Date Archives: July 2014

Coldwell Banker American Homes Blog Home

Subscribe and receive email notifications of new blog posts.




rss logo RSS Feed
Area Information | 27 Posts
BPT | 10 Posts
Buying | 6 Posts
Homeowners | 17 Posts
Real Estate Blogs | 319 Posts
RREIN | 62 Posts
Uncategorized | 148 Posts
Buying a Home | Home Purchase Guidelines | Long Island Homes and Property | Real Estate for Long Island | Energy Efficient Homes | Homeowner Tax Credits | Tax Credits for Home Energy Efficiency | Adjustable Rate Mortgages | Mortgages for the Long Island real estate market | The Right Mortgage for the Right Home Buyer | Real Estate Question of the Day! | Real Estate - scams and mortgages | What you need to know about real estate | Home Purchase Savings | Interest rates offer greatest leverage | Tax credit vs mortgage interest rates | Assisted Living | VA Special Pension | home loans | Home mortgage rates | Another Interest Rate Drop | Mortgage Interest Rates | Defending homeownership | Is now the time to buy a home? | Real Estate - still a great investment | Long Island condo & co-op | Long Island Homes for sale | Long Island Properties | Negotiating house purchase price | New construction on Long Island | Real Estate transfer fees | buy your home through a short sale purchase | selling short with the banks approval | Short sale home purchase | $2000 home buyer grant | New York State home buying grants | home list price vs. home sales price | negotiate a new home sales price | New York State STAR tax exemption | STAR tax exemption for New York homeowners | Buyer Brokerage | Real Estate Representation | Seller Agency | Tips for improving your credit score | Home and property appraisals | Homeowner Tax Advantages | Home Purchase Track | Owning a home vs. Renting | 55+ Adult Community | Senior housing | The Season's at East Meadow | co-op | Condo's | Homes | land for sale | Why Now is a Great Time to Buy a Home on Long Island | Homeownership | Open House weekend | home buying process | mortgage prequalification | Real Estate Investment Tips | Tips to Flip your real estate | Home Shopping Checklist | Look for a house with a checklist | ips to purchasing a short sale home | Short sales: How to purchase | Cut energy costs for your home | home energy efficiency | Loan application mistakes | mortgage loans | mortgage home loans | What home loan is right for you? | house hunting | Hunting for a home | Common Home Defects | What to look for when buying a home | first time home buyers | The 1st time home buyers guide | mobile based home search | Mobile phone users - coupons | smart phone applications | Housing Market Recovery Bright Spots | Natianal Housing Market Report | Home Closing - contract to closing | Home purchase timeline | 203k home mortgage program | Home Improvement Funding | Myths of the real estate market | The Home Buying Process | narrow down your home search | The Best location for your home purchase | buying a home? protect your credit! | credit protection | Home value pitfalls | home closing steps to take | New home closing | Home Styles | Popular Homes | best interest rates | credit scores | Create Energy within Your Home with Feng Shui | Feng Shui within your home | consumer confidence | home buyers more confident in housing market | Real Estate market impact | Rent verse Buy | Renters Outspend Owners on Housing | Benefits of home buying | Winter shopping for homes | Consumers confidence in home ownership | Homeownership attitudes | Real estate tax advantages & tips | Tax tips for homeowners | job opportunity | real estate agent | real estate career | rental agent | 1st time home buyer tips | priorities for home buyers | make moving fun for family | Moving for the family | Buy a foreclosure | REO purchase tips | Tips to buying a foreclosure property | Use a real estate agent to buy a home | Use a real estate agent to sell a home | Why use a real estate agent | Home Buying steps | Home Buying tips | Stepr to take prior to buying a home | home loan good faith estimate | Tips to your home loan mortgage | FICO Scores | How FICO scores are calculated | Your FICO score | Invest in a home | tax refund - invest it in your home purchase | VA Loan | The Home Buyers Wish List | Home buying expectations | real estate market report | Bidding on real estate properties | purchase offers for your home | home mortgage | downsizing your home | moving to a smaller house | Jumbo Loans for Home Purchase | Mortgage Money Lesson | newlywed home purchasing tips | The perfect wedding gift... a new home | Avoid these home buying mistakes | common mistakes when buying a home | Good News for Housing | Home Price Index | Bank fees for the homeowner | understanding banks and their fees | Home Inspections for your new home purchase | What to know about home inspections | Fire safety for your home | Is your home fire safe? | Home Mortgage programs | LTV | Mortgage loan to value | Mortgage relief for disaster challenged areas | Location | Property location - real estate | buying a short sale property | short sale tips | buying a home - best investment? | When is the best time to buy? | New Years resolutions | Resolutions: a Reality for Realty's | Get a mortgage after foreclosure | mortgage financing - after foreclosure | Is it a good time to buy a home? | What age is old enough to buy a home? | Buy a short sale property | Short Sale real estate properties | Home property tax deductions | real estate tax deductions | Real Estate License School | Apartment Rentals | House Rentals | Real Estate Rental Agent | House Hunting Tips | Simple house hunting tips & ideas | Mortgage advice - current trends | mortgaging & refinancing in 2013 | Good credit score = best equal rates | How to build up your credit score | lease - option to buy | Rent with option to buy | Avoid Home Improvement Blunders | Home improvements ideas for the property owner | Home Buyers - What do you really want? | Needs & wants of home buyers | mortgage loans for new home construction | New construction home loans | Home Buyers - Price & proximity to work | Key Concerns for the home buyer | Impressive mortgage applications | Keys to getting your mortgage approved | Home buying mistakes to avoid | Home purchasing blunders to avoid | New homes vs older homes | to buy or not to buy a home | pet friendly rentals | Pets or no pets - apartment rentals | tips for home purchasers | Flipping houses | home flpipping 101 | spec houses | home buyer how to's | how to be a better home buyer | Mortgage amortization | A happy home | What makes you really happy? | Low housing inventory | Low inventory housing market | Home prices on the rise | Rising property values | Home buyer tips to open houses | Open House etiquette | Winning a home purchase bidding war | Home mortgage rate tips | mortgage tips for the new home owner | Home Equity Line versus 2nd Mortgage | buy a new home or expand your current home | Home improvements vs. new home purchse | Mortgage Rate Lock | Residential home mortgage rates | Improve your economic profile for home mortgage | Personal Finance | Costly problems for new home buyers | New home buyers avoid costly problems | Handy man special | The home fixer-upper | How to refinance | Refinance - without perfect credit | Debt to Income | Tackling Debt | Seasonal real estate trends | The fall season housing market | Factor in home repairs in your mortgage payment | Home repairs for new home purchasers | Home sellers negotiation techniques | negotiations for home buyers & sellers | The home buying process - stress free | The process of buying a home | Recently Read | Saved for Later | Great Neck | Massapequa | Huntington | Ronkonkoma | Brooklyn | East Meadow | Coldwell Banker American Homes | Local Attractions | Home Improvement | Interior Design | Queens | Fresh Meadows | Long Beach | Local Businesses | Farmingdale | Home selling | Suffolk County | Nassau County | Wantagh
July
31

down paymentFewer first-time homebuyers are finding a way to buy a house with a relatively low down payment as their options shrink and lenders' down payment requirements rise.   From April through June 2014, about 67 percent of first-time buyers made a down payment of 6 percent or less, down from 74 percent in 2009, according to the latest Realtor Confidence Index report from the National Association of REALTORS®.   One reason the average down payment is growing may be that more and more first-timers are choosing conventional over FHA financing, which requires only 3.5 percent down.   Underwriting standards have been getting tighter and borrowers' costs are going up. Tight underwriting standards are especially challenging for first-time buyers, who generally need mortgage financing with low down payment terms, who may be paying off student debt, and who may have credit scores that are not top-notch. Cumulative increases in FHA insurance premiums over the past two years that translates to about $100 a month in additional out-of-pocket costs for borrowers also is also discouraging buyers from using FHA financing, according to Realtors participating in the survey.   Higher down payments are one more factor making life difficult for first-time homebuyers, who accounted for 28 percent of June home sales, a slight uptick from 27 percent in May but a long way from the 40 percent share that first time buyers typically accounted for just two years ago.   For more information, visit https://ift.tt/1gQyWIR. Published with permission from RISMedia.
July
31

The season's warm weather means homeowners will be increasingly reliant on air conditioning to make the long, hot days more tolerable. Keep in mind these five maintenance tips to keep air conditioners running smoothly through the summer months.   Five Tips for Air Conditioner Maintenance   Combat moisture - Air conditioning systems should not have moisture within the refrigeration system. Most systems have moisture indicators located on the high or low-pressure lines. Once the system is running and the compressor has started, a color indicator on the pressure line will show if moisture is present. If moisture is in the refrigeration system, a trained air conditioning technician will have to vacuum the line and make any necessary repairs.   Clean air conditioning condenser coils - At a minimum, air conditioning condenser coils should be cleaned at least twice a year. It is best to clean the condenser coils before starting the system for the season and again when the weather starts to get hot for prolonged periods of time. Typically the second cleaning will be done in July or early August. If the system is located near trees, it may require additional cleanings to keep debris from entering the system and blocking the coils.   Maintain the evaporator coil - The evaporator coil is an important part of an air conditioning system. Air conditioning evaporator coils are used to transfer heat. The heat transfer surfaces should be kept clean so airflow is not obstructed. Homeowners should ensure filters are present, clean and changed out regularly.   Inspect for leaks - Air conditioning units should be checked for any leaks that may have occurred when it is not in operation. Air conditioning systems should also be checked during operation and after the system has been shut down. Preventative maintenance can keep repairs and costs down. Checking for leaks will prevent air conditioning systems from sustaining more damage, and it is also good for the environment.   Understand normal air conditioning operation - The best way homeowners can tell if something is wrong is by understanding how the air-conditioning system should sound and appear. If the system is vibrating loudly, making abnormal sounds or not performing the way it was, you will want to have it checked by a licensed technician.   Source: Aire Serv Published with permission from RISMedia.
July
28

paintSummer is the perfect time to update your home's exterior. Adding a fresh coat of paint will create a whole new look and instant curb appeal. Ideally, the home should be painted in warmer seasons, when the temperature falls between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Before painting, keep in mind these tips:   1. Clean – Whether you do it yourself or rent a power washer, be sure to thoroughly clean your home's exterior. For really tough stains, scrub the surface with a wire brush. Use a commercial grade cleaner or chlorine bleach to eliminate any mildew. Allow several days for any remaining moisture to dry completely.   2. Prep – Scrape away cracked caulk from windows, peeling paint or rotted areas. If the entire board is rotted, replace it. Re-caulk where needed. Fill holes with wood filler and sand down to conceal any patchwork.   3. Prime – Add a layer of primer to any areas revealed when scraping. Paint a test patch to see how your color selection works with your home's landscaping and architectural details.   4. Cover – The day of, be sure to cover exterior lights, gutters, exhaust vents and air conditioning units with plastic. Avoid damage from drips and spills by covering greenery and stone surfaces, like a walkway or patio, with a drop cloth.   If your home's exterior is something other than wood (masonry or stucco, for instance), check whether you need to seal the surface before painting. Most importantly, consider the forecast before planning your paint job. It's never a good idea to paint when rain or wind is predicted.   Source: Consumer Reports   Published with permission from RISMedia.  
July
24

closing(MCT)--The challenging part of the closing process is perusing the transactional documents that indicate whether or not you are getting the deal you believe you negotiated or were promised.   This is the most challenging part of the process because the stakes are high, and the time pressures severe. The transactional documents that define the terms of the deal are subject to change as the transaction moves toward closing, but it is only the final set of documents that matter. In the typical case, the first disclosure is sent before the borrower's property is appraised, and before the loan terms (interest rate and points) are locked. This usually results in a second disclosure following receipt of the appraisal, a third disclosure when the loan is locked, and sometimes a fourth disclosure if the loan terms change for some other reason.   In theory, you should have access to final documents 24 hours before closing, but very frequently the lender can't comply except by delaying the closing by 24 hours, and that could violate either the rate lock agreement or the transfer date on a home purchase. You may have no alternative but to check the transaction documents at the closing table.   The focus of your examination should be three documents that contain the loan prices and other critical features of your loan. You want to assure yourself that the deal you are getting is the one you negotiated to receive. If you find something amiss, you can use the time pressure to your advantage by getting it fixed on the Settlement Statement (HUD-1): The deal you are getting is shown on the HUD-1 in your closing package. The deal to which you agreed is shown on the last version of the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) you received from the lender, which you should bring to the closing with you. Relevant items on the HUD-1 show the corresponding entry on the GFE for easy comparison. For example, total fees due the lender are shown as Item A on page 2 of the GFE, and as line 803 on the HUD-1. They should be exactly the same.   Truth in Lending (TIL): The TIL is replete with garbage disclosures that should be ignored, but it also has important disclosures about your loan:   -The "Interest Rate and Payment Summary" should correspond to "Summary of Your Loan" on the GFE. -Note the "Late Charge." -Under "Prepayment," if the first box is checked, you will pay a penalty if you pay off early. -If "Demand" is checked, the loan probably has a balloon payment, meaning that the remaining loan balance must be paid in full at some date. The TIL does not indicate the date, but the GFE does-it is the last item under "Summary of Your Loan." If "Demand" is checked, but there is no balloon shown on the GFE, you must find the entry in the note to see the conditions (if any) under which the lender can call the loan. If the right to call the loan is unconditional, demand that it be removed. -Fixed/Adjustable Rate Note: This important document spells out the terms of your loan, which should correspond exactly with those in the HUD-1, the TIL and the last GFE. Check the interest rate and initial payment, and if it's an ARM, check the period until the first rate adjustment.   If your loan carries private mortgage insurance, the premiums should be checked. On monthly premium plans, the premium is included in the monthly payment shown on page 1 of the GFE, and again in item 6 on page 2. Upfront premiums are shown either in item 6 or item 9. On the HUD-1, monthly premiums are shown on line 802, and upfront premiums on line 1003.   Item 303 on page 1 of the HUD-1 shows the total cash you need to close. If there are no issues connected to the amount, you must provide a certified check for that.   Note that the difficulties involved in monitoring changes in the transactional documents would be substantially reduced if lenders reported the reasons for change whenever they issued a new set. In August 2015, the GFE and TIL will be replaced by a single Loan Estimate developed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but lenders will continue the practice of changing the deal and issuing a new disclosure without explaining why.   I have asked CFPB why they are not making the closing process significantly easier for borrowers by requiring lenders to explain why the terms of a deal have changed, but to date there has been no reply.   © 2014, Jack Guttentag Distributed by MCT Information Services Published with permission from RISMedia.
July
22

wood deck(BPT)-As the seasons turn, more homeowners look for projects that not only make their homes more livable, but also offer great return on investment. With demand high across the country for outdoor spaces that bring the comforts of the indoors outside, there's no surprise that decks are one of the top remodeling projects for 2014.   In fact, a residential wood deck addition has a recouped cost of 87.4 percent, according to Remodeling Magazine's 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, the second highest ROI midrange project only behind an entry door replacement. That means adding a deck to your property will increase your livable space so you can enjoy the outdoors more, and you can rest easy knowing you're boosting the value of your home investment.   If you think you'd like to add a wood deck to your home, you might wonder about the different material options. "Although composite and PVC decking have gained popularity in recent years, pressure-treated wood decking still carries the lion's share of the market because it's inexpensive, easy to work with and can be found at any lumberyard," says Chris Fox, product manager at Universal Forest Products, a leading supplier of lumber and decking materials.   Today's pressure-treated lumber comes with advancements that weren't available to homeowners just a few years ago. For example, with more homeowners seeking eco-friendly building materials, wood suppliers are exploring environmentally preferred treatment methods. For example, ProWood's micronized copper azole (MCA) treated lumber decking is eco-friendly, cost effective and easy to install.   MCA is a method for treating the wood (typically pine) using an EPA-registered waterborne wood preservative system to protect against termite attack and rot. MCA-treated lumber provides a light, natural look, unlike other pressurized wood treatments that result in the greenish hue with which most people are familiar.   You can leave MCA treated lumber in its natural state for a more organic appearance in your outdoor spaces, or you can choose ProWood Dura Color decking that is color-infused with pigment driven deep into the wood fibers. This process creates beautiful treated wood grain that will stand up to the elements for many years, with no need for staining.   "People like the natural look of redwood and cedar, but they don't want the drawbacks that come with them, such as the high price and the fact that they quickly fade to gray," says Fox. "ProWood Dura Color lumber not only looks like natural cedar or redwood, but the color lasts much longer and is backed by a two-year color assurance warranty"   When researching treated wood materials for outdoor home improvement projects, such as a deck addition, Fox suggests discussing the project with the local lumber dealer and to be sure to understand and check the end tag for:   1. The description of use (above ground or ground contact) 2. Warranty statement 3. The quality standards it meets 4. Third-party quality inspection (which assures product has passed retention and penetration tests). Source: https://ift.tt/1yrEYum Published with permission from RISMedia.
July
17

(MCT)---Selling a home is stressful.  A little give-and-take between buyers and sellers is normal, but some buyers push the envelope, as well as the sellers' buttons. Here are eight ways that will keep your home buying experience smooth.   buyers sellers   1. DON'T: Skip appointments. For sellers, "The No. 1 complaint is not showing up after you've set an appointment," says Mark Ramsey, a broker in Charlotte, N.C. To prepare for a showing, a smart seller spends time clearing up clutter and making the home shine, then grabs the kids and/or pets and vacates for a few hours so buyers can tour in peace. Imagine how a seller feels when you announce at the last minute that you'll visit next week instead. Or you simply don't show up, without an explanation. Bottom line: Unless you've had a truly last-minute emergency, cancel hours before the appointment, Ramsey says.   2. DON'T: Ignore "house rules." Just because it's a home doesn't mean it's your home. Some prospective buyers treat a home like they've been living there for decades - unlocking doors, cranking up the heat or air conditioning, and letting their kids run wild, bounce on the furniture, and borrow toys. Some even use the toilet, which gets problematic if the house isn't occupied and the water has been turned off, Ramsey says. Sellers are allowed to set some ground rules ("no shoes" is a popular one), which are included in the showing instructions, Ramsey says. And if sellers aren't home, it's up to agents to enforce those rules, he says. "I tell buyers, 'Let's just pretend we're walking into the White House,' " Ramsey says.   3. DON'T: Nitpick. Want to alienate the sellers who currently own your next house, not to mention your real estate agent? Start complaining about small issues, like carpet and paint colors, says Matt Laricy, managing partner with a Chicago real estate firm. The walls are yellow or the carpet is brown, "so they say they won't buy the place," Laricy says. "Do you know how cheap it is to repaint a property?" In many cases, such an objection is not a price-reduction strategy, he says. "If it was their strategy, I would say it's a bad one, though," Laricy says. Paint and carpets are easy fixes, he says. Instead, focus on the big-picture items, like location and light level, he added.   4. DON'T: Present a laundry list of defects. One weapon in the buyers' negotiating arsenal is to write a long list of what's wrong with the house. Big mistake, says Ron Phipps, principal of a Warwick, R.I. firm, and past president of the National Association of REALTORS®. "Sellers don't care why you're discounting the house," he says. They're looking at that bottom-line number. Include a roll call of defects and the question becomes, "Why do you want this place?" Instead, he recommends a kinder, gentler approach for buyers: Submit a list of comparables, your offer and a personal letter introducing yourself and why you want the house.   5. DON'T: Request multiple "visits" before closing. This happens "again and again," says Mike Lubin, an associate broker for a prominent New York firm. "A buyer wants a lot of access after they've committed to purchase. They want to bring in decorators, architects, family or even visit it themselves." Meanwhile, the seller is getting repairs done, accommodating inspectors, packing and moving, Ramsey says. Because the seller has a tight deadline, the onus is on the buyer not to add to the load by requesting additional showings, he says. A possible compromise: Arrange to visit while the inspector is there, Ramsey says. Another opportunity to visit is during the final walkthrough before closing, he says.   6. DON'T: Try to renegotiate after striking a deal. Another thing that drives sellers nuts? Buyers who agree on a price, only to repeatedly demand concessions and discounts. Barring unwelcome surprises or revelations that a seller concealed something, the negotiated price should be the final price, Laricy says. Buyers will say the market has changed, say "they overpaid because they just got caught up in the moment," or suffer buyer's remorse, he says. "It's extremely awkward," Lubin says. "It's violating the terms of the contract, and it's insulting."   7. DON'T: Generate "iffy" commitment letters. Buyer and seller reach an agreement. Then a letter from the buyer's bank informs the seller that financing is conditional on a list of things that the borrower must do. Depending on the length of the list, "the seller doesn't know if they have a commitment, if they can go ahead and move or not," Phipps says. The bank's list may offer some clues. If the buyer is being asked to clarify where the down payment comes from, account for a string of late payments, or explain a drop in credit score, that could signal serious problems, Phipps says. On the other hand, if the bank wants proof of the agent's escrow deposit, the insurance binder or the reason for one late payment on a student loan, that doesn't sound as dire, he says.   8. DON'T: Rush the closing date. Even in the best of circumstances, it's hard to leave a home for good. It's more difficult when buyers try to commandeer the closing (and moving) date. "It's annoying to the seller for the buyer to want to close before the seller is ready to move out," Lubin says. Instead, Lubin says, the date should be comfortable for all parties. "Each side has to coordinate a schedule and still be respectful to the other side." Dana Dratch writes about mortgages and real estate for Bankrate.com.   (c)2014 Bankrate.com Distributed by MCT Information Services Published with permission from RISMedia.
July
13

ready to move (1280x850)Buying or selling a home is a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. Whether you're simply looking for a change of scenery or considering a cross country move so that you can be closer to a significant other, you'll want to ask yourself the following questions before making the decision to move-whether it's down the road or across state lines.   1. Why do I want to move? Maybe you're bored with your lifestyle and want to try living in a new place or you just need a change of scenery. But before you do something drastic, make a list of the pros and cons associated with leaving the area where you currently reside. Deciding to sell on a whim could be a decision you end up paying for long into the future, so make sure you really think about what moving means and how it will affect your life going forward.   2. Do I have to move? Is your job relocating you? Have you met the man or woman of your dreams? Can you no longer afford to make your mortgage payments? While some of these reasons may be more practical than others, make sure you explore every possibility before putting your house on the market. If you're considering moving for a new job, how certain are you that the position is going to be permanent? Is your reason for moving financially based? If so, have you looked into refinancing or borrowing from another source? Whatever the reason may be, make sure you explore all your options before making a decision.   3. Is now a good time to move? Before you make the decision to move, it's important that you understand what the housing market is like in your area. Check to see what houses have been selling for and compare comps to find out what direction the market is moving. If time isn't an issue and you're simply looking for a change of scenery, you can always wait out the market.   4. Should I rent? Perhaps you aren't 100 percent sure that leaving is what you really want to do. If this is the case, consider renting out your home for a year so you can continue to pay the mortgage and see where your life takes you over the next 12 months. You might decide that you miss the neighborhood and the closeness to the city or suburbs, and this scenario allows you to easily go back.   5. How should I sell my home? While some people try to sell a home on their own, studies show that selling with the help of a qualified real estate agent will get you a better price and a quicker deal. Interview a few local agents and ask around to see if your friends, family and neighbors have any recommendations.   For more information about selling your home, contact our office today.   Published with permission from RISMedia.
July
11

Whether moving across town or across the country, packing up and moving can be stressful, costly and full of surprises. From shady movers and inaccurate price quotes, to over-packing or not allowing enough time to get the move set up, every step of a move has the potential for mistakes that can make a move a nightmare. These tips will help anyone preparing for a move, whether they currently live in a house, an apartment, a dorm, with friends or with mom and dad. moving 1. Hiring a shady mover. We've all heard horror stories about moving scams, and perhaps maybe you've been the victim of a moving scam yourself. You can steer clear of a less-than-upstanding mover by doing your homework. The Better Business Bureau, Angie's List, your state transportation regulator and the U.S. Department of Transportation-and even your relatives, friends, neighbors and colleagues-are all good sources of information about whether a moving company is on the up-and-up. Doing some homework online can save you a lot of heartache on moving day.   If you've done your research and still aren't confident in the movers you've come across, you always can go the DIY route-just be sure you're up for the task.   2. Messing up the quotes. If you hire a mover, you should be able to have someone from that company come to your place for an in-home moving estimate. If a moving company won't do an in-home estimate, you should think about shopping around for another mover. Along those lines, don't rely on just one quote from one mover. Contact several movers for quotes. If you really like one mover over another but your favorite company is a little pricey, try negotiating for a lower price. Always make sure to get a moving estimate in writing.     3. Packing too much stuff. Do you really need those old boxes of baby clothes that you haven't laid eyes on since your 6-year-old was in diapers? Before you move, you need to "edit" your belongings. Think about whether you can trash some of your possessions, donate them to charity, or give them away to friends and relatives. Perhaps you could hold a garage sale to clear out some of the clutter. If you haven't seen, worn or used something in a year, it's best to think hard about whether you need to keep it-and whether you need to haul it to your new place.   4. Failing to schedule your move well in advance. During the summer months, good moving companies are booked up quickly. Rather than waiting till the last minute, make sure your move is scheduled weeks-or, better yet, months-in advance. You don't want to be scrambling to find a mover the day before you're supposed to head out. Moving already is stressful enough without adding that frustration.   5. Ignoring the need to pack ahead of time. You'll find very few people who'll say that packing is fun. In fact, a 2013 survey commissioned by SpareFoot found that people who'd moved in the past year identified packing and unpacking as the biggest hassle in the process. You can lessen the load by beginning to pack well before moving day comes along. Start by boxing up stuff that you won't need right away -- for instance, if you're moving in the summer, pack up your winter clothes so that they're out of the way. Also, be sure to carve out time in your schedule to check items off your packing to-do list.   If you get down to the wire and need help with packing, enlist friends, neighbors, relatives or colleagues to lend a hand. Make sure you've got plenty of food and beverages as a "thank you" for your volunteer helpers. If you can't rustle up any free help, consider hiring laborers to do the packing for you; that may be a small price to pay to alleviate moving-related stress. Source: SpareFoot.com Published with permission from RISMedia.
July
4

agent-customer5 (853x1280)If a home purchase is on the horizon, you more than likely know exactly what you're looking for. Whether you desire stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors throughout or a pool in the backyard, letting your agent know what's on your must-have list is one of the best ways to ensure you find your dream home.   As you go through the process of searching for homes, it's important to remember that your agent is trained in locating the best properties that fit your criteria, so if your agent isn't pushing a home that you've seen online, there's a good chance that the house won't suit your needs.   Sometimes a sort of beer-goggle phenomenon occurs when house hunters look at homes and fall in love with a property that isn't right for them. When staged properly, a home might appear to be perfect as prospective buyers are often distracted by the cleanliness of the space or even the antique furnishings that have been incorporated into the space to achieve a specific look. Others may be impressed with how much nicer the home is than the rental they're living in, but again, it doesn't mean it's what they truly want.   A good agent will bring you back to reality by reminding you that the house doesn't have the finished basement or large yard you're looking for, keeping you more on point in looking at homes that actually meet your specifications.   Another thing to consider when deciding on whether or not a home is right for you is the price. Finding everything in your dream home for a price you can afford may be a little too optimistic, and chances are the right home may come along but at a price that's a little too steep. Sometimes it's better to give up one or two items from your list rather than be stuck with a mortgage payment that you can barely keep up with.   Don't feel like you need to completely overhaul your list of must-haves either. Some features you should stick to your guns with. If you fancy yourself something of a cook and you want a gourmet kitchen, look at houses that only offer these. Has a walk-in closet always been your dream? Wait until you find one. If you're determined to have a pool, don't look at houses without them. Why fall in love with a home if it doesn't have what you really want?   Along the same lines of thinking, if you started your house hunt wanting four bedrooms, you probably shouldn't settle for less. There's a reason you came up with this number and the last thing you want is to be in a home that you outgrow quickly because you jumped at a house that wasn't really what you needed.   Of course, there are some things that can be changed in a home, so if it doesn't have the spa bathtub you want or the top-of-the-line washer and dryer you have your heart set on, you can always make those changes down the line. Just make sure whatever needs to be added or replaced doesn't turn into something that's impossible to afford.   When searching for a new place to call home, take your time so that you end up with a home that's as close to your dream as possible. Be sure to keep your agent in the loop when it comes to the things you're looking for-and those that are an absolute must-so that you don't spend time looking at houses that don't fit your needs and lifestyle.   For more information about finding the perfect home, contact our office today.   Published with permission from RISMedia.
July
1

Easy Ways for Families to Save(Family Features) The average family is always looking for ways to save a little bit of cash. While some efforts to save money may seem small and insignificant, it's beneficial to look at the big picture. By saving here and there where you can, the amount can really start to add up. Here are several ideas for families who wish to be wiser with their dollars.   Buy used From clothing to cars, you can typically find a gently used version of something you need at a much better price. Look for specialty stores who sell used video games for the little ones. Or, if you're in the market for furniture or unique gifts, the local antique dealer or flea market is a great place to check out.   Cut back on entertainment Do you have a cable package with all the bells and whistles? Is your entire family on a first-name basis at the local movie theater? Consider reducing your entertainment expenses and opt instead for less expensive, family-friendly activities, such as camping trips, hiking adventures or visiting a free art gallery.   Reap the rewards From grocery store chains that offer gasoline discounts to clothing retailers who offer special member incentives, rewards programs provide truly great perks for families trying to save some dough. Even popular search engines are joining in on the fun of rewarding members for their loyalty.   Get rid of unused items Encourage every family member to clean out their drawers, closets and spaces to get rid of things they no longer use. Start a yard sale or take the items to a consignment shop to earn extra cash. You can also donate the items to a local charity for a tax deduction.   Give homemade gifts Family life comes with its many gift-giving opportunities - from birthdays to holidays to special life milestones. Because these occasions happen often, all of the purchases can add up. Put your creative juices to work and visit your local craft or hobby store for homemade gifts your family and friends will treasure.   Be smart with utilities Encouraging your family members to adopt small, money-saving practices can save you big on monthly expenses. Simply turning off lights when they aren't in use, reducing shower times and using a clothesline are just a few ways to reduce overall household consumption. These activities also offer an important lesson to children about conservation and sustainable practices.   Source: Bing Published with permission from RISMedia.

Login to My Homefinder

Login to My Homefinder