Posts Tagged ‘Real Estate’

4 Ways A Little Paint Can Revitalize Your Home

April 19, 2019

4 Ways A Little Paint Can Revitalize Your HomeFixing up your home doesn’t have to be a budget-breaker. You can revitalize the look of your property with a little bit of paint in the right places.

Here are some areas that will really stand out to visitors or prospective home buyers.

1. Front Door

The front door always makes the first impression on visitors to your home. Remember that while they are waiting to enter your home, potential buyers have nothing to do except get a good look at your front door. For maximum impact, paint the front door a contrasting color to your house color. If budget allows, add a new door knocker and door knob.

2. Shutters

Vinyl shutters are very affordable when you buy them online. Before you hang them, use a spray paint gun to paint them in a matching color with your front door, or a contrasting color to your house color. 

3. Interior Trim

If your home still has bare wood trim throughout, consider painting it. This will instantly modernize your home since exposed wood trim tends to date a house. The best trim color is actually a creamy shade – not white. White trim can come off as a little harsh, and your goal in most cases is to make your home look as warm as possible.

Based on the results after painting the trim, you may find that you don’t even need to worry about repainting the walls. Instead, just spot clean walls in areas where they most need it.

4. Statement Wall

Another way that a little paint can revitalize your home for sale is to paint just one wall in a room with a contrasting color. This is commonly called a “statement wall” because it helps define the room and make a big impact on guests.

Note that oil-based paint leaves a residual odor for quite some time. If your home is being listed soon, you’re probably better off using acrylic paint. Consult with your paint store representative for details. 

These projects can all be accomplished by anyone who’s a little bit handy around the home. With a little paint and some elbow grease, your home will be picture perfect.

If you are interested in refinancing your home or accessing some of your equity for home improvement projects, contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

 

 

 

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Can You Really Buy Off-Planet Real Estate?

April 17, 2019

Can You Really Buy Off-Planet Real EstateReal estate agents are constantly looking for new listings, which will attract potential buyers. We no longer need to limit our search for good listings to planet Earth because Mars is now for sale.

Although this may sound a bit far-fetched at first, it is not such a strange concept if you consider the serious efforts being made to colonize Mars with the commercial efforts by companies like Space X. There is a company, called Lunar Land, which is already selling acres of land on Mars as a novelty.

Historical Precedent

Off-planet land sales have already had considerable success for those crazy enough to sell titles to land on the Moon. Lunar Embassy, which started in 1980, claims to have sold 2.5 million acres of the Moon for about $20 per acre. That’s $50 million in revenues.

This happened in spite of the Outer Space Treaty, which was signed by the US, the UK, and the Soviet Union. The treaty went into force according to Earth’s laws on October 10, 1967. Currently (February 2019), there are 108 countries who signed the treaty and 23 more who signed it but have not yet legally ratified it in their home country.

There is a loophole. There are 195 countries in the world. That means 64 are not a party to the Outer Space Treaty. Any of these countries can legally lay claim to any off-planet real estate according to their own country’s laws.

It’s A Fad Now That Becomes A Reality In The Future

Buying acres of land on Mars is really a fun fad. It has symbolic value but really has no practical value to earthbound persons. In a few decades, this may change.

The estimates by SpaceNews are that it will cost $230 billion to establish a human outpost on Mars with the target date of 2035. Each resupply mission, once every three years thereafter, will cost about $142 billion. The total cost to start the colonization of Mars is about $1.5 trillion.

Mars has about 35 billion acres. That means a commercial colonization program can “own” Mars for only $42.85 per acre.

The Mars Experience On Earth

One way to make this fantasy of colonizing Mars more real is to set up a practice project on Earth. We searched and found the worst, cheapest land in the United States. It is available for purchase at a mere $50 per acre. It is the worst kind of remote desert land with horrific conditions and no natural resources. However, even with the worst Earth conditions, it is a paradise compared to the challenge of living on Mars.

Some clever entrepreneur should create the Mars Habitat on Earth and invite participation to buy land and habitation in a project that develops a workable living space that is self-contained in these harsh desert areas on Earth.

If you are interested in buying a property here on Earth, contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

Home Maintenance Tips: How to Organize Your Garage

April 16, 2019

Home Maintenance Tips How to Organize Your GaragePerhaps you plan to sell your home in the next few months or years. Keeping your garage organized can save time and ensure that you have storage space when you need it most.

Get Your Purge On!

Clear out the garage and separate items into categories: keep, trash, donate and recycle. If you get rid of 50 percent of your stuff, you’re doing great. The more you can get rid of up front, the less you have to organize! And if you haven’t used it in years, why would you need to keep it around?

Create Zones

Map out space with masking tape, starting with where your vehicles go. Mask out where you can put heavy-duty shelves for tools, sports equipment and other stored items. Also, you can maximize storage by building cabinets or shelving from floor to ceiling.

Buying clear bins in various sizes and interlocking shapes helps you stay organized. When you store like items together, it’s much easier to find them, especially if everything is properly labeled.

Think strategically. If your garage doubles as a workshop, include space for a workbench. If you bike every day, hang your wheels on the wall near the garage door. Additionally, remember to include garbage and recycling bins near the door for easy access. 

Organizational Supplies
With the zones mapped, it’s time to get organized. For example, store shovels, rakes and brooms in a large trashcan. Meanwhile, sporting equipment such as bats, balls, skateboards and protective pads can go into larger bins, on shelves or inside lockers. Pegboards provide a versatile way to hang tools you use the most.

A cabinet that locks protects children and pets from hazardous materials like chemicals, paint and cleaning supplies. Meanwhile, constructing long open shelves of wood or metal gives you plenty of support for heavy storage bins, while a rolling cabinet lets you move craft supplies or gardening implements.

Storing Small Stuff

What can you do with screws, nails, hooks, nuts and myriad small items on a limited budget? Repurposed glass containers or mason jars let you see contents clearly while recycling. Use tin cans for screwdrivers and paint brushes. 

Once your garage is neat and clean, you may find yourself spending more time there. You might even have enough room for a home office or craft corner. A well-planned organizational strategy helps you keep it that way. 

If you are interested in buying a new property or refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

 

When Is The Best Time To Do Your Roof Maintenance?

April 12, 2019

When Is The Best Time To Do Your Roof MaintenancePerform roof maintenance on sunny days when there’s less chance of slipping. Blocking off a weekend twice a year gives you plenty of time to complete the items below without rushing or taking unnecessary risks. The beginning of spring and fall present the best opportunities to complete your maintenance before the weather turns too hot or too cold.

Loose Debris Removal

Remove leaves, branches and accumulated debris before winter sets in. Set up a ladder, preferably with another person holding the ladder steady, and clean off as much debris as possible without risking your safety.

General Inspection

Start in the attic or crawl space by looking for ceiling stains. This may indicate water seepage that can compromise your home. Examine the roof in those areas to find loose, lifted or missing shingles that you have to replace. Then, examine the rest of the shingles for mold, worn spots, peeling or cracks. Also, check for missing flashing. 

If you don’t feel comfortable doing the repairs yourself, this is still a valuable exercise. You’ll know what to expect and can avoid charges for unnecessary repairs.

Moss And Mold

You can buy roof moss remover at most home improvement stores. Follow the instructions for best results. After the solution has had time to set, gently brush away the mold and moss, using a soft-bristled broom or wide brush. Try to avoid spray-washing shingles to preserve the UV-blocking granules on their surface.

Facia, Downspouts And Gutters
Protect your hands with heavy rubber gloves and remove debris with a scoop to make the work go quickly. Then, gently scrub dirt and grime from the fascias. Spray each area with a garden hose so that you can check for peeling paint or missing caulk. Re-paint and caulk these areas as needed and note any damage you’d feel more comfortable leaving to a professional. 

Chimneys, Skylights And Vents

Start by closing off your fireplace and cleaning any creosote from the chimney with a hard-bristled brush. Inspect the chimney for missing or cracked bricks. If you do the repairs yourself, remember to treat the chimney afterward with a water-repellent sealant. Inspect and clean vent outlets and skylights using a roof safety harness for steep inclines.

This may seem like a lot of work, but it can save you thousands of dollars by avoiding critical repairs due to negligence.

Replacing a roof can be a costly project. If you find that it’s better to replace than repair, it might be a good time to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to talk about accessing some of the equity in your home with a cash out refinance or a home equity line of credit.

Staging Your Home: Here Are Your Self-Storage Options

April 10, 2019

Staging Your Home Here Are Your Self-Storage OptionsIf you’re staging your home to sell, you may find yourself with more stuff than space. Rather than selling possessions that you’d rather not part with, you can put your things into short-term storage until your home sells and you’re able to move.

Here are some options you have when choosing and using a self storage unit.

Climate Controlled Or Not

Climate controlled units are located inside buildings. They could be compared to an apartment building, except instead of housing people, these storage buildings house belongings. Inside, they are powered with electricity and a temperature control that is temperate.

The advantage of a climate controlled storage unit is that your possessions won’t get above average hot or below average cold. If you plan to store certain items that are temperature sensitive, such as photographs, antique wood furniture or heirloom paintings, a climate controlled unit is a must.

Self storage units that are not climate controlled are typically located in garage-like buildings with a garage door opening that is open to the outside. There is usually no electricity or power inside the unit, so if you want to visit at night or on a dark day you’ll need to bring a flashlight.

There is no temperature control, so whatever the temperature is outside, it will be similar inside the unit. Depending on the climate you live in, it could get freezing inside the unity or extremely hot. If you’re planning on storing things that can withstand extreme temperatures, like a small motor vehicle, clothing or kitchen goods, you could opt for a unit like this.

Ground Level Or Above

Climate controlled storage buildings usually have more than one floor. Often, the ground level units are considered to be more convenient, so the rental rate may be higher than those on a higher floor. If you choose a ground level unit, you’ll be able to access your unit without navigating up and down an elevator for every trip back and forth to your car.

Units on higher floors will have access via a freight elevator. The freight elevator will be large enough to hold even your larger furnishings, such as couches, bureaus and desks. You’ll still be able to use a hand truck to cart your belongings, but you’ll have the disadvantage of having to wait for the elevator since other renters will also be using it.

Knowing these things ahead of time will help you make your decision about what kind of self storage unit to rent. No matter which one you choose, you can rest assured that your belongings will be safe and sound until you’re ready to bring them to your new home.

If your house is on the market, it’s important to plan ahead for your next home purchase. Be sure to meet with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss your best financing options.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with These DIY Home Projects

April 5, 2019

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with These DIY Home ProjectsYour carbon footprint is the measure of your impact on the earth’s natural resources. This number describes the amount of fossil fuel it takes to support your lifestyle. In the United States, each person produces an average of 19.78 tons of carbon dioxide every year. A high carbon footprint means your daily habits are a quickening drain on our finite resources. 

Homeowners can use these DIY projects to reduce the effect of their lifestyle on the environment.

Try Solar Solutions

A residential solar system gathers photo-voltaic energy from the sun and converts it into usable electrical current. Once installed, any energy your system produces is essentially free. However, the initial investment for a residential solar system to power your entire home can be prohibitively high. There are some ways to use solar power without a large upfront investment.

  • Take advantage of state and federal incentives to lower your out-of-pocket costs.
  • Opt for individual appliances like solar water heaters or solar lighting.
  • Talk to your utility provider about existing programs that allow you to sell back your excess power for bill credits.

You could also get your neighbor involved and build a neighborhood solar bank for charging batteries and electric vehicles.

Plant A Vegetable And Herb Garden

Food transportation is one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gases. Reduce your impact even further by growing some of your own food. Use containers, shelves, or construct a hanging wall garden to keep your home supplied with salad greens, tomatoes, and herbs of all kinds. Having a garden means fewer trips to the grocery store, which saves our supplies of natural gas.

Install A Clothesline

Skip the gas-powered appliances and hang your freshly washed laundry out on a clothesline to dry. When the weather is nice, your clothes will come back in with a sweet scent you can’t get anywhere else. And instead of spending the time staring at a spinning machine, you get the added benefit of fitting a little extra exercise into your day. You don’t have to completely ditch your dryer. Save it for rainy days or other unfriendly weather conditions.

Lowering your carbon footprint doesn’t have to be a big life change. Start with small steps and slowly build your property in an earth-friendly fortress.

If the projects or renovations you want to do are extensive, it may be a good time to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss a refinance or a home equity loan.

11 Simple Ways To Save Money Toward The Purchase Of Your New Home

April 4, 2019

11 Simple Ways To Save Money Toward The Purchase Of Your New HomeIf you find it difficult to make ends meet, these tips will help you save money in ways that are easy to do and create substantial savings over time.

Declutter

Get rid of stuff you do use or need by having a garage or yard sale or by putting things for sale on eBay or Craigslist.

Make Your Own Coffee

Do you really want to make that billionaire richer by buying coffee for $5+ a cup? Make your own gourmet coffee that costs around 50 cents per cup for the same thing.

Bring Your Own Lunch

Making your lunch the night before to take to work the next day will give you more time to enjoy lunch. You will save the money that is wasted when driving to fast-food restaurants or going to pricey lunch places.

Grow Some Food

Everyone should have a garden, even if it is only a window garden for herbs. If you have some room for pots, you can grow tomatoes and other vegetables. If you have a back yard or a front yard you can grow tons of stuff.

Buy In Bulk And Use Coupons

For the things that you use on a regular basis, stock up when the items are on sale. Buy things at discount stores. Buy bulk things like rice and pasta at wholesale prices in co-ops. Coupon clipping is a hobby that pays for itself in savings. Just be careful not to buy things you do not really need or use.

Change Home Lighting

If you have not yet changed out all your incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs, what have you been doing? Change those bubs right away because you are burning up money on wasteful lights.

Install Smart Home Technology

Making a home run with more energy-efficiency is reduces your bills and helps the planet too. Smart home technology monitors comfort zones and turns things off when they are not needed.

Cut The Cable

An expensive monthly bill for cable TV is something many can do without. There are plenty of less expensive alternatives and tons of free content to view online.

Make A Change Jar

Every time you come home, put all the change you have in a change jar. You will be surprised how much money builds up over time and you will hardly even notice it is missing.

Walk Instead Of Drive

Do you have to drive your car everywhere? Try walking short distances instead. Not only will you save money on gas; walking may improve your health.

DIY Projects

Instead of paying others to do simple jobs around the house, do them yourself. There are plenty of do-it-yourself (DIY) guides on YouTube that show how to do just about anything. You will save the expensive labor cost for simple home repairs that can be up to $75 per hour.

Are you inspired? OK. Put some of these ideas into action. Ready, set, save!

When you’re ready, set up an appointment with your trusted home mortgage professional to find out about the best financing options for your new home purchase.

Real Estate Investing 101: Identify Your Investing Style

April 3, 2019

Real Estate Investing 101 Identify Your Investing StyleAre you just starting on your real estate investing journey? Many newcomers are surprised to learn that there’s more to making money on the real estate market than buying and selling. These are some of the most popular strategies real estate investors use to create profits. Which one is right for you?

Buy And Hold

Buy and hold investors play the market like stocks. They buy properties when prices are low, then hold them until values are high. During the holding period, some investors choose to offer their properties as rentals. Apartment buildings are also a popular option for buy and hold investors, as these properties are always in demand.

Buy and hold investors might run into problems with out-of-control cash flows. Make sure you have plenty of backup cash to keep you afloat until the next sale.

Short Term Rentals

Sharing apps like Airbnb are changing the way short term rentals are done. Instead of pumping money into sterile timeshare properties, travelers are choosing a more home-like environment during their vacations. Many real estates investors concentrate on maintaining homes in various locations and offering them as an alternative to more traditional temporary accommodations.

Vacation renters can be particularly hard on properties. Check your insurance coverage to make sure you have access to enough cash to repair or replace any damages your visitors leave behind.

Fix And Flip

Made popular by a plethora of cable television reality shows, fix and flippers purchase distressed properties at low costs. They then spend some time correcting cosmetic defects, sprucing up any signs of disrepair, and making the property ready for new residents.

A quick sale ensures maximum profit. However, those can be hard to find. If the market suddenly changes, you could find yourself stuck with mortgage payments you weren’t prepared to meet. Always have a backup plan to protect your personal assets.

Commercial Leasing

From the corner drug store to a multi-unit strip mall, commercial property presents a unique opportunity for more advanced real estate investors. It takes a lot of buying power to acquire commercial property. However, commercial leasers usually last much longer than their residential counterparts, which means a more secure and longer-lasting income stream.

Keep in mind that empty commercial buildings take longer to fill. Check your resources to ensure you can survive a long period at less-than-optimal occupancy.

Real estate investing is a diverse discipline. Choose the strategy that works best for you to enjoy a long and happy career.

If you are in the market for a new investment property, sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

3 Pros And Cons Of Renting Or Owning A Home

April 2, 2019

3 Pros And Cons Of Renting Or Owning A HomeHome ownership is highly valued in our culture. However, buying a home isn’t the best decision for everyone. Examine the differences between owning and renting your home to help you decide if now is the time to buy.

Effect On Flexibility

Renters enjoy more freedom than homeowners. After the leasing period ends, renters are free to walk away and find a new place to live. Homeowners, on the other hand, are at the mercy of the market. Depending on the conditions, owners might have a hard time selling their property quickly. It also takes a lot more paperwork to sell a home than it does to end a lease.

Those who don’t have plans to stay settled for at least a few years might be better off renting their homes. If circumstances suddenly change, they have more options than heavily-invested homeowners.

Financial Concerns

Home equity is a huge perk of ownership. A home equity line of credit gives homeowners a source of quick cash for emergencies or to take advantage of investment opportunities. These loans come with friendly options that make them ideal funding for a variety of situations. 

It’s a myth that renting is more expensive than owning without taking home value appreciation into account. When monthly expenses are compared side-by-side, owners invest more of their income into their living space than renters.

Beyond monthly mortgage payments, homeowners are responsible for insurance, property taxes, and utilities like garbage and water that are generally included in rental prices. In addition, homeowners bear the full cost of maintenance and repairs.

Owning a home can be a safeguard against harsh financial circumstances and give the opportunity for the appreciation of home value. However, for those who are currently cash-strapped, renting may be the more wallet-friendly choice.

Your Lifestyle

When things go wrong, renters can rely on their landlord or management company to coordinate and facilitate repairs. Homeowners, however, are solely responsible for handling the condition of their property. Besides the financial costs, it can take hours of research and dirty work to preserve your residential property.

If you enjoy handiwork, the chores associated with home ownership aren’t such a big deal. For the more technically challenged, however, taking care of a home could become a hassle.

Be honest about your abilities, interests, and resources before you commit to a home purchase.

If you are considering a new home purchase, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to find out about your financing options and to get pre-approved.

3 Ways to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Your Home Renovation Project

March 29, 2019

3 Ways to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Your Home Renovation ProjectThe right home renovation strategy can increase property values and improve the comfort and utility of your space. However, your actions could have a harsh impact on our natural resources.

Here are several ways you can reduce your renovation’s effect on the environment.

Use Sustainable Products

Choose Earth-friendly materials for a greener build.

  • Try reclaimed flooring. Ask permission at construction sites or search internet exchange boards to find unwanted extras. With a little artistic imagination, you can turn those cast-offs into a unique visual display.
  • Re-purpose existing material. Turn old doors into unique furniture pieces like tables and privacy shades to spruce up your new space.
  • Pick low-VOC paints to eliminate harsh chemicals in your immediate environment.

The best way to lower your impact on the Earth is to carefully choose which products you use in your project.

Evaluate Your Trash

Think about what you’re putting in the dumpster. Instead of taking up space in a landfill, many items can be redistributed and put to better use.

  • Donate household items that are no longer needed in your new space to your favorite charity.
  • Contact your local Habitat for Humanity office to help your community by donating your unused construction materials.
  • Contact your local school district. Some teachers take community donations to use in their classrooms.

Your trash could be someone else’s treasure. Don’t toss out something that others might need.

Take Care Of Your Immediate Area

Your environment includes the area in which you live. Use these tips to keep your property pristine during and after construction.

  • Rent a dumpster to make clean up easier. Pick up tools, trash, and other items at the end of each work session.
  • Use plastic tarps to protect landscaping and plant life from flying debris or chemical sprays.
  • Dispose of chemicals properly. Never pour paints, solvents, or other chemicals into your plumbing system or down a municipal drain.

Protect your neighborhood by taking careful actions during your build.

A home renovation is a fresh start for your property. Make it even more enjoyable by adding these Earth-friendly strategies to your construction plan.

If you’re planning on completing a home renovation, it might be the right time to access some of your home equity. Contact your trusted mortgage professional to learn about the best financing options available.