Carol George's Blog
A river cruise is a magical experience. It welcomes you to an enchanting world of beauty, allure, and luxury. Some say a river cruise is best in the evenings when the lights of a city can stand out against the black night. It makes for an amazing view, but still, a daytime cruise can be equally exciting.
If you have longed for the luxurious adventure of a lifetime, then a river cruise is a great way to start. Your dream cruise could be right around the corner or halfway across the world. You must have the proper information to make this choice. Read on to know the world’s best river cruises.
Chicago River Cruise
If you only have a few hours to spare for an enjoyable river cruise, then the Chicago River cruise is for you. Within 75 minutes, you can see the finest buildings of Chicago as they stand tall and proud amongst others.
They include the Tribune Tower, Trump Tower, and Marina City. You can make the tour even more fantastic with a few friends or a loved one, and an evening cruise offering mouthwatering desserts.
Columbia and Snake River Cruise
This itinerary is a favorite treat from the American Cruise Lines. The scenic tour takes passengers from Portland, Oregon, through the beautiful and unique Columbia River Gorge, to Hell's Canyon. Hell's Canyon is known as the deepest canyon in North America. It offers explorers historic tales and a worthwhile tour.
Eastern Europe River Cruises
Often known as the Vikings river cruise, this tour offers an engaging trip from Bucharest to Budapest. The Viking ships are the first exquisite part of the journey. They are excellent vessels, with captivating Nordic designs, floors, and walls. Your experience begins with the Viking cruise and completes with unbeatable sights on your 11-day voyage.
Northern Italy River Cruise
Italy always offers visitors the best treats, from the food to the fantastic view, and 10-day tour that is all magical. The journey begins in Milan, the city with historical pieces from Leonardo Da Vinci. It moves on to Verona the bold city of the famous Romeo and Juliet tale. Other stops include Chioggia, Bologna, and finally, romantic Venice.
Mississippi River Cruise
A tour on the fourth longest river in the world gives you the most phenomenal view of America. You can enjoy a Mississippi river cruise for a few hours or over three weeks.
There's no need to hold off longer. Take the cruise of your dreams with one of the world's best river cruises. If your home’s on the market, pack up and go and let your realtor show and sell it while you’re gone.
One of the final hurdles to buying a house is making sure your future home is structurally sound. To the untrained eye, the property you've made an offer on may appear to be "close enough to perfect."
However, your excitement over that gourmet kitchen, finished basement, and manicured lawn may be causing you to view your future home with rose-colored glasses!
Fortunately, you can (and should) hire an experienced, licensed professional to thoroughly inspect the property and point out flaws and potential problems that might need to be addressed by the seller -- either in the form of price concessions or repairs. If the seller is unwilling to be flexible in those areas, then you may have the option of withdrawing your offer. Hopefully, it won't come down to that -- especially if you love the house -- but that situation could arise and derail your plans for buying a particular property.
Many real estate purchases do involve a few bumps and detours along the way, but they frequently can be resolved by your real estate agent and/or attorney.
The starting point for identifying structural issues with a house is to have the property inspected by a reputable home inspector. Here are a few of the key areas they'll evaluate and include in their report:
- Foundation and basement: Cracks, leaks, and signs of instability can often be identified through a visual inspection of the underlying structure of a home. Some issues are relatively minor, while others can be quite costly.
- Roof and attic: Although most new roofs typically last for 20 to 30 years, time has a way of slipping by when you least expect it! Depending on weather conditions, climate, and falling tree branches, roofs of any age can be subjected to a lot of wear and tear. Since roofs play such a vital role in protecting your home and family from the many forces of nature, it's crucial that your roof be intact, in sound condition, and fully functional. An inspection of the home's attic and/or crawlspace will also reveal actual or potential problems with leaks, mold, roof damage, or infestations.
- HVAC, electrical, and plumbing: There are a lot of systems that provide homeowners with comfort, convenience, and the ability to meet day-to-day needs. Whether you're talking about major kitchen appliances, hot water heaters, or climate control systems, there are dozens of things an inspector needs to check and keep you apprised of.
- Exterior checkpoints: Property inspectors will also assess the condition of the outside of the house, as well as drainage efficiency and any visible structural damage or signs of deterioration.
When it comes to home inspections, your real estate agent can not only provide you with professional referrals, but they can also accompany you on the actual property inspection. That will help make sure important questions, issues, and recommendations don't slip through the cracks!
Are you looking to give your kitchen that fresh and thorough cleaning for spring? Follow this checklist and see what you have to do. You can also use it to give your kitchen a thorough cleaning at any time of the year.
- Start with the sink. Deal with whatever dirty dishes are lurking there. Use your dishwasher or wash them by hand and dry them. When the sink is empty, fill up the sink with hot water, then add some detergent and bleach and let it stand for about 90 minutes before emptying it and rinsing off.
- Dealing with the countertops. Mix a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid, and then use a washcloth to wipe down the countertops. Spray a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water to get rid of stains and then wipe down again. Wipe down your appliances with the damp washcloth too but be careful not to leave any water on the insides.
- Cleaning the cabinets. Empty the cabinets of all their contents, discard anything that is expired or no longer in use. Wipe down the doors and interior with your washcloth. You can use a toothpick wrapped with tissue to clean out the edges and corners. Also, degrease the edges of your drawers and shelves. When you are done return all your items back to the cabinet.
- The rest of the kitchen. Remove the kitchen blinds and window coverings and dust them thoroughly before laundering them. Get a duster and then dust the ceiling, removing whatever cobwebs may be lurking in the corners. Remove any pictures from the walls and dust them thoroughly too before rehanging them. Sweep the kitchen floors and pay extra care to those areas that are out of sight such as the space beneath the fridge. When you finish sweeping, mop with a solution of water and vinegar to disinfect and deodorize the floor.
- Get rid of trash. Begin to gather all the trash into one of your bin bags and empty those outside before washing your trash can with water and soap. Leave the trash can in the sunlight for some deodorizing.
- Final touches. Return everything to its proper positions. Rehang the window blinds and return the trash can to the kitchen.
Well done, you just carried out a thorough spring cleaning, you should reward yourself with something nice and cool.
A pantry is a coveted feature for many homeowners. Especially those come from small apartments or houses. No more stacking items like the Leaning Tower of Pisa or reaching back into the endless depths hoping to land on your favorite spice mix.
However, all the extra space can cause a new organizational problem - there’s so much that you don’t know what to do with it. If finding ingredients has become an aerobics exercise from searching them top to bottom each time you cook today’s article is for you.
Instead of tall jars opt for flat square stackable containers. By taking up more surface space and less height they can’t hide behind one another. Label each container so you know at a glance which is flour and which powdered sugar.
Take advantage of the space your pantry door provides. Install hooks to hang pans or lids down the length of the door. Or for a weekend craft project install a large magnet and put spices in little jars with metal lids. You’ll just want to make sure your magnet has a strong enough hold that all of your jars don’t come crashing down each time the kids inevitably slam the door shut.
For ultimate organization install a chalkboard along the inside (or outside) of your pantry door for an ongoing shopping list. Add a small lip to hold some chalk so anyone in the family can add on to the list when they finish up the last snack of the bunch. This helps cut down on time spent taking inventory of your home staples and which need to be restocked.
Take advantage of space below shelving in your pantry with crates. These are great for storing the aforementioned kid snacks, baking items and extra items you stock up on to stretch the time between shopping trips. Install wheels on the bottom to make them easier to pull in and out or into the main kitchen area.
Create zones throughout your pantry with items like under-the-shelf racks, stacking shelves, lazy susans, and clear bins. These not only help you keep like-items together but also to capitalize on the space you have. Label bins to help the rest of your family keep things tidy. Under-the-shelf racks are great for more delicate items like bread and root vegetables to stay up and out of the way from the threats of cans and jars.
Alternatively get creative and use a shower caddy or magazine rack hung from the inside of the door for your root vegetables and bread. Measure the space between the door and shelf when closed to ensure the correct depth or match the spacing between each so the height of bins matches that of shelf spacing.
Purchasing a house can be tricky, particularly for those who are dealing with a high-pressure negotiation. Luckily, we're here to help you get the best results from any homebuying negotiation, at any time.
Now, let's take a three must-haves for those who are getting ready to negotiate a home purchase.
1. Housing Market Data
An informed homebuyer is a smart shopper. As such, this individual will obtain a large assortment of housing market data that he or she can use to make the best buying decision.
For homebuyers, it is important to understand how one house stacks up against comparable residences in any real estate market. That way, a homebuyer can submit a competitive offer that is based on pertinent housing market data.
Examine the prices of recently sold houses similar to the one that you'd like to buy. Also, check out the prices of comparable houses that are currently available. And with this housing market data at your disposal, you can boost your chances of getting the optimal price for your dream residence.
Let's face it – a homebuying negotiation is stressful, regardless of whether you're a first-time homebuyer or have purchased many residences over the years. But if you remain confident throughout a negotiation, you can take a calm, cool and collected approach, even when times get tough.
A confident homebuyer will have no trouble standing his or her ground during a negotiation. And if this individual is uncomfortable with a home seller's counter-proposal, he or she will be willing to walk away and restart a home search.
Furthermore, a confident homebuyer will remain open to new ideas and consider the home seller's perspective. This will enable a homebuyer to examine both sides of a negotiation and proceed accordingly.
3. An Experienced Real Estate Agent
When it comes to negotiating a home purchase, there is no need to handle a negotiation on your own. Fortunately, an experienced real estate agent is happy to offer guidance at each stage of a homebuying negotiation.
An experienced real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a great home at an affordable price. As a result, he or she will go above and beyond the call of duty to negotiate with a home seller on your behalf.
Typically, an experienced real estate agent will act as a liaison between a homebuyer and home seller. This housing market professional will keep you up to date about whether a home seller accepts or rejects your proposal to purchase a home. He or she also will provide recommendations and suggestions to help you transform a stressful negotiation into a successful one.
Perhaps best of all, an experienced real estate agent is ready to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions. He or she will provide you with the support you need to ensure you can make informed decisions throughout a homebuying negotiation.
Get ready for a homebuying negotiation – consider the aforementioned factors, and you can move one step closer to finalizing a home purchase.