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Upgrading Your Home's Entry Points
Posted on Thu, 30 Jun 2016, 10:25:00 AM  in My services
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Your home may have several new exterior improvements, including paint and roofing, but there are other areas that are in need of upgrades as well. The structure's entry points are numerous, and they include windows, doors and garage doors. These items swing and slide open on a daily basis. Although you may not give much thought to their use, potential home buyers might concentrate on their beauty and functionality. Consider some of these entry-point upgrades that you can make and earn that perfect home-sale price.

Replace the Garage Door

entryOne of the simplest entry points that can be upgraded in just a few hours is the garage door. Some doors might be more than 20 years old, and they creak when they're opened. Add a metal, roll-up door to your home. These models come with several style and color options in order to match the structure's decor almost perfectly. Professionals will usually remove your old door at no charge at the same time. If any upgrades are being considered, the garage door should be first.

Add Replacement Windows

Single-pane windows allow noise and air to filter through the home. When buyers walk through a property, they'll notice old windows and make a mental note of them. Ask a contractor to add replacement windows. The frames remain intact, but workers attach new glass panels as an upgrade. Look for dual-pane windows with trapped air or gas within the assembly. The home will have better energy conservation and less noise pollution. These windows often come with extensive warranties that can be transferred to the new owners in time.

Weatherstrip Windows and Doors

If new windows and doors cannot be installed on your budget, your current materials can be improved as an alternative. Purchase a weatherstripping kit from a local home-improvement store. Add the kit to every door and window in the household. These kits essentially seal the space between the frames, doors and windows. Drafty homes are completely contained as air-conditioned air remains inside the structure. You can point out this upgrade to your potential buyers too. Buyers might think of weatherstripping as a hassle, and a turnkey home is a feature that they keep in mind.

Adjust the Doors

If some of your doors seem to get stuck as they swing open, it's time to rehang them. Ask a local contractor to adjust each of your doors. Each door should swing open and close with ease. They shouldn't slam shut by themselves either. As buyers walk through a home, they'll notice the ease with which the doors move. Take the opportunity during the rehanging process to replace the door's hardware too. New doorknobs and locks are features that stand out to potential buyers.

Consider New Window Screens

The home's window screens are protective elements that are often overlooked. They might be full of holes or torn. Take some time out to replace the mesh. Home-improvement stores sell the mesh in rolls in order for you to use it on each window. Pull the frames from the windows, and carefully remove the mesh. Stretch the new mesh across the frame, and lock it into place. New screens give the windows a fresh appearance. Buyers may even believe that the entire window is brand new if you clean it up before an open house.

If you're unsure about which entry point should be upgraded first, ask the opinion of a trusted friend. They have a different perspective that can be valuable as your home sale approaches. Take their opinion and weigh it against your budget options. Changing just one item can mean the difference between multiple bids and no buyers at all.


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How to Clean Up Your Credit Before Buying a House
Posted on Sun, 15 May 2016, 11:15:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  My services
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Since mortgage interest rates have been low for several years, many home buyers are under the misconception that their credit score won’t make that much difference in the amount they pay over the life of the loan. In reality, even a point or two difference in the interest rate can easily amount to $50,000 to $100,000 over the term of the average 30-year home loan. A lower interest rate may also result in lower monthly payments, which can leave extra cash in your pocket. The secret to qualifying for the best interest rate on your mortgage is to start whipping your credit score and history into shape at least a year before applying for your loan. The following steps will help you improve your financial picture so that you can face your mortgage lender with confidence.


What Is a Good Credit Score?
Credit scores range anywhere from 300 to 850. Your score is calculated using a combination of factors, including the length of credit history, past payment history, type of credit, and amounts owed in relation to available credit. As a general rule, individuals with credit scores 740 and above are in a position to qualify for the best loan rates. You may still qualify for a mortgage even if your score is below 740; however, you will likely pay one to two points more in interest.

Get Your Credit Report:
It is important to review your credit report at least once a year, so you will have a clear picture of where you stand. Be sure to dispute any inaccuracies that youmoney may find with the credit bureaus.

Lower Your Debit-to-Income Ratio:
Your debit-to-income ratio is the amount of debt your lender believes your income will support. It is recommended that you keep housing payments at no more than 28 percent of your monthly income. You should strive to keep the total of all your debt to less than 36 percent of your income. You can lower your debt-to-income ratio by eliminating any low-balance loans that are close to being paid off and reducing your outstanding credit card debt.

Get Rid of “Toxic” Accounts:
In-store financing and rent-to-own accounts have horrendous interest rates, high payments, and have a bigger impact on your credit score than other types of debt. It is best to pay off and close these accounts as quickly as possible.

Pay on Time:
Almost everyone has had a few late payments here or there. You can lessen the effect of past payment problems by ensuring that you have at least six to 12 months of consistent on-time payments before applying for a mortgage.

Lower the Amount of Credit You Utilize:
You should try to keep credit card balances to less than 20 percent of the total credit line. You should also avoid closing credit cards as you pay them off unless they are store cards or have an annual fee. Closing the accounts will lower your amount of available credit and actually increase your debt-to-income ratio.

Avoid Applying for New Debt:
Opening up a lot of new credit lines at once can lower your credit score. Each time you apply for credit, the lender places a hard inquiry on your credit, which has an adverse effect on your overall score. An influx of new accounts also raises a red flag for lenders that you are about to become overextended. 

It can be frustrating to have to delay your home search in order to work on your credit; however, a little patience and diligence can earn you thousands of dollars in savings. 

 


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Buying a home for a young family
Posted on Fri, 15 Apr 2016, 10:50:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  My services,  Real Estate Market
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Moving out of a rented house to your house is one of the greatest achievements in life. In Canada, there are several young families owning their first home. Most of these have one or two kids less than eighteen years. 

If this describes you and you are buying a family home, it is important to consider convenience and safety in your buying process. Most serious accidents happen at home when fixture, features, and fittings are not safe for kids. Here are a few tips to ensure safety. 


Look for a kid-friendly floor plan If you have small kids, it is good to keep an eye on them all the time. Avoid buying homes with a main-floor master plan. An open floor plan house would be the best. Moreover, look at the steepness of the stairs from your garage to the main house especially if you have to carry your kids from the garage. Lastly, consider the indoor play area. There should be enough space for kids to play with toys especially in cold weather. Size up the youngfamilyyard Your kids need to play outside and enjoy the sunshine. Do not overlook this need. Look for a home with a safe yard that is large enough for your kids to play on it. You may find a home with a large deck that can be used as a play area. However, if you have very small children, the deck may be too dangerous for them. On the flip-side, a yard will cost you much more to maintain. However, you could use a nearby playground if your children are big enough to play there. Where are the bedrooms located? 


There are different house designs with some having bedrooms on one floor, others on different floors and yet others with some bedrooms in the basements. If the master bedroom is on the top floor and the other bedrooms on the ground floor, be contended with frequent climbing and down the stairs at night to check the children. This setup may be good for a family with teenage children as it is advisable to separate the bedrooms. Interior safety, Find ways to keep areas such as the pool from children. Moreover, look at low hanging lights, piping and similar fixtures. In the same breath, check on the safety of the stairs, and the bathroom. Try to buy a house that is safe or one that you can modify to enhance its safety. How is your neighborhood? 


You may make a few renovations to your house, but you cannot change the neighborhood. Thus, choose the location carefully. Pay a visit to the prospective home with your family and ask them to give their views about the place. Moreover, look at the cleanliness, security, the condition of access roads and availability of utilities such as water and electricity. Look for the safety of your kids and the overall comfort of the whole area. See if the roads nearby are too dangerous to cross if your kid decided to head to the stores. Is there any place that you can jog or ride a bike should you decide to keep healthy? Find out if there are very noisy nightclubs within your vicinity. It is also good to find out if there are other families in the area. How far are public amenities from the home? Look for groceries, stores, schools hospitals and the like. The nearer they are to the home the better. You may also look at the location of parks and other places of interest where you can spend time with your family.

 


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Upgrades to Make When Selling Your Home
Posted on Wed, 30 Mar 2016, 12:10:00 PM  in Home buying tips,  Home selling tips,  My services
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For homeowners who want to sell their property quickly and attract buyers, it's important to allow the house to shine once it's on the market. The appeal of the property will determine how quickly you receive an offer and how much of a profit you can potentially make. When getting ready to list your home, there are a few important upgrades to make to get it ready to sell.

Perform a Minor Bathroom Remodel
The bathroom is one of the most important rooms of the home due to how much it's used each day. Buyers want to purchase homes that have upgraded and attractive bathrooms instead of outdated fixtures. By investing in a bathroom remodel, the average return at resale is 102 percent, making it a smart step to take. Perform upgrades that include installing new hardware, staining the cabinets, installing new tiles, and adding a new tub. You can also remove an outdated shower our tub and replace it with a walk-in feature that has multiple shower heads and doesn't have any doors for a setting that resembles a spa. Walls in the patiobathroom that are damaged can also be repaired with spray-on texture.

Increase the Curb Appeal
The curb appeal of the property is the first impression that you make on your buyers and will ultimately determine how many people visit the home after seeing it advertised. Fertilize the lawn, install a water feature, and extra shrubs, and consider painting the door with a pop of color for a exterior space that stands out in the neighborhood. You can even add an archway to add a feature that works as a focal point in the yard. Remove clutter in the yard and keep it manicured, which will increase the property value of the home.

Convert the Attic into a Room
Although attics were originally used for storage, more people are transforming it into a setting that serves multiple purposes. Consider converting the attic into an additional bedroom, a gym, or an entertainment center. Many people also choose to use the space as a home office for telecommuting. This can allow you to have an average return of 93 percent at resale. You can also add insulation to the attic to reduce the cost of energy on the property and allow the room to become more functional.

Remodel the Kitchen
Remodeling the kitchen is one of the most important steps that homeowners can make with their property when selling it to attract more buyers. The average return at resale is 91 percent, but this can allow the home to sell quicker instead of sitting on the market for several months. Install backsplashes, add a kitchen island, and upgrade the countertops with concrete material for a modern design that peaks buyers' interest. You can also consider installing brushed nickel hardware on the cabinets and adding white subway tiles on the walls for a decorative backsplash. You can even add French doors, which will allow plenty of light in and will make the room to feel more spacious.

Add a Deck or Patio
Make it easy to entertain and enjoy the backyard setting by installing a deck or patio where future homeowners can entertain. Consider adding potted plants and furniture for an environment that can be used to enjoy a bonfire or sit out and read. Enhancing the appeal and functionality of the backyard will attract more buyers for extra space that can be enjoyed on the property.


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Easy ideas for spare rooms
Posted on Mon, 29 Feb 2016, 12:10:00 PM  in Home selling tips,  My services,  Real Estate Market
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Spare rooms are opportunities to expand living space and add function to any home. They can be the place where the desire to mix metallic blue and deep sea gray come together. It can be a place to express nostalgia for art deco designed furniture, and to display collectibles or object d' árt gathered from travels around the country. Spare rooms can be places to express what one does not in the rest of the home, it is a room that fulfills a need to create. 

 

Always Ready for Guests
A daybed in some brilliant tones, a few side pieces, and a mirror can make a spare room a waiting mini-suite for guests. There is something about having a place for company that makes it so easy to issue weekend invites. But in the unoccupied days, the spare room need not sit idle. The small book collection that one intended to read over the years can find a productive home, and the daybed can be a favorite place to relax with a book. A small music system, such as one that permits private listening, can complete a very nice reading area. Habits can be reinforcing, whether positive or otherwise. A reading area can help break that cycle if buying books that later serve to gather lots of dust and small amounts of guilt. 

Multi-Purpose Areas
A room can serve a number of purposes and for more than one person. Space can double as a work area for an adult and a play area for a child. Such ideascombinations can be beneficial such as letting an adult share time and space with a child while also pursuing a hobby or interest. It can be as easy as putting some play mats and a large toy box in the same room as the sewing center, scrapbooking area, or fishing tackle table.

Preserving Open Space
Feng shui styles have the advantage of the spare use of furnishings and allowing open space to shape the contours of a living space. This is just one way of using open space in a spare room and simple effects that bring out themes. One excellent way of using a room and keeping open space is to use plants and table fountains. One can use these and other things that can fill a room with a relaxing presence and pleasant sound. One can enjoy a room while moving through it, sensing aromas from leaves, and enjoying the unique feeling of unfettered space. 

Self Improvement
Spare rooms make great places to do things that one has wanted but never achieved. For some people it is the magic of yoga and meditation that helps the brain reset and improves the outlook. It is probably true that one does not need a specially dedicated space to do Yoga or to meditate, but for many people setting a space is an important step in getting something done. Meditation requires focus, and quiet place is a helpful environment. The spare room can be the place where one's personal energy gets a rebirth, and the overall direction of life can change for the better.

Dramatic Effect
A spare room can be a place for things we simply love to do to indulge ourselves. It can be a spa with a hot tub or a cedar paneled Swedish sauna. It can be a room filled with art, photos, and favorite movie posters or souvenirs from live stage shows. Sometimes the best way to celebrate the past is with the souvenirs and relics we keep.

 


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Key Areas To Update For Re-sale Value
Posted on Tue, 16 Feb 2016, 11:40:00 AM  in Home selling tips,  Marketing strategies,  My services
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Worried about your home's re-sale value? You should be. It is important that every homeowner think about how home improvements may affect the value of their home. There are even some projects that will immediately translate to a higher projected re-sale value.

When planning home improvements to increase the value of your home, there are some things that you should keep in mind. There are a number of factors that will affect the total return on your home improvement investments. The value of your home, homes in your neighborhood, homes within your larger community's housing market, how soon you sell your home, and the project's quality will all affect the return that you are able to get on your initial investment. With this in mind, some improvements are not worth the money that you put into them. For example, installing a $10,000 fridge into a $150,000 house is a waste of money. Additionally, spending $15,000 on a kitchen renovation in a house that only has one bathroom also does not make sense. Luckily, we have complied a list of need-to-know information about the key areas to update for your home to fetch the highest possible re-sale value.

Invest In Your Home's Landscaping

Landscaping your home can pay off big years down the line. This is one of the first investments you should be making in your new home. You will need to allow for several years of growth to make the most of you home's landscape as a selling point and to help increase your property's re-sale value.

Compared to either a bathroom renovation or a kitchen remodel, a beautifully landscaped yard is a great way to increase your home's value. According to a bathrecent U.S. Gallop survey, home landscaping can add between a 7 and 15 percent increase to your home's value. In addition to increasing your home's overall re-sale value, properly completed landscaping can significantly improve the chances of your home's re-sale. According to a recent Real Estate Agent Community Trends survey a whopping 82 percent of surveyed agents have experienced potential buyers declining to even look at the interior of a home because of the home's exterior.

Remodel Your Kitchen And Bathroom

Home's located in red-hot markets are able to spend money on a kitchen or bath remodel and will often will get a return of more than 100 percent of the initial cost. For instance, in Baltimore a home with a nearly $10,000 bathroom remodel was able to recoup more than 182 percent of its cost at the home's re-sale. Hot markets like Atlanta, D.C., Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego, and San Francisco also offer homeowners a triple-digit return on a bathroom remodels. Additionally, minor kitchen remodels, with an average cost of $15,000, provide returns of more than 100 percent in some cities including Miami, Providence, New Orleans, and San Diego. However, understanding your individual market and your home's value is very important when deciding whether or not you will remodel your kitchen and bathroom for re-sale.

Create A New Bathroom

If your home only has one bathroom, adding a bathroom is a better use of your money than remodeling the existing one. Not only can adding a bathroom improve your home's resale value, but it can also make your home an easier to sell. A recent National Association of Realtors study found that adding a new bathroom increases the selling price of a home by an average of 8.7 percent, that is more than twice the average rate obtained by adding a bedroom.

Give Your Home Additional Space

Adding additional rooms to your home can be a good investment, particularly if you live in one of the more dynamic housing markets. According to data provided by the National Association of Realtors, homeowners who are considering adding new rooms to their home can reasonably assert that every 1,000 square feet of additional space will boost the re-sale value of their home by more than 30 percent.


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Budgeting Strategies For The New Homeowner
Posted on Thu, 21 Jan 2016, 02:20:00 PM  in Home buying tips,  My services,  Real Estate Market
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Moving into your first, new home can be a very exciting experience. In order to successfully preserve your investment throughout the years, however, you'll have to remain diligent in your budgeting and overall financial planning. Adjusting to ownership costs can be challenging but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Following are several tips that you can use to ensure overall well-being as you take on a host of new responsibilities.


Limit Your Maintenance Costs With A Home Warranty
As a new homeowner, ongoing maintenance is among one of the most considerable overhead expenses that you'll likely take on. Not only will you be responsible for preserving the aesthetic appeal of the property exterior, but you'll also have to address the various signs of wear and tear that are likely to rear their heads as your property settles and endures consistent use. Fortunately, you can minimise the costs of unexpected repairs and events by investing in a comprehensive home warranty. Warranty agreements can be structured to cover any repairs that your home insurance plan will not, including issues with major home appliances. Although you'll pay an upfront fee to bind one of these agreements, warranties can significantly lower your out-of-pocket spending over time.check

Take Advantage Of Your Builder's Warranty
Much like any other product that you invest in, your home will come with a built-in guarantee of its own that's issued by your builder. If it is suitably comprehensive, this can take the place of a third-party warrant or effectively supplement it. Take some time to read up on your builder's warranty agreement in order to get a clear understanding of the features that are covered and the length of time that this coverage will last. Builders may be willing to deal with the minor chips and cracks that are caused by settlement issues. They can also cover any early signs of wear and tear on your new paint, flooring and kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Major features such as the foundation and roof will likely be warranted a bit longer. Thus, before you pick up your phone and schedule repairs or pay for outside, extended protections, find out whether or not you can have your builder handle your repair issues instead.

Control Your Utility Costs
If you've spent a considerable amount of time as a renter, adjusting to the full costs of home utilities will take time. You will have more space to heat up and cool down and far greater electrical needs. Explain this change to the entire family and get everyone on board with a strategic, energy-savings plan. This can be as simple as turning lights off in rooms that aren't being used and keeping thermostats set at moderate levels year-round. It is far cheaper to don a sweater or take one off than it is to constantly adjust the thermostat in order to create the ideal climate indoors.

Don't Rush To Furnish Your New Home
People often make the mistake of rushing to buy new furnishings, even before their mortgage loans have been approved. During the final stages of the purchasing process, try to limit your shopping to window shopping alone. Dramatic changes in you debt-to-income ratio could make your lender rethink the loan amount that's been approved. Remember, nothing is absolutely set in stone until your application is actually being processed by the underwriter. Rather than financing new sofas, bedroom sets and dining tables, start looking around for quality items that you can gradually collect over time. Even after your purchase has been finalised, you'll want to give yourself a few months to adapt to your new living costs before taking additional expenses on.

 


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