January 15th, 2013 by Michael Cameron
A leaky or blocked gutter can divert damaging water into your home’s walls.
Whether you live in rainy Oregon or snowy Vermont, winters are hard on homes. With spring winds and showers and a long hot summer coming, now is the time to perform a thorough spring maintenance to keep your home safe, beautiful, and at its highest possible value.
As you go through your regular maintenance routine, be sure to include checks of these five trouble areas.
Debris-choked gutters are a leading cause of water damage. Even a single clog of leaves can redirect water out of gutters and into your home’s walls. Be sure to follow proper safety precautions when inspecting your gutters, and when you’re in doubt, hire a professional.
Cold winters can be brutal on pipes. Get into the basement and check your plumbing hill washing the dishes, watering the lawn, or taking a shower–any time you’re pushing a large amount of water for an extended time. Look for leaks, drips, or even surface moisture. A small leak is an easy fix that will save on your water bill, but if a leak grows and floods, pipe repair will be the least of your problems. Recheck the pipes an hour later for signs of dampness and slow leaks.
Runoff and freezing temperatures can cause cracks in your foundation. Be sure to seal these cracks as you find them, and consult a pro if you have any questions about hidden damage or any impact on your home’s structural integrity. Pay special attention to any areas where water might pool against the foundation, often caused by lost soil.
Air Conditioning / Ventilation
Your AC unit will get a workout over the summer, so be sure your vents are free of debris and your filters are new. If you use window-mounted units, ensure that window seals are tight and wall-mounted supports are securely fastened.
Heat and cold are both hard on rubber seals and caulking. Replacing seals around your doors and windows can pay for itself in just a month and requires very little effort, so there’s no reason to avoid it.
November 14th, 2012 by Michael Cameron
In addition to location and condition, the asking price of a home is at the top of the list of important considerations. When a potential buyer is looking for a property, they want to get the best possible value for their dollar. This doesn’t mean that a home should be priced too low, but it does mean that knowing how to price your home is a must.
Know The Value
Regardless of whether you are in a buyer’s market or seller’s market, it’s important for every seller to know the actual value of their home with the help of an appraisal. With this information, you will be able to choose a listing price that does not exceed the home’s value. At the same time, you will know how to react to various offers that a potential buyer may make. If you can select a price that is affordable to a range of buyers, you may receive multiple offers thereby sparking a possible competition among the interested parties.
Do Your Homework
The asking price that you choose should not be based on an appraisal alone, but rather a combination of factors. One such factor is that of recent selling prices for comparable homes in the area known as “comps.” Important comparisons include construction year, square footage, views (if applicable), interior upgrades and additional features that make the home unique. While you’re doing research, check out current listings and the asking price for each home available in your area.
Set A Realistic Timetable
In researching the sale price for other comparable homes in the area, you should also note the length of time a particular house has been on the market. Some homes practically sell overnight, while others may remain on the market for months without being sold. If you want to sell your home quickly, you should consider this when setting a price. A bargain will obviously move quicker, but it’s important to make enough from the sale to feel good about your choice. If you aren’t in a hurry to close, talk with your realtor about a fair starting price that’s at or near the appraised value of your home.
Ask Your REALTOR® For Advice
While you hold the key, so to speak, to your house’s actual asking price, most sellers will ask their REALTOR® for their opinion. After all, real estate is their business and they will be working with you through every step of the process. If you choose a REALTOR® that you trust, give great consideration to the advice they offer.
November 14th, 2012 by Michael Cameron
Because there is only so much of it to go around, real estate is the top choice for many investors and the desire for most families. This article is designed to highlight some of the many benefits of home ownership and how buying a home can often turn the American Dream into a reality.
The decision to purchase a home is exciting and a major investment for your family.
One of the most profitable markets in real estate is rentals, which means that many families are paying to live in a home that isn’t their own. In some cases, renting a home is necessary. For all others, the money that would be spent on rent could instead be used to pay a mortgage. In fact, monthly rent payments often exceed that of a typical mortgage payment. One of the greatest benefits of home ownership is putting money into something that you can call your own and knowing that the monthly payments are going toward your home’s equity.
Speaking of equity, many properties experience a growth in value as more development moves into the area or the economy strengthens through an increase in job opportunities. If this happens, home values soar and owners can bask in the glory of their newfound profit. When you purchase a new car, it depreciates the moment that you drive off of the lot. When you buy a home, however, it has the potential to appreciate year after year. There are few things in life that can offer you a return above and beyond your original purchase price, but a home can.
When you own a home, you will enjoy the freedom of decorating and making any changes that you choose without needing the permission of a landlord or property owner. In addition, you may even be able to use your home’s equity to finance some needed improvements and/or repairs. In some cases, these changes may even increase the value of your home. An upgraded kitchen or bathroom, hardwood flooring or an additional room are examples of changes that could result in added value.
Another advantage of home ownership is the tax benefits that are available. The interest paid on a home mortgage as well as most property taxes paid are tax deductible. For additional information on deducting mortgage interest and property tax, consult the IRS or a tax professional.
In addition to providing yourself and your family with a feeling of stability and permanence, home ownership can also help strengthen your credit profile through timely mortgage payments and a steady financial history.
November 12th, 2012 by Michael Cameron
Buying a home can be both exciting and stressful but, for those with past credit problems, the process may also seem intimidating. The good news is that many lenders have adapted to the idea that many hopeful homeowners simply need a second chance, which means that past credit problems no longer have to define your future.
When life unexpectedly takes a turn for the worst, it’s not always possible to come out without a few bumps and bruises. Every day, people are faced with late or missed credit card payments, mortgage foreclosures, bankruptcy proceedings, auto repossessions and even civil judgments that will affect their credit reports for years to come. Whether it’s from a job loss, injury or just a simple case of temporary hardship, credit blemishes are often a part of life. The good news is that they no longer have to prevent you from becoming a homeowner.
Give Yourself A Little Credit
After experiencing a credit problem, most lenders will want to see an attempt to rebuild your credit through a steady payment history with a new account. This can be accomplished by applying for a credit card and maintaining a responsible use of the account. If you aren’t approved for an unsecured card, you can always apply for a secured credit card. Either will rebuild your credit over time and will help to show lenders that your past credit problems are just that – in the past.
Clean Up Your Credit Report
Before applying for a home loan, make sure that you check your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Every 12 months, consumers can request a free copy of their credit report from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. If anything is incorrect or found to be inaccurate, filing a dispute with the credit reporting agency can help to get the information corrected before speaking with a lender.
When you apply for a home loan, the lender will access your credit report for the purpose of determining your creditworthiness. In an effort to ensure that you have the best possible chance at being approved for the loan at the best possible interest rates, making sure that your credit report is accurate is a must.
Save Up For A Down Payment
Some homebuyers often qualify for a mortgage with down payments as low as five percent (three percent for FHA loans), but those with past credit problems may be required to shell out up to 35 percent or more for a down payment on their new home. A buyer who pays a larger down payment obviously has more vested interest in the home and may, thereby, be less likely to default on a loan. If you have past credit problems, check with your lender about specific down payment requirements and start saving!
Creative Financing Options
If you’ve exhausted all of your conventional efforts and are still turning up empty, don’t give up just yet. Alternative financing is an option that many homebuyers use to purchase a home. Your REALTOR® can provide you with details regarding any lease purchase and/or owner financing properties, which may require no credit check, no bank qualifying, a low down payment and competitive interest rate options.