Working in your attic may not be a chore you perform frequently but it is one that must be done on occasion. Whether you use yours as a storage space or are performing an energy assessment in your home, safely accessing your attic should be a top priority. Below are some tips you can practice the next time you need to go up into the attic to ensure a safe working experience.

Before you begin working make sure you have dressed appropriately. Wear a long sleeve shirt tucked into pants and gloves to avoid materials sticking to your skin which can cause irritation. You will also want to wear a dust mask and protective eyewear to avoid inhaling airborne fibers or other harmful debris that could be airborne in your attic. Attics can house mold and mildew among other hazardous materials that can bring you harm and/or make you sick when not properly protected against them.

If your attic requires a fold-down ladder to access it check that the ladder is safe to support your weight. Look for any missing or loose screws that are intended to hold the ladder together and tighten/replace them before using it to get into your attic. You will be climbing up and down it as you work so you want to make sure that it will be safe to use. Adding a railing around the opening of your attic access will also add extra safety measures against falling.

If your attic is unfinished and/or has potentially unsupportive flooring consider installing a safer floor by laying plywood down. Add walk boards or temporary platforms to an unfinished attic that doesn’t require permanent flooring. Always be cautious of where you step to avoid stepping on wires, ductwork or areas lacking trusses and joists. This precaution will save you from accidentally breaking through the ceiling which will put you at risk of serious harm and some major repairs. You will also want to be aware of any roofing nails poking down or old faulty wiring that requires repair.

Be sure to check for signs of any animals that may have decided to move in over the winter months. If you do discover unwelcome tenants take the proper course of action by hiring a professional to rid your attic of them safely for both you and them. Some animals, like bats, may be protected by federal law so you will want to rid your house of them responsibly.

When you are finished working in the attic for the day be sure to change and wash your clothes to avoid spreading hazardous debris over the rest of your house. Before you begin working spread an old sheet under the hatch and vacuum the surrounding area afterward for easy clean up.

Attic safety practices are crucial to avoid harming yourself and preventing damage to your home. With some simple preparations and an active awareness, you can get chores done in your attic effectively and safely!

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You may think buying a short sale is a good deal and many times it can be a good option. Short sales can also be fraught with complications and often can easily fall apart. Here is a list of things to be aware of so your short sale doesn’t become a long shot.

• When a house is placed for sale as a short sale the owner doesn’t always have the authority to sell the house at the advertised price. The owner hopes the bank will accept that price as a short sale.

• The negotiating process is far different than a regular sale. You often will first negotiate with a seller but remember the bank has the final say-so.

• You are making an offer to purchase blind because many lenders will not even discuss a short sale with a seller until a purchase contract is in place. There is no guarantee the lender will even accept a short-sale offer.

• Short sales often are not short at all. They can be long, drawn-out affairs. Be prepared for it to take months.

• Even though the lender may have taken their time on the short sale approval, once approved the lender often require the sale to close within a short period of time.

Due to the way many short sales happen, a buyer may have to put out money for a home inspection, appraisal, credit report and application fees paid to their lender and the sale may not even happen. So while short sales can often be a good deal they can also be a long shot. Take your time, do your research and be sure to work with a real estate professional to help guide you through the potential pitfalls of a short sale.

Getting ready to buy a new home? You’ll want to hire a real estate agent to guide you along the homebuying journey, as this professional will possess the skills and know-how needed to ensure you can find your dream home quickly.

There are many great reasons for homebuyers to work with a real estate agent, including:

1. You Can Check Out a Wide Range of Homes That Fit Your Needs.

Whether you’re looking for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the city or a small residence on the outskirts of town, a real estate agent can arrange home showings to ensure you can check out a variety of houses that fit your needs.

Remember, a real estate agent works for you and will do everything he or she can to help you find your ideal residence. This professional will conduct research into homes that meet your criteria and even work with a home seller’s real estate agent to make sure you can view a house at your convenience.

2. You Can Receive Expert Support During the Negotiation Stage.

No homebuyer wants to enter the negotiation stage alone. Fortunately, a real estate agent will help you manage negotiations.

Negotiations with a home seller can become contentious if you’re not careful, but your real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you get your dream house at the right price, regardless of the circumstances.

3. You Can Get Extra Help with a Home Inspection.

Completing a home inspection is paramount before you finalize a purchase agreement with a home seller. And with a trusted real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble finding a reliable home inspector who will be able to identify potential issues with a house before you buy it.

Your real estate agent also can help you minimize stress if a home inspector encounters problems with a house.

For example, your real estate agent will speak with a home seller to ensure any home repairs are completed before you finalize your purchase agreement. Thus, you’ll be able to buy a home that you can enjoy for years to come thanks in part to the support provided by your real estate agent.

4. You Can Enjoy a Simple Closing Process.

The closing process often represents the final step before you can move into your new home. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the paperwork that is included as part of this process and ensure you are comfortable with each form you sign.

Your real estate agent, meanwhile, will be with you during the closing process and can explain the importance of each form. Furthermore, your real estate agent will be happy to respond to any concerns or queries and help you feel comfortable throughout the closing process.

Ultimately, your real estate agent may play a key role in your ability to find the perfect house. As a result, be sure to spend some time interviewing prospective real estate agents in your area to find a real estate professional that you can collaborate with during each stage of the homebuying journey.

As a home seller, you want your house to spark interest among large groups of interested homebuyers. That way, you’ll be better equipped to reap the benefits of a fast sale.

Ensuring your home sells quickly, however, can be a time-consuming process. Fortunately, we’re here to help you speed up the process of selling your home.

Here are three tips that you can use to accelerate the home selling process:

1. Focus On Improving Your Home’s Curb Appeal.

What do homebuyers think when they see your house for the first time? Ultimately, your house’s curb appeal can make a world of difference in the eyes of homebuyers and may help you speed up the process of finding prospective homebuyers as well.

You don’t need to break your budget to boost your house’s curb appeal, either.

In fact, simple home maintenance such as mowing your front lawn, pressure-washing the front walkway and even polishing the doorknob on your front door can help your house stand out to homebuyers.

2. Depersonalize Your Home.

The photographs, antiques and treasured art that fill your home serve as wonderful decorations, but you should put these items in storage to depersonalize your residence while you sell your home. By doing so, you’ll be able to ensure your personal items remains safe and can make it easier for homebuyers to envision what life could be like if they purchase your residence.

Typically, homebuyers will evaluate the “potential” of your house during a home showing. And if your home is filled with personal items, it may become exceedingly difficult for homebuyers to imagine a future in which they buy your home.

Dedicate the necessary time and resources to depersonalize your house before you add it to the real estate market. Because if you’re able to depersonalize your residence as much as possible, you’ll be better equipped to speed up the home selling process.

3. Employ a Friendly, Experienced Real Estate Agent.

Selling a home can be tricky, but a friendly, experienced real estate agent will help you streamline the process of selling your house. Thus, this professional will ensure you’re able to maximize the value of your home and improve your chances of a quick sale.

For instance, a real estate agent can share information about your home with a broad array of homebuyers without delay. This professional also can provide homebuyers with high-quality photographs of your home and any other information they need to help them become more comfortable with submitting an offer on your house.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent works for you and is ready to answer any of your concerns or questions. As such, your real estate agent serves as a dependable resource who can guide you through each step of the home selling process.

When it comes to selling your residence, don’t take any chances. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you’ll be better equipped to generate significant interest in your house.

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