Out2News Real Estate

22 Nov TC Real Estate and Local Living
22 Nov Homestead Property Appraiser

Top Kitchen Trends Design Pros Want You to Try

22 Aug Kitchens

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.

22 Aug Kitchens 2

Darker Stains

“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.”

22 Aug Kitchens 3

Monochromatic Spaces

“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.

22 Aug Kitchens 4

Statement Hoods

"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.”

Residential Appraisals

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 info@pa.martin.fl.us.

22 Oct Property Appraiser Oct Art

Why is Air Conditioning Maintenance Important?

True Temp with Logo enlarged
22 June Tru Temp Article

Living in Florida we understand the need to operate our air conditioning system all year round. With our very hot temperatures and lengthy humidity seasons, we need to keep our air conditioning system running at its optimal performance all year long. With a preventative maintenance plan, you can have peace of mind knowing that your system is running to manufacture specifications and keeping up with our hot summer months

What’s included?

As a licensed and insured air conditioning company we have qualified air conditioning technicians that will be happy to check your air conditioning system on a regular basis. Our maintenance plans include checking the overall system to make sure parts are working to manufacture specifications. We clean the condensate drain line for you during each maintenance, and we make any recommendations along with providing helpful tips to keep your system running at its best performance throughout the entire year. We offer two types of plans – one type is a one time maintenance and the other is a yearly option where we provide a regular maintenance two times a year six months apart. This helps to make sure your system is running efficiently and effectively before and after the summer and winter months. Another benefit we include in our yearly preventative maintenance plan is a 10% discount off any repair or service you may need during the year.

How long does it take?

Once we have scheduled your appointment for the preventative maintenance to be completed our technicians will be dispatched to your home. Once the technician is onsite the maintenance usually takes between 45 to 60 minutes. They will check the air handler and the condenser and provide you with details of the overall operation of your entire system.

What if something is found to be wrong with my air conditioning system?

Part of the preventative maintenance is taking a preventative approach to make sure common air conditioning failures can be avoided. Our trained service technicians will thoroughly check the entire system. Including the capacitors, contactors, coil, electrical components of the air conditioning, and the drain line. Some of these parts can be tested and measured to check the overall functioning and make sure they are operating at manufacture specifications. If they are found to not be within the required ranges, options will be presented to you for changing them to avoid an emergency service call or future breakdown. No obligations to do any repairs but we will advise what is recommended.

Peace of Mind

Whether you have a newly installed air conditioning system or an older air conditioning system functioning in your home, we recommend a regular maintenance to be performed. Components of the air conditioning system can breakdown regardless of the age of the system and regardless of the brand or type of unit you have. With a regular preventative maintenance with True Temp, you can stay informed of the operation of your air conditioning unit all year round. Call True Temp today to schedule your appointment 772-607-1077.

Top 5 Improvements to Make on Your First Home

22 June Kid sitting on stairs

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.

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22 June Fertizer 1
22 June Fertizer 2

Top 5 Reasons You Want to Hire A Realtor To Sell Your Home... And How A Realtor Proves their Worth!

22 June MacEvoy Real Estate Logo

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

Why Does My Air Conditioner Leak Water?

22 Mar Leaking Air Cond Photo

Article by: Edwin Restrepo - True Temp LLC.
The first time you see water leaking from your air conditioning unit, you may go into panic mode and feel you have to call your air conditioning specialist immediately. It does not have to be cause for immediate concern. It’s perfectly normal for some amount of water to leak from your unit.

At the same time, leakage from your air conditioner could be cause for concern and will require that you make a service call as quickly as possible. Because you’ll probably not be able to make the distinction, it’s best to get an expert opinion.

What is “Normal” Air Conditioner Water Leaks
Since we stated earlier that it’s perfectly normal for some amount of water to leak from your unit, you may wonder what is considered to be “normal.”

A small amount of condensation is normal when operating your air conditioning unit and the condensation will generally appear near the drain pipe. Also, if the time is very hot and humid, your a/c unit is going to work harder and you can expect to see a little puddle under the condensing unit.

Common Reasons for Air Conditioner Water Leaks

Unfortunately, there is a fairly long list of common reasons for water leaks that you should be concerned about. Following are the most common ones:

Low levels of refrigerant: When the refrigerant levels get low, it will generally cause the pressure in your air conditioning system to lower. This, in turn, can cause the evaporator coils to ice up. If not fixed quickly, the coils can freeze causing your drain pan to overflow and leak water.

Dirty air filters: Dirty air filters caused by dirt, algae and fungi, can clog the condensate drain line and restrict the air flow to the evaporator coil. This will cause the evaporator coil to freeze up. As the ice melts, it may be too much for the drip pan resulting in an overflow. To correct this, you will need to have your air filter replaced immediately. To avoid this recurring, create a schedule to have your air filter checked and replaced on a regular schedule. We invite you to ask us about our Air Filter Program.
Running air conditioner in cold temperatures: While it’s rare that temperatures fall below 50 degrees in Florida, there have been several occasions in the winter months when we do experience these rather cold days and nights below 60 degrees.
Many homeowners may not feel it’s necessary to switch to heat. However, if your unit continues to try to cool when the temperatures are below 60 degrees, it could result in the cooling coils freezing up.

Drain Pan – Overflowing or Cracked: There are usually two drain pans that are installed with your unit. One is located permanently underneath your evaporator coils. The other is a removable pan which is located underneath the unit. If you’re able to do an inspection to check if the drain pan is cracked, you’d do so after turning off the unit.
While you can add a sealant as a temporary measure, if the leak is in the removable pan, it’s best to have a professional examine and repair or replace. Because the primary drain pan is permanently in place, you’ll definitely need to have a professional take a look at it and replace it, if that’s where the problem is.

Your air conditioning unit is one of the largest investments in your home and it’s the primary way you’re able to enjoy the comfort of your home. Therefore, it makes sense that you keep your unit properly maintained, and have a maintenance plan with your air conditioning company rather than leave it to chance and wait for emergencies to arise.

True Temp, LLC is happy to discuss our maintenance plan with you, as well as keeping your air clean with our Air Filter Program. Contact Kimberly at: 772-607-1077.

The Community Garden Center at Pinder’s Nursery’s “IT’S COLD!” Reference Guide

20 July Pinders Nursery Logo

Frost occurs on the surface of plants as the plant loses heat to the surrounding, colder environment. It does not require freezing temperatures (32 degrees) to occur, rather anticipate frost at as warm as 38 degrees! As frost forms on plant surfaces, damage to the

leaves occurs. With these "open wounds" the plant is then susceptible to bacterial and fungal disease.

First, make sure all your plants are in the least stressed condition possible. After a couple of days of wind as this front has moved in, they will all require a good soaking. This will also help them out since you probably won't be watering during the next couple of days when it is so cold.

Then, move whatever you can indoors. A garage or shed is fine, just some protection from the settling cold. Orchids and tropical foliage that may be on your porch are critical. Then assess what is in your yard that can't be moved in. Some plants will sail right

through this, others are only hardy to Zone 9, 10 or 11. These plants will need protection. If your plant is rated to Zone 8 or less, they should be okay. That means there may be some leaf damage, but the plant will survive. Coldest temperatures typically occur at dawn or a few minutes

after. Frost damage is minimized with a light breeze of 5 mph or so. This results in a mixing of the air,preventing the colder, denser air from settling down close to the surface of the garden.

Plants that need protection should be covered in some type of fabric. At home we have used old sheets we bought at garage sales and thrift shops. There is also a "frost blanket" product available that works nicely. We sell frost cloth at the nursery. I would caution you to wear long sleeves and gloves when using such products however, since

they are often made using fiberglass. Secure your fabric with stones or stakes, or secure it with twine or bungee cords. Do not use plastic to cover your plants unless you have a cold frame to hold the

plastic above the surface of the plants. Plastic will conduct the cold and actually worsen the damage. Plus it tends to flap in the wind, adding insult to injury by physically damaging your plants.

People often ask about using water to prevent cold damage. We typically discourage this approach. The use of water requires impeccable timing, and a commitment to close monitoring of the temperatures. Water needs to be turned on just before the temperatures

hit 34 degrees (usually about 4:00am). Once you turn it on, you are committed -- you cannot turn it off because the water you applied will start to cool-- sucking heat from your plants as it does and worsening the damage. Besides the commitment, thinot turn it off because the water you applied will start to cool-- sucking heat from your plants as it does and worsening the damage. Besides the commitment, this type of water

use is truly wasteful of our most precious environmental resource.

22 Jan Thrillers Fillers
22 Jan Homeowners Tip
22 Jan Selling a Home
21 Sept Jenny Fields MC Property Appraiser

6 Tips To Breathe New Life Into Your Home

21 Sept McGregor 2

Article by: Jennifer McGregor

Your surroundings impact your mental health. As the U.S. continues to battle the pandemic, another long winter at home could be ahead, so it’s important that your space provides the respite you  need. You may be planning on selling soon or just looking to make your current living space suit you better personally. Either way, altering your space can upgrade your home.

Check out these tips from Out2 News!

Accent Walls

Converting one side of a room into an accent wall draws attention to a specific point, expresses creativity and provides contrast. It can make a special feature like a fireplace, grandfather clock or antique pop out.

Paint one wall an entirely different color from the others. Slash it diagonally in half using two shades. Fancy it up with a zigzag pattern, stenciled pictures, checkers or polka dots. Come up with your own special design or use one of the many ideas out there.

Art Projects

Research shows that art can stimulate brain function and produce a mental healing effect. Invest in a large-scale painting, or turn a wall itself into a work of art by hiring someone to paint a mural over the whole surface or unleashing your own inner artist. You can even construct a mosaic.

Small Art Pieces

If your taste doesn't run to bigger artwork, how about filling the wall with a collection of smaller items? Tastefully arrange different-sized paintings or framed photos in one spot. Try mirrors, sconces or storage hooks for hats or coats. You could even decorate the wall by grouping together an assortment of regular items like plates, spoons, keys or candy wrappers.

Paint

When processing different colors, your brain releases various chemicals that affect you physically and mentally. Red can evoke sensations of peril, forcing your body to enter danger mode, while research shows that blue may have a calming effect. White can make a room seem bigger. Repainting your walls a different color can boost your overall mood and psychological health, and it can even boost your home’s value.

Furniture

Replacing a beloved armchair that’s seen better days can be expensive, and it’s never easy to part with a favorite piece of furniture. Rather than chuck it, and opt for a new, potentially pricier item, consider having your chair reupholstered. A makeover with textured fabric or a different color can breathe new life into your furniture, and can be fairly affordable depending on your choices. Simple search forfurniture upholstery services near meto find a local shop with high ratings, strong customer reviews and a price that fits your budget.

Wallpaper

If you are less than excited about the work of repainting, consider wallpaper. This durable alternative also comes in a variety of colors, but unlike paint, it also has a wide array of patterns to choose from, whether your taste is elegant, simple, intricate, or flashy. Peel-and-stick wallpaper means you don't have to deal with messy paste and water. It is produced with the adhesive already attached and is as easy to take off and relocate as it is to put up on the wall initially.

Walls are a constant backdrop, a fixture you skim your eyes over daily without much conscious thought, but their presence in every area of the home means their appearance can have a significant influence on your mental state. Changing them up can transform your entire environment for the better and revitalize your entire home.

21 Aug Buying Home Tips

First-Time Homebuyer Tips—And Mistakes to Avoid

21 Aug Buying a Home

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.

Key Takeaways
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.

21 June Buying your first Home

Things to Buy After Buying a Home

BUying things

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.

Appliances

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.

Lawn Mower

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.

Garden Supplies

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
Hacksaw
Pliers
Plumber's wrench
Basin wrench
Small power drill and drill bits
Staple gun
Tape measure

Measured by acres grown, grass lawns are the largest irrigated crop in the United States.

Deceptive Mortgage Ads

21 May 7 Mortgage 1

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.

21 May 7 Mortgage 2

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.

Teaser Rates

• 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

21 Mar 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.

Out2News.com LLC. is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

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How to Improve Your Home With Modern Technology

21 Mar Modern Tech

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

Bottom Line
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.

Out2News.com LLC. is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

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The Pros and Cons of Different Styles of Doors

20 Oct 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.

Entry Doors

Wood
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
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
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.

FRENCH DOORS
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
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.

Need to Replace Your Roof?

20 Oct Roofs

 

Article by: Lisa Braton

Perhaps one of the biggest (and often most nerve-wracking) home improvement projects you can undertake is a roof replacement. Not only is a roof replacement one of the more expensive home improvement projects, according to Angie’s List, it can also be one of the most disruptive to your everyday life. That is not to say you should not replace your roof if it is showing signs of disrepair, as the benefits far outweigh the perceived headaches. The good news is that headaches can be avoided and your roof replacement can remain stress-free if you take the time to answer these six important questions first.

How Long Do I Want My New Roof to Last?
Most modern roofs last anywhere between 10 and 50 years, depending on the composition and quality of the materials you use. Roofing materials that routinely last 50 years or more are going to be more expensive than materials with a considerably shorter lifespan. It is a good idea to take longevity into account when establishing your budget, as it is an investment that you may need to repeat if you intend to live in your home for a long time.

What is the Best Material to Use?
There are a variety of roofing materials on the market, including asphalt, metal, clay, plastic polymer, concrete, metal and cedar. Each option has vastly different lifespans, insulation levels, weight and cost. A qualified and experienced roofing contractor can help advise you on your options and which is the best material to suit your home, style and budget.

Can the Roofing Frame I Currently Have Support My New Roof?
While you might like the look of clay tile, you need to consider whether your current roofing frame can support the heavy weight of clay. It is vital you ensure that the frame is adequate for the proposed load of the new roof. Again, the right roofing contractor will be able to help ascertain if your desired roofing material will work within your existing frame.

Do I Have the Best Offer?
The price of a new roof depends on many factors, which is why it is vital you do your homework and get a quote from more than just one roofing contractor. It is also wise to check the background and reputation of the contractors you are considering. Yelp, Angie’s List, Houzz, Facebook and Home Advisor are all great places to look for reviews from existing clients that demonstrate a proven track record of successfully completed projects. Be wary of contractors that offer low bids, as they are often using cheaper materials and labor to cut corners, which will cost you more in the long-run.

Does the Old Roof Need to Come Off?
While it is possible to avoid the cost of removing an existing roof by having a contractor lay the new materials right on top, you need to confirm that the roofing frame can hold the additional weight of this new layer. If you do choose to remove the existing roofing materials, do not forget to factor in the extra cost for labor and disposal and additional time required.

Roofing Insulation and Ventilation – is it Important?
While a lot of time and emphasis is often placed on the roofing material, it is also important to take into consideration insulation and ventilation. When replacing your roof, it is often the best time to consider installing proper insulation. The additional and easy access to your roof and attic can be very helpful to an insulation contractor. The benefit of proper insulation is that it will more effectively regulate the temperature of your home, which saves money on utility bills while also increasing your comfort. At the same time, make sure you get a detailed description of your contractor’s proposed ventilation plan. Not considering the ventilation of the roof can lead to serious problems down the road, including mold, condensation problems, ice damming and more.

7 Signs That It’s Time To Replace Your Windows

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.

Condensation
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
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.

Cracked Windowpanes
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

20 Sept Buying a Home a

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

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How to Create Your Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen

20 July Outdoor Kitchen a

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?

20 June Property Mgnt

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.

Collecting Rent:

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.

Finding Tenants:

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.

Screening Tenants:

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.

Handling Leases:

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.

Handling Complaints/Emergencies:

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.

Property Maintenance:

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.

Repairs:

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

Supervising Responsibilities

Other Employees:

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.

Vacant Properties:

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.

Managing Budget:

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.

Things to Ask and Look Out For When Viewing a House

20 June Things to ask

Article by: Jessica Sweet - Contributing Writer for Out2News

We’ve just spent the past few weeks viewing multiple properties while trying to find our dream home and the first thing that really surprised me was the fact you are usually shown around by the vendor as opposed to the estate agent.

What to Look For
Signs of damp, including looking behind furniture. Damp usually manifests in areas where there’s lots of water vapour so bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, utility rooms and areas where the vendors may have been drying clothes

What’s parking like?
Is there enough room for the number of vehicles you have? Is there off road parking? Try visiting in the evening to see if you’d need to park far away from the house

Where is the sun shining and at what time?
It’s preferable to have a garden that’s south facing but it’s a good idea to visit the house at different times of the day to see what rooms get what light and when.

What is mobile signal like in different rooms of the house?
Sounds small but this can be infuriating if you find out that you can’t make mobile phone calls unless you are at the very far end of the garden

Visit at different times of the day to see what the street is like.
Are there undesirables hanging around after dark? Is the street full of vehicles at school pick up time?

Is there a curtain behind the front door?
Is this for aesthetic reasons or because of a draught? Are there portable electric heaters in rooms with radiators? Why?

Try a faucet to check the water pressure.
You do not want to buy a property where it takes two hours to run a bath!

How many plug sockets are in each room?
You don’t want a bedroom with one plug socket right on the other side of the room- how will you charge your phone?!

Go into the garden and just listen.
Is there lots of noise? Traffic? Kids?

You will want to know you can enjoy your garden space.

Out2News/Out2martincounty.com is your online newspaper where you are the reporter and photographer and you report the news! Do you have something to say, an event to a talk about? An event you would like us to have covered. Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

7 Things to Do Before House Hunting

20 June 7 Things

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

Jan Remodeling

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!

Landscaping
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!

Why an Investment Property Should Be Your First Real Estate Purchase

19 Sept Von Ohlen 1

Not ready to buy a home for yourself but want to take advantage of great market conditions? Consider buying an investment property! It's a trend that's taking over real estate, as savvy investors look to put their money in an appreciating asset. Here are five reasons to consider it.

1. Rates are crazy low. Lower rates mean more affordable lending, or more for your money if you choose to reach higher.

2. Because it will appreciate. According to CoreLogic, "The overall home price index (HPI) has increased on a year-over-year basis every month for seven years." The long-term price appreciation of real estate can provide one of the safest investments out there.

3. Because passive income is good. Yes, it's nice to know there will likely be appreciation over time, but the real key to success with investment properties is passive income.

"The best part about rental properties is that they provide a stable income," said Mashvisor. "What would be better than having a check sent to you every month? In order to have positive cash flow, you have to make sure you invest in a profitable rental property."

4. To turn it into a short-term rental. The short-term rental market has opened up a new world of opportunity for investors. By buying in the right location—by the beach, near a ski resort, or in close proximity to a popular annual event like Coachella, you have the potential of making a significant return in a short period of time. Just be sure to check the local laws, as lots of cities have been cracking down on Airbnb and other services.

5. Because it can help you buy the home of your dreams down the line. "Buying an investment property before your first home does not imply that you won't have the funds to purchase your actual home at some point," said Mashvisor. "In fact, investment properties that have been purchased wisely and have grown in value can offer you a sizeable amount of wealth and equity."