Archive for February, 2016

Examining the Power of Curb Appeal

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

With so many potential buyers viewing property on the Internet, first impressions are essential. If your house doesn’t stand out the next listing is only a click away. A great exterior will not only stop a surfer, it will get a drive-by buyer through your front door. Don’t underestimate the power of curb appeal! The front of your house is its calling card, and it’s up to you to make sure it’s giving the right number.

First take care of the obvious: Poor exterior maintenance will have potential buyers wondering what else you didn’t keep up. Clean moss off the roof and plants out of gutters; wash the windows and pressure wash dirty decks or siding. Clear weeds growing from the front walk. Take care of the details. If your driveway has faded, it’s time to re-seal it. Fill the cracks in your sidewalk. Trim back unruly bushes, mow the lawn and add mulch to tidy up garden beds. Put away tools and other yard clutter – the property should look well taken care of.

Spruce up your front entrance. You may want to change your front door for something more eye-catching, perhaps engraved wood or one with decorative glasswork. Changing the door’s hardware can also help it stand out. The doorknob and knocker should be polished. Placing planters near the front door can add a pleasing visual as well as contributing fragrance to further the sensory experience. A front doormat can also be welcoming touch.

Changes that cost more can also increase the selling price. If you can afford to paint the house, look for examples of eye-catching color combinations in design magazines, online and in your city. If you can’t afford to paint the whole building, just do the trim and shutters. Adding window boxes can also brighten the exterior.

Landscaping is another opportunity to increase the value of your property. You could hire a professional, but just adding a few shrubs and flowering bushes should do the trick. A well placed bench can help potential buyers imagine themselves sitting in their new garden.

You can ensure potential buyers notice your home just by giving the exterior a little extra attention. Remember, your traffic and often your selling price will increase with your home’s curb appeal.


Figuring Out Whether You Can Afford That Home

Friday, February 19th, 2016

House hunting can be a brutal affair, particularly if you don’t know what you can afford before hand. No your price range in advance and you can avoid looking at really nice homes you’ll never get. .

Mortgage – Monthly Payments

The biggest costs associated with owning a home is the mortgage. Unless you are filthy rich, you are committing to apportioning a significant amount of your monthly income to that dream home. In evaluating whether you can afford the mortgage, you need to consider the difference between the mortgage payment and what you are currently paying.

If it is a significant step up, will you be able to pay it now and in a few years? Under no condition should you assume you will be making more money in the future. Base everything on what you are making now.

When considering monthly mortgage payments, you also need to factor in the type of mortgage. Interest rates have been at historical lows for some time, but are starting to creep up. If you are taking the plunge on an adjustable mortgage, will you be able to make the payments if the interest rates increase over the next few years? In coming to a conclusion on this, you should assume the rates going up to the caps indicated in the mortgage for the relevant period of time. Again, you don’t want to get stuck in a financial bind because you let your eyes overrule you brains when selecting a home.

Other Expenses

The pride of homeownership comes with a few extra costs. In gauging affordability, many homebuyers fail to take into account the twin evils of property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. The expenses associated with each of these necessary items can be surprisingly high. In some states, property taxes can be an ugly surprise the first year of homeownership. Much like taxes, they are collected in a lump sum and can be thousands of dollars. If you fail to plan for them, your finances can become unbelievably strained.

Buying a home is absolutely the best move you can make if you’re renting. Just make sure you can meet those payments without losing sleep.