6 tips on buying a country home

Some of us just can't imagine living within easy listening range of our neighbors. Whether it's a conversation from a backyard barbecue or sounds of the 6 o'clock news through an open window, we need open spaces and plenty of distance between our home and a neighbor.

If a home with acreage is on your wish list, there are plenty of options here in Tulare County. I can help you find homes on the valley floor and in the nearby foothills. You'll even see some in my listings.

As you shop for that perfect country home that offers solitude and a break from city living, there are at least six things you need to keep in mind when considering a home.

Zoning 
Check with local officials about zoning ordinances in the area, not only for your parcel but also for land near you.

If it sounds to good to be true...

There are a lot of homeowners right now who are having trouble hanging on to their house. As a result, there are also a lot of unscrupulous organizations trying to make a quick buck out of another person's desperation.

Con artists take all shapes and sizes; and they seem to adapt quickly to the economic times. With the downturn of the housing market and numbers of homeowners facing foreclosure, financial vultures are circling the market posing as mortgage rescue firms who offer hope in a hopeless situation.

If you find yourself needing help with your mortgage, there are at least five tips to keep in mind to avoid being scammed.

1) Use only non-profit, HUD-approved counselors to sort out your options in avoiding a foreclosure. You can find a counselor by visiting www.hud.gov, or calling them direct at (877) 483-1515.

Got Insurance? Follow it up with a good home inventory

As homeowners we all have insurance to cover damages to our home from fire, theft, and sometimes flood and earthquakes. We insure the structure and the contents. But when it comes time to make a claim, evaluating the loss to the structure is a lot easier than tallying up the losses to the contents.

That's why it is important to complete an inventory of your possessions. It sounds tedious, but with the right tools and a plan, it can be a lot easier than you think.

Written inventory
If technology is not your thing, the simplest way of creating an inventory of your possessions is with a simple piece of paper and a pencil. Organize the list by rooms. Write down the name of a room, then list all of the contents you want to record for insurance purposes. Go room to room until you have completed the entire home. Don't forget the garage and storage sheds, patio furniture, etc.

Beautiful Visalia home with lots of extras

This 2,547-square-foot home in southeast Visalia is truly a must-see for any serious home buyer.

The 3-bedroom, 2-bath home sits on an 11,000-square-foot lot with a beautiful, aggregate bottom pool with pop-up cleaning system and plumbed for solar heating.

The open floor plan features a formal dining room and a great room with 16-foot ceilings and lots of windows. French doors lead to the patio where outdoor ceiling fans will keep you cool.

The elegant owner's suite is an oasis with a soaking tub, walk-in closet and garden door to the patio.

The home is wired for surround sound. It also has a whole-house fan, security storm doors, solar screens, a gourmet kitchen with island and pantry.

The four-car extended garage features a drive-thru door leading to a concrete pad in the backyard, which means plenty of storage for large toys and recreational vehicles.

Call me today to see this beautiful property! Darlene (559) 625-9364.

Summertime curb appeal

The last days of spring may be the very best time to showcase your home's curb appeal. With flowers blooming, trees producing new, shady foliage, and clear sunshine your home will look fresh and inviting to potential buyers.

Now that the rainy season is behind us and the heat is starting to climb, it's time to give your landscape some special attention.

To make sure you have a beautiful yard for summer there are a few projects you will want to consider.

Lawn
Your lawn was probably green even through the winter, but even as we move into summer it will need some attention. First off, if you haven't applied a fertilizer with nitrogen in a while, it's probably a good time to do so. Remove any weeds or dandelions you find. Don't "burn" your lawn by mowing your tall fescue too short.