Posted by Steven Sawyer on 5/19/2019

Buying a property is one of the best decisions a person can make; it is also a great way to invest. After spending a lot of money to buy or build on a property, the condition of the house should be paramount. Having to deal with foundation issues can be daunting; it can take a lot of money to repair a damaged foundation.

The foundation of a home is what holds all other structures in place. If the foundation was laid incorrectly or without the proper tests and procedures, it could cause problems for the owner in the future. The types of foundation are the pier, beam, and concrete. It's best to know what kind was used for your property to look out for tell-tale signs of weakness or deterioration of the foundation.

A damaged foundation is a result of various environmental elements and stress like expanding and contracting soil, a terrible drainage system or excessive moisture. This stress over time causes the foundation to begin to weaken, resulting in uneven floors in the house, cracks on the walls and gaps in exterior doors.

The following are signs that indicate that you are likely having foundation issues:

Cracks in the walls.

A crack in the wall can be a sign of a foundation problem. If you notice floor cracks, a broken chimney, or wall fissures in your house, this might be your first sign of a damaged foundation.

Sinking floor. 

Have you noticed that some parts of your property are falling? Have them checked out to be sure it's not a foundation problem. One part of the house over time will be lower than the other if a sinking or settling floor is left unattended too long. Sinking or settling occurs when the ground the property is built on begins to collapse under the weight of the structure. Areas of the house that used to be even would begin to sag or dip. You would notice that such areas will not be on the same level as other parts on the property. It could be as a result of soil shift, humidity from water seepage or poor drainage system. 

Doors that don’t open or close properly. 

Another tell-tale sign of foundation issues is when the interior doors begin to stick or drag. Exterior doors may frequently leave space at the edge creating an uneven appearance.

Gaps around window frames. 

Did you suddenly notice gaps around your window or door? A faulty foundation can be the cause. Double-hung windows will be difficult to close because of the unevenness and inability to align the sash correctly.

Dampness in the basement.

Is your basement or crawl space becoming damp without any apparent source of moisture? Damp basement can cause a lot of problems like a moldy smell, mold growth, and uneven or saggy floors. 

Ask a professional engineer or contractor to help you investigate these signs to ascertain if it is a foundation problem. Discuss how you might go about fixing it and explore different options. Most of these evaluations are usually free and can save you thousands of dollars.




Tags: renovations   how to   homeowner  
Categories: renovation   how to   homeowner  


Posted by Steven Sawyer on 5/12/2019

Home buying and selling can be a complicated process, especially for first-timers. The vocabulary involved will only compound your confusion if you jump right into it without knowing what they mean. Real estate, like other fields, has some terms that are peculiar to it. Before you set out to list your home for sale or seek to buy one, it is good to understand some valuable real estate terms you will encounter in the process. Here are some words you must know when involved in a home purchase:

Appraisal

In the real estate market, every property has unique qualities owing to its different conditions and structures. An appraisal determines the estimated value of a piece of real estate based on specific criteria. Appraisal reports by a certified real estate appraiser are used to resolve mortgage loans and taxation issues.

Contract

A purchase contract is a written document that contains the contract price and other terms of a property sale. The property is said to be 'under contract' when both the buyer and seller have reached an agreement and signed a formal offer and acceptance on the sales price and contingencies.

Listing agent

A listing agent is a real estate specialist operating with a license. They are in the real estate market to help home sellers advertise, market, and sell their homes. They represent the seller during negotiations and charge a commission on the sale.

Buyer’s agent

A buyer’s agent represents the interest of a buyer during negotiations on a home purchase. They usually charge commissions for bridging the gap between the buyer and the seller, but the seller pays the commission.

Debt-to-income ratio

Debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, is an essential factor that mortgage lenders consider before granting you a mortgage for your new home purchase. It shows how much your debt load is. You can calculate your DTI by dividing the sum of your debt expenses and your monthly housing bill by your gross monthly income, and then multiply by 100. Arriving at a percentage higher than thirty-six percent, after calculating your DTI, points to the need for adjusting your budget.

Escrow company

An escrow company functions as an unbiased third party that monitors the transaction process. They ensure that all parties involved follow proper procedures before closing the deal and hold the earnest money until buyers and sellers sign all paperwork.

Earnest money

After a buyer indicates an interest in purchasing a home, a percentage of the selling price is paid immediately to the seller but placed into escrow. This money is called earnest money and indicates the buyer’s serious intent to purchase. If the buyers decide to back out, a contingency in place can help them recover their money. However, when the transaction goes through successfully, the money becomes a part of the buyer's down payment. 

Contingencies

These are conditions that need to be fulfilled for the home sale to go forward. A home appraisal is a common contingency clause. Another is a financing contingency which is the required time frame for a buyer to raise funds to acquire the property. A popular contingency is the length of the closing process. 

Always ask your real estate agent to explain any terms you do not understand so that you can make the right decisions.




Tags: Real Estate   Mortgage   Terms  
Categories: mortage   Real estate   terms  


Posted by Steven Sawyer on 5/5/2019

Two of the most important ingredients in a successful house-marketing campaign are competitive pricing and making a great first impression on prospective buyers. Although your real estate agent can assist in achieving both of those goals, keeping your home in "show ready" condition will be up to you and your family.

When your home is actively being shown, the process is not unlike a job interview. The main similarity is that you don't get a second chance to make a good first impression. Potential buyers have a mindset that's similar to that of a hiring manager: They are intensely focused on making the right decision. Since the last thing they want to do is make the wrong choice (or a less-than-optimal choice) it's up to you -- the home seller-- to present your home in its best possible light.

Other than keeping your home squeaky clean and your lawn looking as manicured as possible, it's also to your benefit to reduce clutter. A house that's filled with clutter will definitely send the wrong message to prospective buyers searching for their next home. Clutter takes many forms, so it often requires a concerted effort to identify and remedy it. Here are a few key areas to focus on:

Furniture clutter: Having too much furniture in a room or entryway can give visitors the impression that your home is cramped, too small, or disorganized. If you've had a tendency to add furniture to your home, over time -- without putting some pieces in storage -- then you may have inadvertently created a cluttered "look and feel" to your living space

Surface clutter: Have you ever noticed how things that belong in drawers, cabinets, and recycling bins often end up on tables, counter tops, and bookshelves? If that's taking place in your home, rest assured you're not alone! However, if you're preparing to put your home on the market, you'll make a much better impression on potential buyers if you remove as much surface clutter as possible.

Storage-area clutter: Although there's a lot of truth to the saying "Out of sight, out of mind," that usually doesn't apply to preparing your home for the real estate market! Serious house hunters are pretty thorough, and are generally going to glance in closets, basements, attics, and garages. So if you simply move your clutter to another part of the house, it will still be noticed! Granted, your clutter will be less prominent in storage areas, but it will still have a detracting effect on the overall impression your home makes. The solution involves a combination of strategies, including selling or donating unwanted belongings. In some cases, you might even consider renting a dumpster or calling a reasonably priced junk-hauling service to get rid of things you don't want and can't donate, sell, or give away.

It's not always easy to be objective when staging your home or evaluating its marketability, so an experienced real estate agent can provide you with invaluable guidance, advice, negotiating help, and marketing assistance





Posted by Steven Sawyer on 4/28/2019

Believe it or not, the process of buying a home can become long and complicated. And if you're not careful, you may encounter many hurdles that prevent you from acquiring your dream residence.

Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the ins and outs of buying a house and help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Now, let's take a look at three common misconceptions associated with buying a home.

1. You will be able to acquire a house in a matter of days.

The process of locating your dream home is unlikely to happen overnight. Instead, a homebuyer usually will need to perform extensive housing market research to discover a residence that meets or exceeds his or her expectations.

Typically, a homebuyer will look at several houses before he or she can find the right residence. This homebuyer then will need to submit an offer on a house. And if a home seller accepts the homebuyer's proposal, a home inspection will need to be completed before a home purchase is finalized.

It is important to set realistic expectations for your home search. In most instances, it may take a few weeks or months to find your perfect residence. But with a diligent approach to your home search, you'll be able to discover a house that can serve you well for years to come.

2. You will be able to buy a home for less than a property's initial asking price.

Understanding the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's market is essential for a homebuyer.

In a buyer's market, many high-quality residences are available. This market usually favors homebuyers, and in many instances, enables property buyers to secure great houses at budget-friendly prices.

On the other hand, a seller's market features a shortage of first-rate properties. As a result, this market favors home sellers, and many homebuyers may compete with one another to secure the best houses.

Regardless of whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market, it is paramount to avoid the temptation to submit a "lowball" offer on a residence. By doing so, a homebuyer can minimize the risk of missing out on an opportunity to acquire his or her perfect residence.

3. You can find your dream home without help from a real estate agent.

When it comes to buying a house, the early bird catches the worm. Therefore, an informed, persistent homebuyer is more likely than others to locate a terrific home at an affordable price.

Ultimately, working with a real estate agent is ideal. With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert assistance throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and much more. He or she also will respond to your homebuying questions and ensure you can acquire a stellar home in no time at all.

Take the guesswork out of buying a house – collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can make your homeownership dreams come true.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Steven Sawyer on 4/21/2019

Moving into a new home can often be a frantic, exhausting task. Matters are made worse if the house you are moving into wasn’t cleaned thoroughly after the previous movers left.

 However, the best time to clean a house is before you move in. This is due to the fact that cleaning shelves is easier before they’ve been filled, and vacuuming carpets is simpler if the house doesn’t yet have any furniture.

 So, in this article we’re going to show you the best way to clean your new home before you move in to avoid having to move objects around once you’ve brought them inside.

 Before moving day

 The idea moment to clean your new home is before the moving truck arrives. If possible, pick a day after the previous owners have moved out that is close to your move-in date. Bring all of your cleaning supplies with you, including cloths, towels, a duster, vacuum, hardwood floor polish, glass cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and so on.

It might be tempting to just start scrubbing as soon as you’re inside, but first take a moment to walk through the house and make a list of all the cleaning tasks you would like to accomplish before moving in.

Not only will your list help you determine how long you’ll need to clean, but it will also give some organization to your day and keep you on track.

On or after moving day

You don’t always have the luxury of being able to clean your new home beforehand. If you’re moving across states or are on a tight move-in/move-out schedule, you might have to clean your house as you move in.

In this case, the best solution is to organize your boxes and furniture by room. Then, when moving them inside, put them in the corner of a room in a neat pile. This will leave access to most of the room so that you can clean before putting things away.

Make sure you and your family are on the same page in terms of organizing items on moving day. If you have family members who start unpacking boxes, let them know they could be more helpful by picking up a duster or cleaning some windows rather than putting items in their future places.

Room by room cleaning

There are some rooms in your house that require special attention. Let’s start with the kitchen.

When it comes to cleaning your appliances (refrigerator, oven, microwave, etc.), it’s a good idea to spray on some degreaser or baking soda/vinegar solutions in advance to let them soak and loosen up any debris before you start scrubbing them. Soaking them all at once will help you save time cleaning.

The bathroom poses a challenge when moving in for two reasons. Since bathrooms tend to be small and crowded, it can be hard to work inside of them if there are boxes in the way. To avoid this, stack all of your bathroom items outside in the hallway or in the bathroom closet while you clean.




Categories: Cleaning   Moving Tips   move-in