Thursday, January 3, 2019

4 Signs You're Not Ready to Buy a Home and What to Do About It

Buying a home is a major life milestone. Your heart might be set on becoming a homeowner, but red flags might indicate you're not yet ready to make the leap. 
Homeownership represents much more than a financial investment, and there are several reasons why potential homeowners might want to delay a home purchase. Here are four of them—and advice on how to overcome these obstacles. 
1. You Have Too Much Debt To get approved for a mortgage, you must show you can handle all of the expenses of owning a home (including the ones that aren't rolled into your monthly mortgage payments). You also have to meet your other financial obligations, and that might be a challenge if you already have a mountain of debt on your plate. 

How to overcome it: Pay down your debt to a manageable level. If you've accumulated a lot of debt over time, consider a personal loan to consolidate them into one streamlined, and preferably lower-interest, monthly payment. And avoid getting sucked into a new debt trap by cutting spending and diligently paying down debt. A debt consolidation calculator can help you determine how to strategically consolidate and pay down your debt. 

2. Your Credit Isn't Stellar Your credit history and credit score are closely linked to the mortgage pricing you'll receive—and that impacts your monthly payments for the life of the loan. A good starting point is to give yourself a credit check-up to see where you stand. If your credit score is not optimal, you'll pay more for a mortgage. Your credit score today will have a huge impact on the homes you're looking at and can afford. It may be sensible to wait to buy and work on your credit. 

How to overcome it: To boost your credit score, pay your credit cards and other debts on time. Ideally, credit cards should be paid off in full every month. Avoid opening new credit lines unless you're establishing a credit history. Finally, keep your credit utilization ratio to 30 percent or less of your available credit limit for each credit account. In other words, your balances shouldn't exceed 30 percent of your maximum credit limits. 

3. You Don't Have Enough Savings Buying a house comes with a lot of upfront expenses that go beyond your monthly mortgage payment. Expect to pay 2 percent to 4 percent of a home's purchase price in closing costs. Plus, there's the down payment (anywhere from 3 percent to 20 percent of the purchase price, depending on your loan type) and moving expenses to factor in. But it's the hidden costs of homeownership that take many new homeowners by surprise. These might include homeowners association dues, condo/assessment fees, routine maintenance, utility bills and major repairs. Ideally, homeowners should save roughly 1 percent of the home's purchase price each year for maintenance expenses. 

To save more, pay yourself first by depositing a set amount from each paycheck into a savings account. If you have to start small, that's OK. Consider opening a high-yield savings account to accrue interest on your cash. Cut back on unnecessary spending such as monthly subscription services, eating out, impulse shopping and other financial vices. Depending on your income and credit profile, you may qualify for homebuyer assistance programs that can help you pay for down payment and closing costs for a home. 

4. You Want a Carefree Lifestyle If you're someone who moves frequently, buying a home might not make financial or practical sense. Lifestyle plays a huge role in the decision to rent versus buy. Remember that the bigger the house, the more maintenance and upkeep. If you want to keep things low-key, buying a condo or continuing to rent might make more sense until you're ready for more responsibility.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What to do if you inherited a home

If your loved one passed away, and there is real estate left, the process of dissolving the estate could become
very complicated.
Family feuds and other problems can potentially result when inheritance portions aren't clearly defined,
or when an executor may be in over their head. Many newfound executors can face uncertainty and feel
stress.In the wake of a family tragedy or death, being the executor of an estate can be especially challenging.
And the biggest asset in an estate—and the most difficult to resolve—is usually a house.
Here's a list of important decisions an executor may face when a house is part of an inheritance:
Keep, rent or sell? Caught in the middle, the executor has to ask the heirs to keep their emotions under
control and put the rational facts on the table. Selling is often the best decision if medical bills, tax issues or

other reasons require cashing out, and it produces a specific amount that can be divided equally.
Can you manage a property investment? When considering keeping the property in the family,
the executor needs to be objective about the beneficiaries' dependability. Would you choose the other
beneficiaries to be your partners in any long-term investment? Could they get divorced, go bankrupt or
bring other entanglements? If you decide to rent the property, there are issues to consider, such as the local
market for rentals and your ability to maintain the property.
Establishing value of the property. If one heir or beneficiary wants to buy the house, the estate must
determine the market value and get a fair price for the heirs and beneficiaries. One way is to get two appraisals,
or ask an experienced Realtor for help. Alternatively, the executor can put the property on the market with
the expressed provision that one of the heirs has the right of first refusal to match the highest offer.
Repair and renovate? The executor must make sure the house is maintained in good condition, necessary
repairs are carried out, and that it's kept insured. An executor can be personally liable for failure to maintain
a property that results in losses for the heirs. How much work is worthwhile before putting a home on the
market? That's a big question that depends on the property and circumstances.
Furnished or unfurnished? It's not unusual for an inherited home to be filled with a 30-year accumulation
of stuff. In most cases, when the property goes on the market, thinning out the furnishings will help it show
better. Nine out of 10 buyers first see the home in online photos.
Being an executor is a high-responsibility, time-consuming, and often thankless job that people often take
on while grieving. It's up to the executor to assess not only the physical assets of an estate, but also the people
and emotions involved.

For more helpful information visit

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Patio trends for 2018

Outdoor design trends for 2018 are all about incorporating affordable luxury into your own backyard by
turning your patio into a peaceful, lush oasis through low-maintenance water fixtures, a color refresh
and vintage materials.
The days of small, bistro-style dining tables on the deck and patio are over, and that large-scale
square and rectangular tables are hot. Trend-watchers are seeing patio furniture that mixes materials,
such as metal and wood, instead of a single material, such as wicker.

Homeowners these days are gravitating toward easy-maintenance exterior garden designs that enhance
physical and mental wellbeing with spa-inspired touches, like meditation benches, fountains, reflecting pools,
rock waterfalls and zen gardens. The low-maintenance water features can add visual interest and soothing
sounds to a yard—even in drought-prone climates—because they actually require little water (and recycle
the water they do use).

Linen, teak and rope are a few of the materials designers are incorporating into exterior furnishings and
accessories to give this year's easy-breezy trend pizazz. Pink is the accent color of choice in 2018,
especially if a hint of blush is introduced into your furniture vignettes.

As far as accessories are concerned, think bright and bold when it comes to fabrics for your patio furniture
cushions in 2018. Go with yellows, reds and pinks that will pop against all that natural greenery, and your guests
will be raving about your impeccable sense of style all summer long.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tips to Help You Find a Starter Home

A starter home isn't necessarily your forever home. Be prepared to make some compromises to get
your foot in the homeownership door. Be open-minded about the location, size and condition.  

Look for an older home in a well-established neighborhood. Resales typically cost less than brand-
new homes. Older homes typically need more maintenance and repairs, which offset some of the
savings; however, buyers who choose a used home might be able to do repairs and renovations
over time, pacing themselves to make the cost manageable.

Buyers who sacrifice location for affordability can find themselves in a neighborhood far from major
job centers with a long daily commute and expensive transportation costs. Sometimes that trade-off
makes sense, but not always

When you're up against stiff competition, working with an experienced real estate agent is key.
A good agent shines when it comes to negotiating the deal and writing a strong offer. Your agent
may suggest certain strategies to win in a competitive market, such as limiting contingencies or
writing a personal letter.

When a well-priced starter house comes on the market, the quest to buy it can be extremely
competitive. To entice sellers offer above asking price (if you can afford to), keep repair requests
to a minimum, or allow the sellers more time to move.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Lawn Care and You!

You bought a home, and now you are deciding how to handle the lawn care. Should you do it yourself? Here are some positives about doing it yourself:

If you love spending time outdoors, doing your own lawn care can be a great way to get some Vitamin D. Spending time outdoors in a garden is a great way for those who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty to care for their home. 

 It also can be a great workout! If you enjoy working up a sweat, doing your own lawn care is a great option in that it provides an extra dose of exercise. Weekly or biweekly mowing burns some calories, and will bring you some pride in owning a home with a well-manicured lawn. 

It can become a source for creative freedom! You can have the ultimate say in every decision that is made when it comes to their outdoor space. You can pick up a plant that you like and add it to your garden without having to consult anyone else. This freedom is great for anyone who may have trouble communicating ideas with a lawn service or for those who take pride in being able to do it themselves.

 Equipment Upkeep can be seen as a negative. It can take a lot of tools and machinery to keep a lawn in tip-top condition. Allowing a lawn service to do the work keeps homeowners from having to purchase lawn mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers. These items can be tricky to maintain, which saves the homeowner from purchasing gas, oil or replacement trimming line.

You might think paying for a lawn service can be quite expensive, but it's a catch 22 of time and money. Choosing a lawn service is the ultimate way to save time and it adds convenience to a busy lifestyle by not having to worry about getting the lawn care done on a weekly basis.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2016 Trends for Curb Appeal

Everyone these days is aware of the importance of the curb appeal of a home, especially when you decide to sell or buy. Curb appeal can give a lift to the value of a home. Improving the curb appeal of your home can boost its value by as much as 17 percent, the Texas Tech researchers found. They say curb appeal ranks second only to home size in weighing a home’s value.

Here are top-of-mind trends for curb appeal in 2016.

1. Front Door
A fresh coat of paint can spruce up a ho-hum front door and help make a better first impression when someone is eyeing your home. It creates interest and a focal point to the fa├žade of the home. It gives the home personality. It is inexpensive to do, but has an immediate impact. Contrasting the color of your front door with the color palette of your front yard. Works really well.

2. Lighten Up the Exterior
Outdoor lighting can add a touch of elegance to your front of your home. Furthermore, it can enhance the safety of your house. Outdoor lighting should go beyond ordinary lampposts and wall-mounted lighting to make your landscaping really stand out. Try installing stylish and modern lighting on your front porch.

3. Liven Up the Landscaping

Flowers and fertilizer can be your friends when it comes to bumping up the curb appeal of your home. A study by Alex X. Niemiera, a horticulture professor at Virginia Tech, shows that a well-landscaped home holds a higher value than a home without proper landscaping. 62 percent of American homeowners say the lawn influenced their home-buying decision.

4. Porch Furniture

Placing a bistro table or a couple of chairs on your porch can yield a return on investment. Nothing is more inviting than a pair of matching rockers on a front porch that are visible from the street.

5. Upgrade the Garage Door

One of the easiest ways to improve your home’s curb appeal is upgrade your garage door. According to the Remodeling 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, the average cost of replacing a garage door on a home is $1,595, with an owner being able to recoup 88 percent of that cost.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Touch of Black Adds Allure to a Home

Everybody knows what a little black dress does for a woman. Guess what? Black accents do the same for a home.

A touch of black can add intrigue, sophistication and even mystery to a decorating scheme, inside or out. Paint your door black, and suddenly your house stands out. Add a black coffee table or a black-and-white chair to a monochromatic room, and the decor goes from dull to dramatic.

A bit of black is almost a cure-all for an uninspired space! Black works because it adds contrast without clashing. Since it goes with everything, it’s easy to add to any color palette.

And it doesn’t have to involve a big change. Even something as simple as adding black knobs to a vanity can break up the monotony of a bathroom with matching fixtures. Black works well in accessories or small accents, such as throw pillows or area rugs.

Painting window sashes black are becoming popular. The effect is almost like eyeliner, drawing attention and adding interest both inside the house and out. It’s also a historically accurate detail on an older home, since sashes were often painted dark colors in the 19th century.

Black, however, is best used with restraint. Too much black, and the power of contrast is lost.

Some other good ways to add a touch of black:
Paint non-matching chairs black to unify them.
— Paint an outdated piece of furniture black to update it.
— Spray-paint ornate gold picture frames flat black to downplay the glitz and focus the attention on the artwork.
— In a traditional room, add a chair or pillow in classic black-and-white toilet. In a mid-century modern setting, use a bold pattern such as a trellis design.
— Instead of decorating daughter's bedroom in her favorite color, use black and white as the base with the color as an accent. Black and white will be more sophisticated and easier to live with as the child grows older, and the accent color can be changed easily as her taste evolves.
— Add black in odd numbers: maybe one strong piece, such as a sofa, wall or door, or three smaller pieces sprinkled around the room, such as a throw, a vase and an accent pillow.
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