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Mid-Tenn Homes

--August 21, 2019-September 3, 2019

3A

W

hen shopping for a

home, it's easy for buy-

ers to fall in love with a

property. A well-maintained home

with updated features can be hard

to resist, but buyers must consider

more than just a home's appear-

ance before submitting an offer.

One variable prospective home

buyers tend to value more highly

than others is the neighborhood

where they will ultimately choose

to live. Many buyers even value

neighborhoods more than homes,

feeling they can always x a home

but cannot necessarily x an un-

desirable neighborhood. When

considering which neighborhood

to begin a home search, buyers

should research a host of factors.

Crime

Crime statistics are public do-

main, meaning buyers can exam-

ine crime gures for any neighbor-

hood where they are considering

buying a home. Some real estate

websites list neighborhood crime

ratings among the information

they offer about a given property.

In addition, buyers interested in

learning about crime in a given

neighborhood can visit a site such

as CrimeReports.com to access

data on crimes committed near a

particular address.

Home values

Home values are another fac-

tor to consider when choosing a

neighborhood in which to buy a

home. Buyers can work with a lo-

cal realtor to nd a neighborhood

or area where real estate prices

are trending upwards. While buy-

ers might be able to nd a great

deal on a home in a neighborhood

where home prices are dropping,

it's important to remember those

home prices are dropping for

a reason. Work with your real-

tor to nd a neighborhood where

you can afford a home and where

property values are not in decline.

Realtors will have access to recent

sales gures so you can get an

idea of whether a neighborhood is

trending upward or in decline.

Amenities

The proximity of amenities

such as shopping, restaurants and

parks is attractive to many buy-

ers, and that's something all buy-

ers should consider before buying

a home. Even if you prefer a home

in a remote location, that could

limit your market of buyers when

you want to sell the home down the

road. While your own comfort and

preferences should ultimately pre-

vail over potential resale value, it's

important that you at least consider

access to amenities before making a

decision. You might be able to nd

a compromise in a home that is a

short drive away from a town cen-

ter, but still remote enough that you

are not in the middle of the hustle

and bustle.

Commute

Quality of life is heavily inu-

enced by commute time. Many men

and women feel their quality of life

improves dramatically the shorter

their daily commute is. When con-

sidering a particular neighborhood,

do a test run before making an offer

on a home. Wake up early and drive

to the area where you are thinking

of buying, and then commute from

there during rush hour. Also, do

the reverse commute come quitting

time. Youmight be able to get an es-

timated commute time online, but

a test run can give you a more ac-

curate idea of what your daily trips

to and from the office will be like.

Choosing

a

neighborhood

where you will enjoy living requires

some forethought and research.

Factors to consider when choosing a neighborhood

W

hen drafting a to-do list for home

improvements that can increase

home value and appeal, several

renovations may be atop homeowners' lists.

While kitchen or bathroom remodels may

be popular renovations, homeowners also

should consider outdoor lighting schemes

that can make homes safer and more allur-

ing.

Outdoor lighting serves various pur-

poses. Such lighting can draw attention to

more impressive parts of a property. In ad-

dition, such lighting can improve security

and deter criminals.

To get started, homeowners should rst

examine the exteriors of their homes and

make note of existing lighting and where

improvements can be made. If you're not

sure where to begin, speak with an electri-

cian or a landscape designer, each of whom

can offer suggestions on lighting and which

options are the best t for your particular

property.

Next, you'll want to consider efficiency

and function. The United States Depart-

ment of Energy suggests incorporating

energy-efficient lighting, including energy-

saving LED bulbs or uorescent lights, into

your plans. Timers and other automatic

controls can prevent waste by turning lights

on only when they are needed. Solar lights

can be used as accent lights, further saving

energy.

Beauty

When addressing aesthetics, think

about the appeal of an accented landscape.

Include lights to frame the front door and

call attention to certain elements, such

as decorative trees or water features. Use

lights to light up deck stairways or to ac-

cent planters. Speak with a lighting profes-

sional about how to position lights to cover

the most territory in the most attractive way

possible.

Safety

Safety is an important consideration

when improving a home. Lighting can help

illuminate potential hazards or draw at-

tention to borders or property boundaries.

Navigating in the dark can be treacherous,

so put lights along pathways and near pools

or spas. Be sure that lights will clearly mark

other walkways around your home, such

as those leading from doors to the yard

or from the garage to where trash and re-

cycling pails are kept. If a design element

such as a bridge over a water feature or a

particular ornamental tree or shrub is dif-

cult to navigate in the dark, use lights to

improve visibility.

Security

Added security is another reason to in-

stall more exterior lighting. Dark homes are

attractive to burglars. Eliminate dark cor-

ners by lighting up areas where thieves may

be able to gain access to your home. This

includes areas near doorways and ground-

level windows. Install motion-sensor lights

in such areas so you are not wasting energy.

Lighting may not only deter human

intruders, but also it can scare away ani-

mals. A raccoon, skunk or opossum may

think twice about hanging around your

home when your property is bathed in a

spotlight.

Revamping exterior lighting elements

can improve the safety and the look of a

home.

Exterior lighting improves

the safety and appearance of a home

A

s men and women retire or

approach retirement age,

many opt to downsize their

homes. Such a decision can save

older adults substantial amounts of

money while also liberating them

from the hassle of maintaining large

homes they no longer need.

Downsizing to smaller homes or

apartments is a signicant step, one

that homeowners should give ample

consideration before making their

nal decisions. The following are a

handful of tips to help homeowners

determine if downsizing to smaller

homes is the right move.

Get a grip on the real estate mar-

ket. Downsizing is not solely about

money, but it's important that home-

owners consider the real estate mar-

ket before putting their homes up

for sale. Speak with a local realtor or

your nancial advisor about the cur-

rent state of your real estate market.

Downsizing can help homeowners

save money on utilities, taxes and

mortgage payments, but those sav-

ings may be negated if you sell your

house in a buyer's market instead of

a seller'smarket. If you think the cur-

rent market won't get you the price

you are hoping for, delay your down-

size until the market rebounds.

Take inventory of what's in your

house. Empty nesters often nd that

their homes are still lled with their

children's possessions, even long

after those children have entered

adulthood and left home. If the stor-

age in your home is dominated by

items that belong to your children

and not you, then downsizing might

be right for you. Tell your children

you are thinking of downsizing and

invite them over to pick through any

items still in your home. Once they

have done so and taken what they

want, you can host a yard sale, ulti-

mately donating or discarding what

you cannot sell. Once all of the items

are gone, you may realize that mov-

ing into a smaller place is the nan-

cially prudent decision.

Examine your own items as well.

Your children's items are likely not

the only items taking up space in

your home. Take inventory of your

own possessions as well, making

note of items you can live without

and those you want to keep. If the

list of items you can live without is

extensive, then you probably won't

have a problemmoving into a small-

er home. If you aren't quite ready to

say goodbye to many of your posses-

sions, then you might benet from

staying put for a little while longer.

Consider your retirement life-

style. If you have already retired or

on the verge of retirement and plan

to spend lots of time traveling, then

downsizing to a smaller home may

freeupmoney youcanspendon trips.

And if you really do see yourself as a

silver-haired jetsetter, then you likely

won't miss your current home be-

cause you won't be home frequently

enough to enjoy it. If travel is not high

on your retirement to-do list but you

have a hobby, such as crafting, restor-

ing classic cars or woodworking, that

you hope to turn into a second pro-

fession, then you might benet from

staying put and converting your exist-

ing space into a workshop.

Many retirees downsize their

homes, but this decision requires

careful consideration of a variety of

factors.

How to determine if downsizing is for you