Tips That Cost Home Owners More in the Long Run3/17/2017
You’re always on the lookout for smart ideas and hacks to manage your home (and save money!) — whether that means listening to the wisdom of your parents who’ve owned a home longer than you’ve been alive, or scouring every corner of the internet for savvy tips.
Myth #1: Lemons Are Great for Cleaning Garbage Disposals
What it could cost you: A plumber’s visit (and maybe a new disposal)
Proceed with caution when it comes to this well-circulated DIY fix. Citric acid is a natural deodorizer, but plumbing experts say it can corrode the metal in your disposal. That tough lemon peel can also damage the grinding components and clog your pipes. Next thing you know you’re Googling reviews for plumbers.
Myth #2: Bleach Will Banish Mold
What it could cost you: A threat to your health, plus hundreds of $ (even thousands)
Although bleach can kill mold on non-porous surfaces, it isn’t effective on absorbent or porous materials — you know, the places it loves to lurk, like grout, caulk, drywall, insulation, and carpet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Instead, it just bleaches it so you can’t see it. And diluted bleach can feed future mold growth (yikes!) because only the water will be absorbed, which mold just loves.
The better way: Use a commercial anti-fungal product to take out mold at its roots. And only tackle mold removal yourself if the area is less than 10 square feet and you use protective gear, such as a respirator and chemical-resistant gloves. Otherwise, call in a mold remediation specialist who’ll know how to remove it without spreading it’s yucky (and potentially harmful) spores.
Myth #3: Change Your HVAC Filter Every Month
What it could cost you: Around $100 a year
Although the air filter should be changed regularly to keep your home’s HVAC system operating efficiently, this piece of advice is more of a convenient general rule that could cause you to throw away perfectly good filters (and money!).“The harsh truth is that it’s easier to say, ‘Do it every month’ and know that means people might do it every three or four months,” says homeowner advocate Tina Gleisner of Home Tips for Women.
Myth #4: Home Improvement is Always a Good Investment
What it could cost you: Thousands of dollars in disappointment
Dreaming of diving into your own pool or adding a second bath to put an end to those morning squabbles? That’s the beauty of owning your own home, you can renovate to make all your dreams come true. And you’ll get money back on most any improvement you do, but don’t expect it for all improvements. FYI: A new bath returns 52% of its cost.
Myth #5: Put Dryer Sheets in Air Vents for a Sweet Smell
What it could cost you: Higher energy bills and a potential fire hazard
Social media PSA: Thousands of pins and shares do not mean a remedy is smart or safe. If you follow this popular hack, you’ll block the flow of air in your vents, making your HVAC system work harder and increasing your energy costs. The blockage even can pose a fire risk when the furnace is pumping out hot air.
AMY HOWELL HIRT--has written about home design for 13 years. Her work has been published by outlets including “The Home Depot,” “USA Today,” and Yahoo! Homes. She previously served as home and garden writer and columnist for “The Cincinnati Enquirer.”
Anyone Can Sell a House3/12/2017
People tell me they can sell their home without the help of a real estate agent. Sometimes for a fee I put a home on the MLS for a seller. They always end up asking for more help. Most home owners can show their home and some like to hold open houses. Yet most home owners struggle to complete the transaction.
What goes in the purchase agreement? Who pays the closing costs? Who pays for the inspection? Do I need to pull permits for the repairs that the buyers want? does the inspection work? Who is responsible for an appraisal? Does the buyer have to buy the home if it appraises for less than the asking price? If we accept an inspection contingent offer, can we sell the house to someone else if a higher offer comes in?
Do sellers pay the property taxes or do the buyers? Who pays the state deed tax? Are water tests required?
What can go wrong between the time we accepts a buyers offer and the closing? Who sets up the closing? What is a closing? Who pays the closer?
Should I sell my appliances with my home? What is included in the sale and what is not?
There are many more questions. No two homes are quite the same and neither are the buyers or the sellers and the answers to some of the questions above depends upon how the purchase agreement is written. Buyers and sellers can agree to all sorts of things. There are laws that govern real estate sales and there are business practices too.
Even with all of the technology we have selling a home isn’t as easy as homeowners sometimes think it is. I know a sales person who decided to sell a home. It all went just fine and it closed but I’ll never understand why that home owner did all that work and ended up getting 30K less for the home just to avoid paying 16K in commissions. Yet it is true anyone can sell a house.
We make it look super easy but there is more to it than a for sale sign and an MLS listing. None of it is rocket science but it helps to have experience.
Written by: Teresa Boardman, Realtor®, MN, Licensed Broker Boardman Realty
Position Your Home to Sell !11/7/2016
Put a Dent in your Energy Bills!11/5/2016
5 Things that cut energy costs
Energy is the only product we buy on a daily basis without knowing how much it cost until a month later. — Cliff Majersik, executive director of the Institute for Market Transformation
Savings of up to $227 a year
Saving Money by Choosing the Right Lightbulbs10/30/2016
Are the Lightbulbs you're using costing you money?
Incandescent light bulbs may be easy on your everyday household budget, but they’re tough on your energy bill. To save money in start replacing them now with LEDs. To help with initial costs, just replace the old bulbs as they die out. A typical LED bulb can recuperate its cost in a little over a year (at least according to manufacturers). Since LEDs can last a decade or more, you won’t have to buy bulbs as often, and your energy costs will be lower!
4 Things Agents Consider When Setting Listing Prices6/6/2016
4 Things Agents Consider When Setting Listing Prices
There’s no online calculator for setting the perfect listing price for your home. It takes experience, market savvy, and even a bit of psychology. A strong listing agent can help you set the right, most competitive price for your home. Here are a few things they might look at:
Your agent will look at the prices of similar homes in your area that either are currently listed or sold during the past few months. They’ll take into account how many days the properties were on the market, and how the listing prices for those homes differed from the final sale prices.
What’s affecting the market in your neighborhood, and your region? Your agent will consider national factors that shape the real estate market, such as possible rising interest rates, as well as local factors, like whether the average home price in your neighborhood has been rising or falling. They’ll also think about things such as new companies moving to the area in the near future, or plans for improving local amenities, like parks and shopping districts. All can increase the value of your home to a buyer.
Although a home the same size and age recently sold for a high price, your own place might not fetch the exact same fortune if, say, junky cars continue to proliferate in your neighbor’s driveway. On the flipside, if the grass is in fact greener on the other side of the fence, your home’s value may be higher due to your neighbors’ curb appeal.
Listing your home at a price that’s “just right” from the start is critical to selling it quickly, for the best price. Overpricing your home, and then dropping the price a few times while it sits on the market, could lead to a lower final sales price than if the home was priced appropriately from the beginning. And, of course, setting a price that’s too low leaves money on the table.
Wondering how much your home might be worth in today’s market? “Click” > Whats My Home Worth
Existing Home Sales6/24/2015
In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 4.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.27 million in May, and are 12.4 percent above May 2014. The median price in the Midwest was $181,900, up 9.4 percent from a year ago.
8 Tips To Finding Your New Home6/15/2015
8 Tips for Finding Your New Home
By: G. M. Filisko
A solid game plan can help you narrow your home buying search to find the best home for you.
House hunting is just like any other shopping expedition. If you identify exactly what you want and do some research, you'll zoom in on the home you want at the best price. These eight tips will guide you through a smart home buying process.
House hunting is just like any other shopping expedition. If you identify exactly what you want and do some research, you'll zoom in on the home you want at the best price. These eight tips will guide you through a smart homebuying process.
1. Know thyself
Understand the type of home that suits your personality. Do you prefer a new or existing home? A ranch or a multistory home? If you're leaning toward a fixer-upper, are you truly handy, or will you need to budget for contractors?
2. Research before you look
List the features you most want in a home and identify which are necessities and which are extras. Identify three to four neighborhoods you'd like to live in based on commute time, schools, recreation, crime, and price. Then hop onto REALTOR.com (http://REALTOR.com) to get a feel for the homes available in your price range in your favorite neighborhoods. Use the results to prioritize your wants and needs so you can add in and weed out properties from the inventory you'd like to view.
3. Get your finances in order
Generally, lenders say you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. Create a budget so you know how much you're comfortable spending each month on housing. Don't wait until you've found a home and made an offer to investigate financing.
4. Set a moving timeline
Do you have blemishes on your credit that will take time to clear up? If you already own, have you sold your current home? If not, you'll need to factor in the time needed to sell. If you rent, when is your lease up? Do you expect interest rates to jump anytime soon? All these factors will affect your buying, closing, and moving timelines.
5. Think long term
Your future plans may dictate the type of home you'll buy. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in the home for five to 10 years? With a starter, you may need to adjust your expectations. If you plan to nest, be sure your priority list helps you identify a home you'll still love years from now.
6. Work with a REALTOR?
Ask people you trust for referrals to a real estate professional they trust. Interview agents to determine which have expertise in the neighborhoods and type of homes you're interested in. Because home buying triggers many emotions, consider whether an agent's style meshes with your personality.
7. Be realistic
It's OK to be picky about the home and neighborhood you want, but don't be close-minded, unrealistic, or blinded by minor imperfections. If you insist on living in a cul-de-sac, you may miss out on great homes on streets that are just as quiet and secluded.
8. Limit the opinions you solicit
It's natural to seek reassurance when making a big financial decision. But you know that saying about too many cooks in the kitchen. If you need a second opinion, select one or two people. But remain true to your list of wants and needs so the final decision is based on criteria you've identified as important.
7 House Pick-Me-Ups!4/21/2015
5-Minute Home Makeovers
Here are 7 house pick-me-ups that take about as much time as brewing a pot of coffee and fit your schedule whenever you have a few extra minutes.
Caught between your lack of time and the urge to give your home some spit and polish? Never fear. These ideas will add panache in no time at all.
If You Were Selling Today, Would You Have The Home Buyer Want?4/13/2015
If You Were Selling Today, Would You Have the Home That Buyers Want?
By: Dona DeZube
Knowing what appeals to today’s homebuyers, and considering those trends when you remodel, can pay off years from now when you sell your home.
Two new surveys about what homebuyers want have me feeling pretty smug about my own home choices. Maybe you'll feel the same.
Privacy from neighbors remains at the top of the most-wanted list (important to 86% of buyers), according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS’® "2013 Community Preference Survey." Privacy is no doubt the best feature of my mid-century ranch home, since I can only see one neighbor’s house and its a couple hundred feet down my driveway.
It may not be practical to move your neighbors farther away (although I’m sure many people wish they had that superpower), but you can increase your home’s privacy (and therefore its resale value) by planting a living privacy screen of trees and shrubs or by physically screening off your patio.
Related: Trees Contribute to Property Value, Energy Savings, and More
3 More Takeaways for the Next Time You Remodel
I did that back when my parents were still alive, and it worked out great for everyone. I didn’t have time to let my infant daughter nap on my shoulder all afternoon, but my mom did. She couldn’t drive to church meetings at night, but I could take her. And neither of us liked cleaning the gutters, but my husband didn’t mind that chore.
Even if you’d rather live in a cardboard box than with your mother, you might want to consider the multigenerational living trend when you’re remodeling. For instance, opting for a full bath when finishing the basement could offer more convenience for you now and boost your home’s resale value by making it more appealing to a multigenerational family.
I feel compelled to caution against going so far out of the norm for your neighborhood that it’ll turn off potential buyers even nine years from now. (It never hurts to get your REALTOR®’s opinion on your remodeling plans.)
Related: Home Upgrades with the Lowest ROI
By the way, to take back your energy bills, you need to do at least four things. One to two fixes won’t cut it, thanks to rising energy costs.
About two-thirds of survey respondents also thought energy-efficient appliances and energy-efficient lighting were important. Tuck away your manuals and energy-efficiency information when you buy new appliances and lighting. When you’re ready to sell you can pull those out and display them where buyers will see them.
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