Friday, December 07 2012
There are of course many, many different kinds of pests out there that want to get into your house. Depending on what part of the country you live in, its climate, and your own propensity for taking out the trash, you may end up dealing with a relatively benign infestation of easily squish-able ants or the repeated clawing of a possum looking to bust through the floor of your raised home for reasons only a possum knows. Below are eight things you can do to keep a broad range of unwanted critters outside of your home where they belong.
1 Seal your home:
Mice, rats, and cockroaches are just a few of the lovely visitors who can find their way into your home through the tiniest of cracks, including cracks in your foundation and between your walls and floors. Caulking, a foam sealant, or steel wool are all materials you can use to effectively seal up those cracks. As an added bonus, by sealing up your home you save energy, which in turn saves you money on the cost of heating or air conditioning your home.
2 Keep food in canisters:
Pests can get into food even when it’s shelved in cupboards that close and contained in its cardboard or plastic packaging. Hard canisters, either metal or plastic, are a great alternative for storing and keeping food fresh and deterring mice or cockroaches. As an added preventive measure, you should regularly wipe down any area where food is shelved and stored in your home.
3 Rake soil and mulch away from house:
To keep pests like termites and other insects out of your home, keep soil and mulch raked away from the structure of your house. Experts suggest you keep firewood at least 20 feet away from your home and five inches off the ground in order to deter termites. You should also keep your gutters cleaned out, your bushes trimmed back, and your lawn regularly mowed.
4 Clean under kitchen sink:
The space beneath your kitchen sink can be both moist and cluttered, which is a combination pests love. Take a half hour to remove all the stuff from beneath your sink and clean the area thoroughly. Check for leaks and be sure to seal up any cracks where a pest might enter.
Pests love to hang out in piles of stuff, including newspapers, cardboard, and dirty clothes. Make it a project each season to do a serious cleaning of your home, throwing out or better yet recycling stuff that has piled up over the months. If you discover droppings as a result of your cleaning, you’ve got pests and may need to call an exterminator.
Vacuuming regularly ultimately won’t get rid of an infestation of fleas or bedbugs, but as a preventive measure, it’s extremely effective and only costs whatever you end up paying for the electricity you use. To make sure any pests you sucked up don’t return to your environment, after each vacuum, be sure the empty the vacuum bag outside.
7 Clean and plug drains:
When water subsides in the sewers, cockroaches, sometimes euphemistically referred to as “water bugs,” can find their way into your home by climbing up out of your drain. Keeping your drains clean is a smart thing to do regardless, and doing so will also help deter these unwanted visitors. Try using a combination of baking soda and vinegar to clear and clean your drains, and use a chemical product like Drano just once a month. When not in use, keep those drains plugged!
8 Call an exterminator:
Keep in mind that some pests are just impossible to eradicate without professional help. If you own a home, consulting with and hiring an exterminator is a good investment, especially in areas of the country where termites are prevalent. A good exterminator will closely inspect your home for pests and treat it accordingly, depending on what evidence he or she finds of an infestation.
Wednesday, June 29 2011
Sometimes when a seller goes to transfer their home they get an unwelcome surprise: mystery liens. Realtor® Christine Shoemaker explains that some home sellers may have liens against the property they may not even be aware of:
Most purchase agreements allow the seller up to 30 days to clear up liens against the property that they might not know anything about. Just last week we had a closing where the homeowners had paid off their mortgage but there was a lien against the property for a line of credit they they never even used and didn’t know was there! Without some quick action by me and the owners of the property this situation could have easily delayed the closing adding additional hardships for both buyer and seller.
Did you know that it can take up to two weeks to ‘close out’ a equity line of credit even if there is a zero balance?! Hard to believe but true. In this age of hyper-vigilant banking practices most lenders want extra time to make sure you didn’t make some last minute purchases using your line of credit after you sold the house. So, if you’re thinking about selling and you think you don’t owe your mortgage lender any money it might be to your advantage to sit down with your local branch manager and make sure.
Read more: Could You Have Liens Against Your Property Without Knowing It? | REALTOR.com® Blogs
Wednesday, February 23 2011
Home warranties can be attractive to home owners or buyers who are looking at purchasing a property. These service contracts can cover all of a home’s major systems, such as the furnace or air conditioner, and will cover needed repairs if the appliance breaks or damaged.
Tuesday, February 15 2011
February is a great time to accomplish simple tasks that will add to the value and appearance of your home. We hope that you are enjoying the unique experience of being a homeowner! We have done a little research and have compiled a list of quick, easy projects that you might enjoy!
If you need additional tips or advice, please feel free to call us anytime at 812-499-9234 for Rolando and 812-499-0246 for Kathy. We would be happy to hear from you and would love to offer any guidance that we can!
FIVE QUICK AND EASY HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
A few changes to the landscaping of your home can make a world of difference! You might want to consider planting some fruit trees in the backyard, adding a touch of color with some bright and unusual flowers or perhaps finally starting the vegetable garden you've always dreamed about.
Add a touch of color:
Feeling creative? Why not give the family room, bedroom or bathroom a whole new look? By focusing on the improvement of one room at a time, you'll find that what can seem like an overwhelming job becomes fun and simple. Repainting a single room can be inexpensively completed over a single weekend.
Bright and beautiful:
Replacing the light fixtures in your house with personally selected pieces can drastically increase your home's beauty and value. Choose a cohesive look for the entire house, or decorate room by room! The installation of new fixtures is generally a quick do-it-yourself task.
Tile it up:
While it might seem like a daunting task, installing new tile in a kitchen or bathroom can be easily accomplished with a little know-how and the right supplies. Your local home improvement warehouse will have everything you need to revamp and personalize the flooring of your choice!
The beauty beneath:
Always dreamed of having beautiful hardwood floors? Choose a room, pull up the carpet, and you'll be on your way to accomplishing just that! Repairing, refinishing and staining the floor is a simple step-by-step process that you can achieve without the heavy expense of installing new wood panels.
While it might seem like a daunting task, installing new tile in a kitchen or bathroom can be easily accomplished with a little know-how and the right supplies. Your local home improvement warehouse will have everything you need to revamp and personalize the flooring of your choice!Replacing the light fixtures in your house with personally selected pieces can drastically increase your home's beauty and value. Choose a cohesive look for the entire house, or decorate room by room! The installation of new fixtures is generally a quick do-it-yourself task. Feeling creative? Why not give the family room, bedroom or bathroom a whole new look? By focusing on the improvement of one room at a time, you'll find that what can seem like an overwhelming job becomes fun and simple. Repainting a single room can be inexpensively completed over a single weekend.
Tuesday, February 08 2011
First-time home buyers once set out to buy a “starter home,” which refers to an entry-level property that is affordable and often needs some updating. But new buyers are forgoing the “room for improvement” home, and are getting more choosy in their home shopping.
Eighty-seven percent of first-time home buyers said they want to purchase a home that is move-in ready, according to a survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate, which surveyed 300 first-time home buyers in the last year. First-time home buyers made up half of the market in 2010, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
"There's a real 'aha' moment for sellers revealed by this survey that the condition and quality of their home matters a great deal to first-time home buyers," says Diann Patton, a consumer real estate specialist with Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. "On top of that, our agents have reported that on average, first-time home buyers now look at more than 11 homes before making decisions, which is higher than in the past. They can be choosy about what appeals to them and are recognizing the benefits of the low prices and wide selection of homes in many areas."
Location is a key deciding factor when looking for a home: 78 percent of new buyers said the home had to be in an area convenient to shops and services, according to the survey. What’s more, three-quarters of buyers said it was important to be near their workplace, and nearly two-thirds said it was important to be close to "highly rated" schools.
Many first-time home buyers said the current real estate market offered them more opportunity than they had expected. For example, half of new buyers said they found a home in a more desirable neighborhood than they expected; 61 percent were able to get the home at a better price; and 40 percent got more space than expected.
Source: “Coldwell Banker Real Estate Survey: First-time Buyers Demand New Kind of ‘Starter Home,’” Marketwire (Feb. 8, 2011) http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2011020801?OpenDocument
Thursday, January 20 2011
GET WINTER-WISE: Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather
December 22 is the first day of winter 2010/2011. In many parts of the country, cooler weather has already begun to set in. So before you curl up with a good book or head outdoors to enjoy the snow, take time to make sure your home is ready for cold weather so it can enjoy the winter as well.
Inspect your heating system.
Breathe easier this winter. Have an HVAC professional inspect your furnace and clean air ducts to remove dust. Then, make sure you have a good supply of furnace filters on hand and make a note to change them every month. Something as simple as changing a furnace filter can reduce heating costs by up to 5%. If you have hot-water radiators, bleed the valves.
Replace old thermostats.
Nearly 50% of the energy used in a typical American home is for heating and cooling. Think about replacing your thermostat with a programmable one, allowing you to keep your home a little cooler at night.
Ready your chimney and fireplace.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace that hasn't been cleaned recently, hire a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote. Chimneys should be capped or screened to keep birds or rodents from nesting there. Check your fireplace damper and make sure it still opens and closes properly. For brick chimneys, inspect the mortar and tuckpoint if needed.
Go outside. Weatherize the exterior, doors and windows.
Inspect the outside of your home. Look for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes and seal them. Weatherstrip around doors and gaps along the foundation helps to keep cold air out. Caulk around windows for the same reason. Switch out screens and storm windows in the fall, before it gets cold.
Do you need more attic insulation?
Although insulating or upgrading insulation can be a big step, it is relatively easy to add insulation to most attics. A poorly insulated attic can be a major source of heat loss.
Up on the roof.
Inspect your roof, gutters and downspouts. Replace roof shingles that are worn and check the flashing to make sure your roof is watertight. Clean leaves and debris from gutters and if you don't have them already, think about installing leaf guards. Clear downspouts with a hose.
No more frozen pipes.
You can prevent your plumbing from freezing with a few easy steps:
• Drain and detach all garden hoses.
• Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
• Drain air conditioner pipes. If your air conditioning system has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.
• Leave heat on while on vacation (at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit).
When the Lights go out
Prepare for power outages ahead of time:
• Buy indoor candles and matches or a lighter.
• Keep a flashlight and extra batteries on each floor of your home.
• Keep the phone numbers of utility companies near your phone or inside your phone book.
• Buy a battery-operated radio.
• Have extra bottled water and non-perishable foods on hand. Don't forget food for your pets.
• Protect computer and sensitive electronic equipment with a battery backup and/or surge protector(s).
• Keep blankets and a first-aid kid in a location that's easy to access and remember.
• Prepare an evacuation plan for emergencies.
Thursday, January 06 2011
FIVE TIPS FOR DO-IT-YOURSELF WORK AROUND THE HOME
· Make a list: Spend some time taking stock of the kinds of maintenance and improvement projects you'd like to begin. A well-considered list will help you to set reachable goals.
· Assess your skills: Make sure that you carefully consider which projects you are fully capable of completing. For example, unless you have sufficient experience with electrical, plumbing or construction work, you should probably leave those tasks to the professionals.
· Establish priorities: Which projects are most important to you? Which projects will be the most costly? Which is more important: timeliness, quality or cost? Before beginning any do-it-yourself project, it is always wise to determine specific goals and priorities so that you are fully prepared when it comes time to begin.
· Create a budget: For each project that you want to complete, make certain that you have a firm budget in place. Allowing for unexpected circumstances (such as errors or the need for additional materials) in your budget will keep you from overspending.
· One step at a time: When it's time to begin, remember to pace yourself! Rome wasn't built in a day, and your new garden terrace will take time as well. Complete one task at a time, and soon you'll feel the wonderful sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that doing-it-yourself can bring!
Tuesday, December 28 2010
Michele Lerner, author of Homebuying: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time, offers reasons why real estate is likely to improve in 2011. Here are five reasons she thinks consumers should consider a home purchase next year:
Wednesday, December 22 2010
As part of the 2010-11Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, REALTORS® recently rated exterior replacement projects among the most cost-effective home improvement projects, demonstrating that curb appeal remains one of the most important aspects of a home at resale time.
“This year’s Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report highlights the importance of exterior projects, which not only provide the most value, but also are among the least expensive improvements for a home,” said National Association of REALTORS® President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “Since resale value can vary by region, it’s smart for home owners to work with a REALTOR® through the remodeling and improvement process; they can provide insight into projects in their neighborhoods that will recoup the most when the owners are ready to sell.”
Nine of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior replacement projects. The steel entry door replacement remained the project that returned the most money, with an estimated 102.1 percent of cost recouped upon resale; it is also the only project in this year’s report that is expected to return more than the cost. The midrange garage door replacement, a new addition to the report this year, is expected to recoup 83.9 percent of costs. Both projects are small investments that cost little more than $1,200 each, on average. REALTORS® identified these two replacements as projects that can significantly improve a home’s curb appeal.
“Curb appeal remains king – it’s the first thing potential buyers notice when looking for a home, and it also demonstrates pride of ownership,” said Phipps.
The 2010-11Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report compares construction costs with resale values for 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels and replacements in 80 markets across the country. Data are grouped in nine U.S. regions, following the divisions established by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the 13th consecutive year that the report, which is produced by Remodeling magazine publisher Hanley Wood, LLC, was completed in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine.
REALTORS® provided their insight into local markets and buyer home preferences within those markets. Overall, REALTORS® estimated that home owners would recoup an average of 60 percent of their investment in 35 different improvement projects, down from an average of 63.8 percent last year. Remodeling projects, particularly higher cost upscale projects, have been losing resale value in recent years because of weak economic conditions.
According to the report, replacement projects usually outperform remodel and addition projects in resale value because they are among the least expensive and contribute to curb appeal. Various types of siding and window replacement projects were expected to return more than 70 percent of costs. Upscale fiber-cement siding replacement was judged by REALTORS® the most cost effective among siding projects, recouping 80 percent of costs. Among the window replacement projects covered, upscale vinyl window replacements were expected to recoup the most, 72.6 percent upon resale. Another exterior project, a wood deck addition, tied with a minor kitchen remodel for the fourth most profitable project recouping an estimated 72.8 percent of costs.
The top interior projects for resale value included an attic bedroom and a basement remodel. Both add living space without extending the footprint of the house. An attic bedroom addition costs more than $51,000 and recoups an estimated 72.2 percent nationally upon resale; a basement remodel costs more than $64,000 and recoups an estimated 70 percent. Improvement projects that are expected to return the least are a midrange home office remodel, recouping an estimated 45.8 percent; a backup power generator, recouping 48.5 percent; and a sunroom addition, recouping 48.6 percent of costs.
Although most regions followed the national trends, the regions that consistently were estimated to return a higher percentage of remodeling costs upon resale were the Pacific region of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington; the West South Central region of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas; the East South Central region of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee; and the South Atlantic region of the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
The regions where REALTORS® generally reported the lowest percentage of costs recouped were New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont), East North Central (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin), West North Central (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota), and Middle Atlantic (New York and Pennsylvania).
“It’s important to remember that the resale value of a particular improvement project depends on several factors,” said Phipps. “Things such as the home’s overall condition, availability and condition of surrounding properties, location and the regional economic climate contribute to an estimated resale value. That’s why it is imperative to work with a REALTOR® who can provide insight and guidance into local market conditions whether you’re buying, selling or improving a home.”
Results of the report are summarized in the January issue of REALTOR® Magazine. To read the full project descriptions, access national and regional project data, and download a free PDF containing data for any of the 80 cities covered by the report, visit www.costvsvalue.com. “Cost vs. Value” is a registered trademark of Hanley Wood, LLC.
Hanley Wood, LLC, is the premier media company serving housing and construction. Through four operating divisions, the company produces award-winning magazines and websites, marquee trade shows and events, rich data, and custom marketing solutions. The company also is North America’s leading provider of home plans. Founded in 1976, Hanley Wood is a $240 million company owned by JPMorgan Partners, LLC, a private equity affiliate of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
REALTOR® Magazine is published by the National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate” and America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
Monday, November 22 2010
Wednesday, November 10 2010
1. Decide what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.
2. Develop your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.
3. Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.
4. Start saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.
5. Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.
6. Determine your mortgage qualifications. How large of mortgage do you qualify for? Also, explore different loan options — such as 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs — and decide what’s best for you.
7. Get preapproved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.
8. Weigh other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your fist home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.
9. Calculate the costs of homeownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.
10. Contact a REALTOR®. Call me at 812-499-9234 for all of your Real Estate needs. You can also rech me by email: Rolando@TheTrentiniTeam.com
Monday, November 08 2010
Consumer confidence and business spending are key to whether the U.S. housing market will move into a virtuous or a vicious cycle in 2011, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun told a packed audience at the Residential Economic Outlook Forum Friday in New Orleans.
Friday, October 15 2010
Nearly eight out of 10 respondents believe buying a home is a good financial decision, despite ongoing challenges with the economy and housing market. That’s according to the 2010 National Housing Pulse Survey, an annual report released today by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS.®
Tuesday, September 21 2010
By Robert Freedman, senior editor, REALTOR® Magazine
A piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday took issue with a recent Time cover story calling into question some of our most cherished beliefs about homeownership. Much of what the Journal talks about isn’t new. In fact, it recites benefits of homeownership that you already know better than anyone. But in pulling them together in the way it does, it makes you realize just how compelling homeownership is from just about every standpoint. If you haven’t seen the piece, by Brett Arends, here’s a thumbnail sketch of its 10 points:
Why is now a great time to buy?
1. You can get a good deal. Prices are down 30 percent on average. They’re at a level that makes sense for people’s income.
2. Mortgages are cheap. At 4.3 percent on average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, your costs to own are down by a fifth from two years ago.
3. You can save on taxes. When you add up the deductions for mortgage interest and others, the cost of owning can drop below renting for a comparable place.
4. It’ll be yours. The one benefit to owning that never changes is that you can paint your walls orange if you want (generally speaking; there might be some community restrictions). How many landlords will let you do that?
5. You can get a better home. In some markets, it’s simply the case that the nicest places are for-sale homes and condos.
6. It offers some inflation protection. Historically, appreciation over time outpaces inflation.
7. It’s risk capital. If the economy picks up, you stand to benefit from that, even if you’re goal is just to have a nice place to live.
8. It’s forced savings. A part of your payment each month goes to equity.
9. There is a lot to choose from. There are some 4 million homes available today, about a year’s supply. Now’s the time to find something you like and get it.
10. Sooner or later the market will clear. The U.S. is expected to grow by another 100 million people in 40 years. They have to live somewhere. Demand will eventually outpace supply.