Getting a Busy Family Together

In most homes these days, families spend a lot of time apart. It sucks but it’s just reality. If both parents are working and the kids are in school all day it can be really tough. On top of that, we all need to make time for ourselves. It’s easy for families to slowly drift apart considering these circumstances and no one really wants to let that happen, but it does before most families even take notice. Here are some great tips to help ensure that your busy family gets that much needed family time in at least once a week.

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  1. Family Game Night– No matter how old the kids are, or even how old you are, everyone can appreciate a couple hours of good old fashioned board game fun. Whether it’s Monopoly, Trouble, Pictionary, or even the newly raved about Pie Face, a family game night is sure to bring everyone together accompanied by smiles and laughter. As far as I’m concerned, this should be a staple in every family’s life. Sort out everyone’s schedules and  put this in to play at least once a week.
  2. Work Out Together– Oh yes, I know a lot of people dread this healthy necessity but it is a lot less dreadful when doing it with the whole team. Go for a mini hike, go for a family bike ride, play a game of catch, heck, you can even find some pretty great yoga videos on Youtube to do. Not only does this call for some great family bonding, it relieves everyone’s stress, and the health benefits are totally worth it. Do this as often as possible.
  3. Cook Together– Believe it or not, this can be a really fun thing. Try making a pizza with the whole family involved, or even a nice dessert. Don’t stop there though, try to ensure the whole family eats together as well while sharing the peaks and pits of everyone’s day.
  4. Family Movie Night- Alright, every family’s gotta make time for some good ol’ visual entertainment. I’m sure every family has a few hours on a weekend night to make time for this. Start a series, this way everyone will be excited to see what happens next and it’ll help keep the routine going.
  5.  Plant a Garden- Planting a garden together is an excellent thing to do with the whole family because there’s a job to do for anyone involved. It’s also fun to watch it come to life after all the hard work is done. In fact, doing any home project together is a great activity for the whole family.

How to Involve the Kids in Cleaning Around the Home

Cleaning your home is clearly a necessity, and a pain in the butt at that. No one really likes to do it but everyone has to…unless you enjoy cockroaches, ants, hopping around your home on your tippy toes, never being motivated to cook, dust bunnies, and being embarrassed to invite people over, etc…but hey, no judgment here.
If you have kids, the amount of cleaning you need to do is on a whole ‘nother level. It is absolutely constant and is a pain in the butt x10..so why not find a way to have your kids help out? Yeah, you’re probably thinking rolling your eyes and thinking “yeah right” but in all actuality, there are many ways to make cleaning fun for kids, especially young kids. You’d be surprised how happy to help they can be. Check out below my three favorite tips:

Chore-ChartMake a Chore Chart                                         

This provides children with an incentive and they’ll appreciate the organization and being able to check stuff off of their list.

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Buy Kid Sized Cleaning Supplies (Like these Micro-Fiber Cleaning Slippers)

My own kids have some of these and they LOVE them. They have spent hours in them running around the house and sliding across the floor. Who needs a swiffer when you have young kids with high energy?

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Set a Timer

I don’t know what it is about timers, sand timers in general..but they sure do get kids moving! I know first hand. My kids also like to turn their clean up time into a race once I flip the timer over. Ready, set, clean!

So there you have it! Some other awesome ideas are:

  1. Playing dress up– if you have girls, maybe you can play Cinderella? Dress up as maids or butlers and pretend to clean the homes of others. Make it a game!
  2.  Set up a reward system- “Will work for praise” -every kid I’ve ever met. Kid’s love to feel appreciated and a little reward for helping out here and there can make all the difference in their involvement.
  3. Put on music- Everyone knows that cleaning while dancing makes the whole job more fun and less of a chore. The kids will love it too!

 

Tips On Tuesday; Buying A Home

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Are you considering the purchase of a new home in the next few months?  Beside wanting to be the cleaning company you hire to keep up your new home, we also want to extend some of the best kept secrets you may not know about the journey to becoming a homeowner.

10.  Don’t Move Your Money

Anytime you’re considering the purchase of a house, you want to make sure you don’t move money around and spend large amounts 3-6 months before your purchase.  Lenders want to see that you are reliable and opening new credit cards, making large purchases or doing anything else that may show up on your credit report isn’t the best decision.

9.  Get Pre Approved For Your Home Loan

Did you know there’s a difference between being pre-qualified and pre-approved?   Getting pre-approved means that you have met with a lender and after evaluating all of your financial information, they will tell you how much you can afford and how much they will lend to you.  It’s very exciting to start looking at houses but it also can be heart breaking. Taking your time and taking your steps in the right order will save you time from looking at houses you may not be able to afford.

This will also give you time to shop around for the best deal, interest rates and look for any hidden costs in your loan.

8. Know What You’re Buying

Request to have a survey done of the house you want to make an offer on.  This is essential to know exactly what you’re buying.  A surveyor will tell you where your property line is and prevent any potential disputes with you and your future neighbors.  Also, property tax may be based on the property you have, so you will want an accurate map of what you’re buying.

7. Don’t Stress About When To Buy

It’s impossible to time the housing market – so the best time to buy is when you find your perfect house and can afford it.

Real estate is in constant change, going up and down and then back up.  You don’t want to miss out trying to play Double-Dutch with the market.

6. Size Doesn’t Always Matter

There’s an old adage in real estate that says don’t buy the biggest, best house on the block.  Big houses aren’t for everyone and when you go to re-sell, you don’t want to limit your potential buyers down the road. Remember that your home will only go up as much as the house down the road and if you have a $500,000 house and your neighbors home is $250,000 – your appreciation will be limited.  Sometimes it can even be best to buy the worse house on the block because it will trade for more per square foot than the biggest house.

5.  Budget Correctly

There’s more to home expenses than your mortgage.  When estimating your budget – consider expenses such as property taxes (which have the potential to be increased), utilities, home owners dues are all mandatory expenses.

Most people just focus on their mortgage payment, but you should also be aware of the other expenses such as property taxes, utilities and homeowner-association dues.  You will also need to be prepared to pay for repairs and maintenance on your new home.

4. Buying A House Is  Not Love

Yes, you should love your home, but you don’t want to make bad financial decisions based on emotions.  You want to trust your instincts when buying a home as they will lead you to getting a great house for a good value.  Making an emotional based decision is when you “Love” the backyard or paint scheme of the house.  You are making an investment so you want to be wise in this decision.

3. Hire A Home Inspector

Again, you want to know what you’re getting when purchasing a home.  For about $200 you could save yourself thousands in the long run by having a professional walk through the home to provide you with very detailed information.  With the correct information on the house, you can make a more informed decision and be confident.

If an inspector finds issues with the home, you can choose to continue your search or even use that information as a bargaining tool  when making your offer.

.2. Bidding Formula

 

When submitting your opening bid consider two things, what you can afford and what you believe the property is worth.  Make your opening bid fair without offending the seller.  Often times, people think they should start low but it’s important to know what the market is doing at the time of your offer.  What are other homes of comparable size and quality going for in the same neighborhood?  Look at the average cost per square foot in the same neighborhood and also find out if any of the neighbors have plans for new additions – consider things that could change your property value down the road.  You can also check with the boroughs office to find out if your seller is behind in property taxes – this can give you another bargaining tool.

When you’re ready to make an offer, bid an off number; nice round numbers will sound like every other bid.  By being more specific, the sellers will feel you have given a lot of consideration to your offer.

1. Get The Lay of the Land

Before buying ,  do your research.  Stop by morning, noon and night.  Sometimes buyers are so focused on the perfect home, they haven’t noticed the neighborhood.  You don’t want to find out the neighborhood isn’t for you after you buy your home.

Time the drive from the house to where you commute to during the day, how far is the nearest grocery store, schools, your work and other services.  Even if you don’t have children, research the schools because it does affect the value of your home when looking at a good school district versus a bad school district.  This can affect the value of your home as much as 20%.

 

When staring the exciting journey of becoming a homeowner, consider Maid Marvelous in the clean out of your current home as well as setting up cleaning service to maintain the beauty of your new home!