How To Prepare Your Home For The Fall Season

It’s about that time again! The crisp/cool air, countless beautiful shades of colors, and plenty of enjoyable evenings around the bonfire await us. Yet, amidst all these great things, there are certain preparations that you need to be aware of when getting ready for the fall season as well.
As a homeowner, it’s important that you take certain steps in order to protect your home’s condition and also your wallet. So let’s explore 5 key areas that you ought to review over the upcoming weeks to be fully equipped for what lies ahead:

  • Routine furnace maintenance: Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment for your furnace. While trying to juggle work obligations, kids, school, chores, and much more, this is one of those areas that can easily be overlooked.

    But a couple hundred dollars now is much more reasonable than a few thousand later. Keep your furnace in good working condition and make sure you’re prepared for the colder temperatures.

  • Clean off your roof: As the leaves begin to fall, it’s important that you protect your roof from unnecessary moisture. Take the time to clean off any debris that builds up before the winter months and ensure that your roof is patched from any basic wear and tear.

    This will be especially vital when winter snow begins to accumulate. Also, clear out your gutters and scan the area around your chimney as well. If there seems to be any places where water could leak in than it may be time to call a professional.

  • Prepare Your Pipes: First of all, don’t forget to unscrew any hoses or nozzles attached to the outside faucets. For those who are using underground sprinklers, take the time to push out any remaining water from the summer. Also, cleaning your septic system may be beneficial before the temperatures hit freezing.
  • Basic Crack Repair & Landscape: For those who have minor sidewalk or concrete damage, now may be a good time to fill some of those areas with something like Quikrete to avoid further damage. This can help to keep water and moisture out, especially once snow hits. Also, make sure to clear out the areas around your house where leaves have fallen, and cut back any other trees or shrubbery.
  • Insulation & Energy Efficiency: This can be a huge money waster! For those who are rarely at home and constantly on the run, you may want to consider investing in a programmable thermostat. This can save you hundreds of dollars alone by cutting back on unnecessary energy costs. Especially with the rise in most utilities costs, this should certainly be considered.

    Also, are there areas around your windows, doors or elsewhere that may be allowing draughts to enter your home? Consider either having these places sealed or maybe investing in some new materials. Depending on how long you plan to live at your current residence, the cost could certainly be justified.

Hopefully you have found these 5 tips to be helpful and informative. Please visit us again soon, as we update our website with other useful tips on a regular basis.

3 Sources of Financing for Real Estate Investors

One of the most important aspects to investing in real estate is how you finance your property. Although all other factors may look favorable, having no or little access to good terms could be a deal breaker. Therefore, before doing anything else, it is important that you begin to line up some potential sources and explore what options are available to you.
There are various ways to start investing in homes, and each source has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Your exit strategy, the condition of the property and various other factors will play a part in how you may be able to finance each specific investment. So let’s explore 3 of these top sources:

Traditional Financing

If one of your strategies is to buy, hold and rent, then using banks may be a safe bet for some of your investment properties. This is a source that can be considered up front when a property is in considerably good condition. Most banks will not support the financing of a fixer upper until repairs are completed, due to the amount of risk involved.
Therefore, you may need to spend a little extra time searching for those diamonds in the rough. Traditional financing is extremely favorable, because you can usually get some of the best interest rates, terms and closing costs when approved. The process certainly will take longer than using cash buyers or hard money lending for example, but it can be worth the wait.

Hard Money Lenders

For those who will either be flipping a property or would need to conduct significant repairs in order to refinance may want to consider building a relationship with a hard money lender. It is advisable to shop around to at least 2 or 3 in your area when possible to see which terms you find to be most favorable.
These loans will come with much higher interest rates (typically 12% or more), points and some type of balloon payment near the end of the agreement. Hard money may be offered for 6 months to a year while the repairs are made, until the home is ready to be sold or refinanced for better rates.
It is important that investors are prepared to either rent out or lease-to-own their property if perhaps the home is unable to sell on the market quickly enough. Also, newbie investors beware! Flipping houses can be more difficult that it may seem, and you must have a solid plan in place so that you are not forced into a tight financial situation.

Private Lending

Before ever considering this option, it is strongly encouraged that you talk with a local attorney that specializes in SEC policies. Laws can vary on a state by state basis, so it is important that you have a good understand of those guidelines before building any relationships with private lenders.
However, when done correctly this can be a powerful resource available to you, that doesn’t require credit checks or adhering to all the strict guidelines enforced on mortgage companies. Private lenders can be nearly anyone who has access to the necessary funds for your purchase (i.e. your doctor, friends, family, or investor club).
Typically private lenders can receive anywhere from around 9% and up for their investment, which is secured by the property and can be a great investment for them based on today’s rates. Loans can be negotiated on a property by property basis so that each investor only funds the deals that they are comfortable with.
With these 3 examples alone, you may have all that is needed to start funding real estate deals. Therefore, take action now and begin building the relationships and networks of lenders that you will need in order to start investing.
Are you in need of referrals? Contact us today to access a list of preferred lenders that we will recommend for your investment business.

6 Easy Tips to Cut Back on Utility Costs

With rising utility costs and overall living expenses, people everywhere are looking for creative ideas on how to reduce spending. One of these major areas that can have a significant impact on your bottom line long-term is with heating, cooling and electric bills.
Therefore, it is important to take strides whenever possible to help alleviate this financial burden. We have devised a checklist of 6 items for you to review and determine where you can start cutting back expenses and improving efficiency in your home:
1. Maintain your furnace and air conditioning units: This is one area that homeowners can tend to disregard. Yet, just like conducting routine repairs on your automobiles; likewise, it is just important to keep up with these items as well. And it’s only necessary once per year!
In fact, the amount of money you can save in the long run by avoiding more significant maintenance hassles or losing a unit well before it’s time makes this step well worth it. Additionally, you will maintain a higher efficiency and experience cleaner air too.
2. Standby power: Did you know that many items around your house such as your TV, entertainment system, Wii, computer, microwave, etc. are constantly drawing electricity even when they are not powered on?
In fact, items throughout your house such as these typically can account for approximately 10% of your total energy consumption! Simply by having certain items plugged into a power cord that can be switched off when not in use may have a significant impact.
3. Consider investing in a programmable thermostat: Installing one of these can be fairly inexpensive and is extremely useful for families that are always on the go! Simply set the meter to fluctuate a few degrees during key timeframes, and the savings will really start to add up.

4. Decrease your water heater’s temperature: By switching the temperature down to the lowest setting can impact your energy bills from 5-10%. You will still have plenty of hot water and can enjoy some extra cost savings as well.

5. Change you appliance settings: Many dishwashers, washers, and dryers have advanced settings that could also be increasing your utility bills. Consider turning off those extra bells and whistles such as the heated dry, automatic sensor settings, or wrinkle shield. Also, you can wash with cold water and only do larger loads when necessary.

6. Dimmer switches and motion detectors: Another tip is to replace your current fixtures or switches with these energy efficient alternatives. You will be able to consume far less energy and your family will only use light when necessary. Even if you do not install these items, get in the habit of shutting off the lights in any room that is not occupied.
By following these 6 simple steps, you will begin to save more money and consume fewer resources. There are so many other ways that you can improve energy efficiency as well, so we encourage you to take the time to research what may be beneficial for you. Be sure to bookmark our page for regular updates and other free real estate related tips. Also, please don’t hesitate to refer us to a friend or family member! Thanks for stopping by.

4 Keys To Saving For Your Future Home

In this video, we will explore some things to consider when you’re getting ready to save for your next home purchase.

5 Reasons To Use A Real Estate Agent

Working with a true real estate professional comes with a lot of advantages over trying to go after it alone.
By working with a pro you’ll get:

  • Someone with Market Knowledge who can help you navigate existing inventory and get you a good deal
  • Someone with the industry contacts to help you through a pain free transaction
  • To save time! Avoid common newbie mistakes. Plus you’ll be able to quickly focus in on properties fitting your unique criteria
  • A 3rd Party Buffer when it comes time to negotiate. You won’t want too many emotions involved here – having a buffer could make you lots of $$$

Get Pre-Approved

Before you even start shopping for a home, you’ll want to be sure you have financing in place to make your next purchase.
Getting a “pre-approval” from a reputable lender is one of the first steps in your home shopping process.
Watch this video for more details:

Negotiating Rules

In this series of videos below, you’ll learn about the 7 rules to follow when negotiating your next home purchase.
These are:

  • Never Put Your Best Offer First
  • Develop a good relationship with the cooperating agent
  • Know when to walk away
  • Gauge what the seller wants
  • Have a working knowledge of your market
  • Get A Home Inspection
  • Ask For it!

These rules are outlined in the 7 videos below…

Negotiating Rules 1

Negotiating Rules 2

Negotiating Rules 3

Negotiating Rules 4

Negotiating Rules 5

Negotiating Rules 6

Negotiating Rules 7

Why Do I Need Title Insurance?

Before purchasing a home, it is vital that you have a better understanding of title insurance policies that are available for both lender and homeowner protection. If obtaining a mortgage, title insurance will be a requirement to shelter the lender for the full amount of the loan until it is completely paid off.
However, owner title insurance will be something you need to consider if you want to protect your own interests as well, since the aforementioned would not cover your own equitable interests in the property. Typically the purchase of an owner policy can either be covered by the seller, or is something that you can include along with the lender policy for a small investment.
When purchasing a home, buyers are actually obtaining a right to occupy the land and property space which comes in the form of a title. Therefore, insurance is necessary to identify any issues that may be attached to the title of the home before closing on the property.

Several Issues That This Search Could Uncover Include:

  • Easements that may allow for roads, sidewalks, cables, etc. to be built on your land
  • Judgments or liens that are a result of unpaid taxes or money that is owed
  • Errors or forged signatures contained within deeds, trusts or wills
  • Undisclosed heirs or rightful owners to the property
  • Additional legal issues or pending suits such as divorce that could affect the purchase

Owner title insurance will protect both homeowners and their heirs from any claims that arise as a result of problems that were initiated prior to obtaining the coverage. In the event that you were to inherit your own liens or judgments against the home, a new policy would then protect the next buyer if these bills were overlooked and remained unpaid upon closing.

Did you know that approximately 1/3 of all title searches will uncover some type of issue on a property? Although these tend to be extremely thorough and accurate, there are still those rare instances where certain matters will remain undetected. Title insurance is therefore the solution for any such cases that may arise.
In the event that you purchase a policy and claims do arise, the policy will reimburse you for any losses that are incurred under the coverage. Therefore, the stress, fees and wasted time that you can avoid when faced with such unfortunate circumstances are well worth the small investment.
To obtain information on reputable title companies that we highly recommend before your next purchase, contact us using the information included on our “Contact Us” tab above.

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