Archive for the ‘Real Estate’ Category


Designing a Suave Bachelor Pad

Monday, April 25th, 2016

modern neutral bedroom in bachelor pad

Designing a Suave Bachelor Pad
Have you recently moved into your very own pad? You can turn your new apartment into a masculine oasis that looks high-end without breaking the bank to do so. Take these design tips into consideration when you’re planning out your new bachelor pad and transform your home into the space of your dreams.

Use Paint to Your Advantage
If you purchased your home, there’s no reason you shouldn’t paint your walls. Few things can change the entire atmosphere of a space like a fresh coat of paint. If you’re renting your bachelor pad, check with the landlord first. If they give the go ahead, you’re in the clear. If they say no, consider whether it’s worth it to take a hit in your security deposit so that you can make your space exactly the way you want it to. In most cases, it’s completely worth it. Call TalkLocal and within minutes we’ll connect you with a local pro that’s able to paint your new pad.

Think Modern
You may not have the bank account to throw a small fortune into your design, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your place look expensive, without it actually being, well, expensive. An easy way to do this is stick to modern décor options. Clean lines and modern materials combine for a high-end look your visitors will definitely be impressed by. Modern looks lend themselves to minimalism, which is great for guys looking to carve a clean, clear space that encompasses the best of the 21st century. If you’re unsure what can be categorized as modern, use websites dedicated to modern objects, gadgets, and decorations like One of the easiest ways to make an impression without going overboard? Statement art. Banksy-style pieces are sure to draw the eye, and minimalist paintings will give you an air of sophistication with ease. If you don’t want to drop hundreds of dollars on a canvas painting, consider purchasing a few large art prints from Society6. You can hang up multiple or rotate through to keep your décor feeling lively all year long. One final note: make sure you frame it; this isn’t college and unframed posters have no business being taped or nailed to the wall.

Maintain Your Space
Keep your space clean. Nothing is less impressive than a space that’s cluttered with décor and littered with trash. If you can’t find the fortitude to clean up after yourself, invest in a cleaning service to come each week. Keeping a clean space is good for both your physical and mental health. Clutter leads to higher rates of stress and depression, so do yourself a favor and make the commitment to keeping your new pad looking its best. Besides, with a clean place, you’ll never have to worry about quickly picking up for an unexpected guest.

A Source of Entertainment
If you want your bachelor pad to be the go-to spot for the big game or Friday night get-togethers, make sure your entertainment center is up to par. If you’ve got some money to work with, an in-home theater system is the way to go. Complete with a Blu-ray player and speakers that you can hide throughout your living room for the biggest effect, your movies and music will come through with the best audio in the apartment complex (don’t be surprised if you get a few noise complaints). While you probably want to include a television, game consoles, and speaker systems in your space, one thing that will kill the look of your space is the presence of tangled cords. Install a concealing channel and thread your wires through, or use a BlueLounge Cable Box to get rid of unsightly brambles of cord. If you need help hanging and installing your latest gadgets, call TalkLocal for a local handyman.

An At-Home Bar
What could be more debonair than your very own personal bar? If you plan on doing any type of entertaining, it’s worth it to invest in some quality barware. From cocktail shakers to tumblers for your whiskey, you likely have many of the bar accoutrements you need already. One thing you might not have? A bar cart. Check out this simple but refined option from Room & Board. A little out of your price range? This version from Target is under a hundred dollars, and you can always spray paint it to make it match your home’s color scheme.

The Clauses Every Landlord Should Include on Their Lease

Thursday, April 21st, 2016


More and more Americans are choosing to rent instead of own, making for a competitive renter’s market that leaves landlords with the pick of the litter when it comes time to place a tenant. As you have more leeway in the selection process, make sure your lease is up to par with all the provisions you need to keep yourself and your personal assets safe. If you are drafting your first lease agreement, or just looking to make some smart additions, consider the following lease provisions that are often overlooked.

Renter’s Insurance
It’s becoming more and more commonplace to require renters to purchase their own individual insurance. Should any natural disasters or accidents happen, you may find yourself paying extensive deductible fees to cover repairs on damages. If your tenant were to have something like Allstate renter’s insurance, their coverage would likely cover the cost of your deductible. This provision is ideal for both renter and landlord, as both their personal possessions and your personal assets are covered in case the worst happens. Make sure you have a clear understanding of just what is covered under your tenant’s plan before signing off on the lease.

A Set Number of Tenants
This may seem obvious, but make sure you put a provision stipulating the exact number of people that can live in your home. You may find the perfect tenant, and realize months down the line their boyfriend or girlfriend and four kids have moved in. It’s a common occurrence, so make sure you stipulate verbally and in writing that only the signed tenants can reside in the home. Forgoing this important step means potentially allowing un-vetted individuals to live in your home.

Decide on Subleasing
If you don’t include a clause on subleasing, be fully prepared for your tenants to take advantage of the situation and look to make a little money off of your property. Most common in communities with college students who will leave for the summer months, subleasing can be an essential part of your rental agreement, but it comes with its fair share of challenges and potential consequences. The problem with unregulated subleasing is that it allows new tenants to reside in your home that haven’t been checked for criminal pasts or eviction histories. If you do decide to allow for subleasing, make sure you require your tenants to submit applications for the subleasees to be vetted through a service like MySmartMove. It will give your long-term tenants the flexibility they need, and ensure your home isn’t vulnerable to the damage of strangers you haven’t approved.

A Pest Provision
You might not have thought to put pest control on your lease, but it can be an important part of the rental process. If you have a pre-existing problem, laws require you to take care of it for the tenants. However, if poor hygiene or living habits on the part of your tenant is the main cause of pests, you don’t want to be responsible for paying for pest control and cleanup.

Charging a Late Fee
If you’re using a general template for your lease, you might not already have a clause including late fees based on rent checks that arrive late. Varying states and localities have different regulations in place about how much of a late fee you can charge, so be sure to check with legal counsel before you try to enforce this rule. Not only do you need to get your late fee charges in writing, but you also need to remain firm in your practice. Letting it slide once means letting it slide every time, and you need to remember that your rental property is a business, and your tenant is not your friend.

Whether you’re renting out your home for the first time or you’ve been a landlord for years, it’s always a good idea to review your lease provisions before allowing a tenant to reside within your personal property. Run through this checklist of clauses and ensure you lease protects you and your personal assets from the vulnerabilities that come along with being a landlord. If you find your current lease agreement less than sufficient, call TalkLocal and we’ll connect you with a lawyer that can help.

10 Things You Missed When Inspecting Your New Home

Thursday, September 24th, 2015


For the past few weeks or months, all of your web browsing has been on Zillow. Your weekends have been packed with open houses. Your heart has been broken into tiny little pieces with thoughts like, “It looks so much better in the pictures,” or  “If only this was closer to work,” and “I’m sorry, I just can’t see past the staging…or maybe it’s the smell.”

Now, you’ve finally found a house you can live in, complete with features you can live with, square footage you can fit into, and a mortgage that won’t make you starve to death in a community that’s sure to grow on you.

Here are 10 nagging things you suddenly notice:

1. The mysterious bumps, creeks, and whirring sounds that grate your nerves once all the buzz of moving in quiets down.

2. Filth. The bathroom tiles look as if they were actually caulked with dead skin cells and soap scum.

3. Greed. Did they really need to take the batteries out of all the smoke detectors?

4. Shotty appliances. You could practically ride your noisy, shaky washer/dryer to work in the morning.

5. Wow, little Stevie sure has grown up fast. These 2 wall-markings are only 6 months apart. Wait…who is Stevie?

6. The hidden infestation. Should we be wearing black since you evidently live in a cricket graveyard?

7. The deception. The porch appeal was so well-executed a week ago. Did the homeowner not know that weeds have roots or is Prickly Lettuce just shy during open houses?

8. Holes. Chipped paint. Cracked linoleum. Bad carpentry work. Here, here, here and here! Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

9. The stain in the carpet. Then you realize: someone else’s life is in your carpet. It’s not your carpet and will never be your carpet. You need to pull up all of the carpet.

10. The Neighbors. They seem so nice during the day but once the moon comes out, they turn into real party animals…party werewolves.

At least, that’s what happened to me. In fact, we hadn’t lived here for a month and already a storm caused our electricity to go out because the surge protectors weren’t properly installed (or something), said the electrician I found through TalkLocal.

Now – a new surge box, a full closet-makeover, a new kitchen countertop, and three broken appliances replaced later – it’s finally sinking in: home is not a place you discover by following a local listing and a map, but a place you create by following your heart.

And, if maintenance and repair needs are threatening to break the bank and your heart, let TalkLocal take the hassle out of finding a local pro. Because when things break while you’re making a home, it’s hard enough to keep it together.

Cut the Red Tape: About Building Permit Laws

Monday, July 27th, 2015


Nobody likes dealing with rules and regulations, especially not when it comes to building permits. However, whether you’re a tenant or a contractor, you’ll almost certainly have to, but don’t worry because they’re not as complicated as they seem.

 The Basics

It may seem surprising, but building permit laws are there for your protection – they ensure that contractors abide by construction standards, which means safer buildings for tenants. Their requirements also can help you figure out exactly how to go about your bigger DIY projects.

Almost any construction project requires a building permit, so whether you’re a contractor building a new home or a tenant trying to build new additions, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with local codes.

Minor projects like repairing walls, changing faucets, and painting don’t need permits, but there are specific permits for different types of projects, like plumbing and electrical work.

 How do I get a building permit?

If you’re working with a contractor, your best bet is to let them handle the application; they’ll have the information and experience necessary to undergo the process, and are better-suited to take on the liability. Be wary of a contractor who resists taking out a permit – if they insist a permit is unnecessary, verify with your own research.

If you’re handling the project yourself, you can either go about the process yourself or find a building permit service. In the former case, you’ll need to present a building official with your plan; more extensive projects are best planned by a specialist like an architect, but you can draw up simple ones yourself. The official will then review your application for up to a few weeks.

Some municipalities offer pre-approved permits for projects that conform to a standard plan. It’s a good idea to check if your local government has a pre-approved plan for your specific project; this will both save time and provide helpful guidelines for your work.

Permit fees can range depending on the scope of your project. Small-scale projects can cost as little as $50, while larger ones may cost a few hundred dollars.

 Building Permit Inspections

After receiving your permit, the official will carry out a number of inspections that varies by the scope of the project. The official taking out the permit plans these inspections, so be sure to ask which inspections are necessary and schedule accordingly. For example, a contractor building a new home must have the ground upon which he intends to pour concrete inspected.

The building inspector will only check for relevant concerns; for example, if you’re building a new wall, the inspector will not make sure your plumbing is up to code.

After Inspection

Inspections span the actual construction process, so after the last inspection, you’re done! The inspector may present a certificate that proves your project is up to code. Proudly display this certificate in your storage closet.

Securing a permit can be a hassle that you may not have time for; however, a skilled contractor can take care of it for you without you even needing to stand up! Get a leg up on your next project by heading to TalkLocal – enjoy free access to the  unique search system that makes finding local service professionals a breeze.

Easy Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Easy Ways to Increase Your Home's Value - Real Estate

Despite some periodic fluctuations in the housing market, homeowners know that the house they’ve purchased is an investment, destined to grow in value over the time that they own it. What some of them don’t realize is that there are a number of simple ways that they can help their home accrue value even more quickly. Here are some ideas to increase your home’s value that you can get started on next time you have a free weekend.

Simple Kitchen Renovations

Most of us spend a great deal of time in our kitchens; to that end, an attractive kitchen can also be a big selling point for people looking for a new home. If you want to improve your kitchen quickly, you might consider replacing your kitchen faucet and basin, cabinet door hardware, or outdated lighting fixtures.

Improve Home Security

Installing or upgrading your home’s security system can be a great way to not only improve your peace of mind as a homeowner, but to also to increase the value of your property. Many home security companies offer free installation with the purchase of certain security systems, so make sure you look around a bit to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.

Give Your Bathroom a Facelift

The bathroom comes in close second to the kitchen for places where simple renovations can really improve the overall feel of the house and add some much-needed perceived value to prospective buyers down the road. Simple fixes include new faucets, new toilet seats, or even a new floor; replacing crumbling tile with easy-to-clean vinyl sheets can go a long way toward improving the fit and finish of this frequently used room.

Create New Storage Solutions

A big deal breaker for people looking to purchase a new home is a lack of storage. If you’ve found that your home is lacking for closet space, there are a number of attractive modular closet options on the market today. Some of the better-known manufacturers, such as ClosetMaid, even let you redesign your closet online before you commit to purchasing anything. All you need are some simple measurements to get started.

Replace Your Flooring

Old, dirty, or just plan worn-out carpeting can be a big eyesore. If you’re feeling ambitious, replacing the carpeting in your favorite room could go a long way toward improving the overall appearance and value of your home. Who knows? After you tear out a carpet or two, you might even find a hidden gem underneath, like wood flooring that the previous homeowner covered up years ago.

Get a Professional’s Touch

Most of these projects are things that the DIY enthusiast could tackle themselves if they’re feeling ambitious. For everything else, you can always turn to Seva Call for help finding the very best professionals in your area.

Stacey Waxman is a freelance tech writer. She can be found typing away on her laptop in cold Cleveland, OH. Stacey welcomes your feedback via email

Repair Contingency Clause

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Repair Contingency Clause - Real Estate

A repair contingency clause is a part of the agreement between the buyer and the seller of a real estate property. They agree that if repairs are found to be necessary in the home, the buyer can opt to pull out of the sale or can have the seller pay for the repair.

This is a very important clause, especially when shopping for a house that has not been used for a long time. The buyer may not be fully aware at the time of purchase of all the repairs necessary. A repair contingency clause will help to give the buyer peace of mind when purchasing the property.

A contingency is protection against something that is not certain to happen, but can have negative consequences if it does. That’s why this clause is important. When buying a new home, clauses are important to protect the buyer from unwanted expenses.

Importance of a Repair Contingency Clause

Unless you are building your own home or buying a brand new one, this clause is important to protect you from surprises. Repairs to homes that had previous occupants may be very expensive and the seller may not choose to reveal all the flaws of the property at the time of the sale.

This is especially true when buying a foreclosed home, where the previous occupants may not have had the means to make the repairs themselves.

A repair contingency clause will protect the buyer from repair costs that may add up to thousands of dollars. Thus, it’s essential to have this clause in the contract, since it will save you a lot of trouble when purchasing a new home.

Need Real Estate Advice?

TalkLocal can connect you to real estate professionals within minutes of placing your call! Contact us today and let us help you get the assistance that you deserve!

Average HOA Fees

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Average HOA Fees - Real Estate

Before deciding whether the condo life is right for you or not, do a little research on your own. Would you be willing to purchase a fancy condominium, join the homeowner’s association (HOA), and take money out of your own pockets to pay a considerable monthly (or annual) fee? How much would you be willing to invest in your own comfort? In order to respond to these questions, you need to take a few factors into consideration, like the average HOA fees, for instance.

What Are HOA Fees and How Do They Actually Impact My Monthly Budget?

Before buying that lavish condominium that you’ve always dreamed about, start thinking about all of the expenses that it implies. Of course, you’ll benefit from a wide range of amenities, including an elevator, an underground parking lot, clubhouses, a swimming pool, a gym, security gates and more; but these first-class amenities require a regular maintenance routine and trigger monthly expenses supported by you and the other residents.

If you want to make the most of luxurious amenities, be prepared to pay high HOA fees to maintain your celebrity lifestyle. Generally speaking, the average HOA fees range anywhere from $200 to $500, paid on a monthly basis.

Are There Hidden Fees I Should Worry About?

Living in a fabulous condominium has its perks, but it can definitely make you pinch pennies in the long term. Be prepared to deal with an extra assessment, charged by the association every single time a new improvement is taken into consideration and the HOA funds aren’t enough to cover its costs.

For instance, you might be forced to come up with more money, aside from your monthly HOA fee, when the association has to face significant expenses correlated with a new roof, a new elevator, a new gym, and so on.

Ask an Expert

Are you worried that your new condo life will leave you high and dry in no time? Want to know more about average HOA fees? In this case, contact a real estate expert as soon as possible to get accurate answers to all of your questions. Find the best one by consulting TalkLocal, your primary source of contact with hundreds of reputable service providers living and working in your area.

Tips for Buying a New Home: Affording Your Dream Home

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Tips for Buying a New Home - Accountants

Tips for Buying a New Home

Buying a new home isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t be that difficult if you know how to go about it. Here, we present tips on how to find your perfect home. We take into account things such as down payment and mortgage equity.

1) Compare

Check the actual selling prices of comparable homes that you can find in your dream area. What is your ideal size? How big do you want your property to be? How many rooms do you expect your house to have? Also, consider that down payments are usually 20% of the market value of the actual price.

2) See What You can Afford

Banks have mortgage calculators with which you can check how much mortgage you actually have to pay. Then, you can check your budget to see if it will actually fit. This is crucial, because you can’t go rushing into buying a house that you can’t actually afford.

3) Find Out your Total Housing Cost

This includes homeowner’s dues, taxes, and insurance. You have to factor these in along with your down payment and your mortgage. These costs do add up, so make sure to consult a financial consultant before buying or renting property.

4) Closing Costs

These include title and settlement fees, taxes, and prepaid items such as homeowner’s dues. Again, you have to factor these into your final calculations of the total cost of your new home.

5) Talk to Experts

There is nothing like talking to reputable real estate agents in your area regarding your probable purchase. They know more than you do, so it is best to leave it in their hands rather than yours. Consult them for your every need. Do not hesitate to ask questions, because it helps.

Ready for More Help?

Contact TalkLocal today. We will connect you with up to three real estate accountants near you.

Tips for Buying a New Home: Choosing Your Property

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Tips for Buying a New Home - Real Estate


When looking for tips for buying a new home, the question of location is one of the most important. You have to ask yourself where you want to live, obviously. However, this question is not as easy to answer as it may seem.

> Is the place accessible to public transportation?

> Is it accessible to freeways?

> Is it near schools? Hospitals? Malls? Parks? Do you like going to the beach, for example?

> How do you like to spend your weekends? Do you like taking leisurely walks in the parks or having picnics? Then, obviously, having a home that is accessible to places like these should be your top priority.

> What kind of neighborhood would you like to live in? Would you like a laid-back one or a fast-paced neighborhood?


Again, this may seem obvious to some people, but it’s something that you should really explore.

> For example, do you own pets?

> Do you need a spacious yard for large dogs or for a big hobby?

> How many kids do you have, or how many rooms do you require?

> Do you plan on having a lot of guests over or hosting a lot of parties?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you need a spacious house.


Now you have to take a good, hard look at your finances. You need to know just how much you are willing to spend on a new home. Are you willing to build a new home or are you willing to buy a built one? Buying a home that is already built can save you thousands of dollars, but you may not always get the exact specifications you want.

Need Help?

Keep these  factors in mind when shopping for your dream house. Contact TalkLocal today and let us help you find a real estate agent in your area, who can help you find your dream home!

How to Sell Your Home For Sale By Owner

Friday, August 9th, 2013

How to Sell Your Home For Sale By Owner - Real Estate

Most homeowners will sell their home through a real estate agent or broker. However, many others will venture off to try and sell their homes on their own. By doing so, they have been able to successfully save a ton of money in the process. If you too are in the market to sell, then here are a few tips on how to sell your home for sale by owner.

Step 1: Prepare Yourself Mentally

In today’s market, it is extremely important to understand that you may not actually get what you feel your house is worth. Unfortunately, none of the sweat, blood, or tears that you’ve put into your precious home are going to dictate what you get out of it. The single most important thing that will dictate what you will actually get for your home is the “market.” What people are actively paying for comparable homes within a half mile of your home is the single most important thing that will help you in determining what your property will sell for. And if you’re not ready to face that number, assuming that it is less than what you expected, then you may just need to hold onto it a little while longer until the market shifts and people start paying more.

Step 2: Staging

Once you’ve come to terms with a fair and realistic asking price, then you’ll need to start getting your property ready for buyers to look at it. The first impression is everything, so you may need a few home improvements – this includes anything from the curb appeal to the paint on your walls. Most home buyers are drawn to clean, spacious, and uncluttered homes. They’re also drawn to neutral wall colors and warm, cozy spaces. So, as you prepare your home for selling, it may be a good idea to make a checklist of everything you need to do, while keeping these particular things in mind each step of the way.

Step 3: Marketing

If you’re not getting the word out there about the sale of your home, then no one is going to buy it. Here are a few ways to let people in the area know that your home is up for sale.

Use yard signs. You might place 1 or 2 signs in your yard, but you might also want to place a few on busy streets within a mile or so of your property.

Take tons of photos of the property. Video is even better. Share your photos or video online via classified ad sites such as craigslist and backpage. Place new ads every day until it sells.

Plan an Open House. Place classified online ads inviting potential buyers to the open house. Also, invite everyone you know, including friends, family, and neighbors. Be prepared to hand out brochures displaying the features of your property to each and every guest.

Step 4: Negotiate, Sell, & Profit

Once you start receiving offers, you can then begin negotiating the price. Average acceptable offers are typically between 91%-97% of the asking price. You may also be asked to contribute to closing costs. If that’s what it takes to close the deal, then it may be a good thing to consider. Also, be sure to close with a reputable title agency or closing attorney. They can assure you of a smooth closing. Upon title transfer, you may close escrow and take your check to the bank.

Need Some Sound Real Estate Advice?

If you are in need of professional real estate assistance, give us a call. TalkLocal will connect you with a real estate professional in minutes. Call today!