Buying a Home: 12 Tips for Cruising From Contract to Closing

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The spring home buying season is fast approaching and many people are preparing to take advantage of low interest rates and a great selection of homes. Buying a home is exciting but it can also be overwhelming. Here are some tips to make the process a little easier:

1. Get pre-approved (not just pre-qualified) for a mortgage before making an offer on a home or even doing a home search. A pre-approved home-buyer is effectively the same as a cash buyer, which makes you stronger in the eyes of the seller.

2. Deliver all requested documents (e.g. bank statements, pay stubs, and landlord affidavits) to your lender in a timely manner.

3. Check from time to time to make sure your lender has verified the details of your mortgage application—sometimes a little nudging from you is needed to keep the application moving along.

4. Be careful not to do anything that may affect your mortgage application. Remember, the lender can withdraw the approval if your situation changes substantially. Don't apply for new credit cards, take out a loan, or make any major purchases (like cars or furniture). Also, now is not the time to change jobs.

5. Make sure you and your significant other are on the same page about neighborhoods, home price, home size, amenities, etc. before you start the home search.

6. Work closely with a real estate agent you trust and are comfortable with. He or she will help you learn about the current market and home values, so you'll be ready to act with confidence when the time comes to make an offer. A purchase agreement is a binding contract. The time to do research is before you sign on the dotted line.

7. Have confidence in yourself and in the professionals you chose to guide you. It’s fine to seek guidance from trusted advisors, but once you make the decision to purchase a home, stop looking for confirmation that you’re doing the right thing. Everyone has an opinion but unless they’ve done the research, like you, don’t rely on them for validation.

8. Direct all communications through your real estate agent. He or she will work with your lender, home inspector, and other parties throughout the entire home buying process.

9. Understand that no home is perfect and every purchase involves some compromise. On resale homes, repairs or deferred maintenance may be necessary. Hire an objective home inspector who won’t try to sell you on hiring their firm to make identified repairs. Then review their report with your real estate agent, and focus on items that indicate major repairs and/or replacements.

10. Avoid closing the last week (and certainly the last Friday) of the month, if possible. Everyone is trying to get their sales closed by the end of the month, which means overworked title companies, lenders, etc. Better to close a week early and have more time for the move. Also, if there is a last-minute glitch, you'll have time to get it fixed.

11. Try not to let your emotions guide your decision-making process. Buyer’s remorse happens to nearly every home buyer. Accept that it is a normal emotion, and don’t let it distract you too much.

12. Make this home-buying experience an opportunity to learn. If you have questions, ask them. Chances are, you'll buy and sell several homes during your lifetime.


Before You Move To Reno, Here's 12 Things To Know

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#1 – It’s Gorgeous

Thanks to it’s location at the base of the Sierra Nevada, you will enjoy stunning scenery. Many people who live and work in Reno love to spend time outdoors, and it is easy to see why.

#2 – It’s Bigger Than You Think

More than 400,000 people live in the Reno-Sparks metro area.

#3 – The Temperature Can Get Up There

In the summer, there is plenty of warm weather to go around in Northern Nevada. The average high temperature in both July and August is above 90*F, and it is not uncommon to see triple digits.

#4 – It Can Be Cold

The average high in December and January is right around 45*F, and there is an average of just under 22’’ of snow in the city per year.

#5 – Lake Tahoe is Nearby

Lake Tahoe is only a short drive away if you want even more to see. In less than an hour, you can visit one of the most-popular tourist destinations in the country.

#6 – You Can Gamble!

Gambling is legal is the state of Nevada. There are several large hotel/casino properties in the city, so having a fun night out on the town is never a challenge.

#7 – It’s a College Town

Reno is a proud college town. The University of Nevada, Reno is located in the city, and it employs more than 4,000 people from around the area.

#8 – Sports for All

A partial list of the sporting events you can enjoy in the area includes minor league baseball, minor league basketball, PGA Tour golf, college events for the Nevada Wolf Pack, and more.

#9 – Steady Growth

If you look at the population history of the city of Reno, you will see a steady growth trend with each passing decade. More and more people are choosing to live in Reno each year, which tells you a lot about what this city has to offer.

#10 – Vegas for the Weekend

You can easily travel south to Las Vegas either by plane or by car. The trip will take around seven hours on the freeways, or just over an hour in the air.

#11 – Tourism Driven

One of the key components of the economy in Reno is tourism, thanks to the many hotel/casinos that are found in town. Not everyone comes to Reno just to gamble, however, as there are also plenty of outdoor activities for tourists to enjoy.

#12 – Housing Diversity

You have your pick of a number of different types of housing when you shop for a home in Reno. You can live close to the middle of the city, or you can live out on the outskirts of town with plenty of open space all around.

Nevada's Oldest Hotel Is Also One Of The Most Haunted Places You’ll Ever Sleep

Nevada is a state with a ton of history, so naturally, we’re also home to all sorts of haunted attractions. From creepy old graveyards to haunted saloons, we’ve got it all. And of course, we’re home to a haunted hotel or two. The hotel featured below is considered the oldest in the state, so it makes sense that there have been some eerie occurrences here. Today, this hotel is bursting with nostalgic charm, but come nighttime, you might find yourself sleeping with one eye open. Take a look and decide for yourself whether or not this haunted hotel is all it’s cracked up to be.

Widely known as the oldest hotel in Nevada, the Gold Hill Hotel can be found in the historic hot spot of Virginia City. A popular location for weddings and events, it's definitely not lacking on historic charm. However, there's a lot more to this place than meets the eye.

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During the 1860s, Gold Hill was just another mining town that was swept up with the craze of the Gold Rush. Boasting several mines beneath the city itself, there was one mine in particular that became victim to one of the worst mining accidents in Nevada's history. A fire broke out in the Yellow Jacket Mine, which ran right underneath the hotel, in 1869 and killed dozens of miners. It's now said that the souls of those miners haunt the hotel to this day.

One of the creepiest spots around the hotel is the old miner's cabin, situated near the back of the property. Considering the cabin is located right next to the mine shaft which contains the unretrevied bodies from the horrid accident, it's no wonder some paranormal activity has been felt here.

The hotel's rooms are another paranormal hot spot. Both "Rosie's Room" and "William's Room" have housed guests that have witnessed moving items, slamming doors, and even some actual apparitions. People who have entered "William's Room" have observed the strong aroma of tobacco, as if someone had just been smoking a cigar in the room. William is believed to be one of the miners lost in the Yellow Jacket Fire.

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The Great Room is also believed to be haunted. Both living and dead have been thought to hang out in the historic room, quenching their thirst with a beverage from the nearby bar.

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If you'd like to decide for yourself whether or not the Gold Hill Hotel is haunted, try spending a night or two in one of their rooms. Alternatively, the hotel holds legitimate ghost tours once a month, complete with spooky tales about the hotel's history.

Check out the full article here

12 Days of Reno/Sparks Christmas Events

Sparks Hometown Christmas Celebration

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November 30th - December 1st

The parade will feature marching bands, folks in Christmas costumes, adorable animals and festive floats.

November 30th - 6:30PM-7:00 PM Tree Lighting

December 1st - 1:00 Pm - 3:00 PM - Parade

More Info


Christmas on the Comstock

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December 1st

Holiday Arts & Crafts Shopping on the Comstock, Grinch Made Me Do It Saloon Crawl, Christmas in the Sierra Concert & Parade of Lights

All month long: Father Christmas at the Visitors Center & Nightmare Before Christmas by Piper’s Players

More Info


NNVCOC Reno Toy Run

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December 2nd

Holiday meal, raffle, Santa, music & more!

More Info

City of Reno Tree Lighting

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December 5th - 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Next to Reno City Hall on First Street between Virginia and Center Streets

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Hidden Valley Parade Of Lights

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December 7th - New Year’s Eve

Homes and yards are decorated with holiday lights and displays. Lights are on from 6:00-9:30 PM. If you’d like to enter the contest please call 857-2683 to leave your name, address, and phone number or have any questions answered. Judging the best street and top ten homes will take place on Friday, December 7 and Saturday the 8th.

More Info


Santa Paws

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Nevada Humane Society

December 7th - 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM & December 8th - 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

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The Nutcracker Ballet

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December 7th - December 9th at Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts

December 15th - 16th & December 21st - 23rd in the Celebrity Showroom at the Nugget

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The Polar Express Train Ride

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Now - December 24th

Characters, entertainment and Santa bring the story to life. The one-hour long rides are fun for the whole family.

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39 North Pole

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December 6th-8th

Victorian Square becomes a sparkling winter wonderland with thousands of lights in celebration of the holidays. Stroll through the holiday lights, enjoy photos with Santa, kids activities, decorating contests and vendors

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Winterfest

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Dec 7th-9th / 14th-16th / 21st-24th 

Greater Nevada Field
Fridays and Saturday 5pm-9pm and Sundays & Christmas Eve 4pm-7pm

More Info


Santa Pub Crawl

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December 15th @ 7:30 PM - Downtown Reno

The largest Santa Pub Crawl in the country! The event gives all proceeds to local schools.

More Info


Grinchmas at the Grove

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December 15th - 8:00 AM - 10:30 AM

The Grove at South Creek

Come in your best jammies and join the Grinch in the Grinchmas Pajama Parade. The event is a benefit for the Children's Cabinet.

More Info

Preparing Your Home For Winter - 10 Tips

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When leaves are falling you know colder weather can’t be far behind.  Without proper precautions, freezing temperatures and harsh elements can wreak havoc on your property.  Here are the best tips to prepare your home for winter.

 

Prevent drafts.  According to the experts at Do It Yourself, your first line of defense is sealing cracks, gaps and holes in your home.  Leaving air leaks allows cold air to come in, lowering your home’s energy efficiency and making it feel drafty.  Save money on your heating and cooling bills all year and increase your comfort by installing weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows.  Damaged or very old, leaky windows may require coverage with plastic sheeting.  Home improvement stores and hardware stores sell shrink wrap material that allows light in but seals over those drafty windows. 

 

Windows and doors.  According to experts cited by Bob Vila, it’s important to replace screens in windows and doors with storm windows and doors.  You should also inspect wooden window frames for signs of deterioration and repair or replace them as necessary.  Some experts recommend adding thermal curtains to help insulate against winter’s chill.

 

Heating system.  Have your heating system serviced and inspected by a professional before using it this winter.  A certified technician will ensure your furnace is running properly, helping avoid breakdowns during cold snaps.  Also you should replace air filters every 90 days and clean air vents and returns.  If your heating system is fueled by propane or oil, top off the tank before winter.  You also should consider installing a programmable thermostat.  You can set the thermostat to be warmer during the hours you are home and lower the temperature while you sleep and when you are out during the day.

 

Insulation.  Proper insulation in your home helps your heating and cooling system run more efficiently by maintaining a more consistent temperature in your home.  Older homes are particularly well-known for needing better insulation.  Some experts advise having a professional inspect your home to see if you could benefit from an upgrade.  Blown-in insulation is especially efficient and can be used in home designs that make installation of sheet insulation difficult.

 

Plumbing.  Allowing pipes to freeze and burst could cause extensive and costly damage to your home.  Water lines in unheated areas such as crawl spaces and attics should have added insulation to prevent freezing.  Cover outside spigots with protective cases and remove and drain garden hoses.  Shut off water to irrigation systems, fountains and sprinklers and drain the lines.  Remove any residual water from the lines with compressed air.

 

Roof.  A damaged roof can mean ice and leakage during winter, quickly leading to costly deterioration of your home.  Remove remaining leaves, sticks and other debris from your roof.  Inspect your roof for any missing or damaged shingles and make repairs.  Clean debris from gutters to prevent damage from accumulating ice. 

 

Landscaping.  Cut branches back that overhang your house and electrical wires to prevent them from falling and damaging property when ice is heavy or wind is strong.  Aerate your lawn, reseed grass in weak areas, and apply a winterizing fertilizer for deeper root growth next spring.

 

Deck and patio.  Inspect your deck for signs of damage or decay and make repairs as needed.  Remove debris to prevent mildew and mold buildup.  Clean, dry and store outdoor furniture or cover it with a tarp. 

 

Pool.  Winterize your pool properly and cover the pool to protect children, wildlife and pets from tragedy.  According to the experts at Aqua Magazine, the safety of a protective cover can also have the added benefit of being part of your outdoor decor.  Consider adding a cover that works well with your landscaping and style.  Covers now come in a pleasing array of textures and colors, making them not such an eyesore through the chilly months. 

 

 

Winterize your home.  With the arrival of fall you know winter can’t be far behind.  The harsh weather and frigid temperatures can mean damage and costly repairs to your property.  Take steps to prepare your home so you can rest easy this winter. 

New Home Checklist - 10 Things To Do After Unpacking

1.  Change The Locks - Do you know how many spare keys there are to your new home?  Probably not.  Replace all locks on your doors and consider adding smart locks and deadbolts.

2.  Get Copied Of Your Housing Docs - Keep a copy of your documents in a fireproof safe and file a copy with your financial institution.

3.  Update Home Technology - Now is the perfect time to install things like security systems and familiarize yourself with your electrical system and fuse boxes.

4.  Deep Clean - Carpets, pools, jacuzzis, ceiling fans and windows have most likely accumulated dust and other dirt prior to your move.

5.  Update Your Mailbox - Be sure to update your name and replace worn out address numbers.

6.  Test Fire Safety - Check fire extinguisher expiration dates.  Also make sure your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are clean and working.

7. Heating & Air Conditioning - Make sure to change the air conditioning and furnace filters and ensure the air ducts aren't blocked.

8.  Update Interior - Change out window treatments, flooring, paint, cabinets and other items needing replacing early on.

9.  Change Your Address - Set up mail forwarding with your local post office.  Then change the address with the DMV, financial institutions and insurance.

10.  Have An Evacuation Plan - Find two ways to exit your home and set up a meeting place for your family in case of an emergency.  Invest in an escape ladder as well.

10 Tips to Improve The Curb Appeal Of Your Home

  • Your entryway deserves a facelift!  A new front door or a simple coat of pain will do wonders!
  • Always make sure your yard is landscaped.  Show buyers that the home was taken care of by having a well groomed lawn.
  • Lighting is important!  Be sure all outdoor light bulbs have been replaced and are in working order.
  • Wash inside and outside of all windows.  You don't want to block a great view with grime.
  • Clean out the garage.  Reserve a storage unit to store any items that aren't of immediate use.
  • Add a pop of color!  Plant flowers in front or on the sides of the house.
  • Don't forget your decorations.  Remove any lawn ornaments you will be taking with you to your new house.
  • Replace an old welcome mat with a new one before your showings start.
  • Make your address numbers more visible.  Replace old numbers with new ones or simply put on a new coat of paint.
  • Power washing sidewalks, driveways and siding will make them look brand new!

10 Tips to Make Sure Buyers Feel At Home In Your House

  • Clean!  A clean home will have buyers picturing themselves in the space with no distractions.
  • Every room needs a purpose.  Give each room an identity, even if it was just used as a bonus room.
  • Bring in the light!  Darkness makes rooms feel gloomy and small.  Keeping rooms bright makes them feel inviting and warm.
  • If it's broken, fix it!  If repairs are needed, buyers may offer less for the house.
  • De-clutter.  Show how much room is available by purging closet and pantry items.
  • Replace old carpet and throw on a fresh coat of paint.  These are the top 2 things you can do to help your home sell faster and for more money!
  • Make sure the kitchen is organized.  Clean all surfaces and store any small appliances.
  • Before showing, hide all dirty laundry and empty all trash cans.
  • Silence the noise.  Make sure no doors squeak and open and close smoothly.
  • Check the lighting.  Verify all switched work and replace old light bulbs .
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