Adventures in Homeownership

Tips to Get Your House Ready to Sell this Summer

Nice curb appeal of American craftsman style house.

Nice curb appeal of American craftsman style house.Is it time to relocate and begin making memories in a new house? If so, consider putting your property on the market this summer. Not only will you be able to present your home in the best possible way but competition won’t be as fierce in the warmer months. Real estate investors will see your house in a different light if it goes on the market when Mother Nature is looking her best. With better moving conditions and children out of school for the summer, there really is no better time to present your property to potential buyers.

The stages of selling property involve setting your sale price and staging the home to give it that lived-in look. The sooner your potential buyers can envision themselves settling into the place that you once called “home”, the faster you can expect to make a sale. Furthermore, you can guarantee that the offers you receive will be higher if you focus on enhancing curb appeal.

In order to accomplish this, your real estate game needs to be on point. Take a moment to enlighten yourself on the top tips to get your house ready to sell this summer:

  • Clean Entire Home – Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and think about what you would expect when you are looking around a property of interest for the very first time. Cleanliness is a must! You can’t cut corners when it comes to dusting, sweeping, mopping, and everything in-between. Some buyers can be more particular than others, so put a bit of elbow grease into it and make your property sparkle!
  • Get Rid of Any Clutter – Not only will a de-clutter clear your mind, it will also give the illusion of a bigger space. You should leave some furniture in place to paint a picture of a “home”. Too much clutter will can distract the potential buyer and make the space feel cramped.
  • Take Care of Landscaping – The garden and grounds on which your property stands are the first thing a potential buyer will see. Maintain the area well with professional landscaping services or, if you have time, cut the lawn, remove weeds, and trim foliage to ensure your property is a sure-fire seller.
  • Fresh Air and Sweet Scents – Don’t forget about setting the mood with the right aroma. An incense stick, air freshener, or scented candle that smells of lavender or chamomile will instill a feeling of calm. The more relaxed the potential buyer is, the easier it will be for them to imagine themselves living in the property. Open the windows and scatter bowls of baking soda around the home to absorb foul smells.

Don’t underestimate the importance of “staging” your home for a sale. Consider keeping decor simplistic, so as not to distract from the overall design of the property, from its flooring to its ceilings. Professional home staging services might come in handy if you don’t consider yourself much of an interior designer!

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Mortgage and Fixer Uppers – Pro and Cons

Businessman's hands with calculator and cost at the office and F

Businessman's hands with calculator and cost at the office and FPeople from all walks of life will wander into the world of real estate without the initial intention. The urge to invest in a property that you could call your home for life is hard to resist. Not only this, but more and more homebuyers are looking into what are known as “fixer-upper” projects. These projects are unique in the sense that they provide the buyer with the freedom and creativity to do what they want with the property.

Once they have fixed it up and restored it into a condition that neatly slots into the real estate market, the financial gain opportunities will begin to transpire. If you are to succeed in this type of property investment as a newbie or simply want to educate yourself more on the subject, there are a few things you ought to take note of.

Fixing Up a Home for Financial Gain

Well, why not, right? A lot of people are seeing an opportunity and grabbing it with both hands. By opportunity, we mean securing a low interest rate on a property with a fairly low net worth and capitalizing on that opportunity to restore, renovate, and reap the financial rewards. It is possible to make thousands, if not hundreds of thousands depending on the type of “fix-up”, of dollars by selling the property on when interest rates peak.

Selecting a Mortgage for a Fixer Upper Project

A project of this kind is not just like any other. There is some risk attached in the sense that you may struggle (which is highly unlikely in a market where millennials are house hunting in their millions), or that you may not rake in as much of a profit as you would have initially hoped.

Nonetheless, the prospect of having something fun to work on and more importantly, something that you are passionate about, is exciting to say the least. In the event that your funds are not exactly prime for investment purposes, there are a few things to consider mortgage-wise.

Here are the most popular financing options for property purchases of this kind:

Standard 203(k) loan - Suitable for most types of home repair and improvement.

Limited 203(k) mortgage – If your home repair project is limited to minor improvements, such as repairing gutter pipes, this type of mortgage will be best suited.

Things to Consider with Fix-Ups

Don’t let yourself fall into a financial pitfall unnecessarily. If you discuss your mortgage financing options with an expert, you can better understand if you would suit a loan that is flexible or one that has a fixed interest rate. Remember that the home improvements will be assessed by the lender to ensure everything is being dealt with fairly and professionally.

The method of “fixing and flipping” a home is one that property buyers have been gaining profit from for years. Doing it successfully requires proper financial planning. On that note, it may be worth considering your financing options to ensure your financial stability for the future.

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Successful Garden Tips for Summer

Hydrangea House

Hydrangea HouseAre you thinking about selling your property? If so, it is your job to make the residence appeal to potential buyers. The exterior of a property is the first thing that people will see when they are pursuing the real estate market and so, it is crucial that the grounds on which your property stands are well-maintained. A flawless garden will complement the facade and will indicate that you take pride in ensuring your home is in good condition, from the inside out.

While you could hire a professional gardener to water the plants, de-weed the grounds, and take care of the landscaping in general, it is not entirely necessary. By sparing a little bit of time to maintaining your garden, you can feel confident that your real estate listing will attract more buyers.

The following tips, when put into action, will not take up much time. They will, however, make a big difference to the appearance of your garden. So, let’s dig deep into the ways you can keep your grass and plants looking good throughout the summer months:

  • Water in the Morning - There are numerous benefits associated with watering plants in the morning, rather than in the middle of the day or at night. The sun is at its strongest between 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm therefore avoid watering your plants at this time. Direct sunlight absorb moisture from the soil and leaves, causing it to die. Aside from the fact that the sun will not be as strong during the morning, the water will absorb deeper into the soil if you take the time give your plants a good drink in the morning! Once absorbed into the soil, the water will make its way to the roots of the plant, which will encourage deeper rooting. As a result of this, the plant will thrive, and appear healthier and brighter, even when exposed to the sun at the hottest parts of the day.
  • Keep Potted Plants in the Shade – The main reason why you need to keep your plant out of the sun is to preserve moisture. A dry plant will not live as long a life as a moist plan, so try to find or create a shaded spot where the plant can grow and blossom with a simple watering in the morning. Of course, this depends on what type of plant you are growing (we will go into this next) however; shaded gardens require much less maintenance.
  • Research Plants to Grow – Fertilization methods differ for various plants, as well as the preparation methods and maintenance. So, how do you know what will transform your garden into a vibrant natural oasis? Well, every little helps, from reading a gardening book to researching online. Alternatively, you could participate in a gardening class and learn about plant growth, germination, and tissue culture.

Aside from the garden, dedicate some time to maintaining the paintwork on the property’s exterior, as well as the interior. Property value will soar when the home is cared for properly, therefore the time you spend preserving its appearance will be more than worthwhile. Since your buyer will be inspecting the house during the primary visit and final walk through, preparation is key to ensuring you receive the best offer.

 

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10 Steps to Becoming More Water Efficient

California is currently in the midst of one of the worst droughts in recorded history. Everyone’s working to conserve. But water conservation is important no matter where you are. How can you do your part to save water? Here are 10 tips you can follow.

Take Shorter Showers. This is the first step everyone lists, and with good reason. Your bathroom in general accounts for around 75% of your home’s water usage. And a typical shower uses 2.1 gallons of water per minute. So showering for 10 minutes can waste over 20 gallons. Keep showers to around 5 minutes or so, and you’ll cut your water usage considerably.

Check for Leaks. Have a plumber check your toilets, faucets, hoses, and any other water sources in your home for leaks, and repair them. Depending on the severity of the leaks, this can save you up to 200 gallons of water per day. (more…)

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Transform Your Backyard into BBQ Headquarters

For some people, barbecuing is just an occasional thing you do in the summer: haul out the grill and the charcoal, throw on some burger, and call it a day. But for others, it’s a way of life. Your barbecuing is legendary—and so are your barbecue parties. But if you really want to throw some parties this summer, you’re going to have to do some landscaping. What can you do to turn your backyard into the top spot for outdoor parties? Here are a few ideas

Fix Up Your Lawn. The first thing you need to do before you invite people over is make sure your lawn looks good. If you’ve got brown patches, or bare patches, you might want to reseed. Also consider bringing in some potted plants, to add to the atmosphere. You can even have a potted herb garden, and impress your guests by picking fresh thyme or rosemary and bringing it straight over to the grill to season the meat. (more…)

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Keep Your Home Cool This Summer

Keep  Your Home Cool This Summer

Keep  Your Home Cool This SummerIt’s summer, and the heat is getting practically unbearable. You drink lemonade, eat ice cream, and take cold showers to mitigate the heat, but you want a more long term solution. What home improvements can you make to keep your home cool this summer—and for many summers to come? Here are a few:

Central Air. If you’re keeping your home cool with fans, window air units, or a swamp cooler, then the time has come to invest in a central air conditioning system. A single unit circulates air to your whole house, allowing you to adjust the thermostat to you preferred temperature. (more…)

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Three Alternatives to Your Average Grass Lawn

Maintaining a grass lawn takes time and effort even under the best of circumstances. It needs to be watered regularly to stay green, and mown regularly to keep it from becoming overgrown. But in California lately, both of those tasks are getting harder and harder. Gas prices are soaring, making it more expensive to operate a gas-powered mower.

More importantly, though, the state is also in the midst of what’s turning out to be the worst drought in over a millennium. Therefore, watering the grass must be done sparingly, and keeping it green and luscious is off the table. So what can you do to keep your lawn green and luscious in the midst of these crises? Here are three grass alternatives, that look great, but require less maintenance. (more…)

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Automate Your Home…Today!

It’s amazing to think that all the automation features you learned about for the “Home of the Future” are actually available to today’s homeowners. Almost every function in your home can be controlled by a switch, device or smart phone, and there are considerable benefits for automating certain operations. You can make your place more secure, save on energy bills and home insurance, and generally make everyday life more convenient around the house. Have a look at some basic information if you’re ready to get started with home automation.

Start with a smaller-scale system. You don’t have to install a household-wide system to gain the benefits of home automation – and it’s an especially unwise move if you’re new to this type of technology. Go with some of the basics, such as: (more…)

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