1. LocationBeing located in a quiet neighborhood or near popular amenities such as restaurants and grocery stores can make a home worth more. Not every buyer needs a home to meet every location requirement, but if you can say your home is situated in or near things people deem important, it will retain its value better. On this same note, if your home is located near schools, daycare, or even a school bus stop, it will be more attractive to buyers with children or who plan to have children, making it worth more, especially if it checks other boxes for them, too.
2. A Beautiful ViewCan you look out your window and see a beautiful skyline? If so, your home may be worth more. Being able to look out a window and see something lovely calms the nerves, and buyers appreciate that. On the other hand, if you look out your window and all you see is your neighbor’s house, a flashing neon sign, or some other unattractive view, it could bring down the value of your home, too.
3. Curb AppealIf your home looks nice from the outside, it will retain its value better. If you mow your lawn, landscape your yard attractively, and maintain the exterior of your home, it shows you’ve kept the property in good shape. Curb appeal works both ways, however. If you don’t maintain your yard or the exterior of your home, the overall value will be less.
4. Major SystemsNo one likes to move into a home and immediately have to shell out money to fix any heating, cooling, plumbing, or electrical issues. Selling a home with issues like these is usually the result of neglected maintenance and will subtract from the home’s value. If you know your home has issues with any of its major systems, be sure to fix them before putting it on the market for sale to get the most out of its value.
5. StorageA home with lots of storage is usually worth more than one that doesn’t have enough. If your home has plenty of closets, cabinets, and drawers, as well as basement, attic, and/or garage storage, buyers will be willing to pay more for the convenience. Many factors influence the value of a home, with the 5 listed above being just a start. Be sure to keep these things in mind as you set an asking price for your home as it could be worth more (or less) than you think.
Fewer People Means Fewer Public ServicesOne of the reasons people love living in a rural area is the fact that there are fewer people. Your closest neighbor may be a mile or more away. While this affords plenty of privacy and quiet, it also means there are fewer public services available nearby. If you’ve lived in urban areas all your life and are now considering moving to a rural home, you must realize you’ll need time to adjust to this lesser level of public service nearby.
Fewer Business OpportunitiesIf you’re planning to live in a rural home, you’ll likely have to make a longer commute to work since there are fewer business opportunities close by. On the other hand, if you’re planning to use the rural home as an investment property, it’s important to have clear expectations when it comes to renting or selling it as it’s likely to sit vacant and/or for sale longer for the same reason.
Fewer RestrictionsUrban properties often come with a plethora of restrictions in terms of property development. Rural properties, on the other hand, often have fewer restrictions, giving the owner more leeway when it comes to land development. Furthermore, when it comes to listing rural homes for sale, the listing regulations are less strict than those for urban properties in cities like Los Angeles or New York.
More Opportunity For Land DevelopmentStrategically purchasing multiple rural properties gives investors more opportunities for extending land development, increasing their profitability as a long-term investment. Should the investor decide not to pursue development, the rural property(ies) typically garners a profit when sold.
Cheaper Purchase PricesRural properties are typically cheaper to buy than their urban counterparts. As an investor, you can expect to pay about half what you would pay for an urban home of the same size. This makes it extremely easy to buy more than one property at a time and still stay within your budget.
Less Competition In The MarketRecently, there has been an increase in rural properties for sale with a lack of interest from investors, which means there is less competition in the market for purchasing these properties. This factor also drives the prices lower for these properties, making them prime investment opportunities. It takes the right type of person to reap the benefits of investing in or living in a rural home. If you’re thinking of buying a home in the country for either reason, the pros and cons listed above may help you decide whether or not the purchase is right for you.
1. Hang A HammockWho doesn’t like lying in a hammock on a warm, breezy day? If you have two trees within hammock-hanging distance of each other, or, even if you don’t (you can install your own poles for hanging), you can hang a hammock or some other swinging-type seating to enjoy the great outdoors in.
2. Hang Lanterns Or String Lights In Your YardJust as lighting plays a big role in the ambiance inside your home, it can also lend a warm, relaxing vibe to your outdoor spaces, too. Try hanging decorative lanterns or stinging pretty lights across your yard or along a fence for a rustic look that begs you to enjoy it once the sun sets.
3. Play Around With SeatingGone are the days when patio furniture had to match. These days, you have a multitude of options when it comes to outdoor seating. If you like collecting individual pieces and creating your own seating arrangement, go for it to create an outdoor seating area that portrays your personal style.
4. Accent With TextilesMake your outdoor space fun and exciting by adding accents in bright colors and textures. From area rugs and throw pillows to slipcovers and more, you can make an extension of your indoor living area. Just be sure to choose fabrics that are designed to withstand the elements, so you don’t have to worry about storing any of your accents when the weather turns foul.
5. Consider Your Outdoor ActivitiesHow will you use your outdoor space? Not only should it be comfortable and inviting, but it should also be functional. By adding a fireplace, you create a warm atmosphere that enables you to use the space during colder months. You can also add an outdoor kitchen, which will enable you to cook and dine outside on those beautiful summer evenings. Hopefully, the upgrades above will help you create an outdoor space that you love to spend time in.
1. What’s Old Is New AgainWhile styles come and go, it’s the nostalgia that’s playing a big role in today’s interior décor trends. Styles from the Victorian era, Art Deco, and even grand millennial aesthetics are making a comeback as many people wish longingly for what used to be in a world so full of uncertainty and strife.
2. Easy To Clean Is Always GoodWe’ll be seeing lots of easy to clean fabrics and surfaces. Expect non-porous surfaces like glass and metal to be part of many home renovations as they deter the growth and spread of bacteria. Also, the kid-friendly, durable, stain-proof fabric will take center stage where applicable.
3. Warm, Cozy ColorsEarthy tones and warm neutrals will be popular as we begin making our homes cozier places to be. Today’s trend is organic shades like Camel, which adds a layer of warmth and hominess gray just doesn’t have.
4. Calming Shades Of BlueColor has a big impact on our emotions, which is why shades of soft blue will be trending this year. The calming effect this shade has on the mind will help alleviate some of the stress we’re all feeling as we stay quarantined in our homes. Blue is a timeless color that never seems to go out of style, making it a great choice for a fresh look.
5. Natural Materials Aren’t Going AnywhereWood tones, organic materials, and natural accents are going to be extremely popular.
6. Say Goodbye To The Open Floor PlanIn years past, the open floor plan, where one room flows seamlessly into the next, was valued as it brought the family closer together. This realization puts open floor plans on the outs and closed floor plans at the top of many homeowner’s renovation plans.
7. A Shift Toward Sustainable FurnishingsSustainability is a subject that impacts our daily lives in many areas. Today’s homeowner is opting less for cheap, DIY furnishings and choosing instead to buy furniture that’s more expensive and better made. These furnishings are kinder to the environment and they give their owners a sense of pride in being able to hand down an heirloom rather than throwing the piece in the landfill.
1. Muted Lime/Powder Blue/WhiteBright colors like lime green and blue make for a winning combination when paired with white trim. Choose muted bright colors to keep the effect from being too much and be sure to paint every inch of trim in bright white for a stunning look.
2. Gray/Blue/WhiteIf you’re looking for something softer than the first suggestion, try combining pearl gray, slate blue, and bright white. Paint the front door/entry point blue and the rest of the exterior in gray. Finish the look with bright white trim and you end up with a sleek mid-century modern style.
3. Red/White/Blue/BeigeYou can never go wrong with good ole’ red, white, and blue. But, adding a twist of beige in there just brings the trio to a whole new level. The trick to keeping this color combo from looking like year-round Fourth of July décor is to choose a light blue hue rather than navy and paint the trim both white and beige.
4. Gray/Red/BlackSometimes simple is better, especially if your home is on the smaller side. Choosing a warm gray for the exterior and then giving the home a bright pop with a red front door and black shutters won’t overwhelm a humble abode. Any trim that’s visible should be finished with a bright white shade.
5. Purple/Lavender/WhiteLavender is a surprisingly great color for the outside of a home, especially when paired with a lovely purple door. The trick to keeping this color combo from being overly feminine is to choose a lavender shade with gray undertones and finishing the look with white trim for a modern look.
6. Navy/White/TurquoiseNavy blue is a popular exterior color these days, which means it will definitely up your home’s curb appeal. When paired with bright white trim and a lovely turquoise front door, your home will not only stand out, but it will also be the envy of the neighborhood.
7. Seafoam Green/WhiteYou would expect to see a seafoam green home on the beach, but your home doesn’t need to be surrounded by sand for seafoam green to work. Paired with bright white trim, seafoam green works well in any setting.
If you’re thinking about painting the exterior of your home, take a moment to consider a color combination that will make it pop. Hopefully, the exterior color combinations listed above give you some great inspiration.
1. Clean It OutThe key to achieving a successful pantry setup is to figure out what you have to work with. You can do this by cleaning the space out. Start at the ceiling and remove any cobwebs hanging in the corners and work your way down. Wipe shelving, and if you’re feeling ambitious, give them a fresh coat of paint. Finish by sweeping and mopping the floor. If you aren’t feeling particularly ambitious, simply clean the space and apply contact paper to the shelves.
2. Take Stock Of What You HaveOnce you’ve cleaned out your pantry, it’s time to take stock of what you have and what you need. Throw out expired food items and start a box for donations to your local food pantry of items you won’t be using. This is also the perfect time to rearrange the items in your pantry for convenience. For example, move seldom-used items to the back or to a lower shelf to make room for the things you use most within easy reach.
3. Make It Easy To See What You HaveYou can make things easier to find and create a beautiful display at the same time by switching out the mess of open boxes and bags for pretty, clear containers. For instance, baking ingredients like flour and sugar look great in clear mason jars while rice, beans, and other dry goods make for a pleasant display in tightly sealed plastic containers with lids.
4. Purchase Storage SolutionsOnce you’ve decided how you’ll organize your pantry, it’s time to purchase the storage solutions you’ll need. Your list may include things like mason jars, plastic containers, baskets, wire racks, spice racks, racks for plastic wrap and aluminum foil, etc.
5. Put Your Pantry Back TogetherNow that you’ve purged what you don’t need and have acquired the storage solutions that will work best for you, it’s time to put everything back together. Be sure to group like items together – sugar and flour with other baking ingredients, for example – and face canned goods forward for easy viewing. Keep arranging and rearranging until you have the pantry you’ve always dreamed of. A pantry is one of those areas in a home that’s used daily and often becomes a disorganized mess. To make it easier to find what you’re looking for and what you need to replace, follow the tips above to organize your pantry once and for all.
1. Tidy Those BookshelvesIf you have bookshelves in your home, it’s the ideal place to store things you don’t want others to see. Take a moment to organize the contents and then install a pull-down window shade to cover the section that contains the stuff you’d like to hide. The result is elegant – almost like it’s supposed to be that way.
2. Store Chargers And Other CablesIf you’re like most people, you have a drawer or basket full of tangled cables. Attempting to pull just one from the mass is nothing less than a 15-minute act of frustration. To remedy this headache, coil each cord into its own empty toilet paper roll and then toss the rolls into a basket or drawer for safekeeping.
3. Hide Clutter In The PlayroomKids’ playrooms are hard to keep organized. There’s so much stuff… If it seems like there isn’t enough room for everything in the playroom, try hiding what you can behind a good old-fashioned shower curtain. Install a shower curtain rod above a shelving unit and slide a coordinating shower curtain across the clutter to instantly hide it and make the room appear tidy.
4. Utilize The Space UnderneathYou can declutter a room quite easily if you utilize the space underneath the furniture. For instance, under the coffee table or the bed are great places to put things. Just add a skirted tablecloth over the top and you have instant storage nobody will notice.
5. Storage In The Laundry RoomHiding clutter in a small laundry room is challenging. The trick is to use coordinating baskets and/or bins to organize everything from dog food to trash bags. Give yourself extra space by installing shelves on the wall to hold the baskets so they aren’t taking up space on the floor.
6. Organize That PantryIs your pantry a crazy, disorganized mess of cans and boxes? Do you have no idea what’s expired and what’s not? Put that chaos to rest by creating a roll-out storage shelf that utilizes the space between the fridge and the wall. This handy DIY project lets you see at a glance what you have so you know what to add to your shopping list and what’s going to expire soon.
7. Under The BedUnder the bed is prime real estate for storage. All you need to do is purchase a couple of under the bed storage bins and you’re all set. To upgrade this decluttering hack, install some wheels on the bottoms of the bins for super-easy retrieval.
Clutter happens in almost every home. Whether the stuff is necessary or not so much, clutter can be exhausting to deal with. To get rid of clutter – or make it appear like you have – try the clever storage hacks listed above.
Watch the Market CloselyWhether you’re a buyer or a seller, you should watch the market closely for going trends and conditions that could be favorable to your situation. Knowing what’s popular at the time, in addition to the supply and demand in the area you’re buying or selling, are great negotiating tools.
Having said this, it’s important to note here that even if the market isn’t favorable at the time you’re selling, you could still have the upper hand in negotiations. For instance, if you are selling a nice house in a popular neighborhood where few houses are up for sale, you have leeway to negotiate a higher asking price because the supply of properties for sale in the area does not meet demand.
Know Who Holds All the Cards WhenAs the real estate deal progresses, the person with the most negotiating power changes. For example, at the beginning of negotiations, the buyer holds all the cards. As the deal moves forward, however, the buyer loses some of the power, until ultimately, the seller has all the power because he chooses the buyer with the offer and terms that best suit his needs.
Get the Best DealsIn a real estate deal, both the buyer and seller look for ways to save the most money. For the buyer, negotiating a good deal means getting the lowest transaction costs possible through concessions offered by the seller. For the seller, a good deal means selling the property without having to give any concessions at all.
The Financial Side of ThingsSecure financing is important to both the buyer and the seller. Without pre-approved financing in place, a buyer may not qualify for financing. For the seller, it may be hard to close a deal if the buyer isn’t pre-approved. Having secured financing in place ensures both parties can proceed with the transaction.
Know the Going Interest RatesLow interest rates are beneficial to both buyers and sellers. Buyers are looking for the lowest interest rates possible, as well as the lowest down payment, too. For a seller, lower interest rates encourage buyers, which increases demand for properties. The higher the demand for a property, the more negotiating power a seller has.
Don’t Underestimate the Other PartyWhile expertise and experience surely give a leg up in any transaction, it’s important to never underestimate the other party. Even with the most financial backing and best representation, an underdog could come along and negotiate a better deal no one ever saw coming.
How to Act When NegotiatingWhen negotiating a real estate bargain, keep the following behavioral aspects in mind.
- Negotiate face-to-face – Meeting face-to-face and speaking directly with the other party allows you to react appropriately and build a rapport with them.
- Be assertive – Let the other party know it won’t be easy to con you by asking knowledgeable questions and stating informed facts about market trends.
- Be polite – Mind your manners and speak politely when negotiating. Be prepared to walk away if the deal doesn’t suit you or you feel pressured, as it’s your right to do so.
- Be flexible – You may go into a deal with a certain plan but be prepared to alter that plan to seal the deal. It would be a shame to miss an opportunity because you’re unwilling to budge a little bit on the financial side of things.
Be Careful What You Put Down the DrainsOne of the biggest culprits of slow-moving and clogged drains and pipes is not being careful of what goes down them. Grease is probably the most problematic substance people allow to go down the drain. While it’s easy to assume the liquid goes through the pipes as water does, the reality is it actually solidifies quickly and collects in specific spots along the way. As it builds up, it causes problems. Luckily, grease is the easiest drain problem to deal with since you have total control of whether it goes down the drain or not. Rather than pour grease down the drain as you’re cooking, collect it instead in an old coffee can that you throw away once it’s full.
Run Hot WaterOne of the easiest ways to help your drains stay clear is to get in the habit of running hot water down them after each use. While oils and other substances can settle, hot water keeps things moving along nicely. All you have to do to ensure your drains stay clear is turn the hot water on and let it run in the sink for a moment or two.
Use Baking Soda and VinegarIf you have a slow-moving drain or there’s a foul odor coming from the pipes, use vinegar and baking soda to clear it up. Simply pour a quarter-cup of baking soda in the drain and follow it up with a cup of white vinegar. The combination creates a volatile reaction that foams inside the pipes to clear the offending clog or buildup. Let the combo do its job for 15 minutes and then run hot water down the drain for a few seconds. This natural drain cleaner can be used regularly to keep your pipes clean and fresh. Your home’s pipes are very important. When they don’t work as they should, it’s very inconvenient and unhealthy. Use the tips mentioned above to keep your drains and pipes in tip-top shape.
Who Needs to know?The list of people who should know that you’ve moved can be rather lengthy so be sure to make a list. Find your holiday greeting card list to be sure you’ve included family and friends. Next, include all your doctors, dentist, optometrist, etc. Your child’s school and any regular services such as lawn care or cleaning services should go next. Lastly, jot down magazines, newspapers, and even the IRS.
When to Notify EveryoneThe postal service suggests putting in a change of address no later than two weeks before you move. The ideal time to do this, however, is about three months before you move. Since the postal service will continue to forward your mail for 12 months, this gives you plenty of time to notify everyone on your list.
How to Notify EveryoneHow you notify the people on your list is up to you. If it’s close friends or family, you can simply pick up the phone to relay your new contact info. Many creditors have a place on their monthly statements for you to enter your new address and phone number. Alternately, there are post cards available at the post office for you to fill out and send in the mail to notify others of your impending move.
What You NeedWhen you contact people you have accounts with, be sure you have your new address and phone number handy, as well as account numbers, an email address, and any other information that may help them identify you and your account.
What to do After You MoveIf you receive any forwarded pieces of mail, contact the sender to verify they have your new address on file. It could be that the change simply hasn’t had time to process in their system or that they didn’t receive your new contact information. Keep an eye open for your forwarded mail in about 7 to 10 days after you move in.
Moving is a chaotic event with lots of things to do. Use the tips above to easily change your address with the people who need it most.
1. Replace The SkirtingWhen most people think about updating a room, they don’t usually consider the skirting to be of much importance. This is a mistake as updating the baseboards around the floor can make a big difference. Changing the skirting is relatively easy, especially once you get the old boards off. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this, so be sure to Google skirting removal to learn the easiest way to do it. Visit your local home improvement store or go online to websites to find your new baseboards. Before you install them, though, consider updating the flooring first.
2. Restore Hardwood FloorsIf you’re lucky enough to have real hardwood floors in your home, you can give the rooms a fresh, new look simply by refinishing the wood. With the baseboards removed, this job is easier than ever, especially if you rent a professional sanding machine. Alternately, if your budget allows, you can hire a professional contractor to do the job for you.
3. Install Laminate FlooringLaminate flooring is probably the easiest way to renew the flooring in any room of your home. With a huge array of colors and designs available, you’re sure to find something to complement the décor in any room.
The main thing to remember when choosing laminate flooring is to be sure to get the right type for the room it’s going in. For example, if you’re installing it in the bathroom, be sure to choose one that’s designed to withstand dampness, so it lasts for many years to come.
Whether it’s the kitchen, bathroom, or a child’s bedroom, the floor has a huge impact on the look and feel of the room. As such, it makes sense that if you want to give the room a fresh new look, you should give careful consideration to the flooring in the room. From refinishing existing hardwood floors to installing laminate or some other flooring material, renewing the floor will update the look and feel of any room in your home.
So when it comes to remodeling your kitchen, you have a lot of options in terms of layouts and features. It can seem overwhelming, but below, we discuss several layouts and what you can expect with each so you can choose one that suits your needs best.
The IslandIslands in kitchens are popular as they not only add interest to the room but also functionality. They work well in large kitchens with plenty of space to maneuver around. Kitchen islands can be stand-alone versions where food prep takes place or part of a bigger unit such as a wall or half-wall for additional vertical storage and interest.
Single & Double Galley KitchensGalley kitchens are known for their compact layouts that put everything within easy reach. In a single-galley kitchen, the cabinets, appliances, and countertops are all strategically placed on one wall. In a double-galley kitchen, all the elements of the room are placed on two walls that run parallel and opposite each other.
If space is a concern, the single-galley kitchen works well, while a double-galley kitchen is best suited for rooms that are longer than they are wide.
An L-Shaped KitchenL-shaped kitchens feature the sink and cooking areas on different sides of the “L.” This design is especially great in smaller kitchens where family members love cooking together as it gives ample space for everyone to work.
U-Shaped KitchenCommon in open floor plans where the dining room and kitchen are one big space, the U-shaped kitchen helps divide the area into two separate rooms. The U-shaped kitchen can also be used in smaller kitchens to provide ample storage and workspace, but it can also give a feeling of being closed in. In this instance, open shelving helps reduce the closed-in feeling.
You have many options when it comes to kitchen layouts, so if you’re planning a kitchen remodel, be sure you understand the differences between them so you can choose the one that works best with the space you have and your particular needs.
Advantages Of Paying Down Your Mortgage
1. You’ll Pay Less Interest Over The Life Of The LoanEveryone knows interest is calculated by the amount and the length of a loan. That being said, the less time you take paying a loan off, the less interest you end up paying. Even though it’s a well-known fact, not everyone realizes the astronomical savings this amounts to when it comes to a mortgage loan.
Here’s an example. If you have a $100,000, 30-year mortgage with a 4.5 percent interest rate, and you pay an extra $100 every month, you will save $26,377.36 in interest over the life of the loan.
This fact alone is enough of a reason to pay down a mortgage, but here’s another.
2. You’ll Pay Off The Loan And Build Equity FasterObviously, if you pay more each month, you’ll pay the loan off faster. Using the example above, you would shave 8 ½ years off the length of your loan, which helps you quickly build equity you can use later on.
3. You Have More OptionsWhen you pay extra toward your mortgage, it opens doors that would otherwise be closed to you. For instance, you would be able to take out a home equity line of credit that gives you fast cash for just about anything you need.
As a general rule, you can’t get a home equity line of credit on an investment property, but you still have flexibility when it comes to who you rent to once the property is paid off. You could let someone stay rent-free if you wish because you don’t have to worry about making mortgage payments anymore.
4. You Can Refinance Easily For A Lower Interest RateThis advantage is most useful once the property is paid off, but even before that happens, paying extra sets you up for easy refinancing at lower interest rates to save yourself even more money.
Disadvantages Of Paying Down Your MortgageNow that you understand the advantages of making extra payments to pay your mortgage, it’s important you also understand the downside to making those extra payments. Every mortgage is unique, so you’ll have to weigh your options before deciding whether to put extra cash toward paying yours off early.
1. You May Sacrifice LiquiditySometimes it’s smart to hold onto your cash. There are instances where paying extra towards your mortgage principal does nothing to increase your cash flow. Here’s an example.
You are a real estate investor with multiple rental properties. You have $10,000 in your investment checking account, and all your properties have paying tenants. You have a total of $600,000 debt, but your lowest loan is just $30,000. Do you put that $10,000 toward paying down that lowest loan? Maybe not.
If that loan is a fixed-rate loan, paying down 1/3 of it won’t lower your payments, which does nothing to increase your cash flow. Yes, it decreases the length of the loan, but as an investor, you’re in it to make money, so it makes no sense to use that money to pay down the loan.
2. You Don’t Qualify For Tax BreaksWhen you pay interest on a mortgage, you can write that amount off on your taxes. The less interest you pay, the less of a tax break you get.
3. You Miss Investment OpportunitiesPutting your extra cash toward paying down a mortgage takes capital away from future investment opportunities. If you are trying to build a real estate investment company, you need any extra cash for new investment properties.
As you can see, there are several great advantages to making extra payments to pay your mortgage. On the flip side, there are a few reasons you may not want to, too. Assess your situation and decide if it makes sense to use your extra cash to pay down your mortgage.
1. Real Estate AgentThe real estate agent is often the first person a buyer or seller sees. This real estate professional’s job is to negotiate the best terms for whomever he or she is working. The real estate agent also helps their clients through the legal requirements of the buying or selling process.
For investors with multiple properties for rent, real estate agents can help you set prices and find qualified renters. In some cases, a real estate agent will also screen potential tenants, field phone calls, and show your properties.
2. Home AppraiserThe home appraiser works for the lender. This real estate expert takes into account several factors including a comparison of the home with similar ones in the area that have recently sold, the cost of the home, and the income potential of the home before presenting the lender with a price for the property. Other factors an appraiser looks at is the size of the home, its condition, and the condition of the surrounding neighborhood.
3. Home InspectorA home inspector looks at every nook and cranny of a property and gives a detailed report of his or her findings for the buyer. Any offer to purchase should be contingent on the inspector’s report. A home inspector looks at major aspects of a home such as its electrical wiring, plumbing, heating/cooling, as well as the roof, walls, floors, windows, and doors.
4. Insurance AgentEvery mortgage requires the borrower to have homeowners insurance in place. The policy protects the owner from loss in the event of things like natural disaster, accidents, and lawsuits. Not all homeowner’s insurance policies are created equal, so it’s important you have a knowledgeable insurance agent on your side. This person can ensure you have sufficient coverage for both common and not-so-common mishaps. If you’re a landlord, an insurance agent can make sure your policy covers things like problematic tenants as well.
5. Loan OfficerA loan officer works for the lender, but it’s his or her job to help you qualify for a loan. This real estate professional gathers personal information from you such as your income, your employment status, and other qualifying information to determine whether you have the ability to pay back a loan. If you have less-than-perfect credit, the loan officer tells you what you need to do to fix it in order to qualify for a loan in the future. A loan officer also helps you get pre-qualified for a loan, which presents you as a serious buyer in the eyes of sellers and real estate agents.
6. Mortgage LenderThe mortgage lender uses the recommendation of the loan officer in deciding whether to grant you a mortgage loan or not. Based on the loan officer’s opinion that you can, and will, pay the loan back, the mortgage lender provides qualifying buyers with the money they need to purchase property. A mortgage lender can be a bank, a savings and loan institution, a credit union, or some other financial institution that lends money.
Whether you’re buying or selling a single home, or you’re an investor buying and/or selling multiple properties, the real estate professionals above are vital to being successful. Gather a team of these experts that you can count on every single time.
1. Let the Property AppreciateDepending on the market, your home could appreciate quickly or slowly. For example, if you bought a home in 2016 for $185,000 with a down payment of $12,050, you would have started out with about 7-percent equity. Since market values rose steadily over the next two years, the equity in your home would have also risen to a whopping 23 percent by 2018.
2. Make a Big Down PaymentWhile making a bigger down payment definitely enables you to build equity faster, it’s wise to exercise caution with this method. Saving for a larger down payment may cause you to have to wait to purchase a home, which can cause you to miss out on market appreciation. It’s best to find a good balance between down payment, monthly commitments, and savings.
3. Put Windfalls of Money Toward Your MortgageWhen you come into lump sums of money, put them toward your mortgage to bring down the principal faster. When you make these lump sum payments, ask your lender if they are willing to recalculate your monthly payments based on the lower balance due.
4. Pay Your Mortgage Bi-WeeklyDivide your mortgage payment in half and pay it every two weeks instead of once a month. If you follow this payment schedule for a full year, you will end up paying 13 monthly mortgage payments instead of 12. This will cut 5 or 6 years off the length of your mortgage, building equity in your home faster and saving you tons of money in interest.
5. Take Out a Shorter Mortgage TermMost people opt for the traditional 30-year mortgage, which makes paying the monthly payments much easier. You can build equity much faster, however, by opting for a 15-year mortgage term instead.
There are two potential problems with a 15-year mortgage term, however. The first is that it may make it more difficult to make the monthly payments since they will be twice as high, and the second issue is that it’s much harder to qualify for a shorter mortgage term.
6. Make Improvements and Upgrades to Your HomeIncreasing your home’s value through improvements and upgrades will build equity. Keep in mind, however, that simply adding a coat of paint won’t be enough. Big renovations like a new kitchen or adding extra rooms or additional bathrooms will up the value of your home and build equity in it swiftly. Just be sure the improvements you make will be worth it once they’re complete.
As a homeowner, you should be working toward building equity in your home. From allowing the property to appreciate on its own to making home improvements and more, you can build wealth by building equity in your home.
With that said, no great room is truly great without a little TLC. Below, we divulge a few suggestions that are sure to make your great room… well… great!
Light And Bright Is KeyTo make your great room look and feel large and open, keeping it light and bright is key. If you’re building an open floor plan into your home, be sure the great room has plenty of windows to allow as much natural light to flood the space as possible.
Of course, you’ll want to add the appropriate window coverings to filter and block the light as needed for things like TV viewing or to keep that hot afternoon sun at bay.
Make The Tv Part Of The DecorNo great room is complete without a TV, and of course, it’ll need to be strategically placed for proper Netflix watching on the weekends. With that said, consider mounting the TV on the wall as if it were a piece of artwork. Build its placement into the surrounding wall décor so it looks to be a part of the décor and not something out of place.
If your great room includes a fireplace, consider hanging a low-profile large-screen TV above it for an impressive and interesting display.
Multi-purpose FurnishingsA great room is designed to be multi-functional with many activities taking place there at any given time. In one area, someone may be watching TV, while across the room, someone else may be doing homework at the dining table.
Keep this in mind as you choose furniture for your great room. The upholstered dining chairs you love may not be a practical fit if the dining table will be used for messy activities like crafting, so think about this and choose furniture that fits your and your family’s needs best.
Your home’s great room can be anything you want it to be. That’s the beauty of the space. Follow the tips above to make it the greatest room possible.
The list below outlines six of the most important items you need in your cleaning kit to get great results every time you clean.
1. All-Purpose CleanerIf you only have one cleaning product in your cleaning kit, make sure it’s an all-purpose cleaner. The name says it all.
All-purpose cleaners work great on a variety of surfaces, so you can take them room to room to tackle a wide range of jobs. They work especially well in the kitchen and bathroom as they often contain germ-fighting ingredients that sanitize surfaces as they clean.
2. Glass CleanerShiny surfaces such as windows, mirrors, shower doors, and faucets require a special kind of clean – one that doesn’t leave streaks. Glass cleaner is the perfect product for these surfaces as it leaves behind a shiny finish. Be sure you choose a good brand of glass cleaner, though, as cheaper brands tend to leave streaks behind.
3. Furniture PolishDusting is a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Make sure your home cleaning kit contains furniture polish and a soft dusting cloth so you can clean all your furnishings quickly and easily. Don’t forget to dust your wooden furniture, any shelving in the room, and all of the end tables to really make the space feel clean and fresh.
4. Rubber GlovesHousehold cleaners are full of nasty things that can, at the very least, dry out your skin. At worst, they can cause allergic reactions or illness. It’s always a good idea to wear rubber gloves when working with any cleaning solutions. Besides protecting your hands from harsh chemicals, the gloves will also keep all that dirt, grime, and who-knows-what-else from coming into contact with your skin.
5. Paper TowelPaper towel comes in handy for a lot of different cleaning jobs, but it is especially useful when cleaning glass surfaces. Paper towel not only dries the surface as you wipe, but it also removes any smears and/or streaks as well. An alternative to using paper towel if you’re an avid newspaper reader is crumpled-up newspaper.
Newspaper works as well as, if not better than, paper towel to clean windows and mirrors, so be sure to repurpose your papers after reading them for a greener alternative.
6. Cleaning WipesOften considered a shortcut, cleaning wipes are nice when you don’t have a lot of time to do a deep-down clean. Since most contain anti-bacterial ingredients, they work well in bathrooms and kitchens for wiping down surfaces quickly. Keep a container of cleaning wipes handy in your kit and do a quick swipe when unexpected guests are knocking at your door.
Cleaning the house can be an arduous chore. With the right cleaning supplies, however, it is much easier and faster. Put together a home cleaning kit for your house that includes the six important items listed above for a convenient way to get the job done.
The FurnitureHow your home is furnished makes a big difference in how buyers perceive it. If your furniture is old and drab, that’s how they will see the home. The good news is you don’t have to rush out and purchase all new furniture just to sell your home. Instead, there are firms you can hire to bring in modern furnishings to make your home look bright, fresh, and clean.
The FloorsIt’s important the floors in your home look as clean and shiny as possible. If your floors are worn in spots, you can cover it with rugs. If the flooring is badly worn or stained, it might make more sense to replace it. You can buy cheap flooring that might not necessarily be to your liking, but if it helps your home sell, it’s worth it.
Wall DécorTake some time to update your wall décor. Bright, bold artwork looks best, but you don’t need to spend a great deal of money to acquire it. Simply visit your local thrift store and pick out a few artsy pieces to hang on the walls while your house is on the market.
ClutterIt is vital that you get rid of anything that might be viewed as clutter. All those knick-knacks you’re so fond of are just clutter to the next person. If your closets are jammed full of stuff, clean them out and place everything you don’t need in storage until the home sells. If your rooms are full of wall-to-wall furniture, remove all but the most important pieces to allow buyers to see the potential for the space.
The Outside of Your HomeCurb appeal is most important as it’s the first impression a buyer gets when he arrives at your home. Tidy up the yard, cut the grass, trim the bushes, and paint the front door to put the outside of your home in the best shape possible. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
If you are selling your home, how it appears to others in person and online in photos makes the difference between it selling fast or it sitting on the market for weeks or even months. Take the time to stage your home right so it sells as quickly as possible.
Are Neutral Colors The Answer?Each color has the ability to generate either positive or negative feelings. It’s important then, to choose a color that not only enhances the appearance of your home but also evokes positive emotions.
Many homeowners feel that painting the walls a neutral color is the answer. While it does enable the buyer to easily envision his belongings in your home, neutral colors can be boring, especially when the buyer has already seen several houses all painted in shades of neutral. Primary and secondary colors also make great wall colors, too.
What Do Primary Colors Say?Reds
Although the color red is a strong color with a reputation for boosting self-confidence, it can be overwhelming for homebuyers. Often used in restaurants to stimulate appetite, red used in a home can be over-stimulating and agitating.
Pink, on the other hand, is a nice choice since it is soothing and promotes understanding. However, as pink is considered a feminine color, it could be off-putting to male buyers.
Almost every shade of blue instills a positive impression. Dark blues are thoughtful and promote concentration, while lighter blues bring about tranquility. Aqua blues are also a good choice since they also help with deep thinking.
Yellow is a great color because it boosts brain function, stimulates intelligence, and enhances focus. Brighter shades, however, may distract and overwhelm homebuyers, especially if they are used on large walls.
How Do Homebuyers Perceive Secondary Colors?Oranges
Orange is a positive color as its cheerful nature is associated with celebration and youth. It instills confidence and creativity. Although orange is a great color choice, it can be a distraction if used too much throughout the home.
Add an elite vibe to your home by painting the walls purple. Darker shades are often associated with royalty or celebrities, while softer shades such as lavender foster humanity and encourages connectivity.
Shades of green tend to evoke feelings of wealth. Whether it’s wealth of well-being or money, darker shades of green give the impression of stability, good health, and rejuvenation. Shy away from bright greens, however, as too much isn’t always a good thing.
As a final note, it’s always a good idea to paint your home’s walls when selling to get rid of any scratches and nicks that make them look shabby. A fresh coat of paint, no matter the color, always gives a fresh, new life to old walls and, barring any off-the-wall color choices, promotes a positive first impression for prospective buyers.
If you’re selling your home, pay close attention to the four mistakes to avoid below so you don’t end up with the short end of the stick.
1. Asking The Wrong Price For Your HouseIt can be difficult knowing what price to set for your home. Several factors go into the price including the appraisal, the current market, and more. To ensure you’re setting a fair price for your home, it’s important to do a little homework to find out what similar homes in the area are selling for. This information, along with your home’s appraisal will help you set an asking price that will attract potential buyers and get you the most money for your home.
2. Not Taking Advantage Of Social Media MarketingIf you think a simple sign in your front yard is enough to sell your home, you’re sadly mistaken. You never know who is moving to your area from somewhere else in the world, so your marketing scheme needs to span wider than just your local market.
Use social media to post your house for sale. Be sure to include high-quality photos that illustrate your home at its best. Outdoor pictures should feature a well-kempt yard and landscaping, while the indoor shots need to highlight the best things about the house.
For example, if your home has a lot of natural lighting, daytime pictures are a must. Avoid posting photos of untidy or cluttered spaces. To that end, it’s best to de-clutter and clean before even putting your house on the market.
3. Not Making Much-Needed RepairsNothing turns buyers off more than walking into a house in need of obvious repair. Unless a buyer is looking for a fixer-upper (most aren’t), it’s best to make sure all maintenance and repairs are done before ever showing the house.
Put a fresh coat of paint on the walls if they are peeling or stained. Clean out the gutters and have the roof repaired, if need be. Anything you can do to improve the appearance of the home will greatly improve your chances of selling it faster and for a much higher price.
4. Not Being Hospitable To Potential BuyersThe more hospitable you are to potential buyers, the more likely they will be to strike a deal on your home. It’s called common courtesy, and everyone that enters your home deserves it.
Welcome homebuyers to your home and provide cold drinks and snacks. Avoid following them as they walk through your home as it makes most people uncomfortable. Give them plenty of time to look at the house on their own, and when they are finished, be sure to thank them for looking.
Selling a house can be exhausting work and many homeowners make mistakes that could cost them dearly. Follow the tips above to avoid making some of the more common mistakes when selling your own home.
1. Be Reasonable about the Price from the BeginningWhether it’s to make a profit or the outstanding balance is more than the property is worth, many sellers think starting high and then lowering the asking price later if it doesn’t sell is a smart thing to do. The reality is, this tactic can result in the house sitting on the market for longer because buyers and agents just don’t think you’re serious about selling. If you have time to wait, by all means, start high and see what happens. However, if you need to sell your house now, set a reasonable price from the beginning, and there’s a good chance you’ll sell within the first 30 days.
2. Up Your Home’s Curb AppealFirst impressions are everything, and prospective buyers form a strong opinion about your home the moment they pull into the driveway. Take the time to update landscaping and take care of any repairs to the outside of the home that will make it look better. What buyers see on the outside sets their expectations for what they will see on the inside.
3. Give Your Home A Modern MakeoverYour home may be lovely and well-kept, but if its décor is outdated, it will deter buyers. You can update your home’s interior cheaply and easily by updating fixtures and giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. Your goal is to make your home stand up against the market’s current conditions and what’s in style at the moment.
4. Give Buyers A Chance To ImagineWhen a prospective buyer walks into your home, you want them to be able to picture themselves in it. In order for this to happen, you have to remove as much of yourself from it as possible. Take down family photos and remove any religious items. Give it a good deep cleaning (carpets, windows, etc.) or hire a cleaning company to do it for you. Lastly, get rid of as much of the clutter as possible to make rooms look and feel bigger. This may require you to rent a storage unit to keep your belongings in while your home is on the market.
Bonus: Be Courteous and AccommodatingPeople looking to buy a home aren’t all on the same schedule. If you aren’t accommodating, you could be missing out on the perfect buyer for your home. Be prepared to show your house in the early morning or later in the evening, and always leave when someone is looking at your home so they can openly discuss their feelings about it without feeling like intruders.
Many homeowners put their homes on the market with the hopes that the property will sell quickly. For many, this doesn’t happen. To help you find a buyer for your home quickly, use the four tips on how to sell your home fast listed above.