Property Appraisers Office-Proposed Housing Developments
“The Property Appraiser's office has specific roles and responsibilities with regard to new developments. Please watch our latest educational video to learn more!”
Help Your Landscape Survive a Heat Wave and During the Heat Wave
Once the heat wave hits, it’s time to add a few extra tasks to your routine maintenance schedule.
Water early. Get outside and irrigate your lawn and garden before the temperatures reach their peak. This will give roots time to absorb the moisture and help prevent heat stress in flourishing foliage.
Apply mulch. Excessive heat dehydrates your landscape more quickly. Add mulch to help preserve moisture from those early-morning watering sessions.
Recycle rain water. Consider adding a rain barrel to your irrigation system. Most rain barrels are able to withstand extreme weather conditions like high heat. They help reduce water consumption and provide your plants with natural rain water.
Hand water as needed. For those long summer days, use a sprayer or watering can to mist plants, shrubs and bushes that begin to wilt and wither.
Keep grass on your lawn higher than usual. Longer blades of grass act as a shield for your soil. This will protect it from the harsh sun rays and help it retain more moisture. Three to six inches is the recommended height during a heat wave. When you do mow the grass, leave the clippings on the lawn for a bit of natural mulch.
Add shade cloth. Shade cloths are made of breathable materials that facilitate airflow to keep temperatures underneath cool and comfortable. Many are also designed to filter harmful UV rays so your plants and crops have a chance to thrive during periods of prolonged heat.
Safety Tip: Be mindful of the time spent tending to your landscape. Working outdoors during a heat wave can cause extreme fatigue very quickly, so avoid going out between noon and 3 pm. Make sure to stay well-hydrated and wear the appropriate amount of sunscreen. Additionally, wear lightweight clothing to help keep you cool as you work.
5 Easy Steps to a Florida-Friendly Yard
Article by: Florida Extension Office
A simple rain barrelWhat is Florida-Friendly Landscaping™? It's a way of designing and protecting your home lawn and garden while preserving Florida's natural resources. With a few easy tips and tricks, Floridian homeowners can save themselves time, money, effort, and energy in their yards while doing their part to protect the state's ecosystems, wildlife, and water supply.
The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program delivers nine principles for the savvy gardener, like choosing the right plants, watering efficiently, and fertilizing appropriately. However, if you're not ready to tackle all nine, check out the five easy tips below to get started with your Florida-friendly yard.
Choose the Right Plants
Select low-maintenance plants suited to your yard conditions (light, soil, climate, and moisture level). Group plants with similar light, water, and nutritional needs together. Select plants that won't require frequent pruning, and remove invasive plants from your yard. To create a personalized plant list for your home landscape, visit the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program website.
Water plants only when they need it. Don't be afraid of a little wilt—wilting shows you that plants are ready for water. Use low-volume irrigation, such as a drip or micro-spray system, in your plant beds, and run your irrigation system or sprinkler in the evening or early morning so wind and sun don't evaporate the water before it can reach the roots. Make sure you are irrigating turf and plants, not sidewalks or driveways!
Collect and Use Rainwater
Install a rain barrel. You can buy one at a garden center or large home improvement center, or you can build a customized one to suit your needs. Rain barrels can help save some of Florida's wet-season water for use during drier times of year. Replace impermeable surfaces like concrete or asphalt with permeable materials like mulch, gravel, or paver stones to allow rainwater to soak into the soil. Put mulch around plants and trees (12 inches from the trunk) to help keep soil moist.
Fertilize only when needed, using a fertilizer containing slow-release nitrogen. Always read and follow the directions on your fertilizer bag label, taking into account the individual plant's needs. Compost and other soil amendments can improve soil health, which in turn improves plant health. And remember, grass doesn't always need fertilizer to stay green. Adding supplemental potassium in the winter and iron in the summer are other options for improving color.
Raise Mower Blades
Always use the highest recommended setting for your grass species. Higher mowing encourages deeper rooting, which allows grass to survive dry spells better and resist pests and disease more easily. See Mowing Your Florida Lawn for more information on the highest recommended mowing heights for each grass species.
9 Beautiful Backyard Landscape Ideas
SBA Helps Floridians Build Back Stronger Increase Loan to Mitigate Future Disaster Losses
Florida residents and businesses approved for a disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a result of Hurricane Ian, Hurricane Nicole and the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in Broward County, have two years from the date of their loan approval to request an increase to prevent or minimize damages from similar disasters in the future. Mitigation funds from the SBA are an affordable way for survivors to rebuild smarter, stronger, and pay for improvements that protect life and property.
“The opportunity to include measures to help prevent future damage from occurring is a significant benefit of SBA’s disaster loan program,” said SBA Associate Administrator Francisco Sanchez, Jr. “I encourage everyone to consult their contractors and emergency management mitigation specialists for ideas and apply for an SBA disaster loan increase for funding.”
Businesses and homeowners may be eligible for a loan increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA, to cover the cost of improvements. Examples of mitigation improvements may include hurricane-rated garage doors, hurricane shutters, or pressure-rated windows. Also, mitigation can be used to install a safe room or storm shelter built to Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines. To learn more about mitigation options visit sba.gov/mitigation.
For more information, call 800-659-2955 (if you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services) or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov and ask about increasing your SBA disaster loan for mitigation purposes.
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Did you know that aside from saving hundreds of dollars on your annual property taxes, there are two other benefits to having the homestead exemption? They are called Save Our Homes and Portability.
Click here to watch this brief video: https://youtu.be/34jo0GdPva0
BBB Tip: Contracting with Confidence this National Homeownership Month
Article by: Better Business Bureau
June is National Homeownership Month, an opportunity for U.S. residents to reflect on the importance of the home and its role in their lives. With a median asking price of $319,000 for a home, becoming a homeowner takes dedication, patience and smart budgeting. For many first-time homebuyers, closing the deal on their purchase is a time of celebration and gratitude. While moving furniture and solidifying paperwork might seem like the biggest obstacle to enjoying their new home, it doesn’t take long before they find their first major home improvement project.
Avoid home improvement scams
Home purchasing is one of consumers' largest and most significant investments in their lives. It is essential to exercise caution when contracting services for home improvement projects to protect their investment. In 2021, consumers across the U.S. reported more than $1.1 million lost to home improvement scams to BBB Scam Tracker, with a median of $944 lost per report. Scammers often impersonate well-known or established companies and, after receiving initial payment, will only disappear after even beginning the project. Desperate to establish communication, homeowners contact corporate or local offices for the company only to learn that the person who sold the job is not an employee.
Home improvement scams often begin with an unsolicited offer from a door-to-door salesperson or an ad posted on social media. While not all door-to-door solicitors are scammers, BBB recommends carefully evaluating any contractor utilizing this method to provide service, especially in the aftermath of damaging storms or other natural disasters. Some businesses may need more insurance to cover unintentional damages to your home or yard during the project, use sub-quality materials that will not last, or lack licensing required to conduct repair or renovation work in your area. Be especially wary of contractors who claim to have been working in the area and have leftover material they can use to complete your project at a discount.
Tips for both new and seasoned homeowners to help them contract with confidence
Receive at least three quotes. BBB strongly recommends that homeowners looking to contract services for any work receive at least three quotes from separate businesses before settling on a final decision. Receiving multiple quotes gives homeowners a solid understanding of pricing and services. It contributes to their ability to converse with their chosen contractor about the project's price. Homeowners who take the time to interview multiple companies before deciding who to contract can be confident that they are not overpaying for services.
Never pay the total project cost upfront. Even if the contractor offers a significant discount for paying the project's total cost upfront, BBB always recommends staggering payments throughout the length of the project. Staggering payments allow the homeowner to inspect the work at specific milestones, ensuring that the work is completed to their satisfaction before releasing the next payment installment. Homeowners should avoid contractors practicing aggressive tactics or insisting on receiving full payment before beginning the project, and most deposits should range between 10-30% of the total project cost. Some contractors may require a more significant down payment due to the price of materials or other communicated issues. Still, homeowners should avoid contractors that ask for more than half of the total project cost upfront.
Understand licensing requirements. Depending on the type of work the homeowner wants, state or local regulatory agencies may require different licensing. In those industries that typically require licenses (electricians, HVAC, plumbers, pesticide applicators, etc.), spend the time to double-check that the license is valid with the applicable agency. The contractor should be forthcoming in describing how the homeowner can verify the active license. Remember that the homeowner may be held liable for work completed by an unlicensed contractor that does not comply with building codes or results in property damage.
Be wary of ‘too good to be true’ deals. As is common in any marketplace transaction, critically evaluate any deal that seems too good to be true. Trust in your intuition and have a basic understanding of the standard cost of the project by receiving multiple quotes. Offering goods and services at steep discounts for a ‘limited time’ is a common tactic of scammers and con artists to encourage consumers to make immediate decisions before verifying the business's or individual's legitimacy.
Residential and Commercial New Construction Outpacing Last Year’s Record to More than $600 Million Market Value
Stuart - The Martin County Property Appraiser’s Office (MCPAO) released the 2023 estimated preliminary taxable values to the ten Martin County Taxing Authorities today. The Taxing Authorities will use the estimated taxable values to prepare their upcoming budgets and determine their proposed millage rates.
The numbers show that Martin County taxable values are at $31.6 billion, an increase of 12.23% compared to last
year’s number of more than $28.1 billion.
The market value or what a home or business is valued comparably to others increased by 19.22% to $53.4 billion,
compared to last year’s value of more than $44.8 billion.
“The 2022 real estate market continued forward with the incredible valuation growth that started in 2021” said Martin County Property Appraiser Jenny Fields. “Our preliminary estimated tax roll results showed broad value appreciation in most real estate sectors and specifically strong growth in residential property values which drove double digit market and taxable value increases in all taxing authorities throughout the County.”
Sales of residential properties had a 2nd consecutive year of above 20% value appreciation. Within this sector, single family homes increased roughly 20% while condominiums increased 27% on average. Overall sales volume during the 2nd half of 2022 slowed in response to higher interest rates. This shift in demand increased the average number of days it typically took a property to sell, however, sale prices stayed at their peak up to the end of the year.
A deeper look inside new construction shows a market value growth of $600 million this year. This growth is primarily led by a 69% increase in new homes being built in some of our communities such as Osprey Preserve, Ocean Cove, Canopy Creek, Seawalk, New Avonlea (Preserve), and Banyan Bay. Residential new construction for single family homes, townhomes, condominiums, cooperatives, and mobile homes accounted for $394.5 million and multi-family new
construction accounted for an additional $94.5 million. Together, these 2 categories represent roughly 80% of the total $600 million in ad valorem new construction.
Martin County continues to be a highly desirable commercial, industrial, and multi-family market as seen with the various projects being developed throughout the County. Notable projects completed prior to the January 1st date of assessment are the Harbor Grove Apartments with 324 units, the Savona at Stuart with 182 units, and the strategically located South Martin Industrial Park that includes 9 buildings with over 96,000 square feet of warehouse space.
The ten Martin County Taxing Authorities are the Children’s Service Council, the City of Stuart, the Florida Inland Navigation District, Martin County Board of County Commissioners, the Martin County School Board, the South Florida Water Management District, the Town of Jupiter Island, the Town of Sewall’s Point, the Town of Ocean Breeze and the Village of Indiantown.
Renting Your Homestead Property
What is Real Estate?
Real estate refers to real, or physical, property, and can include land, buildings, air rights above the land, and underground rights below the land. As a business term, real estate also refers to producing, buying, and selling property.
What Homeowners Can Do With All Their Stuff?
Article by: Barbara Ballinger
Share with sellers the financial advantage of only taking with them what they’ll use.
Explain how breaking down the process into smaller tasks can lighten the stress load.
Offer ideas on how to dispose of belongings by selling, donating or sharing.
Decluttering makes moving easier for everyone—and less costly, too. It is also helpful for those who want to live more simply in their current residence. In fact, homeowners who have less clutter and are more intentional about what they bring into their space find that a positive for both their mental and financial health.
Many saw the wisdom of doing so during the pandemic when they were stuck at home, looked around, and wondered: Why do I have all this stuff that I never use?
Now, in the dead of winter when many again are indoors for long stretches, can be a good time to encourage clients to begin. Advise them to think of it as an adventure they pursue gradually rather than feel pressure to tackle all at once.
Truly effective—and lasting—decluttering represents a multistep process that varies according to each person’s situation. Those who have inherited a roomful of brown furniture from the 1950s and ‘60s and stacks of books, photo albums, crystal, and more may feel overwhelmed if they don’t want or can’t fit these furnishings into their home or apartment or find consignment shops interested in selling pieces, often because they have so much that’s similar from others hoping to unload possessions.
Start the Year with Bold Color and Pattern
Photo by:Dane Austin Design / Article by: Barbara Ballinger
After years of touting grays, beiges and greiges, design pundits are encouraging homeowners to embrace vibrant hues and lively patterns. The trick is doing it right.
Neutral, solid colors have dominated interiors for years. Countertops, backsplashes, floors, walls, ceilings and upholstery boasted blocks of beige and myriad gray hues. Things are changing though. Many homeowners are eager to punch up their surroundings and go bold.
In addition to the now-tired, spa-inspired palettes of recent years, other reasons explain the current move toward exuberance. For starters, homeowners crave a change after the past two years. “Pattern adds excitement, personality and energy, and keeps a room from looking flat,” says designer Rebecca Pogonitz of GoGo Design Group. The same can be said for the effect of vibrant color. Also, homeowners nowadays have less concern for what future buyers will think. “I tell my clients to design for yourself and enjoy your space rather than for the person who may live there next,” says designer Dane Austin of Dane Austin Design. And just like less concern, there are also fewer rules about mixing motifs like stripes and plaid and colors on a room’s surfaces.
Finally, technological breakthroughs combine visual appeal and minimal maintenance. For instance, “performance” wallpapers and fabrics are easier to clean, says designer Marina Case of The Red Shutters. Larger digital printers allow bigger-scale designs to be manufactured, says Tom Segal of Kaufman Segal Design.
Synthetic quartz has bolder “veining” that conceals stains and scratches, says designer Jacob Laws of Jacob Laws Interior Design. And wallpaper thickness has increased, which reduces tearing when hung and removed, says DeAnna Hain, executive vice president, marketing, of York Wallcoverings.
Photo by Rebecca Pogonitz, GoGo Design Group
In using patterns and bold patterns today, the biggest decisions are how to choose from a vast array of options and mix them deftly. The finished look should appear fresh rather than dated. Design experts offer these tips to share with clients.
Be Bold, But Don’t Overdo It
While more than one pattern and a few bold colors can visually work well in the same space, designer Jodi Swartz of KitchenVisions recommends keeping the mix to one bold pattern. Consider which pattern will operate as the star of the show, and use other patterns and colors as supporting characters, says Austin and Laws.
High-Tech Alternative to Gas Stoves Steals the Spotlight
Article by: Melissa Dittmann Tracey
Homeowners have long favored gas stoves over electric; real estate pros often list a six-burner gas stove as a kitchen upgrade. But lately, they’ve been coming under fire.
In case you’ve missed the controversy, a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently suggested a ban on gas stoves, calling them a “hidden hazard” in the home. The CPSC has since backtracked those comments but says it plans to probe the hazards associated with gas stoves. Recent studies have linked emissions from gas stoves to asthma and other respiratory conditions, particularly in children.
So, if gas stoves lose popularity, what will replace it?
Induction cooktop stoves, which use electromagnetic fields to heat up the pot but not the cooktop itself, are expected to become the new trend. Induction cooktops are touted as a safer, faster and more energy efficient way to cook. Also, they’re marketed as being better for indoor air quality than a gas stove.
With an induction cooktop stove, you can shorten the time it takes to bring a pot of water to a boil by four minutes, according to Consumer Reports. Also, its smooth, flat cooking surface is easier to keep clean.
But induction cooktops can be pricey—anywhere between $2,000 to $9,000—and many homeowners say they had to pay even more to get extra electrical wiring completed before installation. Further, the appliance works only with certain pots, so owners may need new kitchenware as well.
Top Kitchen Trends Design Pros Want You to Try
It's always a thrill when interior designers reveal their take on trends that are worth embracing. If you've been thinking of upgrading your kitchen in some way, whether it's complete with a large island or a small, charming layout, you'll appreciate this list of top kitchen trends for 2022. These design pros suggest popular countertop choices, cabinet colors, backsplash tile ideas, sought-after paint options and much more to help you craft your dream kitchen.
Looking to experiment with a striking hue? Varying shades of green are all the rage right now (but that doesn't mean there's no longer room for white kitchens). Can't figure out if a butcher block countertop or vintage furniture is right for your design scheme? You'll find these answers and much more here.
Use these expert insights to inspire your kitchen renovation project or simply experiment with a design trend or two to give your cooking space some much-needed personality. Soon enough, you'll have a stylish space that better reflects your aesthetic and lifestyle.
“An overall kitchen trend we’re consistently designing with is the increase of warmer, darker stains. Stained cabinets add warmth to an otherwise all-white kitchen. They also tend to be more durable than a painted cabinet, so they're great for high-traffic areas like your island.”
“Monochromatic kitchens are a great way to form a cohesive look while injecting harmony into the space. This all white kitchen brings in bright light and really stands out against the dark stained floors.
"Statement hoods are a great way to create a central focal point in a kitchen. Coordinating your hood and range top also draws the eye up and creates a clean, bold look.”
GIS / Mapping Department
Did you know that Martin County has over 75,000 residential properties? That represents more than 75% of all properties, which means we are predominately a residential community. So how does the Martin County Property Appraiser’s Office appraise your home? Please watch the Residential Appraisals Educational video. If you have questions, please contact the Office at 772-288-5608 or email@example.com.
Top 5 Improvements to Make on Your First Home
Most people don’t acquire their dream home on the first go-round. You probably purchased a home that has great potential and solid bones, but now you need to spruce things up.
Below are five of the best places to start. The good news is that these improvements aren’t only aesthetic ones; they’re also cost-effective and they’ll add value to your already major investment. If that sounds like a win-win to you, read on and learn how to do it.
1. Brush It On
One of the easiest ways to freshen up your new space is with a coat of paint. Chances are, if you’ve purchased a fixer-upper, your home has something interesting on its walls – think tacky color schemes or outdated wallpaper patterns. You can quickly update the look and feel of your new dwelling with a coat of neutral paint.
2. Say Hello to Storage
One of the most common places for new homeowners to hone in on is the kitchen, and for good reason: An updated kitchen is a key selling point for many properties. You might not have the budget for completely overhauling yours, considering you just purchased the home itself. One of the small projects you can tackle for now is your kitchen’s storage space. If you have an unused corner, for example, take advantage of it with open shelving to display your nice plates, cute mugs or any other kitchenware that’s worth a look. You can even try your hand at installing a wine rack if you’re a connoisseur.
Either way, have no fear: Take some measurements and install a few shelves that’ll add value if and when you re-sell your home in the future.
3. Go Green
Your new home might not be the picture of eco-friendliness when you buy it, but you should make it your duty to change that. Green construction ensures that you’re not only easier on the Earth, but you’re also easier on your wallet, as it takes fewer resources to keep your household running.
One example of a quick home-improvement project that enhances your property’s eco-friendliness is installing a new front door made of steel. A steel door is eco-friendly because it typically features magnetic strips around its exterior to ensure that your entryway is airtight – no more cold drafts breezing through your abode! It also enhances your home’s curb appeal, which adds dollar signs to the bottom line when you want to sell.
4. Look Up
One way to make your home’s interior even more eye-catching and unique is with crown molding. This tiny accent will draw the eye upward, making your room look larger and your ceilings look higher. All you have to do is head to your local home-improvement store, where you can typically find strips of pre-cut crown molding to fit your room.
Top 5 Reasons You Want to Hire A Realtor To Sell Your Home... And How A Realtor Proves their Worth!
Article by: Mac Evoy Real Estate Co.
You may have been considering selling your home or building or business, and thinking --why shouldn't I try selling on my own? Or you may have thought --if the rumors are true and there is a severe shortage of properties available in my market, why don't I just throw a sign on the lawn and add it to a For Sale by Owner site for a bit?
Opposite to what you might believe, hiring a realtor actually nets you much, much more money and assures you a safe and efficient transaction, and here is why:
1) More Money to You. When you choose to hire a realtor, and we recommend you do hire a seasoned, very experienced team like ours at Mac Evoy Real Estate Co., you are hiring someone to protect your interests and your largest asset. Versed in hundreds if not a thousand different closed transactions and with experience on home inspection, appraisal, mortgaging and other buyer and seller issues, our eyes and ears are seeing things better than you can, as a seller who may have sold 1-5 properties in a lifetime. We will see problems way before they arise and be able to navigate the selling process with ease. We will avoid taking a potentially 'bad' contract, and then advise of any issues to do or not do for a home inspection. Oftentimes, we save our sellers thousands of dollars by stopping them from making repairs or home remodels that they will not realize a net gain from doing. Beyond that, we are part of a huge network of realtors who have interested parties for your property. This word-of-mouth advertising is often the largest factor in obtaining a buyer who is willing and able to pay more. More marketing means a higher sales price, every time.
2)Much Less Chance of a Lawsuit. You may not be aware that licensed real estate brokerages are required to carry several insurances. We pay to have that insurance to protect ourselves in our everyday business when dealing with the public. Most homeowners do not have that kind of insurance. So, if you thought you would just invite the general public into your home and see what happens ---wow are you exposing yourself to a lot of potential areas of concern. There are many litigious areas of home selling. There are all kinds of laws that protects buyers right now. There are many home disclosures that have to be made to buyers, and the laws change every year. I cannot imagine that the average home or building owner is even aware of most of the items that need to be disclosed to the buyer of their property. Licensed Florida Realtors are required to complete re-education every 2 years just to keep up with legislative changes that affect home and land sellers in the state. Beyond that, we know what hot issues are affecting home and building and land sales and protect a seller with our knowledge of what to disclose and how to disclose it in the sales process. If you think by selling without a realtor, you can save money and hide defects or avoid inspection or financing issues--you are mistaken. Because although Realtors do ask more questions of sellers and buyers, and divulge every detail to prospective buyers, we know how to do that and still sell your property for more money! We also know how to present properties and how to prevent lawsuits after closing. Hiring a licensed Realtor means you are off the "front lines" in negotiating and dealing with issues that do arise in selling.
3) Physical Safety of You and Your Loved Ones. If you think you are going to sell your home and put your sign out on your property --you are giving ANYONE the right to contact, you and the right to access your property. Do you really want to meet with strangers at any time of day or night and have them in close proximity to you and your family and valuables? When you hire a licensed Realtor, we are licensed, fingerprinted and insured. In other words, we are a known, trackable entity. If you open your doors to strangers--you have NO IDEA if they are who they say they are, and if they are a criminal, casing your home or not. Do not take that great risk. Hire a professional to 'vet' the inquiries and keep a good eye on who is accessing your property.
4) Faster, Easier Sales Process. As a realtor, we do not get paid until your property actually closes. Therefore, we are highly motivated to get you to closing fast and with accuracy. We have to get through many hurdles. This includes a contract --with good terms and conditions, checking into cash or mortgage deals, the home inspection phases, and appraising phase. Beyond that, we ensure your home permits are closed, and that if there are any title issues we are there, working with closing agents and other professionals to get you to closing. Double the ease of a sale with a realtor if you are handling your family’s estate property or your elderly parents' property. Do as a billionaire once wrote in his book on being a successful millionaire: "Hire the BEST Realtor, and then Hold them Accountable." (Donald Trump) At Mac Evoy Real Estate Company, we want you to hold us accountable and we are up to any residential or commercial challenge you throw at us! Let us make you wealthy and be your trusted real estate brokerage!
5) Excellent, current recommendations on what to do with your home or property to sell for more money, and great ideas on what to do with your closing proceeds. I do not know about you --but if I had the largest asset I owned up for sale --I might want to consult with a professional who could best advise me on the transference of that solid wealth asset. Often 30 minutes of time with me, means that I am giving a home or building seller information they did not have or ideas they hadn't yet thought of to really protect their best interests. We want repeat clients and we have them at Mac Evoy Real Estate Co. Please see our reviews on Realtor.com or MacEvoy.org. We have those recommendations from satisfied clients because we have exceeded their expectations. I mean if you ask for advice when you color your hair or buy an outfit to wear. Is there a reason you would not want a professional who could counsel you on why you should or should not sell your largest asset in the world? From our recommendations, we have advised clients on what markets are hot to re-invest in, or in some cases, we have referred them to financial advisors who are having excellent results for other clients. We might tell another client to hold off on selling until their investment has hit its highest sales potential. You will not know any of that if you sell without calling us!
Spring Cleaning Tips for Energy Savings
First-Time Homebuyer Tips—And Mistakes to Avoid
Article by: Elizabeth Weintraub
Homeowners who aren't familiar with the buying process can often benefit from a few first-time homebuyer tips. It can help to know what they're getting into. Steps in the homebuying process can vary from state to state and can depend on local custom, but there are basically only five: an agent, find a home, get a loan, negotiate, and get a home inspection. They don't necessarily happen in this order.
Don't schedule tours for more than seven homes at a time—your time is better spent researching the area in which you want to live and focusing on a few potential homes.
Getting preapproved for a loan will give you a better idea of what you can afford to buy, and it will make your offer more competitive.
A good buyer's agent can give you a fair expectation of how much a seller might accept for a home.
If an issue comes up during the home inspection, you can request a repair, but the seller is not generally obligated to repair it.
Hire an Agent
You don't have to hire a buyer's agent if you prefer to go to open houses or look through a mumbo-jumbo of homes online, but doing so will save you time and probably a bit of uncertainty as well.
An agent can send you listings directly from MLS that fit your parameters.
Agents often know of new listings that are about to hit the market before they do.
You can burn the agent's gas and not your own when you travel about to tour homes. Some agents will even preview homes for you.
An agent can generally spot overpriced listings and advise you accordingly.
The National Association of Realtors indicates that 16% of buyers reached out to an agent first in 2019 before doing anything else, but this is significantly less than the number who started by searching for properties online—44%. But ultimately, 89% of buyers ended up purchasing their homes with the assistance of an agent or broker.
Find a Home to Buy
Finding the right home is not always an easy task. You probably won't want to schedule more than seven homes at a time because any more than that will make your head spin.
Most buyers do a lot of research before ever stepping foot in a home. They spend an average of six to eight weeks trying to figure out where they want to live, according to the National Association of REALTORS. Most buyers end up buying a home after two or three home tours once they've selected a neighborhood.
Get a Loan
It's not always necessary to have a mortgage broker or bank lined up before buying a home, but it's smart to get loan preapproval in advance. Preapproval isn't a guarantee that you'll ultimately get the financing, but it lets you know for sure how much home you can afford.
Things to Buy After Buying a Home
Ironically, one of the first things homebuyers have to do is buy more things. This news comes as a shock to many first-time homebuyers, especially those who previously lived in an apartment. If you're saving up for your first home, make sure to include these in your budget along with closing costs.
Keys and Locks
After buying a home, one of your first purchases should be new door locks. You can either replace the locks or "rekey" them so that old keys no longer work. Changing locks isn't difficult to do on your own, but you can hire a locksmith if you'd rather leave it to the professionals. This is also a good time to think about a place to hide a key so you won't get locked out of your house. It's important to change locks because you don't know who has a copy of the key from the old owner. It's common for homeowners to leave keys with friends and family, and a few spare keys may still be dangling from keychains somewhere out there. Even if you're buying a new home, keys are still handed out to any contractors working on the property.
Not all appliances are "fixtures," or things that get sold along with the home. Many new home sales will include appliances, but when buying an older home, the seller may take some of the appliances. If new appliances are out of your price range, then you can buy used appliances. However, if you're considering older, relatively inefficient appliances, the initial savings of the older appliances should be compared to the long-term utility bill savings of newer appliances.
It's likely that the house you buy has a grass lawn, and if so, you will need to buy a lawn mower (or hire a gardener). The best mower for your home will depend on the size of your lawn. Consumer Reports publishes reviews that are extremely helpful when comparing brands. You can also search for used mowers on Craigslist or in your local newspaper.
Every home needs a garden hose, and don't forget about weed-whackers, shovels, and rakes, as well. You can buy basic gardening supplies like these at any major department store. Other tools to consider include a push broom, which comes in handy for sweeping your garage floor. Many brooms also have handles that unscrew, so you can use it as an extension pole with a wall sander. Depending on how much you plan on gardening, you may want to pick up extra tools like a watering can and wheelbarrow.
Tools and Repair Items
Every home needs a well-stocked toolbox. Aside from buying a toolbox itself, other essential items include:
Hammers: ball and claw
Screwdrivers: flathead and Phillips
Assorted screws and nails
Small power drill and drill bits
Measured by acres grown, grass lawns are the largest irrigated crop in the United States.
Deceptive Mortgage Ads
Article Submitted by: Florida Mortgage & Loan
If you’re looking for a mortgage either to purchase a home or to refinance, you may see or hear ads offers of low rates or payments. They may look like they are from your mortgage company or a government agency but whether you see these on the Internet, TV or they come by e-mail or in your mailbox you should be cautious. While the offers seem tempting some are terribly flawed: they don’t disclose the true terms of the deal as the law requires.
To help you recognize an offer that may be less than complete, the Florida Mortgage & Loan wants you to know the buzz words that should trigger some question marks and follow up questions so you know what information to insist on after you’ve read the ad.
A LOW “FIXED RATE”
Ads that tout out a “fixed” rate may not tell you how long it will be “fixed”. The rate may be fixed for an introductory period only, and that can be as short as 30 days. When you shop for a mortgage, you need to know when and how your rate, and payments, can change.
Very Low Rates
Are ads talking about a “payment” rate or an interest rate? This important detail may be buried in the fine print. The interest rate is the rate used to calculate the amount of interest you will owe the lender each month. The payment rate is the rate used to calculate the amount of the payment you are obligated to make each month. Some offers advertise a low payment rate without telling you that ie applies only during an introductory period. What’s more, if the rate is less than the interest rate, you won’t be covering the interest due. This is called “negative amortization”. It means that your loan balance is actually increasing because you’re not paying all the interest that comes due, and the lender is adding the unpaid interest to the balance you owe.
Very Low Payment Amounts
Ads quoting a very low payment amount probably aren’t telling the whole story. For example, the offer might be for an Interest Only (I/O) loan, where you pay only the amount of interest accrued each month. While the low payment amount may be tempting, eventually you will have to pay off the principal. Your payment may go up after an introductory period, so that you would be paying down some of the principal or you may end up owing a “balloon” payment, a lump sum usually due at the end of a loan. You must come up with the money when a balloon payment is due. If you can’t, you may need another loan, which in turn means new closing costs and potentially points and fees. And if housing prices are falling you might not be able to refinance to lower your payments.
• Mortgage rates near 30-year lows!
• Rates as low as 1%!
• You are paying too much!
• Who doesn’t want to reduce their mortgage payments?
• Loan amount $300,000 – pay only $900 per month!
Ads with “teaser” short term rates or payments like these don’t often disclose that a rate or payment is for a very short introductory period. If you don’t nail down the details in advance about your rates and payments for every month of the life of your loan, expect payment shock when the rate and payment increase dramatically.
Saving on Kitchen Cabinets
When it comes to home renovations, a kitchen remodel is on the higher end of the price spectrum. One of the biggest line items in any kitchen remodel is cabinetry, which can account for up to 40% of your total budget. If you're willing to think outside the box a little, you can save yourself some money and still make a solid long-term cabinet choice.
As always: do your research
Take time to learn about the materials that separate budget cabinets from premium options.
Particleboard is the cheapest option, but it's not incredibly durable and degrades easily if it comes in contact with water.
Medium-density fiberboard has a slightly higher price tag but boasts superior quality without breaking the bank. MDF is very water-resistant and actually resists warping and expansion better than expensive hardwoods.
Solid wood cabinets are beautiful and durable when cared for properly, but they're expensive, heavy, and just as susceptible to damage from moisture and fluctuations in temperature as some cheaper options.
Consider pre-built boxes with premium doors
If you want the high-end look without the price tag, a creative option is to use premade boxes from IKEA, Lowes, or Home Depot, but order custom doors. You'll get the outward look of custom cabinets at a fraction of the cost. This is an especially smart option if the sides of your cabinets are mostly concealed by walls.
Get unfinished cabinets
You'll save money by purchasing unfinished cabinets, but you'll still have to paint or stain them. Stain is something you can do on your own, but achieving a clean paint job is tricky and may require the help of a professional. You'll have to compare costs to decide if it's worth it.
Use open shelving
If you want a new look for your kitchen but the numbers still aren't lining up, consider open shelving. When executed well, open shelves can look great, and you'll save thousands not buying cabinet uppers. Your kitchen will feel brighter and more open, but just keep in mind this option may not appeal to every potential buyer when it comes time to sell.
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How to Improve Your Home With Modern Technology
Article by: Mark Baker
Days are gone when only a few people can enjoy the benefits of technology at home. Now spending a little more bucks, even an apartment owner can enjoy amazing amenities. Your house looks more organized. Even smart technology users believe that they can save time running devices. If you are too planning to improvise your home this year, then why not avail the advantages of changing technology at home.
Add Electric Fireplace
Adding an electric fireplace helps to remove your old and tiring wood-burning or gas fireplaces. You can enjoy the technology with a click from the iPhone app. A real flame fireplace with a cracking long sound will be ready to serve. You can enjoy the warmth of heath in a short time without polluting the environment. Importantly, breathtaking designs and shapes can fit anywhere and enhance your renovated house appearance.
Let the Fridge Help
Even a modern kitchen seems incomplete without smart refrigerators. A large smart screen on the refrigerator can allow you to see what is inside the fridge. If the door is kept open, a system alert lets you know and asks you to take steps. The best part, the voice recognition system helps you to display delicious recipes. Therefore, you can watch and cook simultaneously. Apart from this, measuring conversations to remind the grocery list helps you to give reminders.
Protect Your House
Keeping your house secured is the responsibility of every homeowner. Installing smart locks at the door and cameras for surveillance is becoming essential these days. You can also look for a smart security system that contains doorbell cameras to keep an eye on the front porch. You can check unwanted activities in your house from anywhere as these systems alert the homeowner with an alert system too.
Add a USB Charger in a Snap
In the electric age, one charger supporting all devices is not a surprise. It helps to save space and handle other device charges. So, install a cool gadget at home and allow all devices to work smoothly. Even if there is no receptacle replacement needed, you can port the USB charger and plug it anywhere. It is easy to install and plates overage protect from electric shocks. Therefore, if you have kids and pets at home you can live stress-free.
Go with Smart TV Selection
Now no more need to struggle with traditional televisions and watching the same content. Adding smart TV in your living room is a luxurious choice to add value to your home. You can watch unlimited content from the internet, cable, and other sources. Even there is no need to add an extra system for playing games. Smart tv is enough to meet all your requirements at one destination. Modern TV works through mobile apps and voice control smart speakers, therefore, no need to worry about the lost remote control
The addition of technology products can turn your common house into a contemporary house. Therefore, do not leave any opportunity to impress your guest and you too from availing the benefits of emerging technology. The best part these technology changes keeps your house safe and secure.
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The Pros and Cons of Different Styles of Doors
Article by: John State
New exterior doors not only give your home a fresh and updated look, they can also significantly reduce your utility bills. Modern, energy-efficient materials mean your new doors can pay for themselves over time.
Wood is a popular choice among homeowners for a high-end look, but it tends to be expensive and require significant maintenance with annual painting and/or staining needs to maintain its appearance.
Steel has a reputation for being inexpensive, secure, and long-lasting, but it tends to have a shorter life span and dent more easily than wood and fiberglass. A steel door will usually last only ten years on average in a high-humidity environment, and both wood and fiberglass are able to outlast that life span.
Fiberglass doors are virtually maintenance-free and have available finishes that can mimic the appearance of high-end wood. They feel lightweight but are durable and can last from 15 to 20 years, and include an energy-efficient foam core, which means they insulate well against heat loss.
SLIDING PATIO DOORS
Sliding doors don’t require additional space to open; they slide on a compact set of tracks that stack on each other to open up your indoor living space to the outdoors. However, you can only open a sliding door halfway, they tend to be noisy when opening, and some people find their weight difficult to maneuver.
A set of French doors provides a traditionally elegant entrance into your home, provides a high-end look, and can open the entire width of the door frame for maximum ventilation. They require floor space to open, and this might make them an undesirable option for a small or cramped location.
Bifold doors are easy to install and maintain, versatile enough to suit a modern or traditional design aesthetic, and include multiple locking points for enhanced security. The downsides are that they include a lot of frames that partially obstruct views and don’t include a threshold. They also may need to stack inside your home, which might intrude on your living space.
LIFT & SLIDE DOORS
Lift and slide doors operate differently than sliding doors – you turn a handle downward to lift the door panel up from the track and the door rolls on heavy-duty wheels to allow opening with little effort. A lift and slide door isn’t able to open invisibly, unless you install a wall pocket, as panels must stack on top of each other as the door opens. They also allow you to control the size of the opening, for customized ventilation and quick entry and exit.
7 Signs That It’s Time To Replace Your Windows
Article by Kelly Brown
It’s not always easy to determine if it’s time to replace your windows. For most homeowners, it’s clear: your windows might be old and drafty, or they could be original to your home. However, for some homeowners, it might not be as obvious. In fact, your windows might not have any noticeable signs that it’s time for them to be replaced. In that case, how do you know your windows need to be replaced? Our window replacement experts compiled a list of warning signs you need to be aware of before you start your project.
If you notice condensation between your windowpanes, we highly recommend replacing your windows. Moisture between the panes of glass is a telltale sign your seals have failed – an issue that isn’t easily fixed. If you notice seal failure, you might be able to replace the panes of glass; however, you’ll need to contact your window manufacturer for more information. In most cases, your windows will need to be replaced to fix the issue. Replacement windows from Window Nation are built with top-of-the-line window glass to ensure your windows remain condensation-free for years to come.
Drafts are one of the most noticeable signs it’s time to replace your windows. Your old windows often become drafty over time, allowing the comfortable air from inside your home to escape. You might feel the air from outside in your home when you stand close to your windows, or you might notice higher energy bills. Energy loss through old, drafty windows accounts for nearly one third of your heating and cooling costs – start saving money by upgrading your old, drafty windows with modern replacement windows from Window Nation.
Hot to the Touch in Warmer Weather
Outdated replacement windows are often single pane with little protection from the warm air outside. If you notice your windows are hot to the touch in the summer, your windows are most likely poorly insulated. We recommend upgrading your windows with modern, well-insulated replacement windows to prevent the hot summer air from entering your home.
Cold to the Touch in Colder Weather
Insulation issues only get worse in the winter – if you notice your windows are cold to the touch in cooler weather, you’ll need to upgrade your windows. Modern replacement windows are well-insulated to keep your home comfortable even in the coldest of temperatures. Well-insulated windows are particularly important in colder areas like Boston, Kansas City or Indianapolis – if you notice your windows are cold to the touch, we recommend meeting with an exterior design consultant at Window Nation to discuss our replacement window options.
Cracked or Broken Window Frames
A small crack in your window frame might not be the most urgent issue; however, it’s important to fix the cracks before they spread. If you catch a crack early enough, you might be able to repair the crack with no issues. However, if the crack continues to spread, it might be time to replace the window.
Unlike cracked window frames, a crack in your windowpanes is a major issue that needs to be addressed. Cracked windowpanes aren’t just unsightly: they could spread and cause bigger problems for your home’s energy efficiency. You could replace the cracked pane with replacement window glass; however, in some cases, it’s best to replace the entire window. If your windows are more than fifteen years old or original to your home, window replacement could save you money in the long run.
Outdated and Unsightly Windows
Sometimes your windows might function well, but they look old and outdated. If your home needs a curb appeal boost, we recommend replacing your windows with modern replacement windows from Window Nation. Our windows are custom-made to fit your home’s needs. We offer a variety of style and color options, so you can find the perfect fit for your home.
What to Look for When Buying a House
Article courtesy: Zillow
While everybody knows that buyers shop based on price range, there are many additional considerations to make when looking for a home. And, most buyers end up refining their criteria once they start touring homes. Ultimately, your home criteria should depend on your personal lifestyle and needs. Regardless of what you’re looking for, here are some general rules you should follow to make sure you’ll be happy with the home you buy for the foreseeable future.
What are the top features buyers look for in a home?
Neighborhood wants and needs for buyers
Safety: 82% say a neighborhood that feels safe is very or extremely important
Walkability: 60% say it’s very or extremely important
Preferred neighborhood: 56% say it’s very or extremely important
Proximity to shopping, services and/or leisure activities: 53% say it’s very or extremely important
Optimal commute to work or school: 52% say it’s very or extremely important
Offers a sense of community or belonging: 48% say it’s very or extremely important
Close to family and friends: 46% say it’s very or extremely important
In preferred school district: 43% say it’s very or extremely important
Home Features Buyers Want
Within initial budget: 83% say it’s very or extremely important
Air conditioning: 78% of buyers say it’s very or extremely important
Preferred number of bedrooms: 76% of buyers say it’s very or extremely important
Preferred number of bathrooms: 67% of buyers say it’s very or extremely important
Private outdoor space: 67% of buyers say it’s very or extremely important
Preferred size/square footage: 67% of buyers say it’s very or extremely important
Floor plan/layout that fits preferences: 67% of buyers say it’s very or extremely important
Six Important Questions to Ask Yourself
1. Search for the right price
2. Prioritize the location
3. Think long term
4. Assess property condition
5. Don’t focus on minor cosmetic details
6. Stick with your must-haves
How to Create Your Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen
Article by: Natalie Wise
Create a beautiful outdoor cooking space for relaxing and entertaining all summer long.
As summer approaches and temperatures start to rise, no one wants to spend time inside sweating over a hot stove. With an outdoor kitchen, you can make the most of the beautiful warm nights by spending them with your friends and family.
Whether you have thousands to spend or a just few hundred to splurge, create your own outdoor kitchen and enjoy all it has to offer.
Upgrade your grill
A rusty, dusty grill doesn’t inspire lingering outdoor evenings. Upgrade your outdoor grill and take care of it all year round for a stand-out outdoor kitchen. A standard grill will cost you $150 to $300, and top-of-the-line outdoor ranges may be upwards of $1,500.
Before buying the biggest and best grill, consider how you will use one. Will you be feeding the whole soccer team? Or perhaps grilling some steaks for a romantic dinner for two? Look for a grill with features you will actually use and not just the latest trends.
Enhance your seating
If your basics are up to date, then you’ll want to upgrade your patio furniture and seating options too. If you plan on dining outside often, invest in an actual dining table and appropriate chairs. Eating a gourmet dinner off your lap downgrades an otherwise luxurious experience.
If you’re looking for more versatile pieces, sleek contemporary options coordinate nicely with most outdoor kitchen setups. Expect to spend a good chunk of change on quality furniture, but remember: With the proper care and maintenance, it can last as long as high-end interior pieces. Make sure you have a plan for the off-season, whether that’s moving outdoor furniture to indoor storage or securely covering it to protect it from the elements.
Add the extras
Want a prep sink? Wine fridge? Ice machine? Built-in smoker? You got it. The sky’s the limit when it comes to custom additions — or rather, your budget is the limit. Think carefully about your space before making a wish list.
Perhaps a full chef’s kitchen won’t quite fit in your backyard, but a beautiful wine fridge and some extra counter space are just what you need to take your outdoor kitchen to the next level.
Some features require installing or extending utilities (think: water or electricity), so don’t forget about portable additions such as a bar cart — which adds class without hassle.
Make it comfortable
Think about how you will provide amenities to make being outdoors comfortable, such as shade, heat (if using your space year-round), and perhaps even a few extras like a TV or audio equipment.
Tucking the seating close to the house may help you take advantage of a porch or awning. Otherwise, structures such as a light-strung pergola add shade during the day, light at night and atmosphere all the time.
If you have the room, the addition of a fireplace allows for a longer entertaining season. Outdoor kitchens don’t have to be just for summer, after all.
If you like to have some indoor comforts while enjoying your beautiful outside oasis, television and music can be connected outside — although it can be expensive. Bluetooth or portable speakers, a projector and a large sheet, or even an old-fashioned radio are more budget-sensitive options for those looking to add a little fun to their outdoor space.
Apply your own style
Create an outdoor kitchen that suits your style and taste. If you’re working with an existing space, be sure to embrace the style and play up the features, such as dark wood, stone and classic columns.
If you’re starting from scratch, take a look at your indoor design and see what features you like. Then consider incorporating those color schemes, design styles or even furniture shapes into your outdoor kitchen.
While you can’t go wrong designing your outdoor space, consider designs and colors that are versatile so you’re not limited if you want to mix things up in the future.
Make it yours
Your outdoor kitchen should be a comfortable, relaxing space for entertaining or unwinding after a long day of work. Make yours an escape that works for you.
When planning your outdoor kitchen, think about adding one or two small luxuries that will make you excited to enjoy your space. These can be as small as pretty tea lights scattered around or as large as a wood-burning pizza oven.
What Is a Property Manager Responsible For?
Article by: Erin Eberlin
If a landlord wants help taking care of the daily responsibilities at their rental property, he or she can hire a property manager. A property manager can be hired for one simple task, such as collecting rent, or can be completely responsible for the operations at the rental property.
Here are seven important roles a property manager can take on.
Responsible for Managing Rent
Collecting rent is a basic responsibility of any landlord. Therefore, it is one of the most common jobs a landlord will pass on to a property manager. A property manager's rent responsibilities could include:
Setting Rent: The property manager would set the right rent level to attract tenants to your property. To determine the rent range, the property manager will look the market where the property is located and analyze comparable properties in the area.
The property manager will set up a system for collecting rent from tenants. To ensure optimal cash flow they will set a date to collect rent each month and strictly enforcing late fees.
Adjusting Rent: The property manager can increase the rent each year, according to individual state and/or municipal law. They can also decrease the rent if they feel it is necessary.
Responsible for Managing Tenants
Managing tenants is another core responsibility of a property manager. The property manager may be involved in finding and screening prospective tenants, managing daily complaints and maintenance issues and handing tenant move outs and evictions.
Property managers are responsible for filling vacancies. They will advertise the rental and create a compelling ad. They also understand what attracts tenants, so they can offer tips to help makeover the property.
Property managers should have a consistent screening process, including running credit checks and criminal background checks, which can decrease your chances of tenant turnover. Experienced property managers have seen hundreds, even thousands, of tenants, so they have a better idea of how to select the right tenants; those who will pay their rent on time, have a longer tenancy and create fewer problems.
This can include setting the lease term and making sure it has all the necessary clauses to protect the owner. This includes determining the amount of security deposit required.
The property manager may deal with maintenance requests, noise complaints and handling emergency situations.
Handling Move Outs:
When a tenant moves out, the manager is responsible for inspecting the unit, checking for damages and determining what portion of the security deposit will be returned to the tenant. After move out, they are responsible for cleaning the unit, repairing any damages and finding a new tenant.
Dealing With Evictions:
When a tenant does not pay rent or otherwise breaches the terms of a lease, the property manager understands the proper way to file and move forward with an eviction.
Maintenance and Repairs Roles
The property manager must keep the property in safe and habitable condition. Property managers are responsible for the physical management of the property, including regular maintenance and emergency repairs.
This includes performing preventative property maintenance to keep the property functioning in top condition. For example, they are personally in charge of, or must hire someone to, exterminate, check for leaks, landscape, shovel snow and remove trash. This maintenance aims to keep current tenants happy and attract new tenants.
When there is an issue, the property manager must fix the problem or hire someone else to do it. They often have a large network of reliable plumbers, electricians, carpenters and other contractors.5
Knowledge of Landlord-Tenant Law
Good property managers have an in-depth knowledge of statewide and national laws regarding the proper ways to:
Screen a Tenant
Handle Security Deposits
Terminate a Lease
Evict a Tenant
Comply With Property Safety Standards
If there are other employees in the property, such as a concierge or security personnel, the property manager is responsible for making sure they are doing their job. The property manager can set their salaries and even fire them.
Property managers are often hired to look after vacant properties to make sure there has been no vandalism and to perform routine maintenance. They also make sure contractors and other repairmen are completing their work in a timely manner.46
Responsible for Managing the Budget/Maintaining Records
Property managers can be responsible for managing the budget for the building and for maintaining all important records.
The manager must operate within the set budget for the building. In certain emergency situations when the occupants (tenants) or physical structure (investment property) are in danger, they may use their judgment to order repairs or likewise without concern for the budget.
Maintaining Records: The property manager should keep thorough records regarding the property. This should include all income and expenses; list of all inspections, signed leases, maintenance requests, any complaints, records of repairs, costs of repairs, maintenance costs, record of rent collection and insurance costs.
7 Things to Do Before House Hunting
Article by: Robin McDaniel
House hunting can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a first time buyer.
You have to think about the location of the property, square footage, layout, finishes, flooring, and oh yeah — getting a mortgage. The list is endless.
It’s exciting and exhausting at the same time. How do you even know where to start in the process?
Whether you’re hunting for your very first house or your fifth, the process will be much smoother if you have a plan and a house hunting checklist.
If you’re jumping into the real estate market, here are 7 things to do before you start house hunting.
Know Your Credit Score
First things first: don’t go house shopping without getting a mortgage pre-qualification.
Make a Budget
You should decide ahead of time what amount you’re comfortable with paying per month for your mortgage. Then go to your bank for your pre-qualification letter.
Find a Diligent Realtor
The next step is finding a realtor who will work for you. You want someone who will stand up for you in the final walk-through or at the closing table if something doesn’t go right.
Make a List of Needs, Must-Haves, and Wants
You may end up seeing so many properties your head will be left spinning. You might forget some of the things you were looking for in the first place.
Choose Your Location
It’s going to be really hard for your realtor to show you the best housing options for you if you don’t know the area you want to reside in. You’ll end up all over the place if you don’t.
Save an Emergency Fund
If you don’t have an emergency fund saved yet, buying a house isn’t a wise option.
Check Your Emotions at the Door
Buying a house is an emotional process, but do your best to keep your emotions out of it before you make a hasty and unwise decision about a house that’s financially out of your reach.
Even though it’s hard to keep emotions out of it, you need to in order to keep yourself from making a bad decision that could end up affecting you for years, and cost you a ton of money.
No matter what you do, try to make house hunting a fun process, because it should be. It’s not every day that you get to run around shopping for houses, so try to enjoy it! If you follow this checklist, then your house hunting process will be easy and painless.
5 Minor Remodeling Projects
Whether you’re getting ready to sell your home or just want to make the place you live an oasis, these minor remodeling projects will increase your home value!
Your home’s curb appeal is the first thing visitors see when they get to your home. You can make a strong, positive first impression with some smart landscaping. Consider a variety of plants that reach their peak in each of the four seasons so your yard always looks incredible.
Replace Your Front Door
The front door is one of the first things visitors see. Replacing the door can give your home a more modern, updated, and clean feeling. When choosing your new door, keep the rest of the home’s color and style in mind. Investing in a steel door will provide you with unbeatable durability.
Updated Color Schemes
Paint fades over time and popular color schemes change. Today, neutral tones like beige and grey are popular options throughout the home. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, painting your home is a great way to improve the atmosphere of your home.
Remodel Your Fireplace
Highlighting a home feature as iconic as a fireplace can make a dramatic improvement in your home. Some popular remodeling options are replacing outdated brick with modern, natural stone or expanding it to a floor-to-ceiling statement piece.
Add Crown Moulding
Crown moulding adds a touch of sophistication and class to your home. And, you may be surprised at how simple and affordable adding it can be. In addition to framing the rooms of your home, you can use it to highlight key features in your home such as the fireplace, breakfast nook, or bay windows.
Whether you’re planning to stay in your home for many years or getting ready to make a move, I’m here to help. Feel free to contact me with any real estate questions!