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Getting the Best Home Inspection in Chester County PA

by Scott Darling

Whether your offer on an older home has been accepted, or you’re buying brand-new construction, it’s highly recommended that you have the house inspected.  Yes, it’s an added expense to the home-buying process, but it could save you money and heartache in the end.  Get the most out of the inspection by following these tips: 
 

  • - Ask your RealtorⓇ for a list of qualified inspectors in the area.  Be sure to check reviews, and ask other recent home buyers for recommendations. 

  • - Call at least three different inspectors for price, experience, and whether your state requires a license and bonding or not, ask about these anyway.  A top certification they could have is one by ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors). 

  • - Once you choose an inspector, choose a date for the inspection when you can accompany them.  If they have a problem with you being there, find another inspector. 

  • - Ask the seller if you can go in the house on your own before the official inspection to get an idea of the condition of the property for your own satisfaction.  Popular Mechanics offers a thorough list of things to look for in your new prospective home. 

  • - While you’re in the house, look for cosmetic things like paint and patching that could be covering bigger issues. 

  • - The inspector will have a process of their own, complete with checklist, but make one for yourself so you can have a record of your own for issues they show you as you walk through the house. 

  • - Don’t be afraid to ask questions during the inspection--a reputable inspector welcomes questions, plus, you’re paying them for their knowledge.  Getting answers before you get their final report will help you understand it better. 

  • - If you’re not quite sure of how to change the hot water heater temperature, how to work the circuit breaker box, or where the water shut-off is, the inspector can help you become more familiar and knowledgeable about the house.  Use your smartphone to take photos and video as they give you a how-to lesson, so you’ll have it in case you need it. 

 

Once you get your report, go over it carefully.  If there are major repairs that need to be made, ask the seller to make the repairs or offer you a credit or reduction in selling price.  Being as knowledgeable as you can be during this process can mean more money saved.  Just be sure to hire a good inspector, and stay involved in the process. 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: myshamrockhomeinspections.com 

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for August 2018

by Scott Darling

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for August 2018

Chester County PA single-family homes saw pending sales increase by 1.3% in August 2018 when compared to August 2017. 731 homes sold in August with a median sales price of $355,000.  The average sales price increased by 1.1%, and homes were on the market 10 days more.

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Going from Summer to Fall in Your Outdoor Spaces

by Scott Darling

Hopefully, you’ve made good use and great memories this Summer in your outdoor space.  Just because we’re getting closer to Fall doesn’t mean we have to wrap it all up and put it away!  There’s plenty we can do to transition our porches, decks and patios for cooler weather use.  Let’s look at some simple ideas that will keep us outdoors a little longer. 

 

  • - Change pillow and cushion covers from their bright colors to more neutral tones, with a splash of soft red or orange here and there. 

  • - Once your potted plants’ Summer blooms fade, repot your containers with ornamental grasses, decorative kale, pansies, marigolds and chrysanthemums. 

  • - Drape light blankets over the backs and arms of your seating to use on chilly evenings. 

  • - If you don’t already have one, buying or creating a firepit is a great way to warm up cool nights.  If you’re not sure of your style or if the budget is tight, morningchores.com has photos and links to 57 different DIY firepits!  

  • - The days are getting shorter and adding lighting to your porch is important.  With so many choices for inexpensive and energy-saving LED lighting, you can add torches, candles and lanterns to a table for soft, relaxing lighting without spending a ton. 

  • - Add a cozy area rug to ward off cold feet and add texture to the space. 

  • - The cool breezes we long for in the heat of July are a little less desirable on a cool Autumn night.  Add some no-sew outdoor curtains using drop cloths, of all things, to block the wind, and use strong adhesive like E6000 to add heavy washers at the bottom to weight the curtains down. 

  • - Making the outdoors more inviting in Fall means adding warmth--literally.  Outdoor heaters come in many styles and price ranges and use electricity as well as propane to keep you and your guests’ toes warm. 

  • - Finally, when the pumpkin patches open, get a variety of pumpkins, gourds and other fall produce, and tuck them into your container plantings, or create a centerpiece or to make the outdoors an even more inviting space to enjoy.
     

There’s no need to stop going outside just because the days are shorter, and nights are cooler.  Being outside is proven to help alleviate stress, make us feel happier, and may help us sleep better, especially if we can catch the sunset.  So, don’t neglect your much-loved outdoor space this Fall; you created it to be used, and Fall is the perfect time to enjoy it. 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: http://telano.info

Internet Security, Passwords & 2FA

by Scott Darling

Internet security continues to concern more and more users, especially after one of the largest identity-theft protection companies in the US, LifeLock, discovered that they may have left customers’ email addresses exposed, making them vulnerable to phishing and other spam-related attacks.  Many apps, email providers, and websites now offer second-factor authentication (2FA) to help avoid identity theft.  Here’s a brief rundown about using 2FA, as well as other ways to keep our accounts safe. 


  • - Many internet security experts suggest that you change your passwords frequently. Yes, it can be a pain, but someone hacking into your online banking account would be even more painful.  Use upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols, or try a “passphrase,” a brief phrase usually limited to fifteen characters. 

  • - Change your security questions often if you have that option.  Most account profile settings will allow you to choose different questions. 

  • - Hackers are becoming more inept at stealing mobile phone numbers and hijacking SIM cards, as well as social media accounts that are associated with the numbers.  Motherboard writes that we should set up a special password with our cellular providers to make it more difficult for these thieves to pretend to be the account owner when they call the phone company.  

  • - Almost everyone uses a computer at work these days, and you may occasionally use it for personal things.  The best advice:  don’t use your work computer for anything personal.  If you need to handle something during the day with your child’s teacher, handle it in phone conversation or use your smartphone’s email app.  Internet acceptable-use policies are in place in most business and organizations, so it would be best to re-familiarize yourself with that section in your personnel handbook. 

  • PCMag lists many popular websites that have the option of 2FA, it’s just hiding in the settings.  The article also gives us directions for different websites. 

  • - If you must write down passwords for multiple accounts, make sure whatever you have them written on is in a locked and secure place. 

  • - Our smartphone’s software is becoming so advanced that they can recognize our fingerprints and faces, but our pc’s and laptops continue to use passwords as the most common way for logging in.  There are several ways to provide additional information for the apps and websites we log in to, and PCWorld’s website gives us a rundown of the best apps available. 

 

The best protection we can give our personal info is to not get slack.  We must be proactive and stay one step ahead of ourselves, as well as anyone who’d like access to our personal information.  As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and that certainly applies to keeping our own data secure and out of the wrong people’s hands. 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: blog.internetcreations.com

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Scott Darling
RE/MAX Action Associates
403 W. Lincoln Highway #101
Exton PA 19341
(610) 594-SCOT
610-363-2001
Fax: (610) 363-5275