10 DIY Thanksgiving Decorations for the Table

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It’s that time of year again! The whole family gets together for a big meal, some laughs, and uncomfortable talk about when to expect grandchildren.

For home décor purposes, this means two things. 1) You need to have some impressive decorations around the table for Thanksgiving dinner to let your loved ones know your life is perfect. 2) You need some DIY crafts to busy the children so they don’t rampage the kitchen while you’re busy with prep.

This list of 10 DIY Thanksgiving table decorations is exactly what you need! These are all easy crafts for beginners that will make your table look like it was done by a professional. All of these projects are kid-friendly, but you’ll notice a couple targeted specifically at youngsters.

thanksgiving diy 2 201x300 10 DIY Thanksgiving Decorations for the Table

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1.  Personalized Name Cards

Make each dinner guest feel loved by recognizing his/her specific spot at the table. Then get creative with how to mark the names. Personalized pumpkins could just be newspaper tags with gold glitter writing on a small leftover pumpkin. Or go outside and pick up some big pinecones. Type guests’ names on craft paper and use both as a placeholder.

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2. Metallic Pumpkins

Fill the table with those leftover pumpkins from Halloween. Give them a modern twist by painting them a few coats of a metallic color. The pumpkins can vary in size and fill blank space at the table or just around the house!

thanksgiving diy 4 300x199 10 DIY Thanksgiving Decorations for the Table

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3. Chalkboard Menu Plates

Take the chargers from the dinner table and spray paint them with three coats of chalkboard paint, allowing each coat to fully dry before applying the next. Use white chalk to write out the dinner menu and whet everyone’s appetite before the first dish is even served.

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4. Candle Apples

This is a surprisingly easy task that looks elegant and screams fall. Carefully carved out the top of the apple and then scrape inside – perhaps with some of those jack-o-lantern tools – to level off the inside. Place a tea candle inside and bring a sophisticated aura to your dining room.

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Social Cotoure

5. Turkey Fold Napkins

Nobody wants a normally folded napkin at Thanksgiving dinner. Bring the settings to life with the icon of the holiday. Click here for instructions on how to fold the napkin. Then place a little beak on some squash to really bring the turkey to life.

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Crafts Unleashed

6.  Pear Turkey for the Kids

While we’re talking about turkey crafts, here’s another one that’s sure to entertain the kids. Cut the back of a pear off and glue a colorful leaf to his butt instead. Then use construction paper, googly eyes, gummy worms, and whatever else you desire to decorate yourself a turkey.

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HouseHunt

7-10. Last Year’s List

Are these tasks too simple for you? Then don’t forget to check out last year’s holiday crafting ideas to really bring your home to the next level.

We hope that these DIY Thanksgiving table decorations help you get in a festive spirit and make this holiday a memorable one! 

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Emergency Preparedness in the Home [Infographic]

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Disasters can strike at any moment. Luckily there are things you can do around the home to be ready for some unexpected phenomenon. This infographic takes a look at where the safest places are inside the house, and how to prep your real estate for whatever Mother Nature sends your way. Take a look at all these tips and you’ll improve your emergency preparedness in the home.

Emergency Preparedness Emergency Preparedness in the Home [Infographic]

The first thing you need to know is to have an emergency preparedness kit around the house. This kit should include first aid, back-up food supply, a flashlight, candles and a lighter, and anything else you think you may need for an extended stay in the home. If someone suffers from asthma or allergies, have the necessary precautions in the kit, as well.

Fire

There were 369,500 house fires in the United State last year. In case of a fire in your own home, evacuate outside. To prepare, check your fire detectors routinely.

Tornado

In case of a tornado, go to a hallway or closet. This would be a good time to have that disaster prep kit.

Earthquake

If you live in a quake-prone area, secure water heaters, book cases, household electronics, and any large furtiture. Make sure any wall decorations are secured as well. Make sure piping in the house has flexible connectors that can sustain a bit of a bend. Stand in a doorway, the most secure place where nothing can fall on you.

Flood

In case of this common household emergency, you’ll obviously want to move to the attic or second story. Turn off utilities before the worst of the flooding. 

Hurricane

For a hurricane, you’ll want the family to report to the bathroom, hallway, closet, or some other windowless space to ride out the storm. A great way to prevent broken glass is to install storm shutters. You can also get straps from a hardware store to help hold down your roofing and wall panels in high winds.

This information came from sources NFPA.org, our friends at HouseLogic.com, and of course, this blog!

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10 Ways to Make More Money Selling Your Home

by Pete Miller

Selling your home is no longer a simple business. According to the National Association of Realtors existing home sales as of August were down better than 5 percent when compared with 2013. Regardless, you want the best price on your house no matter how the market is moving. Here are 10 steps to make more money selling your home by leveraging your local marketplace:

10 Ways to Make Money Selling Your Home 10 Ways to Make More Money Selling Your Home

1. Be Viral Friendly. It’s tough out there. Every home for sale competes with your property so how do you stand out? It’s estimated that 92 percent of all buyers search the Internet for a home so that’s a medium where you have to excel. Good pictures and strong videos are a must.

2. Take Care of Maintenance. You may not need marble countertops and gold faucets for kitchens and baths but you do need everything to be in perfect condition. This means all appliances work, nothing leaks, walls are painted and papered and all surfaces are clean.

3. Focus on Cleanliness. The time to clean out a home is before you sell. The reason? Less stuff creates a sense of more space. See if a local charity might be interested in old furniture or clothing. Libraries often appreciate used books.

4. Don’t Over-Improve. The general rule in real estate is that buyers seek the least expensive home in the most expensive neighborhood they can afford. Translation: If you have the cheapest home on the block the odds of a quick sale go up. Have a home which is consistent with the neighborhood.

5. Shop Around. The National Association of Realtors reported in 2013 that “two-thirds of home sellers only contacted one agent before selecting the one to assist with their home sale.” A better idea is to speak with several brokers who are active and successful in your neighborhood and let them compete for your business. Beware of the broker who offers an unrealistically-high price, a valuation which is likely to mean your property will lag unsold on the market for months – at which point the price will come down.

6. Look for Experience. Althoughyou may have a friend who is casually “in the business,” a broker with a lot of experience and success is the person you want to market your home and represent your interests. Also – and this can be important – a broker with a lot of local experience can be seen as an “authority figure.” When they set the price of a home there’s a credibility that may not extend to someone who has sold fewer homes.

7. Set a Reasonable Price. This must be consistent with the neighborhood. It can be helpful to visit open houses before you place your home on the market to see how other properties compare. This is also a good way to meet local brokers to see how well they represent client properties.

8. Have Faith in the Open House. Real estate professionals debate the value of open houses and to a large degree it depends on the particular property. That said, the goal is to get as many people to see the property as possible so when considering a broker ask about their experience with open houses and what they recommend for your home.

9. Look at More Than Just Offer Price. When you get an offer realize that it’s just part of the process. Does the buyer want “seller contributions,” money to off-set closing costs? Are you required to make repairs? Does the buyer have the finances to readily get a mortgage? Have the broker show how much you will get at closing if the buyer’s offer is accepted and look carefully at the buyer’s financial capacity.

10. Leave Some Wiggle Room. Always have a little room to bargain more. It’s not uncommon that some adjustments are required to close the deal – maybe a specific repair to overcome an inspection or a willingness to let the buyers move in before closing with a pre-settlement occupancy agreement. Whatever the case, remember that the point is to sell the house and don’t let little issues distract you from your goal. Letting a home sale fall through because it takes an extra $500 to close the deal is a false economy. The better option is typically to finish the sale and move on – otherwise you have to go through the whole process again and there’s no way to know what issues a new purchaser will raise.

Author bio:

Peter Miller is a nationally-syndicated real estate columnist and the author of six books published originally by Harper & Row. He blogs regularly at OurBroker.com. He is also a contributor to Auction.com

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BASICS Series: What is a Good Faith Deposit?

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Welcome to HouseHunt’s BASICS Series, where we take a look at the questions of every homeowner and potential homeowner.

If you’re a first-time buyer, you can get very far into the process before you first hear the term ‘good faith deposit.’ This can be frustrating because it’s basically extra money you spend on the front-end (when you’re already tight on finances) in order to be taken seriously as a new buyer. This post will take a look at what you need to know about this often overlooked term.

good faith deposit BASICS Series: What is a Good Faith Deposit?

What is a Good Faith Deposit?

A good faith deposit is often called an earnest money deposit. This is money that is submitted at the same time as the contract with your proposal and offer. The reason for this extra cash is to show that you are serious as a buyer. It says, “I want your property, and I’m willing to prove it by putting up some cash (in good faith) before we even get around to the down payment.”

Sure, you’ve already been pre-qualified and pre-approved, but frankly that only matters to the banks and brokers. For the people actually selling their home, all they care about is green. Putting some money in view right off the bat is a customary step that will make your offer as appealing as possible.

The good faith deposit is not to be confused with a down payment. There are probably ways to sneak into the contract that your earnest money is a portion of a down payment, but that likely won’t work in your favor. Both will ultimately go towards paying off that house, but they are viewed by the seller as two separate entities.

How Much is It?

As with a down payment, there is no set amount for a good faith deposit, but there are recommended amounts to a) appeal to the seller, and b) protect yourself.  It is also important to remember that this amount varies greatly depending on if you’re operating in a buyer’s or seller’s market. If there is more inventory than there are buyers, your good faith deposit becomes a lot less significant!

1-3% of the cost is customary for an earnest money contribution, although you could technically offer as little as a dollar. Your real estate agent will know the best offer given the market conditions. Since the seller is required to handle closing costs, they are often looking for a good faith deposit that will cover that portion.

How to Go About It

The name “good faith” indicates that you are good for the money you’re offering on the home. However, it also implies you’re being vulnerable with this money. Don’t worry! That is not the case!

The earnest money does not go directly to the seller. It goes to a reliable third party, usually the escrow office. As the buyer, you are also advised to obtain a receipt for your deposit. This ensures that if, for any reason, the contract doesn’t go through, you can get your money back!

Because it tends to be a smaller amount, the good faith deposit is usually overlooked in the real estate transaction discussions. Regardless, we don’t want it to sneak up on you when you already have so much going on to try to close on a home! We hope that this brief overview of the subject empowers you to go into the process more aware. Once this is on your radar, you can let your Realtor handle the details, and you’ll be in your dream home in no time.

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How a Closing Can Go Wrong [Infographic]

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If you think everything will run smoothly once the closing date has been scheduled, then we need to talk! Anything can still happen. Let us tell you how a closing can go wrong.

Closing 2 How a Closing Can Go Wrong [Infographic]

What Could Go Wrong at a Closing?

1. Financial Problems: The buyer may not have the funds available to cover the closing costs.

Tip: Ask your lender to give you a rough estimate before closing day.

2. Your Loan: The loan can be denied due to changes in income, credit or missing documents.

Tip: Avoid big purchases and changing jobs. Also, be sure to bring all of your documents with you.

3. Title issues: The title may not be cleared because of existing liens, unpaid taxes or another claim on the property.

Tip: Do a title search and buy title insurance.

4. Closing in Escrow: There could be a hold up on the closing date if the transfers are not done immediately.

Tip: Arrange for money to be transferred to the closing agent the day before.

5. Final Walk-Through: The buyer notices recent damages or missing items.

Tip: Don’t sign any papers until you’ve checked everything.

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