to buy a home in the near future, you may want to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about new homes as they hit the market and help you submit offers on houses. Plus, a real estate agent will make it easy to plan ahead for a pre-moving day garage sale and ensure you can enjoy a seamless transition from one address to another.




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Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 2/26/2019

Having a clogged drain in the bathroom is not one of the prettiest sights. First, it starts with water that doesn't drain as fast as it should from the tub. Then the odors begin to rise from the drains and then one day, it is completely blocked. Cleaning out any clogged sink isn't rocket science, you merely need to know what to do.

  1. Use boiling water. Boil as much water as possible in your kettle and then slowly pour it down the drain. You can pour an additional two or three kettles full of hot water and mix it with some detergent or bleach for maximum effect. This method is the fastest way of unclogging a drain and works well for mild blockages.
  2. Use baking soda and vinegar. Baking soda probably has like a thousand uses around the house, and unclogging drains is one of them. Pour one small cup of baking soda down the clogged drain. Then add a small cup of vinegar too. The mixture will foam immediately, and this will help dissolve the bits of hair and other things that are stuck in the drain. Leave the mixture in your drain for about an hour and then rinse with hot water. This method will work for small and moderate blockages.
  3. Use Caustic Soda. Some drain blockages require the introduction of chemicals to clear them up. Get a bottle of caustic soda from your local hardware store. However be careful with the handling as it can cause severe burns on the body. Pour about 3 liters of water in a bucket and then add about 2 or 3 cups of caustic soda. Stir the mixture with any piece of wood and pour it into the blocked drainage. The solution will start heating up and fizzing, so you should leave it for about 45 minutes before flushing off with boiling water.
  4. Using a chemical remover. If any of your previous attempts have been unable to resolve your problem, a chemical clog remover might be your last alternative to taking the pipes and drainage system apart. But you should use any chemical remover with caution because they may damage pipes if used repeatedly. Follow any instructions on the packaging correctly, especially with regards to protective gear and amount to use. Ask at your neighborhood hardware store for recommendations on clog removers to purchase. 

Please remember that preventing clogged drains is the best way to deal with clogged pipes. If the blockages persist, reach out to a plumbing professional for help.