Choosing a moving company

You’ve finally purchased your first home and you can’t wait to move in! But choosing a moving company should take a similar amount of thought and care that you put into buying your dream house. A few tips:

  • Check the license: No matter how reputable they seem or how impressive their website make sure they have a valid state license.
  • Read online reviews and references: These days online reviews and references are the best source of others’ experiences. Make sure, however, you go beyond the reviews on their website. Check Yelp, Google and other real estate blogs.
  • Check a number of companies: When one company’s estimate is significantly lower than all the others, be careful – they re may be hidden fees or extra costs. The lowest bid is not necessarily the best bid.

Looking to sell? Hire a handyman

When it comes time to put your home on the market, it literally pays to invest some time and money into getting it into top shape. Too often homeowners are used to maneuvering around elements that are old, worn-out or even broken. Just remember, a potential buyer has never seen your home before and they’re going to have a sharp eye out for anything that is substandard.

Some common areas that could use improvement:

  1. Paint: Chances are your walls could use a fresh coat
  2. Countertops: You don’t need to remodel the entire kitchen; in fact it’s amazing what new – freshly cleaned – countertops will add
  3. Lighting: These days brightly-lit rooms are the norm so adding some recessed or pendant lights might just do the trick

Many homeowners prefer DIY projects

The 2019 Remodeling Impact Report: DIY finds that many homeowners experience greater satisfaction from their own projects over hiring a professionals. Most projects center around improving the livability or functionality of their home as well as increasing the aesthertics.

Nearly 75 percent of Generation Y and millennials choose to do DIY home projects while more than half of Generation X and baby boomers tackle this work.

Interestingly, pet-driven projects – dog doors, fence or laminate floor installations – are some of the more common DIY projects.


Home Improvement: The Garage

The garage might not immediately come to mind when thinking of home improvements but there are plenty of things yo can do that might not add great value to your home but will certainly make your life a bit easier.

  • Organize, organize, organize: Making effective use of your space, whether it’s tools, laundry or storage, is vital.
  • Improving insulation & wall paint: Poor temperature control can damage your garage’s contents. A new coat of paint will certainly make it look better.
  • Convert to extra living space: This, of course, finding alternative sources of storage, not to mention where to park your car.
  • Adding features: Carport, custom caravan shed, charging station?

Most buyers still don’t shop for a mortgage

According to a new survey nearly two thirds of all home buyers don’t bother shopping around for a mortgage. 44 percent admitted that the best mortgage is the one with the lowest rate. Experts point out that closing costs and the broader annual percentage rate are also important factors.

Finally, many confused prequalified – you will likely be able to obtain a mortgage for what you can afford – with preapproved – where you actually been approved for a mortgage.

58 percent believed that adjustable-rate mortgages were only for “risk takers” while analysts explain that adjustable 5/5 rates are ideal for those who expect to be in their home for lost than 5 years.


Adding value through special features

When looking to add value to your property it’s important to know what features are attracting potential buyers now.

  • Kitchen island: A well-designed kitchen island changes the look of the room entirely, often making it appear larger than it actually is as well as greatly improving the functionality of the space.
  • Granite countertop: Beautiful kitchens are a strong selling point these days and nothing is impressive as a granite countertop.
  • >Walk-in closet: A popular feature requested these days by home buyers, a well-designed space that accommodates additional cabinets and drawers will certainly add value.
  • Swimming pool: Back in vogue, a swimming pool is again seen as a real plus for outdoor gatherings.

Expect changes when you buy a home

Buying a home will probably be the biggest financial investment you ever make so it’s best to be prepared for what’s to come:

  • Expenses will increase with all that comes with home ownership.
  • Credit will improve as you make mortgage payments.
  • Other loans will be easier to qualify for as you now have a major asset.
  • Your home builds equity.

Buying a home will change your financial life forever.


When inheriting a house…

An excellent article on issues to consider when inheriting a house.

  • Keep, rent or sell: Competing interest among siblings may settle this one quickly: sell
  • Property investment: If there are siblings, is this going to work in the longterm?
  • Renovate/repair: If selling or renting, how much improvement is necessary?
  • Furnishings; An older home is likely to come with older furniture. How is this to be dealt with?

These are all questions that the executor must consider when a home is inherited.


Fall maintenance for your home

And just like that summer’s over: the beach umbrella and inflatable raft have been stored away and it’s time to turn your attention to the seasons ahead. Here’s a quick checklist to get you started:

  • Clean the gutters: Before the leaves fall, make sure the gutters are clean. if you use a gutter guard – a good idea – make sure it’s in good working order.
  • Attic insulation: If you’re home is older, check that the insulation has settled or shifted, leaving gaps or covering vents in the eaves.
  • Weather stripping: Consider removing or replacing the stripping around door frames with expansion foam to keep out winter drafts.
  • Remove window air conditioners: If you leave the A/C units in year round, make sure the exterior is covered with an insulating wrap.

When your house isn’t selling…

How can this be? Everything sells in California…

Well, maybe eventually. Experts agree that getting the price correct right from the start is key. Price it competitively rather than hoping to find someone willing to overpay. Competitive pricing can often mean multiple offers and a bidding war. Overpricing can mean your house just sits without any offers, which isn’t good in any market.

Other strategies include:

  • Upgrade your listing materials with high-quality photos and well thought-out descriptions
  • Improve the curb appeal so potential buyers will picture themselves in their new home
  • Tone down the interior by using neutral paint and removing personal items as much as possible