Many first time home buyers simply don’t think too much about home maintenance during the purchasing process. The challenge is that once you’re in the home, regardless of whether you’ve thought about it or not, your home’s maintenance needs only increase. And if there’s a hidden problem lurking somewhere, the result of ignoring it means it only gets bigger, more difficult to repair and could potentially cause other issues.
Invite an Inspection
During the purchase process, you should have had a home inspection. On it, a certified inspector lists any areas with potential maintenance needs in the foreseeable future. Read through the inspection list to see what’s upcoming. Will you need a new roof in a few years? Does the exterior paint need some TLC? How old is the water heater and how long is the warranty on it? Did the inspector notice any weaknesses in the foundation or cracks in the supports? Minor issues likely weren’t enough to stop a sale since every home has some blemishes. But knowing the potential issues means you can keep your eye on them and stop something from developing into an expensive issue needing major repairs.
Do an Annual Review
Make a list and check it twice. Each season walk through your home, crawl in the attic space and under the floor joists to check things out. Look for evidence of water leaks, mold, or build-up of condensation. Check for dripping faucets, hissing or running toilets or loose fixtures. Tighten water valves and check for moisture inside sink cabinets and bathroom vanities.
If your house has a fireplace, have the chimney swept before you use it in the fall or winter. During the summer, birds and small animals often build nests in the chimney that can catch embers and cause house fires. If your chimney does not have a screen or cap, talk to your fireplace professional about installing them. Your fireplace isn’t the only thing that needs screens. If your gutters continually clog with leaves and debris, they can back up and cause significant water damage to your home. In areas with snow or ice, clogged gutters can overflow during a melt and damage the gutters, soffit and even the foundation. A gutter contractor can install screens that let the water in but keep the debris out.
Other areas that need consideration are windows and doors. If your dual-paned window steams or frosts on the inside, the seal has broken, so you won’t reap the benefit of energy savings. Drafty door jams and frames allow frigid air in and cause your furnace to run longer. Ask your public utility company to do an energy survey of your home and caulk, repair or replace when necessary.
Your professional real estate agent is the best resource for a home inspector, referrals for a handy contractor and how to contact your public utilities for a review. Reach out today for information.
Obtaining a home loan is a must for most homebuyers. However, there is a lot to think about to ensure a homebuyer can secure a loan that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.
Some of the key questions to consider about a home loan include:
1. What is a home loan's interest rate?
It is paramount to understand a home loan's interest rate, along with any associated loan fees. That way, a homebuyer will know exactly how much he or she will be paying over the life of a home loan.
If a homebuyer chooses a fixed-rate mortgage, he or she can lock in an interest rate for the duration of a home loan. This means a homebuyer will pay the same amount each month. And in many instances, a fixed-rate mortgage can be paid off early without penalty.
On the other hand, a homebuyer may prefer an adjustable-rate mortgage. With this type of mortgage, a homebuyer may receive a lower interest rate initially that rises after a set period of time.
Compare and contrast the different home loan options and their associated interest rates. By doing so, a homebuyer can make an informed home loan decision, one that serves him or her well both now and in the future.
2. Does a home loan require a minimum down payment?
Ask a lender about whether there is a minimum down payment required as part of a home loan agreement. Typically, a homebuyer will need to pay at least a small portion of a home's price to secure a home loan, and it certainly helps to have this information available before you start evaluating available residences.
In addition, it may be worthwhile to save as much money as possible prior to starting a home search. With money at your disposal, you may be better equipped than ever before to make a large down payment, thereby reducing the amount that you'll need for a home loan. Plus, you may even be able to boost your chances of getting a favorable home loan interest rate.
3. Will I need to provide legal documents to obtain a home loan?
Lenders will require you to provide proof of your income and assets, W-2 statements and other legal documents to finalize a home loan agreement. If you stay organized and have these documents readily available, you should have no trouble providing them to a lender as needed.
Overall, the home loan application process may vary from several weeks to many months. The time it takes to secure a home loan can be stressful, and if you need extra help along the way, it never hurts to reach out to a real estate agent.
With a real estate agent at your side, you can streamline the process of buying your dream home. This housing market professional can offer expert tips throughout the homebuying journey and ensure you can discover a great house at an affordable price.
Take the guesswork out of securing a home loan – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can move one step closer to getting the financing you need to obtain your ideal residence.
Earnest money is the amount of money put down for a large purchase. While this is not limited to real estate, it is used frequently in the real estate industry. It’s a sign of good faith from the buyer to the seller and normally constitutes about 1%-5% of the home’s price.
How much do you deposit?
There is no set amount for how much you can put down in your earnest account. However, the more money you put into these accounts, the more likely you are to be taken seriously by the seller.
Who gets the money?
Property laws in most states have strict regulations for who holds the money. Most often a third-party escrow company, title company or sometimes the buyer’s broker opens a trust account to hold the funds until completion or dissolution of the sales contract. At that point, the funds go to wherever the contract specifies. That could be back to the buyer or forfeited to the seller. In some cases, the earnest money might go to the real estate agent. If the sale goes through, the funds go toward the buyer’s costs in the transaction, and it appears as a credit on the settlement statement.
To protect yourself from forfeiting earnest money, be fully prepared to complete the sales transaction. Have a pre-qualification letter from your lender, set aside funds for the down payment and closing, and provide the lender, escrow officer, title company and all other interested parties with the information they need for a timely close.
If you wonder about how much earnest money to include, your best resource is your knowledgeable real estate professional.
If you recently sold your house, there may be only a few weeks before you need to relocate to a new address. As such, you'll likely face a time crunch to pack up your belongings and get rid of excess items, including various home appliances.
Although your refrigerator, washer, dryer and other home appliances have served you well for many years, there is no time like the present to sell these items. That way, you can earn extra cash and avoid the hassle of moving these big, heavy items from your current address to your new one.
For home sellers who have only a short amount of time to sell their appliances, there's no need to worry. In fact, there are many quick, easy ways to sell your appliances and maximize their value.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you sell your appliances before moving day.
1. List Your Appliances Online
Create an online listing for each of your home appliances, and you should have no trouble stirring up plenty of interest in these items.
When you craft an online listing, it is important to include as much information as possible. Therefore, you should provide details about a home appliance's age and condition, along with photos. This will make it easy for a home appliance shopper to determine whether a particular appliance is the right choice.
Also, share your online listing with family members and friends. And if you post your online listing on social networks, you may be able to generate significant interest in an appliance in no time at all.
2. Host a Yard Sale
A yard sale offers a great opportunity to sell home appliances and other items before you move.
Host a yard sale on a Saturday or Sunday and start your yard sale in the morning. By doing so, you can improve your chances of attracting a wide range of yard sale shoppers.
In addition, be open to negotiating with yard sale shoppers. If you maintain flexibility on the price of a home appliance, you can boost your chances of a quick sale.
3. Post Flyers in Your Community
Craft flyers that include information about your appliances and post them in your community. This will allow you to generate interest from local buyers.
Flyers should be clear, concise and informative. They can include information about an appliance, along with contact information that enables buyers to reach you via phone or email.
Lastly, if you need to sell appliances prior to moving day, it often pays to consult with a real estate agent.
In many instances, a real estate agent can offer recommendations and suggestions to help you streamline the moving process. As a result, this housing market professional can make it easy for you to sell home appliances and other items before you move.
Ready to sell your home appliances? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can promote your appliances to the right groups of buyers.
Your house is perfect except for one thing: The kitchen is not even close to being large enough. Those who love to entertain and cook will probably agree that even a 15-foot wide by 20-foot long kitchen isn’t large enough, especially if you don’t have an open floor plan. Once you decide how big you want your new kitchen, then you have to figure out where you’re going to get the space from.
Convert a Nearby Room
If you have a room on the other side of a kitchen wall that you are not using, knock the wall out to make the kitchen bigger. You’ll probably upgrade the cabinets, so you can tear those out and either discard them or use them in the laundry room or workshop. You will have to remove some wiring and add more wiring to the newly opened area. If you are familiar with house wiring, you can do this yourself if you plan on keeping your home for at least five years; otherwise, you’ll need to have a certified electrician do it for you. If the room is large enough, you can also build in a pantry or convert an existing walk-in closet into a large pantry.
If it’s not convenient to convert an adjacent room and your kitchen is on one of the outside walls of your house, add on to the house. If you really want to go all out, add on enough for the larger kitchen and an adjoining dining room or breakfast room. You’ll run into the same issue with electric. If you are adding on to the area where the sink is currently located, you’ll also need a plumber to relocate the kitchen plumbing.
If you don’t want to convert a room or add on, but your kitchen feels closed in, you can get additional space by removing walls. Create an open floor plan between the dining room, living room and kitchen. Since you will most likely be upgrading appliances and cabinets, you’ll be able to move things around to make the kitchen more spacious. If you like the idea of an open floor plan, but prefer to keep the kitchen separate, separate the rooms with a bar. This leaves the area open and spacious, gives you more cabinet space and counter space, and it completely changes the look of the kitchen and dining area.
Convert a Laundry Area
If you have a large laundry room that is off the kitchen and need more storage space, wall off the washer and drying into a smaller laundry area. Add floor-to-ceiling shelving or cabinets in the rest of what was once the laundry area to create a pantry. Keep the lower shelves taller so that you can store larger items, such as stockpots and canners bulk food items there.