Cheryl Pendenza's Blog
If you work from home part or all of the time, chances are you have a specific place in your house where you go to work to be free from distraction.
Many people spend a lot of time thinking about the decor of their home office. They decide how much light they want to let in, what they need on their desk, and which distractions to keep out of the room entirely.
Surprisingly few people, however, consider the ergonomics of their home office.
What is ergonomics?
Simply stated, ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in the workplace. When it comes to office work or working at home, that means studying things like posture, desk height, eye strain, and much more.
In this article, we’ll talk about some ways you can improve the ergonomics of your home office to prevent injury and to make your office a more productive and less stressful place to work.
Choosing a desk chair
Let’s begin with one of the most common complaints in offices and home offices around the world: chairs.
You could spend several hundred dollars on an ergonomic office chair. But in reality it only needs to meet a few criteria that you can often find in inexpensive computer chairs. When buying a chair, look for the following:
Lower back support what will help you keep a straight spine
Adjustable heights for the chair, the backrest, and the arm rests
A firm, but comfortable cushion that you won’t slide down on
Picking the right desk
The most important ergonomic factor of a desk is that you can easily fit your legs under it and don’t have to crane over it to write.
Regardless of where you keep your keyboard, it will help if your arms can fall on it naturally and at a close to ninety-degree angle.
Screen height and distance
The vast majority of work performed at home is done with the use of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet.
Ideally, the height of your screen should be adjusted so that you can view it straight on, and not have to look down or up at it. This will help protect your neck from strain.
For eye strain, it’s a good idea to keep the monitor a couple feet from your eyes and to adjust the brightness so that it’s easy to read but not too bright.
The best thing you can do to avoid headaches and eye strain is to set reminders for yourself to look away from the screen every twenty minutes or so or get up and go for a walk.
Take more breaks
Speaking of taking breaks; sitting in one position for too long can contribute to muscle and joint pain. If you’re working at home, it should be easy to get up and stretch or move around every half hour or so.
You don’t have to take a long break; even a minute or two is sufficient enough to help take the strain off of your tired eyes and stiff back and neck.
Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.
Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.
Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.
If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.
A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.
Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.
Your dishwasher is one of the best appliances that you own. It saves you tons of time and aggravation from hand-washing all of the dishes each and every night after dinner. It’s not an appliance that we replace often, so you need to make sure that we maintain it correctly in order to get a good lifespan out of your investment. Taking good care of your appliances can also help to keep up the value of your home when you go to sell it. Homebuyers prefer to have appliances that are updated and well maintained. Below, you’ll find some tips for extending the life of your dishwasher. You may not think that an item that cleans needs to be cleaned itself, but there’s plenty of things that you can do to keep your dishwasher clean and working well in order to have sparkling dishes.
Load It And Use It
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to actually use your dishwasher. Running cycles regularly can help you to keep the machine running smoothly and keep away debris and food particles. If you don’t have a full load, try and run the dishwasher at least every other day. You’ll save money and energy if you wait to run the washer on a full load, so don’t overdo it. You just don’t want to go a week or more without running the dishwasher, as it will allow a lot of buildup to occur, making the dishwasher work harder to clean the dishes that are loaded in it.
To keep the washer running effectively, you’ll want to always load it correctly according to the guidelines for your particular dishwasher. For a thorough clean, use a commercial dishwasher cleaner from time to time when you run the washer on its own without any dishes in it. This will keep a stench from building up and allow your dishes to clean more thoroughly.
Scrape Food Debris
Although your dishwasher and the detergent are equipped to get rid of food debris, scraping food off of plates prior to loading them into the dishwasher can help to prevent damage and maintain proper drainage from the washer itself. The dishes will also come out of the cycle a bit cleaner than if you have left a ton of food and sauce debris on your plates. Scraping the food rather than pre-rinsing the dishes also is a good way to conserve water. While pre-rinsing your dishes may seem like a good idea, over the life of your dishwasher, you can save tens of thousands of gallons of water.
Perhaps one of the most challenging things about buying a home is saving for the downpayment. Collecting such a large sum of money can be difficult. The truth is that most buyers actually think that they need more than they actually do to buy a home. The downpayment doesn’t need to be a barrier to your path to homeownership. There are so many programs that offer low and even no down payment home loans. Read on to learn more about down payments and programs that can help you.
First, let’s look at what a down payment is and how it can help you. If you put 10% down on a $200,000 home that’s $20,000. The downpayment minus the purchase price of the home is $180,000, and that's how much your home loan will be. The more money you can put down on the house, the lower your home loan will be and the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be. A large down payment can indeed save you in the long term. If you’re looking to move into a home sooner rather than later, saving a considerable sum isn’t always possible.
Low Downpayment Mortgages
You need to decide what type of home loan you need by the amount of downpayment you’re willing and able to put down. Some benefits go along with making a down payment, but there are some negatives.
By making a substantial down payment you may despite your savings, leaving little money for emergencies. Your mortgage rate may not be affected by a large downpayment either. It can be hard to decide what type of loan to get and just how much you really can afford.
FHA loans are among the most popular type of home loans. The downpayment that’s required is just 3.5%. The requirements are simple, and you don’t have to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify.
The drawback to an FHA loan is that you cannot cancel the monthly mortgage insurance that comes along with it unless you refinance the home. Traditional mortgage insurance is canceled when you have built up 20% equity in the house, but this isn’t the case with FHA loans.
Another positive about FHA loans is that your credit score doesn’t have to be stellar in order for you to qualify. Some lenders approve FHA loans with credit scores as low as 580.
VA Home Loans
Buyers who have current or former military service status can qualify for this zero down mortgage. These loans are benefits to veterans and current members of the Armed Forces. While no downpayment is required, buyers may put down any amount they wish. The only requirements are that buyers be members of the military either currently serving for 90 days or two years of active duty service if not an active member.
The above options are great for those who can’t afford or don’t wish to put down large down payments but still hope to be homeowners.
Although you might have a home selling timeline in place, there may be instances where changes to your plan are required. These include:
1. You are listing your home in a buyer's market.
If you add your house to a buyer's market, you likely will face lots of competition from rival home sellers. As such, it may be difficult to enjoy a fast, profitable home selling experience if you fail to promote your residence accordingly.
To succeed in a buyer's market, you'll need to be patient. But if you can find ways to differentiate your house from the competition, you could maximize your home sale earnings.
Oftentimes, it helps to revamp a house's curb appeal. By mowing the front lawn and performing various home exterior improvements, you can help your house make a positive first impression on potential buyers.
You also should spend some time removing clutter from inside your house. That way, you can make it easy for buyers to envision what life may be like if they purchase your home.
2. You are struggling to stir up interest in your house.
After you add your house to the real estate market, it may be several weeks or months before a buyer submits an offer to purchase your residence. And if you're committed to optimizing the value of your house, it is important to wait for the right offer before you finalize your house sale.
If your home initially fails to stir up interest among buyers, there is no need to worry. In fact, there are many things that you can do to ensure your house hits the mark with buyers.
Generally, it is a good idea to establish an aggressive initial home asking price. This price should account for your house's condition, age and the current state of the real estate market.
It typically is beneficial to consider the homebuyer's perspective as well. Because if you understand why a buyer may be interested in your house, you could discover ways to help you house stand out in a competitive real estate market.
3. You have yet to hire a real estate agent.
Finding a real estate agent who can help you sell your house is key. Yet if you fail to employ an expert real estate agent right away, it may be difficult to enjoy a quick, seamless home selling experience.
Real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals are happy to assist you in any way possible. If you need a real estate agent who can help you list your house and promote it to dozens of potential buyers, you should have no trouble finding an agent who matches or surpasses your expectations. Or, if you want to find a real estate agent who can offer tips throughout the home selling journey, you can choose from many potential candidates in your area.
Remember, be flexible as you proceed along the home selling journey, and you can increase the likelihood of achieving the best-possible results.