Reports Trace the History of Your Home-To-Be

A house is probably the biggest purchase you’ll make. So finding out all you can about the home-to-be is essential.

It’s all about the history of your home, and several companies have sprung up across North America to enlighten potential buyers as they begin their home search.

These organizations provide inexpensive reports that include a history of the home dating back years.

That means you can find out about additions and repairs through building permits and leaky roofs via insurance claims.

Previous selling prices and even some of the more unsavory aspects of the home, such as a history as a drug lab, are available.

Some firms also will provide names of the companies that made previous additions (such as swimming pools), so you can follow up if you like the workmanship, or if you don’t.

In the U.S., one company offering this service is BuildFax; buyers can obtain a report through their real estate agent. But if you have time and energy, you can also conduct searches yourself; virtually all the information is contained in official records, available to the public at little or no cost.

History reports like these can help potential buyers avoid unpleasant surprises at closing time or later down the road.

A track record of problems might make a house a lot more expensive to insure, but if a potential buyer knows about the issues before purchasing, he or she could decide against buying the home or at the very least will be prepared for the additional costs.

Single-family homes are still much sought after; according to NAR, almost 80% of last year’s buyers purchased a single-family detached home. It appears the American dream isn’t dead; like previous generations, families have and will continue to seek a place of their own.

Bring Home 2013 Design Trends This Spring

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz … I wonder where the plumber is.

This riff on the poem, “Spring in the Bronx,” highlights other rites of the season: renovating and redecorating.

There’s nothing quite like sunlight pouring through our open curtains to inspire us, so every year at this time we start to think about changing our surroundings.

Spring’s latest trends may be just the thing to bring new life to your old home.

And because it’s even more important if you’re thinking about selling, you’ll be pleased to know there are some inexpensive quick fixes to brighten your surroundings.

This year is all about color: Pastels are everywhere (Benjamin Moore’s color of 2013 is called Lemon Sorbet), but so are muted blues, which have been proclaimed the new neutrals.

Pastels are a great way to lighten and brighten without dominating. For the potential seller, an accent wall in soft yellow complements neutrals and won’t turn off buyers.

While summer is still months away, bring the look of the outdoors in now. Let garden furniture assume center stage, and introduce the sunshine with sheer window coverings; it’s the best way to establish a link with nature.

This year, we’re reacting to our high-tech lifestyles by connecting to all things earthy.

A “new” traditional style features classic with a twist, such as a sofa with simple lines upholstered in a strong color.

It’s a sea change from last year’s whimsical folk art and reclaimed furniture look, which nevertheless remains popular this year.

If you need new appliances, there’s a big surprise in store. Black is the new stainless steel, and even white is trending.

Lastly, you can give your home curb appeal with new door hardware in the latest metallics: brass, copper, bronze or gold. Don’t forget to paint the door in one of the new colors. Then sit back and enjoy the compliments.