Posted by Peggy Farber on 6/13/2018

Becoming a home owner for the first time is an exciting milestone for Millennials! Going from renting an apartment to owning your own property represents a big transition from dependency to independence.

For many people, it even symbolizes making the leap from childhood to adulthood. Once you're a homeowner and a property taxpayer, there's often a newfound feeling of being more established and successful.

While home ownership may bestow upon you a boost in status, the added responsibility of paying for your own repairs, maintenance, and upkeep can take an unexpected toll on your budget. With a little extra planning, however, you can avoid many of the pitfalls of home ownership.

Looking at the Big Picture

Here's a misconception that sometimes creates a financial strain for first-time homeowners: "If we can afford to pay $1800 in rent, every month, then we should be able to afford monthly mortgage payments in that same amount!" While that premise may sound logical, there are a few crucial "missing pieces" from that equation -- pieces which could throw your household budget out of kilter!

In addition to the costs associated with purchasing real estate, such as a down payment and closing costs, there's also the matter of home repairs and property maintenance. Depending on where you decide to live, there could be other fees to absorb, too, including garbage collection, yard waste removal, and water usage. Other expenses that first-time homeowners may overlook include the cost of buying a lawnmower, a snow blower, yard maintenance supplies, tools, and furniture. That's why creating a detailed estimated budget, based on your income, debts, and anticipated expenses can help you determine whether you're truly ready to take the plunge into homeownership.

Enlisting Professional Help

A mortgage broker or bank loan officer can provide you with assistance in calculating your financial readiness for purchasing a home. A good real estate agent can also offer insights and guidance into the process of finding, buying, and owning a house you can comfortably afford. They should be able to provide you with vital information about school taxes, property taxes, average utility bills, homeowner association fees (if any), and any issues revealed in the seller's disclosure form.

One way to avoid -- or at least be prepared for -- costs that often accompany home ownership is to have a qualified property inspector take a close look at the condition of everything in the house from the basement and attic to major appliances and structural features. They can generally tell you whether there are any concerns about mechanical systems, water in the basement, foundation damage, issues with property drainage, the electrical system, potential plumbing problems, and dozens of other vital checkpoints

Whether you're a first-time house hunter or a seasoned homeowner, it pays to understand, anticipate, and budget for the many costs of being a property owner. While owning your own home can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, a guiding principle to keep in mind as you consider available homes on the market is "caveat emptor" (Let the buyer beware)!




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Posted by Peggy Farber on 6/6/2018

Want to list your house in the not-too-distant future? Ultimately, your house's curb appeal may have far-flung effects on your ability to sell your residence.

In most instances, a house with a dazzling front lawn is likely to make a distinct impression on potential buyers. This home may prove to be more popular than similar residences that are available, and as such, sell at or above its initial asking price.

On the other hand, a home with a messy, cluttered front lawn is unlikely to impress potential buyers. In fact, the front lawn may detract from the home's value, making it tough for a seller to maximize his or her earnings.

When it comes to enhancing your house's front lawn, it may be a good idea to hire a professional landscaper. Because if you have a professional landscaper at your disposal, you can get the assistance that you need to rejuvenate the front lawn of your home and enhance your residence's curb appeal.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you find the ideal professional landscaper before you list your house.

1. Shop Around

Many top-notch professional landscapers are available in cities and towns nationwide. If you evaluate assorted professional landscapers in your area, you may be better equipped than ever before to make an informed hiring decision.

Remember, as a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to enhance your house's curb appeal. And if you dedicate the necessary time and resources to find the right professional landscaper before you list your residence, you can improve your house's curb appeal and boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable home selling experience.

2. Ask Questions

A professional landscaper typically is happy to respond to your questions. Thus, you should not hesitate to ask lots of questions to a variety of local professional landscapers to ensure that you can find the right landscaper to fulfill your requests.

Don't forget to discuss your home improvement goals with various professional landscapers too. That way, you can compare and contrast myriad professional landscapers and hire a landscaper who can help you achieve the best-possible home improvement results.

3. Review Client Feedback

Client feedback about professional landscapers usually is readily available, particularly for landscapers who have completed a wide range of successful projects in the past. Therefore, you should search far and wide for client feedback to find a professional landscaper who can match or exceed your expectations.

A simple web search of a professional landscaper may provide you with access to client feedback. You also can request client referrals directly from a professional landscaper to learn what it's like to work with a particular landscaper before you finalize your hiring decision.

Lastly, if you need extra assistance as you search for a professional landscaper, you may want to consult with a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent can put you in touch with first-rate professional landscapers in your area and ensure that you can bolster your house's curb appeal before you list your residence.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 5/30/2018

Do the walls of your home ever feel bland and uninviting? What you need for your home is to add depth to the walls. Everything from the colors of the walls to what you place on them helps to give your rooms a feeling of sophisticated complexity. 


Try Using Contrast On Your Walls


If you choose a dark color for your walls, you can use bright colors as a contrast to bring out the prominent features of the room. 


Use Texture On Your Walls


You don’t have to rely on paint to color your walls. It’s a good idea for you to use some tapestry or cloth and hang it on the walls to help add texture and depth to a room.


Reflect On The Room


Using mirrors can help to make any room appear bigger. Mirrors are deceiving in a way, but when placed strategically, they can really add a lot to a room. Allowing for reflections in the room also adds depth and a larger feeling to the space, 


Don‘t Make A Space Too Busy


Avoid using a lot of colors in a room. While contrasting colors add something special to a space, bright, mismatched colors will only make you dizzy. 


Make Use Of Tile


Particularly in kitchens and bathrooms, tile can help to add some depth to the space. Your kitchen can be painted a lovely color and finding tiles to match for a backsplash can really help the room to stand out. Even the color grout that you use can help add complexity to a room. If you have brick, wood, or any kind of stone present in a room, be sure to help those features stand out. The best way to approach design sometimes is to take what you see in nature and bring it into your space. From earth tones to highlighting the natural features in your home, you can really make your home feel well-rounded from the inside out. 


Try Painting The Walls Different Colors


There’s no rule that says you need to paint a room all one color. Often, you can add a lot to a room just by having that one accent wall. Putting the piece of furniture that will be the focal point of the room on the accent wall can really bring out the features of the room. If your color scheme is leaning towards blues and whites, for example, paint each wall white except for one. Choose an alluring shade of blue for the accent wall. Be sure that your furniture matches with whatever wall color scheme that you choose as well.                 

Whether you’re recreating a room completely, or simply re-purposing what you have, it’s easy to make your design work for you and provide complexity and depth.




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Posted by Peggy Farber on 5/23/2018

Purchasing a home may prove to be an arduous process, particularly for those who fail to plan ahead for the property buying journey. Thankfully, there are many quick, easy ways to streamline the homebuying cycle.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you become a smart homebuyer.

1. Study the Real Estate Market

A smart homebuyer realizes the housing market fluctuates constantly. In fact, a real estate market that favors sellers today may favor buyers tomorrow, or vice-versa. But if a homebuyer reviews the housing sector closely, he or she can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market and plan accordingly.

Oftentimes, it helps to analyze the prices of recently sold houses in your preferred cities and towns. This will enable you to see whether houses are selling at or near their initial asking prices. It also will allow you to find out how long homes are available before they sell.

2. Obtain Home Financing

A smart homebuyer understands the importance of getting a mortgage before he or she pursues a residence. Thus, this buyer will meet with lenders and get pre-approved for home financing to further accelerate the homebuying journey.

Generally, it won't take long to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can help homebuyers quickly analyze various home financing options. These specialists can teach you about a broad array of mortgage options and help you weigh the pros and cons of different mortgages. Then, once you evaluate all of your mortgage options, you can select a mortgage and kick off the homebuying journey with a budget in hand.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A smart homebuyer knows that working alone to find and purchase a house can be difficult. Therefore, this buyer will allocate time and resources to hire a real estate agent who can provide comprehensive assistance throughout the homebuying journey.

Typically, a real estate agent is a must-have for a homebuyer, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing sector and is happy to share his or her expertise with any homebuyer, at any time.

When it comes to navigating the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to help you in any way possible. For instance, if you need help finding a residence in a particular city or town, a real estate agent will make it simple to narrow your house search. On the other hand, if you want to buy a new house as quickly as possible, a real estate agent will ensure you can discover your dream residence on your timeline. Best of all, a real estate agent will respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions and help you make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying cycle.

Enter the housing market as a smart homebuyer – use the aforementioned tips, and you can increase the likelihood of enjoying a successful homebuying journey.




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Posted by Peggy Farber on 5/16/2018

Curb appeal, the illusive secret weapon that enamors potential buyers from afar and draws them into your home. There have been several attempts to nail down the “secret formula” for curb appeal.

In reality, the best approach to improving your home’s presentation from outside is to take the time to consider what fits.

In this post, we’ll give you some budget ideas to help you find the curb appeal boosters that will match with your home.

1. Fresh paint

One well-known curb appeal strategy is to repaint some of the notable components of the outside of your home. The places that have to most impact?

  • Front door - a front door that pops, but that also fits with the style of your home and complements its main color will make your home stand out from the neighbors.

  • Shutters - repainting your shutters is another inexpensive area to add some color to your home. However, be wary of choosing bright colors for your shutters if they’re going to clash with or disrupt the overall style of your home.

  • Mailbox - a neglected, dented, and a dirty mailbox is a huge turn off for potential buyers. Buying a new one, or adding a fresh coat of paint to your old one that matches one of the highlight colors of your home, can be a great way to add a sense of continuity to the exterior of your house.

2. Sparse decorations

Just like the inside of your home, less is often more when it comes to decoration. There are a number of things to add to your yard that will improve its overall presentation. But, just be sure that it doesn’t appear out of place or tacky. A single, small, and brightly colored bird house in a tree is usually a safe bet.

3. Simple landscaping

There’s no need to hire contractors for elaborate landscaping or to purchase expensive plants and shrubbery. A well-manicured yard is enough to make your home stand out. And, remember that potential buyers will most likely be looking for a home that is low-maintenance. A simple lawn and walkway say just that.

Also be sure to trim and prune your current trees, bushes, and flowerbeds. You might find that a cleanup is all they needed to be impressive once more.

4. Pressure washing

Most of us grow accustomed to how our home looks and might not notice the accumulation of dirt on the siding. By hiring or renting a pressure washer for a day, you’ll be able to update a number of aspects of curb appeal. From siding and decks to walkways and driveways, you can cover a lot of square footage with a pressure washer.

One note on pressure washers: the better ones can be dangerous. That means hiring a professional could help get the best results for your money. Also, while you can buy a pressure washer, you might find that for the amount you use it, it’s easier just to hire or rent every few years.




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