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5 Must-Do's Before Buying a House

9/15/2021

If you’re ready to begin the journey of homeownership, it is important to cross a few items off of your to-do list before hunting for the perfect house. Buying a home is a process, and you want to be as prepared as possible. Here are a few steps to take that will get you ready to buy a home.

1. Get your money straight.

A year to six months before you begin the buying process, find a lender and have them pull your credit. This will give you insight into what you expect and what you may need to mend before you can make the purchase that you want to. Your lender will be able to let you know what you qualify for based on your income at the time so that you can look for homes within your price range when the time comes.

2. Decide where you are willing to stay a while.

A home is a commitment. You can always resell, but with the transaction fees that come along with buying a home, you may end up losing equity if you try to sell your home quickly after buying it. If you don’t think the home is somewhere you can see yourself for several years, keep looking.

3. Don’t hesitate to take your time.

There is a lot more to the purchasing process than just buying a home. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of a home that you are considering buying. How is the neighborhood? Will the long commute be overwhelming in 6 months? Make sure you’ve considered the aspects of what makes up your day-to-day life and how your new home will help or hurt that process.

4. Know the difference between your dream home and a fantasy home.

Being realistic is a key part of making the home buying process easier on you. Your agent will work hard to make your deal the best it can be, but when it comes down to it, you will usually get what you pay for. Major discounts typically mean you will have work to do, and that doesn’t necessarily mean a steal for you. Be realistic during your search and keep in mind that the perfect home might not be out there, but that doesn’t mean that your dream home isn’t.

5. Find an agent for you.

Finding an agent that works for you take a major weight off of your shoulders in the home buying process. Ask your friends and family, and look into local agents that come highly recommended. When you find a trusted agent, they will be able to show you houses that you can’t find from a simple internet search and be able to negotiate for you along the way. It is their specialty - don’t waste the time or energy trying to do the job of a realtor on top of everything else you have on your plate!


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Tricks For Hard-To-Paint Areas

9/1/2021

While some DIY projects seem like they should be left for the pros, painting doesn’t have to be one of them. Basic painting seems easy enough, but sometimes we run into those hard-to-paint areas and regret not hiring a professional. Instead of hanging up the towel, try out these tricks for those spots and see if you can finish your project all on your own (and save some money in the process!)

Painting Window Trim

Painting the wood diving panes and sashes on windows can seem daunting at first. Most people think that lining your windows with painters tape will help, but that is usually just a waste of time. Instead, just paint away! This is the one time it is okay to get a little paint outside of your target area. When paint gets on the glass, just allow it to dry and as soon as it does, scrape it off with a razor blade. Try not to let the paint set for longer than a day.

Painting Behind Toilets

Sometimes, the hardest places to paint are the tight spaces where we can’t really do much to make that space bigger. This is where you will need a “hot dog” roller. They’re smaller than regular rollers and when attached to a longer handle, can make painting in tight spaces a breeze. You can use this roller for other small spaces, like behind radiators or other fixtures.

Painting High Ceilings

If you’ve got a high ceiling or a tall wall where a ladder can’t safely reach, like above a staircase, you’ve usually got a challenge on your hands. This is where a paintbrush extension tool comes in. Rather than attaching a roller to a pole and losing stability, an extension tool is more like an extension of your arm. Make sure to avoid dripping paint by loading less paint on the brush that you typically would for a wall right in front of you.



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7 Signs You're Ready To Buy!

9/1/2021
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Living in an apartment or rental home does have its perks: You can test out different neighborhoods and locations, you have the flexibility to move, and you have access to great amenities like a gym or pool. But there’s a reason that owning a home, rather than renting one, is a highly desired achievement.

Maybe the thought of having your own place has crossed your mind only recently, or maybe you’re regularly saving a chunk of your paycheck for that future down payment. No matter where you are in the process of considering homeownership, here are the unmistakable signs that you’re ready to buy your first home.

1. You Want to Get to Know Your Neighbors

Because renters don’t tend to live in one apartment for very long, it can be difficult to meet people who live in your building. But when you buy a home and are more invested in your community, it’s easier to forge lasting friendships.

2. You Want to Customize Your Space

Many rental communities have limits on what you can customize in your unit. You may be able to paint your walls a different color, but you may not be able to replace the countertops or appliances that come standard in your apartment.

3. You Want More Space or Amenities

You daydream about having a home with a large kitchen, dining room, basement, garage, or maybe even a home office or bonus room for your hobbies.

4. You Regularly Drive by Your Favorite Neighborhoods

You have a list of at least three communities (or maybe even houses) that you would love to live in when you’re ready to buy a home. You might even attend an open house or two.

5. You’re Eager to Put Down Roots

A home is more than a financial investment. It’s your own space, a private retreat, and the start of a new chapter in your life. You’ll love being able to make lasting memories with your new neighbors and enjoying all the amenities near your home.

6. You’re Constantly Browsing Home Improvement Sites

Instead of scrolling through social media, you’re scrolling through home decor websites or binge-watching HGTV. You now have dozens of ideas for how you’re going to decorate everything from the bathrooms to the entryway.

7. You Have Money Saved Up for a Down Payment

A down payment is essential to buying the home of your dreams. But once you see your savings account grow, you know your new home is just within reach



Potential Neighborhood With An HOA? Here's What You Should Know...

9/1/2021

Let’s say you have your heart set on buying a home in a community with a swimming pool, a clubhouse, and maybe even a playground or trails. Having access to these amenities often means living in a community with a homeowners association, or HOA.

Generally, an HOA is responsible for keeping the neighborhood looking beautiful — and as a result, keeping property values high. But since no two neighborhoods are the same, no two HOAs will be the same, either.

What You Should Know About the Homeowners Association

Doing your research on homes and communities means finding the answers to dozens of questions. As a savvy home buyer, you’ve probably already considered some of the most important topics early on in your home search, such as the local property taxes and whether the neighborhood is appreciating in value.

But if you’re considering a neighborhood with an HOA, there are a few additional things that you should know about the community and the association before you buy a home. Here are the essential questions you should ask.

1. What Does the Homeowners Association Do?

Each community varies, but in general, a homeowners association assists residents with property maintenance (by providing services like lawn care, trash removal, or Internet), regularly beautifies the neighborhood common areas, and upkeeps any shared amenities. In return for these services, residents pay an association fee, which we’ll talk about later.

Since the HOA is also concerned with keeping property values high, the homeowners association may also dictate what residents can and can’t do with their properties. These rules keep residents from worrying about a neighbor painting their house a funky color or letting their lawn go wild.

2. Are You Required to Join the HOA?

Before you decide to buy a home in an HOA neighborhood, first check to see whether the community has a voluntary or mandatory HOA. A voluntary HOA doesn’t require that you join the association or pay dues, but a mandatory HOA does.

3. How Much Are the HOA Fees?

As we mentioned before, HOA fees cover the services that the association provides. HOA fee costs (and the frequency with which they’re paid) can vary from community to community, so ask your real estate agent about how much the fees are before you buy a home in the neighborhood.

4. What Are the HOA’s Expectations for Residents?

Typically, a homeowners association will have a list of rules and regulations that residents are expected to follow when they live in the community. (These are known as Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, or CC&Rs.)

These regulations can dictate everything from what colors you can use to paint your home to how many vehicles you can park in the driveway. Again, each homeowners association varies, so it’s best to read the Bylaws of communities you’re considering to learn what’s expected of residents.

5. When (And How Often) Does the HOA Meet?

If you’re interested in joining your neighborhood’s HOA to get involved in your community, you might also want to consider when the association meets. The HOA may meet annually, bimonthly, or monthly, depending on the association’s size, so check to see if the regular meetings will fit within your schedule.

6. Does the HOA Host Any Activities?

Finally, when considering a neighborhood with an HOA, you should learn whether the HOA provides other ways for you to get involved and meet your neighbors. Ask your real estate agent about whether the neighborhood association hosts annual block parties, pool parties, holiday celebrations, Yard of the Month competitions, or any other neighborhood activities.

Why Should You Stage Your Home To Sell?

8/26/2021




Home and living Living Room




As the real estate market turns sluggish, you may have to take steps to set your home apart from others. It won't be enough to just put out a for-sale sign and wait for potential buyers. One way that homeowners can sell their homes more speedily is by home staging, which can have the added benefit of pushing up the selling price of your home. Basically, staging consists of arranging your home's décor and furniture in such a way as to make the home have more of an appeal to prospective buyers.
In some cases, home staging can be a relatively simple and inexpensive undertaking. You may be comfortable with just cleaning up your home and removing all day-to-day items. On the other hand, you may want to consider investing a more substantial amount of time and money into your home staging project. The main benefit of investing in landscaping, painting and new furniture is that a potential buyer will come away from a visit to your home with a better idea of how his or her new home will look.
Home staging has been around since the 1970s. Although it began on the West Coast of the United States, the concept eventually spread to the rest of the country. There's more to home staging than just decorating. The general idea behind home staging is to depersonalize your home so that a prospective buyer will be able to imagine him or herself living in it. By removing piles of newspapers and family photos, you'll be able to increase your home's appeal. Another tip is to choose neutral colors for your home's carpet and paint. If it's within your budget, you'll also want to think about buying new appliances. Although many people do a good job of staging their own homes, you can also hire a professional to do the job for you.

What To Expect During Inspection

8/26/2021

When you are buying a home for the first time, you’re likely to run into many processes that you haven’t been through before. One of the most important parts of the purchasing process is your property inspection. It may seem daunting, but if you know your role and the role of others, it can make the process less stressful. Here is what you should expect for each role in the property inspection process.

The Buyer

Your job will be to learn about the property during inspection. Before the inspection, you should prepare by looking over the property disclosures or any other building department documentation that you’ve received up until that point. Make a list of any questions or concerns you have about those documents and address any issues that the listing agent may have pointed out. Ask your agent what the typical inspections are for your market and make sure you set aside a few hours for the inspection.

The Buyer’s Agent

Your agent should be with you and help to walk you through the inspection. Your agent should know what to look for during inspections and be able to let you know what is important and needs to be addressed before the transaction is complete and what is a quick fix. 

The Listing Agent

In some cases, the listing agent may not be present for the inspection. Otherwise, the listing agent will be there to advocate for the seller and help to address any issues that may arise, as they are likely the most familiar with the property.

The Inspector

You will hire the property inspector as the buyer. You can get a referral from your agent to find a licensed inspector in your state. The inspector is there to explain what may need changed about a property and the potential cost it would have for you. They are not there as a contractor and will not be fixing thee problems, simply inspection the property and overall state of the house. 

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