Category Archives: Family

Things to Do in Raleigh, N.C.: October 2018

It’s so long to summer, hello to fall! We’ll miss these warm-weather months—baseball games, summer festivals, outdoor concerts and such. But we’re ready to embrace a new season and the new experiences that come with it in the Raleigh area—hockey games, cultural festivals, holiday shopping, pumpkin pies, lots of ways to experience the arts and (last but not least!) the N.C. State Fair!
Carolina Hurricanes—back in action!

Seven home games in Oct. 
Is it October yet? That’s what hockey fans have been asking for a few months since the Stanley Cup Finals ended in June. Yes, it’s Halloween month, and that means the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes return to the ice at PNC Arena to kick off their 21st season in Raleigh. The Canes (as everyone locally calls them) will play seven home games in Oct., with the puck dropping for the first time against the Islanders (10/4) on opening night. They’ll also take on the Rangers (10/7), Canucks (10/9), Avalanche (10/20), Sharks (10/26), Islanders again (10/28) and Bruins (10/30). Single-game tickets have gone on sale, so join the #Redvolution by wearing red, white and black and cheering on the Canes!

N.C. State Fair

Oct. 12-21 (note: updated opening day due to Hurricane Michael)
For many, the return of the N.C. State Fair (10/12-21) marks the true beginning of fall. Sunny days turn into cool and clear nights where smells of cotton candy fill the air, blinking lights from Ferris wheels and roller coasters light up the skies and jackets and sweatshirts become a necessity. The largest annual event in N.C., with 1,000,000+ visitors, this is the chance to search out thrilling rides, take in more than 100 free concerts from local artists plus devour the most over-the-top food concoctions you can imagine—think chocolate, peanut butter, bacon, doughnuts and tons of other gooey goodness. We wouldn’t miss it!

SAS Championship

Oct. 12-14
See some of golf’s best, including legendary pro Colin Montgomerie who will return to defend his 2017 title, at the SAS Championship, a PGA Tour Championships event. Held annually at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, the event is widely recognized as one of the most important events of the year. The tournament will once again play host to ‘Wildcard Weekend’—the last full-field event before the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs.

The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art Exhibition

Oct. 13, 2018-Jan. 20, 2019
An exhibition of contemporary art at the North Carolina Museum of Art from renowned artist Georgia O’Keeffe, who revolutionized ways to see ordinary things, brings together a significant group of O’Keeffe’s works (featuring enormous flowers, luscious color and desert landscapes) as the centerpiece of an exploration of her continued force as a touchstone for contemporary art. This exhibit is ticketed in conjunction with Candida Höfer in Mexico.

Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo

Oct. 14
Attention, foodies! The final Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo of the year is this month. More than a half-mile of food trucks, spanning 11 city blocks, are bringing wood-fired pizzas, buttery lobster rolls, over-the-top ice cream concoctions, drool-worthy barbecue sandwiches and way, way more for thousands of hungry rodeo-goers to chow down on. Free admission, seating for 1,000-plus people and plenty of Instagram opportunities are just some of the elements that make this a can’t-miss foodie event.

SPARKcon 2018

Oct. 18-21
SPARKcon, the totally-weird, totally-awesome creativity festival that takes over downtown Raleigh each year, is truly a grassroots event. The “for the people, by the people” approach uses an open-source planning process that allows more than 2,000 artists to be involved each year. Dance, fashion, music, film, food—if you can name it, you can find an event for it at the festival that spans nearly 15 city blocks. The festival has taken big steps to make it even more accessible for individuals with disabilities, including independent wayfinding navigation with BlindSquare, sensory-friendly packs, a SPARKcon Access Guide (available at the info tent and on the cubes at every intersection) and more (get details here).

BugFest

Oct. 20
Experience more than 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities at BugFest, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences‘ annual event that lets you interact with entomologists and other scientists while learning about the fascinating world of bugs. Featuring the ever-popular Café Insecta, where the brave can sample buggy dishes prepared by local chefs. The best part? The event is totally free for the expected 35,000 attendees. This year’s theme: crayfish and other crustaceans!

33rd International Festival of Raleigh

Oct. 26-28
The Raleigh Convention Center will host the 33rd International Festival of Raleigh, where more than 50 ethnic groups will be represented! The festival includes everything from international food and stage performances to fashion shows and beer and coffee tastings.

Apex Music Festival

Oct. 27
Now in its eighth year, the Apex Music Festival attracts thousands of fans to historic downtown Apex to enjoy live music, street vendors, food trucks, beer and wine and an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants. Two outdoor stages and one indoor theater will host a variety of acts from local, regional and national performers from many musical genres—rock, folk, R&B, bluegrass, country and more. The ticketed event, which is best suited for adults, has a full music lineup you can check out here.

FallFest at Dix Park

Oct. 27
The inaugural FallFest at Dix Park—a family-focused atmosphere with food, drinks, kids and adult activities and live entertainment—will include live music from the Milagro Saints and Counterclockwise String Band, a fun zone with inflatable rides and games, pony rides, face painting, a pumpkin patch and decorating area, hayrides, craft vendors and more fall activities. Food trucks with food, beer, ice cream and more will be on hand, but you can also bring your own small cooler or picnic basket. Dogs (on a leash) are welcome, too!

 by visitRaleigh

 

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6 Costs Homeowners Overlook and How to Pay for Them

For many people, a house is the biggest investment they’ll ever make. And whether you’re a first-time homeowner or you’re buying your third property, you’re bound to end up covering some unexpected expenses. Here are six costs homeowners tend to overlook (that can really add up)  and how to pay for them:

1. Property taxes

Be prepared to pay property taxes and keep in mind that they rarely decrease. Homeowners often pay them every month along with their mortgage payments. If your loan is backed by the Federal Housing Administration, you’re required to have an escrow or impound account.

If you don’t have to make property tax payments through an escrow account, they may be due at the end of the year. In some counties, you might pay them in installments.

2. Homeowners association fees

Whenever you move into a new home or condominium, you become part of a community. In many cases, there are fees associated with the maintenance and general upkeep of shared common areas. The money collected might cover snow removal, landscaping or repairs to a meeting room.

Monthly homeowners association (HOA) fees for standard single-family homes tend to cost between $200-$300, but rates can vary depending on several factors, including how recently a housing community was built and the kinds of amenities that are available. That’s why it’s best to know how much fees cost upfront.

3. Insurance premiums

If you own a home, another cost you should include in your budget is insurance. The average annual homeowners insurance premium costs $1,120, according to recent data provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, but the amount you pay may be higher or lower based on where you live and the kind of policy you choose.

Homeowners insurance typically covers personal possessions, liability for injuries that take place on your property, the structure of your house and additional costs associated with living elsewhere if your home is severely damaged. If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, you might need a supplemental policy like flood insurance.

4. Repair and maintenance costs

Repairing or replacing a roof, furnace or air conditioner can be expensive, and at some point, you might have to address plumbing issues or trade in some old appliances.

The cost of home maintenance is another thing you’ll have to factor into the cost of homeownership. You’ll need money to keep your yard, gutters, carpet and everything in between in tip-top shape.

Financial experts generally recommend setting aside 1 percent of your home’s value to cover the cost of unexpected repairs and maintenance. If you’re trying to save money, you’re better off doing some of the work yourself. Just make sure you have enough funds for the materials you need to get the job done.

5. Costs associated with selling a home

Having a home that’s well-maintained not only lets you enjoy your house while you’re living there, but also prevents you from being saddled with additional costs when you’re ready to sell it.

Replacing your roof or furnace might be something you want to put off, but failing to make necessary repairs or meet demands made by potential homebuyers could hurt your market value or cost you a sale.

6. Pest control costs

Pests are a real concern for many homeowners. Over time, all sorts of critters—like termites, ants, spiders and rodents—might invade your home. Depending on how serious the problem is, you might need to fumigate your house.

If you’re interested in buying a home, make sure you hire an inspector to check for bugs and termites that could cause structural damage. While lenders don’t always require homebuyers to pay for pest inspections, it’s important to have one done. You don’t want to close on a house only to find out later that there’s an issue. Termite inspections generally cost between $75-$150, according to Angie’s List.

Build a rainy day fund!

It’s always better to be prepared for a storm than to be caught in a downpour without an umbrella. Despite the high costs, owning your own home can be a rewarding experience.

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst by keeping enough money in your savings account to cover unforeseen costs. Make sure you account for all of the hidden expenses and fees associated with buying a home and budget accordingly.

By the Experts at Hippo, RISMedia’s Housecall

How to Ensure You’re Buying the Perfect Home

For most people, buying a home is the biggest investment they’ll make in their life. Not only is it a huge financial undertaking, but your final choice is a decision you’ll be living with for the foreseeable future. The process may sound daunting, but by taking the right steps, buying your perfect home doesn’t have to be stressful.

What Is a Perfect Home?

The first step to ensuring you’re buying your ideal property is identifying what “perfect” means to you. It may sounds obvious, but the easiest way to start is by making a list of your priorities. What is a “must-have,” what would be nice and what isn’t important? If you’re buying with a partner, make sure you compare lists and decide what can be compromised on and what will be the deal-breakers.

Experience is key here—we’ve all lived in places that at first glance we thought were suitable, only to find out later that the kitchen we initially thought was cozy was actually far too small for our needs, or that the seemingly bright living room only gets direct sunlight for a few hours a day. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and relatives about their experiences either, as they may be aware of something you hadn’t thought of.

What Can You Really Afford?

Before scouring the market for your ideal property, you need to know what you can afford.  By getting pre-approved for a mortgage first, you’ll know exactly how much you can borrow based on a professional assessment of your finances. Ultimately, this will make the whole process much easier. A trap that many buyers fall into is assuming that the maximum amount they can borrow is what they should spend on their new house. Look at what your monthly repayments would be and ensure that your budget factors in all ongoing maintenance costs, any fees you may incur from the buying process and any improvements you may want to make in the future.

Your budget should also allow you to put funds aside each month for emergency maintenance. If your heating system fails one winter, do you have the savings to fix it? Lastly, think about any potential changes to your income you may face in the next 5-10 years, how they could affect your ability to make payments, and whether there are any safeguards you can put in place.

Choosing Your Professionals

Purchasing a home can be extremely difficult without assistance from industry professionals; having the right team can be the difference between a smooth buying process and a costly disaster. Hiring a real estate agent provides numerous advantages. An experienced REALTOR® can find properties that you may otherwise miss, negotiate prices and recommend lenders. They’ll also be able to answer any questions you may have about a property, as well as any you may not have even thought to ask.

When it comes to lenders, be aware of the different types of loans available to you and how they can impact your long-term finances. Just because one lender is prepared to loan you more money doesn’t necessarily mean they’re your best option.

Location,

It’s not uncommon for buyers to find their perfect home, only to discover too late that the area it’s in is far from ideal. Take note of what you like about your current neighborhood and what you would change, and bear this in mind when scoping out potential locations. Take the time to explore the two-mile radius surrounding the property. Drive around in the daytime and at night. Would you feel safe and comfortable walking around the neighborhood at these times? Test your commute between the property and your workplace during rush hour. Could you do it every day?

You can even spend a Saturday afternoon driving through the neighborhood, asking your potential neighbors how they feel about the area.

Finally, remember that just because certain aspects of the location won’t affect you, it doesn’t mean they won’t be important to someone else if you decide to sell the property in the future. Even if you don’t have children, being in a good school district can add up to 20 percent to your house value.

Do Your Homework

Carrying out thorough research on a property and area before you buy can take time and money, but the benefits far outweigh the cost. Look at general property values in the local area and study how they have changed recently. What are similar homes in the neighborhood selling for? This will help you decide whether the asking price is fair and could indicate what may happen to the value of your property in the future.

A professional home inspection will cost a few hundred dollars, but could end up saving you thousands in the long run. If they find any potential issues with the home, you can request the seller makes repairs on the property, or use it as a bargaining tool to lower the price (and cover any costs the repairs may cost you). It’s also worth having a map of the property; a survey of the land means you’ll know exactly what you own, which can resolve any possible border disputes should they arise.

Buying for Tomorrow

A perfect home isn’t just for now; it’s for the future, and there are two ways to look at this. Firstly, it’s important to visualize whether you can see yourself living and growing there. Try and imagine yourself and your family in each room and whether it feels “right.” You also need to look for the potential in the property if you decide to expand or refurbish parts of it. You might not be planning to do this anytime soon, but it’s important to know you’ll have the option later on.

The flip side to this is remembering that a dream home is something you build yourself. Don’t get put off  by superficial things like the color of the walls or the shade of the carpets. In the long run, these things can be changed relatively inexpensively. Not all houses are going to be in the best condition when you see them, but, with remodeling, you can add your own style and touch to a home and truly make it yours. Remember that houses are generally not perfect to begin with, and there will always be things that could be different. If you’re flexible, it’s easier to move in and start creating your dream home.

by: Eliot Ward, RISMedia’s Housecall