There are so many things to think of when buying a home. It can be difficult to think of everything when you are house shopping. When you tour potential homes it can be easy to get caught up in things that may not be as important after you move in like storage, parking, and privacy.

When home shopping you should make a checklist of the things you must have in a home so you don’t get caught up in the new granite countertops or the beautifully decorated master bedroom. Think function over style when making a buying decision.

Here are some things you may want to consider putting on your must-have list.

Storage
When walking through a home make sure to make note of the amount of storage. A good staging job can disguise a home with too little storage. Imagine the home with no furniture and picture your furniture and belongings in place. If you are seriously interested in the home bring a sketch pad and measure the rooms and draw a quick sketch of walls, doors, windows and closets.

Location
Consider the location of the home to places you frequently travel. You may only be a few miles from the store or work but what is the commute like? Do a practice run at rush hour from the home to your work. If you are moving near public transportation give that a try too. Make sure to try the commute both ways.

Enough Power and Water Imagine waking up the first morning in your new home and finding out the water pressure is barely enough for a shower or the water gets cold half way through.  It is important to determine if the plumbing and wiring can accommodate your lifestyle. Check the size of the hot water tank and run a few plumbing items at a time to check the water pressure. Talk to your home inspector about the electrical system. Make sure the home inspector knows the kinds of electrical equipment you run and the number of people that will be living in the home.

Privacy
Many buyers overlook privacy until it’s too late. Try to spend some time in the house. Look out the bathroom and bedroom windows and test what you see. Do a walk-through of the home and pretend to go through your day. Sit in the back yard and on the deck to see and listen to the neighbors.

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Before you sign the papers to purchase your home, you will want to get one important thing done: a home inspection. This essential task will not only give you insight into the potential problems a home has, it was also give you the ability to renegotiate based on what is found. Knowing what to expect is the first step.

A home inspection should include the condition of the roof, attic, walls, ceilings floors, windows and doors, the heating and cooling system, plumbing and electrical systems, the foundation and basement. All these areas of inspection as done only if accessible. For example: if the roof is covered with snow, an inspector will look at what they can, but the snow may obstruct the view.

The cost of an inspection can vary depending on your location. Getting a variety of prices from different licensed inspectors can help you find the best deal in the area. While the cost may make you want to skip out on an inspection (with all the money you are spending to by the house, one more cost can feel enormous), not getting one can really hurt your wallet later on. Major structural issues, leaks, and toxins can cost big bucks to fix.

A multi page detailed report will be created based on the inspection, including recommendations. This should be reviewed carefully to estimate the amount of work that will be involved in maintaining and/or fixing the house. While that roof the report mentioned isn’t leaking today, if the inspector mentioned that it may need to be replaced soon, figure it will. Then of course, there are more immediate areas that may need attention, that you will have to plan on addressing right away.

Finally, if there are major issues with the house, you can negotiate this into your offer. All offers should be made contingent on the inspection, so that once the inspection is done, the offer can change. So if that roof is already starting to leak, you can bring down the offer price to be able to put money towards a new roof right away.

No matter if you are buying a year old home, or one from 1950, a home inspection is a must when making an offer. Skipping the inspection will only increase the risk of damage to your finances down the road. Better safe than sorry!

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You have made the decision to put your home up for sale. Before you stick the sign in the yard there are a few things you will want to do. Buyers can be picky and the competition can be stiff. So now is the time to do all the little repairs you’ve always meant to do but never had the time for.

Here are just a few of the basic repairs you will want to conquer before the first prospective buyer walks through the door:

1.Tackle the Entrance

This is the first thing people see when they come to your home. Paint the front door and trim surrounding the door. Repair sagging screen doors and replace any missing or corroded hinge screws and tighten the rest.

2. Spruce up the Perimeter

Walk the perimeter of your home, clear away dead plants, clip blossoms, and clear away leaves and other yard waste.

3. Recheck the roof

Any problem that has the word roof in it scares a buyer away immediately. Replace missing shingles and fix hanging gutters.  Remove any moss growing on the roof as this shows signs of neglect.

4. Clear and caulk gutters.

Clear all the debris out of the gutters and recaulk the gutter end caps.

5. Patch nail holes and repaint.

Patch up nail holes in the walls of your home. Use a lightweight putty to fill the holes and paint the repaired spots.

6. Clean the Grout

Deep clean tile grout with bleach.  Regrout tiles where needed and recaulk cracks between sinks, tubs, toilets, counters and floors. This will give your tile a whole new look.

7. Stop Dripping Faucets

Fix leaky faucets before the buyer notices them.  You may need to call in a plumber to do this task. Before you do that you can shut off the water supply and check for moisture on the wall around the valves and on the floor of the sink cabinet. Many hardware stores carry faucet rebuild kits that contain the 6 to 12 parts most likely to fail, including the metal ball, O rings, springs and gaskets.

 

 

One of the biggest things that can impact your ability to get a loan for a home is your credit score. Credit scores measure the risk a lender may take when deciding on a mortgage. If your credit score is not where you want it to be have no fear it’s never too late to become credit worthy.

Your credit score is also known as your FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score, it is one of the tools that lenders use to evaluate a borrower’s ability or likelihood to repay a loan. Credit scores range from 300 to 850 points. Credit scores over 720 are often considered excellent.  Scores of 680 – 719 are considered good. Scores that fall between 620-679 are questionable and typically require more review by the lender. A score under 619 usually disqualifies you from getting the best rates or even a loan at all.

Here are five ways to raise your credit score:

1. Obtain your credit score from the three major credit score reporting agencies. They are Equifax, Experian and Transunion.

2. Review your report and look for any discrepancies. Your report will also give you a good idea of why your score may be low. According to myFICO.com, credit score calculation is based on five key components: payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit and types of credit used.

3. Come up with a plan to improve the five key components. Payment history carries the most weight it makes up 35% of your score. So be sure to pay your bills on time. 30% of your score is determined by the use of your available credit. Only use 30% of your maximum credit limit for each credit card and revolving accounts, using anything over that hurts your credit score.

4. If you have any past-due bills, judgments or collection accounts make arrangements to pay them as soon as possible. Some creditors may accept a portion of an amount due as payment in full.

5. Minimize your requests for new credit. Credit inquiries make up 10% of your score and can ultimately bring it down.

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