The additional time that Americans are spending in their houses can lead to excess strain on different rooms of your home. Review these tips to get to know the areas to keep a close eye on and how to relieve strain to avoid overuse.
Clean your dishwasher filter to increase the longevity of your appliance.
Make sure your smoke detector works and the batteries are fresh during a time when you’re cooking more often at home.
Check under the sink manually for leaks or add a smart sensor to monitor them in real time with alerts sent directly to your smart phone.
Consider replacing your light bulbs with LEDs to use one-fifth the amount of energy as you were using before.
Review each hose in your washer and dryer for its condition by looking at the rubber exterior for cracking or brittle bits.
Fix any water drains that may have flooded during last year’s hurricane season to divert water away from your home.
A vacation home is a perfect way to relax and unwind. If you are considering the purchase of a vacation home, check the following tips to get you unwinding in no time!
Consider how you’ll use the home. Will it just be for family and friends, or do you plan to rent it as well? And realistically, how many times will you use it per year?
Evaluate locations. Are there enough amenities and attractions to keep you— and renters—coming back year after year?
Talk to the locals. What do they love about the area? What’s changing? And what’s it like during the off season?
Study local laws. If you plan to rent the home, local rules may restrict rental periods or cap the number of days you can rent each year.
Calculate costs. Along with mortgage, insurance, property taxes and association or amenities fees, plan for wear and tear. (A good rule of thumb: Budget 1½ percent of home’s value on repairs annually.) And if you intend to rent, add the cost of a property manager.
Talk to an accountant. This person can advise you on such issues as the tax implications of rental income and changes in federal tax laws that could impact deductions.
Test before you buy. Once you’ve settled on a spot, you should rent in every season so you can gauge busy and slow times.
Work with a REALTOR®. Pick someone who knows the community and who can recommend the other experts you’ll want to consult.
If you are like most home buyers, you probably have friends, family and coworkers encouraging you to buy a home. However, you may still be wondering if buying a home is the right thing to do. Well, having reservations is normal, and getting educated is the right move (pun intended)! The more you know about why you should buy a home, the less scary the entire process will appear to you. Here are seven good reasons why you should buy a home.
Tax benefits: The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.
Appreciation: Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 percent each year from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The 2007-2010 housing crisis has caused some to question the long-term value of real estate, but values were up 7.0 percent on a cumulative basis in the 2010-2020 decade. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 10 to 15 percent over the next decade 2020-2030, creating continued high demand for housing.
Equity: Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
Savings: Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
Predictability: Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.
Freedom: The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.
Stability: Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.
Being pre-qualified means a lender has decided you will likely be approved for a loan up to a certain amount, based on your current financial situation.
To get pre-qualified, you simply tell a lender your level of income, assets, and debt. The lender will then take that unverified information and determine how much you will likely be approved for. There are no guarantees you will actually be approved for the same amount.
Benefits of being Pre-Qualified:
No effect on credit score
Helps you estimate what you can afford
Good for first-time home buyers
While pre-qualification is often the first step of the mortgage process, some sellers won’t take you seriously until you’ve been pre-approved.
Being pre-approved means you’ve actually been verified and approved by a lender for a specific loan amount. When pre-approved, you will receive a letter that states your approved loan amount.
Unlike getting pre-qualified, when getting pre-approved, you provide documented financial information (pay stubs, statements, obligations, credit report, etc.) to be reviewed and verified by the lender.
Benefits of being Pre-Approved:
Gives you negotiation power
Helps you know exactly what you can afford
Allows you to close faster
Keep in mind that being pre-approved doesn’t guarantee you a loan. You still have to complete an application, go through the underwriting process, and wait for final approval from a lender. However, being pre-approved indicates your intent to purchase, so sellers look fondly upon buyers with pre-approval letters.
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