4 Dated Design Features to Get Rid of Before Listing Your Home for Sale
Most homeowners get used to a certain aesthetic in their own home that they're comfortable with, but if you're putting your home on the market it may be time to get rid of some of the old familiarities. While it won't be worth your time or money to renovate everything, here are a few design-style duds that you may want to update before you decide to sell.
Oversized Bathtubs or Jacuzzis
It may be very appealing for most people to find an oversized tub in their hotel room, but when it comes to the home you live in, big tubs have made their exit. While a tub can certainly allow a person to stretch out in comfort, gone are the days of big homes and large bathrooms. Instead of a sizeable tub, you'll want a bathroom space that you can maximize.
Tiled Counter Tops
The concept of kitchen tiles may look great in a magazine, but when it comes to the real deal tile can be a huge drawback. Despite your best efforts, it's quite likely the grout will need to be replaced and will provide an unclean appearance over time. Instead of leaving the tile behind, you may want to stick with a solid surface like marble so there will be no issues with cleanliness or damage.
Too Bright Colors
An accent wall or brightly hued design feature may have made a comeback in recent years, but the popularity of colorful pieces has died away in recent years. Instead of the kind of feature that will turn off potential homebuyers, opt for neutral tones so that homebuyers can imagine themselves in your place without the necessity for renovations.
Bulky Furniture Pieces
Much like the oversized tub in the bathroom, the boxy piece of furniture in your living room may be comfortable, but it's not the best when it comes to selling your home. Instead of having a huge piece of furniture command the attention of your entire room, choose smaller pieces that will offer comfort but still provide a positive impression to potential buyers. Plus, furniture too large for the room can give the impression of less space that can turn off buyers.
Design trends can change a lot over the years, but by being aware of how styles are evolving you can be on the cutting edge of selling your home in style. If you're currently making some small renovations and are preparing to sell your home, you may want to contact your local real estate professional for more information.
Secure Your Home!
3 Simple Home Security Upgrades That Will Help to Deter Burglars
Whether you're going on an extended holiday or are just concerned about security in your neighborhood, you might be curious about the best ways to pursue safety in your home. If you're wondering how you can successfully stave off theft without a high price tag, here are some tips for protecting your property.
Keep It Clean
It's often said that one of the first things a burglar will look for when it comes to a prize home is an unkempt property. Fortunately for you, this means that keeping your property clean and tidy is a great way to prevent your home from being targeted. While everything doesn't need to be spic and span, it's a good idea to ensure that the lawn is mowed, the trees are well maintained and no tools or toys are hanging out on your yard for days on end. It might seem inconvenient, but it has the double-convenience of keeping your property clean and preventing crime!
Install Motion Activated Lights
It might have seemed like a good trick a few years ago to leave on the lights in the hope of scaring away burglars, but with more sophisticated technology comes more sophisticated methods. While you may want to use timers for your lights so they can go off randomly and give the illusion of you being at home, you may also want to spring for motion-activated lights. There is no 100% guard against crime, but motion-activated lights can work to scare off someone who's up to no good and illuminate your property for observant neighbors.
Secure Doors and Windows
Locking your doors and closing your windows might seem like the most apparent of security tips, but it actually goes a long way in deterring crime. Burglars are often looking for the easiest target and that means that an unlocked door or a slightly ajar window can go a long way in convincing them of a prospect. Instead of risking it, ensure that your doors are locked and all windows are secured before leaving your home. You may also want to use extra reinforcements if you have sliding windows or French doors.
Protecting your home may seem like it comes at a high premium, but there are very simple and economical ways to keep your home secure. If you're currently preparing to put your home on the market, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.
Fence Option Discussion
Let's Talk Fencing: How to Put a Fence Around Your Home Without Destroying Its Appeal
Many homeowners consider a fence around their property for a variety of reasons, whether it's to keep the dog in the yard or to maintain privacy. However, the wrong fence can entirely change the look of your property and make a beautiful yard a bit of an eyesore. If you're trying to determine what kind of fence will work for your home, here are some tips before you start to dig in the dirt.
What's Your Fence For?
Before deciding what kind of material to use, it's important to know what type of utility you want for your fence. While a stone fence may be elegant and offer a lot of privacy, it can also be quite expensive; on the other hand, a wooden fence may be more affordable but it can deteriorate over time. It's entirely possible you have a material you've already decided upon, but ensure that it's something that will live up to your expectations and have the functionality you're looking for.
What's Your Home's Style?
An imposing stone fence may be the style that instantly draws you, but if you have a relatively unassuming home or a more whimsical style, it can be a bit much for what your home. Instead of basing your fence purchase around the budget you can afford and the style you like, ensure that it will complement the style of your home and the yards surrounding yours so there is no marked contrast between your fence and the rest of your property.
What's The Neighborhood Vibe?
Most neighborhoods have a distinct style, so to get some ideas for what type of fence will work with your property, look around your local area. There will likely be homes that look similar to yours and they may be able to give you a good idea of what options you have when it comes to fencing. You'll also want to take note of how particular fences look around the gardens and patios of other homes, as these are features you won't want to obscure.
There are many fences available on the market that serve every purpose, but it's important to be aware of what will work for your property so you can make a good aesthetic decision. If you're currently renovating your home and are looking to put it up for sale, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.
Pros and Cons of Tankless Water Heaters
Going Tankless: The Pros and Cons of Installing an Energy-efficient Tankless Water Heater
There are so many ways in which you can green up your home and make it more sustainable these days that many people are considering tankless water heaters. While this can certainly be the right option depending on the space you have and the type of water you use, here are some things to consider before you decide to invest in the switch.
Maximizing Your Space
One of the biggest issues with a traditional water heater is the amount of space it takes up, whether it's a side closet or a closed-off area in the basement. Fortunately, one of the benefits of tankless water heaters is that they can be wall-mounted almost anywhere in your house so they won't need their own separate space. The traditional water heater may be bulky and require an area of its own, but your tankless water heater will not have to work around the needs of the rest of the house!
Heating What's Needed
While a traditional water heater stores water and will be able to supply hot water at a quicker rate, a tankless water heater works more slowly. Because it is heating the water as it's being used, it's only using the energy it needs to to provide the water required. While this will have a positive impact on your energy costs over time, it can also mean waiting on hot water a little longer than expected. To go tankless, you'll require a minimum water flow amount.
Do You Have Hard Water?
A tankless water heater can be more efficient when it comes to space and energy, but if you have an issue with hard water, the tankless option may not be the way to go. Because a tankless heater essentially warms water within the tank, it is vulnerable to scale build up, which can cut into its overall efficiency. While a traditional water heater does not experience this issue, a tankless water heater working with hard water may end up being less useful due to this build up.
There are several benefits associated with a tankless water heater, but it's important to determine if this option will be truly energy efficient for you before you decide to invest. If you're currently working on home renovations and are getting prepared to put your home on the market, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.
Newborn coming home? How to baby-proof your home!
Expecting a Newborn? Baby-proof Your Home With This Quick and Easy Checklist
It's a very exciting time for most parents when their kids begin to crawl, but it can also be much more difficult to watch over your child and ensure their safety. If your child is starting to get along on their own and you're preparing to baby proof, here are the main areas and items you'll want to watch out for.
Clearing Away The Crib
There's no place your child is going to spend more time, so ensure that there are no toys left in their crib when they're going to sleep. You'll also want to stay away from fluffy blankets that can smother their breathing. It's entirely likely that you'll have a lot of stuff to store for your baby, but ensure there are no heavy pieces of furniture in the room that they will be able to pull over or move.
In The Bathroom
It goes without saying that you should never leave a baby in the bathtub alone, but there are other things to do as soon as they become mobile. In addition to non-slip mats for the tub and the area outside of the tub, you may also want to invest in soft covers for the knobs and the spout on the bathtub. It's also good to keep any hazardous cleaning products out of reach.
Care in The Kitchen
Your baby is likely to wreak havoc on all the door handles they can, so ensure that you have cabinets that don't close automatically and a latch for your oven door. If you happen to be cooking in the kitchen when your baby is about, ensure that all pot handles are turned in and all cooking items are kept away from the edges of the counter.
Around The House
Your quickly crawling child will be able to find many hazards if they move fast, so ensure you've covered up any electrical outlets or cords that can be pulled out. If there are sharp edges your infant can reach, put safety guards on them to protect your baby's head. Safety gates should also be used at the top and bottom of stairs to avoid any falls.
Most parents get enthusiastic about the idea of their baby starting to crawl, but it's important to be prepared for that time by baby proofing your home. If you're currently getting ready to buy a home for your growing family, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.
Is Refinancing worth your effort? Here are some checkpoints:
Thinking About Refinancing Your Mortgage? 4 Ways to Ensure It's Worth Your Time
If you're familiar with the real estate market, you've likely heard the term 'refinancing' and may be wondering what this can mean for your mortgage and your financial well-being. While refinancing can be a great benefit for those who are looking for a lower interest rate or a different mortgage type, here are the details on what it can offer and whether or not it will work for you.
Acquiring a Lower Interest Rate
The most common reason people consider refinancing their home is to take advantage of a lowered interest rate. While it might seem like a minimal savings each month, a lower interest rate can add up to considerable savings over time and help you pay off your home loan more quickly. It's just important to ensure that you're aware of all the associated costs with refinancing before pursuing this option.
Limiting Your Loan Term
Refinancing also offers homeowners the opportunity to change the term of their loan, which can offer improved financial stability much sooner than expected. Many homeowners may avoid this option because it can bump up their monthly payment, but the difference in cost can be relatively insignificant while still offering financial freedom in less time.
Changing Your Mortgage Type
There are benefits and drawbacks of adjustable-rate and fixed-rate mortgages, and that's why many people make the decision to refinance and opt out of their rate profile. While fixed-rate mortgages offer stability since you'll know what you're paying, an adjustable-rate will move with the market and can actually mean more savings at the end of the day. The option that will work best for you is dependent upon how comfortable you feel with the market.
Consolidating Your Debt
For homeowners who have a high debt load, refinancing can be a means of paying less in order to pay down debt at a more rapid rate. However, it's important before choosing this option to determine a budget plan you can stick with, as refinancing to consolidate your debt does not necessarily mean you'll be successful at paying it down. Ensure you weigh your options and potential savings carefully before making a decision.
Refinancing may seem like a good financial decision, but there are costs that go along with this mortgage option so it's important to crunch the numbers to ensure it will work in your favor. If you're currently considering refinancing, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.
Inexpensive Renovation Tips to Improve Value
Renovating on a Budget? Check Out These Equity-boosting Inexpensive Home Upgrades
The idea of embarking on home renovations may strike many homeowners as an expensive one, but there are plenty of ways that you can easily upgrade your home without spending a lot of money. If you're looking for improvements that will truly (and frugally) improve the value of your home, here are a few do-it-yourself options you may want to consider.
Change the Lighting
There are few small fixes that will improve the look of your home like lighting, so one of the best things you can do for the overall look of your house is change out some of your bulbs. Instead of going for a light that will look dingy or orange, choose a tone that's not too bright but will still illuminate your rooms and highlight their best features naturally. Much like a coat of paint, the right light can change everything about the way a visitor will view your home.
Consider a Cabinet Makeover
One of the most outdated features in a kitchen is the kitchen cabinets, and it's also one of the first things that a potential homebuyer will notice when they enter the room. Fortunately, installing new cabinets doesn't have to be a huge job that involves a lot of time. Instead of getting a floor-to-ceiling makeover and a construction crew, consider upgrading the doors and hinges or picking a new color for a difference that will instantly improve the room.
Pull Out the Paint Brush
Painting may be one of the least popular household tasks because it takes so much time, but outside of lighting, few things will improve the look of your home like a new coat of paint. While it's important to ensure that you stick with a relatively neutral shade so that it doesn't overwhelm the viewer, it will easily upgrade the look of your home and hide any unsightly damage to the wall. It's also a good idea to remember the front door since it's the first thing homebuyers will notice!
The word 'renovation' often makes people see dollar signs, but it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to upgrade your home. By adding a new coat of paint or upgrading the lighting, you'll be well on your way to a more modern look. If you're currently renovating your home and are hoping to put it on the market soon, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.
Tips to Protect your Home while on vacation
Going on a Nice Vacation? Protect Your Home and Valuables With These 3 Key Tips
It's always exciting to pack up and get away from your home for the sake of escape, but going on vacation also means leaving your home behind. While a good neighborhood can go a long way towards making sure your home stays safe in your absence, here are some additional tips for how to ensure you'll be coming back from your trip without incident.
Take Care of Your Property
Thieves will often assume that an unkempt yard and home maintenance issues are a sign of a homeowner that doesn't care, and this will often attract them to a property. Instead of giving potential trespassers the wrong idea, ensure that your yard is well kept in your absence with no overgrown bushes, maintenance issues or items left out. It's also important to make sure that no newspaper or mail is piling up at the door, as this can be a surefire signal to thieves that you're away.
Talk To Your Neighbors
There's no way even the best neighbors will be able to observe everything that may happen with your home, but having ones who will stop by and make sure things are OK is ideal. Whether your neighbors need to feed the cat or water the plants, have them check for any unlocked windows or other signs that something is afoot. One of the best guards against theft is a neighborhood watch program, so by utilizing this defense you can easily ensure the safety of your home when you're out of town.
Invest In a Security System
Few things will provide the peace of mind that a security system does, so if you haven't already invested in one, it might be time to start doing the research. There are many great options for security nowadays that are technologically advanced and will keep your mind at ease. There are even options for viewing your home that will enable you to check it on your mobile phone, and this can be a great means of keeping your house safe even from a distance!
Leaving your home behind to go on vacation can be nerve-wracking for the new homeowner, but by keeping your property maintained and enlisting your neighbors to check on it you can keep it safe and secure. If you'll be preparing to buy a new home in the future, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.
FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums are Going Down!
FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums Are Going Down: Here's What You Need to Know
With the announcement by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is set to reduce its rates, it's an exciting time for many homeowners who are preparing to buy. If you're shopping around for a home and are wondering how these changes to premiums may benefit you, here are some of the ins and outs of what this announcement means.
The Details on Lower Premiums
For homeowners who are taking out a mortgage that is insured by the government, the reduction in annual mortgage insurance premiums can be a great benefit associated with investing in a home. While this reduction will definitely help homeowners save money, it is not a significant enough amount to make a large difference in the overall cost of the home. However, it can be a more marked difference for those homeowners who are taking out a home loan for a larger amount.
How Big a Benefit?
While those who require a larger home loan can certainly see a little bit more savings by the end of the year, the amount saved for small-time borrowers may not be enough to stimulate home investment. According to Laurie Goodman of Urban Institute's Housing Finance Policy Center, there are other things the FHA could offer that would be more beneficial to potential homeowners and would facilitate more investment in the housing sector. This reduction may be a benefit for those already set on buying, but it may not provide enough of an impetus for those who are on the fence.
Is It Time To Buy?
With mortgage rates set to rise and the benefit of the FHA's reduction in rates, it's an ideal time to buy for the homeowner with a solid credit history and a down payment. However, for those who are still considering their options and are struggling with credit issues, the FHA's reduction may not be enough of a benefit to make it a worthwhile investment. Before making a decision, it's important to sit down and determine if investing in a home is the right financial decision for you.
The reduction of mortgage insurance premiums by the FHA will result in money savings for the homebuyer, but it's important to determine beforehand whether this will provide a significant enough benefit to invest. If you're currently on the market for a home, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.
Tips to Beat the Local Housing Market as a First Time Buyer
Feeling 'Priced Out' of Your Local Market? Here's How You Can Still Buy a Great New Home
If you're trying to buy a new home, few things are more frustrating than a hot real estate market. When home prices are climbing fast it can feel like you'll never be able to save enough for your down payment. In today's post we'll share a few ways that you can get in – even if you're feeling priced out.
Start Smaller and Upgrade Later
If you're a single professional or a young couple, it might be wise to start with a smaller starter home. While a townhouse or condo might not feel as large as a detached house, they are more affordable options. Starting small allows you to build equity in your home. This, plus your increased earning power as you work for longer, can open up more home options later.
Another benefit of starting small is that you'll already have a home. If the local real estate market experiences a quick change, you won't need to scramble. You can plan to buy a larger home – that 'perfect' house – when the time is right.
Bring In Family as Investors
Do you have family members who might be willing to provide a loan or financing? If so, start the conversation with them to see if they are willing to co-invest in your new home.
There are many ways to bring in family as investors when you buy. They can provide a straight loan of funds to increase your down payment. Or if they want to be less involved, they can co-sign your mortgage, which will allow you to borrow a larger amount. In many areas, a family member or investor can also be a legal co-owner of the house or the property it sits on.
Make Use of Experienced Professionals
Finally, don't forget to ask the local experts for more advice. Real estate agents and mortgage brokers are in-tune with the local market. They spend each day helping buyers like you with understanding their options. If you're short on ideas, a real estate professional is a great place to start.
It can be tough to stay positive when you're feeling priced out of the local real estate market. But with a little ingenuity and planning, you can get out of the rental market and into a great new home.