Buying a new home is an exciting prospect. Touring a house can feel like walking around your favorite store, picking out all of the things you love. It’s easy to get distracted by things like fresh paint or nice furniture and forget to look for important structural aspects of the home that can make or break a deal.

Most sellers will be honest and straightforward with you about the state of the home. In some cases, they are required by law to inform you about costly issues with the home (lead paint or sewage issues, for example). Other times, a seller is under no legal obligation to inform you about potential problems with the home. In these instances, you’ll need to rely on your own senses. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten red flags to beware of when buying a home.

  1. Fresh paint 
    It’s common practice when selling a house to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. It’s an inexpensive way to spruce up the home for potential buyers. Sometimes, however, the paint is used as a quick fix for hiding more serious issues. Water damage, mold, and mildew can all be covered up, momentarily, by a coat of paint.
  2. Strong odors
    We say “strong” rather than “bad” odors because sometimes someone selling a home will try to mask bad smells with air fresheners or candles. Bad smells in a house can be the result of plumbing issues, humidity, indoor smokers, water damage, pet urine, uncleanliness, and any number of undesirable things.
  3. Bad roofing
    Missing, broken or stacked shingles are all signs that the roof is in need of repair–a costly fix you probably want to avoid if buying a new home.
  4. Cracked foundation
    A damaged foundation could be a sign of serious structural problems with the house. Especially in sloped areas, cracked foundations can lead to water damage in the basement.
  5. Poor wiring 
    Don’t be afraid to ask to test out the lights and outlets in a home or take a look at breaker boxes. Flickering lighting and faulty outlets are signs that a home is in need of electric work.
  6. Pest issues 
    Many people underestimate the power of insects when it comes to damaging a home. Wood-eating termites and carpenter ants can both devastate the structure of a home and usually results in an expensive repair. Noticing ants is a huge red flag, but if you suspect a home could have an infestation for any reason try to get it inspected by a pest control firm before you make the deal.
  7. Locked doors and off-limit rooms 
    When touring a home there should be no areas that you aren’t allowed to see. A locked door or “do not enter” sign are all red flags that the seller may be hiding something in that room.
  8. Leaking faucets
    Small plumbing issues like leaky faucets or toilets that run excessively are signs that there could be even larger issues with the plumbing in the house.
  9. Deserted neighborhood
    Multiple homes for sale in the neighborhood, deteriorating buildings and closed businesses are all signs of a problem neighborhood. It could be due to economic issues or a decaying community, but either way these are things you’ll want to consider before moving into a new neighborhood.
  10. Defective windows 
    Windows that are sealed shut, fogged up, or won’t open or close are all signs of costly repairs. You’re going to depend on windows for the security of your home, lighting and aesthetic, and to a minor degree for retaining heat. They should all function properly.
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Humans today live a lifestyle more fast-paced than ever before. We’re constantly keeping track of work, bills, emails, friends on social media… the list goes on. With all of these social and work responsibilities it’s sometimes hard to unwind at the end of the day and fall asleep on time at night.

Americans have some of the poorest sleeping habits on earth. One in three have what could be considered “mild insomnia.” While sleeping patterns vary between cultures, one thing is certain: getting enough quality sleep is vital to living a long and healthy life. Here are some changes you can make in the bedroom that will help you get more quality shut-eye.

Beds are for sleeping

Are you the type who stays in bed watching TV, eating, reading on your phone or laptop. If so, you might be losing sleep because of it. It’s important to train your body to know that when you’re in bed with the lights off it’s time to sleep.

Read in your kitchen or on the sofa at night rather than in the bedroom if you’re the type who has to be busy up until bedtime.

Clean your room

If your bedroom is messy, cluttered, or uncomfortable in any way it might be affecting your sleep. Clean things up to make it a more spacious, cozy environment.

Once you’ve cleaned, don’t stop there. Try adjusting the lighting and colors in your room as well. Studies have shown that the colors in our environment affect our mood. You don’t want bold, stimulating colors in a place devoted to sleep.

To make lighting adjustments, keep your shades or curtains open at night so natural light wakes you up in the morning. This is a good practice for your circadian rhythm (our 24-hour sleep cycle that helps us wake up and fall asleep naturally). If you do use lights in your room at night, use a soft, yellow light. Blue light, liek that emitted from most LEDs, is higher on the UV spectrum and tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime.

No phones in bed

Just like the LED lights mentioned above, your phone, laptop, and tablets all emit light that can keep you up. When darkness falls your brain begins producing melatonin (a chemical than makes you fall asleep). Staring into these screens inhibits that production, keeping you up later. You may feel that you’re “just not tired,” which is perfectly true. But it’s because you’re stopping your body from telling you it’s time for bed.

Some alternatives to looking at your phone would be to read or knit in bed while you wait to feel sleepy. Then you can just put them down and drift off to sleep.

Helpful bedtime tips:

  • At night, set your phone’s brightness to very low and if you have an iPhone use the “night shift” mode that turns your phone’s light from blue to yellow
  • Listen to calming, ambient music on your iPod that will take your mind off distracting thoughts
  • Listen to an app or podcast designed to help you sleep
  • If you can’t sleep after an hour or so, try getting up for a bit or having a protein-filled snack. Then try going back to bed




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