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.

Read This Before Buying Homeowner’s Insurance

In order to guard yourself from risk and liability, it is essential to invest in a homeowner’s insurance policy that will give you the protection you need. Although such policies are not a requirement by law, any mortgage company will require this as a stipulation to receiving your next home loan.

Types of Policies

Several types of plans are available that include various optional riders dependent on your particular needs. There are specific policies for old homes, mobile homes, condos, and anything from basic protection to high liability coverage. However, a majority of owners will invest in something know as an HO-3 policy, because it offers protection for both the dwelling as well as your contents that are available in your home.
For example, the HO-3 policy will guard the outside of your property from any of the open perils (i.e. threats or dangers) to your home and also named perils for your contents. However, there will be a list of specific issues that the policy will not protect you from (such as earthquakes or water damage). Uncovered perils may be added at an additional cost.
On the other hand, others may be interested in reviewing the options available with the newer HO-5 policy. This coverage takes the HO-3 a step further by providing open peril policies for both the home and also contents. So essentially you would be protected for more items within your house, without having to prove that damage occurred under one of the named perils.

Other Important Factors

Next, there are liability limits. In the event that damage would occur, this amount would provide the coverage necessary to help restore your home. However, please keep in mind that this is not the same thing as the home’s actual value. There are other things that you need to consider such as the land, possessions, living expenses (if you need to rebuild), or other structures that are located on your property.
Therefore, take the time to assess what type of limit you would need to help cover the total loss in the event of a major catastrophe. Also, be sure to revisit your policy from time to time as the property appreciates, and/or you consider making changes and additions to the property.
Finally, it’s important to review the differences between actual cash value and replacement costs. For those who have a lot of contents that hold a high value, it may be better to consider replacement cost coverage, which could be worth the added price. This will provide a brand new replacement for all covered contents.
On the other hand, for people who are less concerned with replacing everything at market value with comparable items, may want to consider actual cash value protection for household items which will take into account depreciation.
Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg when considering a homeowner’s policy. Other things that can be considered include:

  • Jewelry Coverage
  • Personal Articles Coverage
  • Umbrella Coverage
  • or Liability Claims Protection

Therefore, take the time to schedule an appointment with a qualified agent to discuss your needs and review what else may be available. Please contact us now for referrals and to obtain more information on how you can get started.

Get The Best Price On Your Next Home Purchase!

One of the most important aspects to buying a home is to ensure that you purchase for a fair price. Since there are certain key steps that you must follow in order to make a sound decision, it pays to have a knowledgeable Realtor on your side who will be able to help obtain the best and most realistic asking price for a property.

Determining Market Comparables

For example, one of the first ways that your agent will discover the price of a home is by researching local market comparables. In most cases, they will be able to bring up a list of properties sold over the last 6 months within a 1 mile radius. Properties should also not be bigger than 20% of the subject size.
Additional features to consider would be the neighborhood each home resides in, structural differences, bedrooms and bathrooms, overall condition and other amenities such as a pool, a/c, or garage. Other factors, such as if a particular home sold for much lower due to foreclosure is something your agent can uncover as well.

Houses That Have Not Sold

Next, many homes could be on the MLS for 6 months or longer without ever selling. Others that are comparable could have been taken off the market after not getting enough offers or being listed for too high. This is valuable information, because you may be able to get a particular property for a substantial discount or it may not even be worth pursuing.

Neighborhood Reputation & Appreciation

When it comes to buying a house, this is one of the most important reasons to work with a Realtor. Since your agent will have a familiarity with various local market trends and statistics, you will be able to learn what makes a particular neighborhood desirable and also which areas to avoid.
A lot of things can affect a home’s value such as the school district, crime levels, or even other properties located nearby (such as those burnt in a fire or properties that were a bank sale). In fact, sometimes these factors can even differ from block to block!
Your agent will also help you to assess the appreciation rates for various neighborhoods and future development plans that could affect home prices, so that you can get a decent indication of what to expect down the road. This can be extremely valuable information dependent on how long you plan to live at the said property and the length of time the home may need to sit on the market.

Appraisals & Inspections

After you place an offer on a property, you will have the opportunity to get an appraisal and home inspection as further due diligence. Even with an agent, there are sometimes issues that may arise with a property that could affect the home’s value that you were not even aware of.
Some of these problems could include structural issues, plumbing or electrical, termites or insects, mold or even water damage to name a few. Obviously many of these things could impact the price significantly and would either have to be fixed by the seller or renegotiated to get a fair price.
In conclusion, there are a lot of areas to consider when choosing a home and getting a fair price on a property. Since this is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make, it is crucial that you protect your interests and ensure that you are getting the best deal possible.
In order to get started researching homes in our local area, contact us right away using the information located above. We look forward to serving you as you search for your next future home!

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.

What To Know Before Buying Your Next Fixer Upper

If you’re looking to buy a fixer upper here are some rules to follow:

  • Pick the right location!
  • Know Your Stuff
  • Make sure you consider the time and cost associated with doing a rehab
  • What are your financing options?

Rent To Own Video Course

With all the uncertainty in the real estate markets these days, a lot of folks are choosing Rent To Own as a strategy for acquiring their next home.
The following video course details what you need to know about the Rent To Own / Lease Purchase process.

3 Things To Consider Before Doing A Rent To Own

Your Rent To Own Checklist

3 Truths About Rent To Owns

3 Ways To Prepare for A Rent To Own Purchase

4 Keys To Finding A Good Rent To Own Opportunity

Who Is Responsible For What In A Rent To Own

Your Down Payment & Security Deposit

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