Posted by Marie Presti on 8/19/2018

When you think of making improvements to your home, you probably often turn to the inside of your home to bring the value of your home up. The outside of your house provides the same type of opportunities and adds value at the same time. People not only like to live in the indoors of their homes, but the outdoors as well. Maximizing the outdoor space allows for entertainment opportunities and increased living space without maximum costs.


Spruce Up Your Garden And Landscapes


The landscape of your home is a revolving battle. Youíll need to continually maintain these areas of the home. Choose your plants based on the climate you live in. Keep the grass looking green, or plant a drought-tolerant yard. Adding trees for shade, shrubbery for beauty, and other types of plants not only helps increase the curb appeal of your home, but plants and trees can lower energy bills and keep your home cool at the same time.      



Build An Outdoor Space


Building something like a deck or a patio to your home can really be effective at adding living space and value to your home. Whether you decide to go all out and attach a deck to your home for you to step out on, or do things a little more simply and pave a patio, youíll find a return on your investment. Most homeowners look for a nice outdoor space to hang out on, so this improvement can make a big difference. 


Curb Appeal Matters


The curb appeal of your home is what it looks like when people pull up tot he front of the house. Having a better looking home from the outside can increase the value of your home and the future appeal it has to buyers. Your home will be more inviting by doing improvements like repaving the driveway or adding a stone wall. Whatever you think the front of your home needs to make it more inviting should be done not only if youíre planning on selling your home, but for your own enjoyment as well. 


Add Other Touches


There are certain luxuries in a yard that can make a big difference. Add a small waterfall or a fountain to add a lot to a yard. Along with your deck or patio area, you should also consider adding a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace. These items attract people for their immense enjoyment. The design doesnít even need to be elaborate. These can be some of the biggest, yet most inexpensive improvements that you can make to your yard. 


Remember that no matter how you want to spruce up your yard, itís all about enjoyment and the ability to make use your yard. Add the personal touches that you know will make your yard special and purposeful.




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Posted by Marie Presti on 8/12/2018

Curb appeal, the illusive secret weapon that enamors potential buyers from afar and draws them into your home. There have been several attempts to nail down the ďsecret formulaĒ for curb appeal.

In reality, the best approach to improving your homeís presentation from outside is to take the time to consider what fits.

In this post, weíll give you some budget ideas to help you find the curb appeal boosters that will match with your home.

1. Fresh paint

One well-known curb appeal strategy is to repaint some of the notable components of the outside of your home. The places that have to most impact?

  • Front door - a front door that pops, but that also fits with the style of your home and complements its main color will make your home stand out from the neighbors.

  • Shutters - repainting your shutters is another inexpensive area to add some color to your home. However, be wary of choosing bright colors for your shutters if theyíre going to clash with or disrupt the overall style of your home.

  • Mailbox - a neglected, dented, and a dirty mailbox is a huge turn off for potential buyers. Buying a new one, or adding a fresh coat of paint to your old one that matches one of the highlight colors of your home, can be a great way to add a sense of continuity to the exterior of your house.

2. Sparse decorations

Just like the inside of your home, less is often more when it comes to decoration. There are a number of things to add to your yard that will improve its overall presentation. But, just be sure that it doesnít appear out of place or tacky. A single, small, and brightly colored bird house in a tree is usually a safe bet.

3. Simple landscaping

Thereís no need to hire contractors for elaborate landscaping or to purchase expensive plants and shrubbery. A well-manicured yard is enough to make your home stand out. And, remember that potential buyers will most likely be looking for a home that is low-maintenance. A simple lawn and walkway say just that.

Also be sure to trim and prune your current trees, bushes, and flowerbeds. You might find that a cleanup is all they needed to be impressive once more.

4. Pressure washing

Most of us grow accustomed to how our home looks and might not notice the accumulation of dirt on the siding. By hiring or renting a pressure washer for a day, youíll be able to update a number of aspects of curb appeal. From siding and decks to walkways and driveways, you can cover a lot of square footage with a pressure washer.

One note on pressure washers: the better ones can be dangerous. That means hiring a professional could help get the best results for your money. Also, while you can buy a pressure washer, you might find that for the amount you use it, itís easier just to hire or rent every few years.




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Posted by Marie Presti on 8/5/2018

Getting a mortgage is one of those things that everyone seems to have quite a bit of advice about. While people surely have good intentions, itís not always best to take the buying advice of everyone you meet. Below, youíll find the wrong kind of mortgage advice and why you should think twice about it. 


Pre-Approvals Are Pointless


Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can give you an upper hand when it comes to putting in offers on a home. Even though a pre-approval isnít a guarantee, itís a good step. It shows that youíre a serious buyer and locks you in with a lender so they can process your paperwork a bit more quickly when you do want to put an offer in on a home. 


Use Your Own Bank


While your own bank may be a good place to start when it comes to buying a home, you donít need to get your mortgage from the place where you already have an account. You need to compare rates at different banks to make sure youíre getting the best possible deal on a mortgage. Youíll also want to check on the mortgage requirements for each bank. Different banks have different standards based on down payment, credit scores and more. Youíll want to get your mortgage from the bank thatís right for you and your own situation. 


The Lowest Interest Rate Is Best


While this could be true, itís not set in stone. A bank with a slightly higher interest rate could offer you some benefits that you otherwise might not have. If you have a lower credit score, or less downpayment money, a bank offering a higher interest rate could be a better option for you. Low interest rates can have some fine print that might end up costing you a lot more in the long term. Do your research before you sign on with any kind of bank for your mortgage. 


Borrow The Maximum


Just because youíre approved for a certain amount of mortgage doesnít mean that you need to max out your budget. Itís always best to have a bit of a financial cushion for yourself to keep your budget from being extremely tight. When life throws you a curveball like unexpected medical bills or a job loss, youíll be glad that you didnít strain your budget to the end of your means. Even though the bigger, nicer house always looks more attractive, youíre better off financially if youíre sensible about the amount of money you borrow to buy a home.




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Posted by Marie Presti on 7/29/2018

If youíre trying to decide whether or not you should put a pool in at your home, thereís a lot to think about. You donít want to regret spending a sizable amount of money. You may picture a life of luxury with a pool, but thereís a lot involved with the installation of it. It can be quite an ongoing investment to put in a pool. Maintenance, repairs, and more are involved. Depending upon the climate you live in, you may need to put a cover on the pool during the offseason as well.


When Putting In A Pool Is A No-Brainer


If you live in a warm climate like California, Florida, Hawaii, Or Arizona, it makes total sense to invest in a pool. these places get the maximum benefit from pool installation since the pool can be used the whole year through. 


If you have a large yard and are able to accommodate both a pool and some yard space, itís also not a bad idea to put in a pool. The important thing is that you understand that youíre not always going to get a return on your investment when you sell your home. Not all homebuyers like pools and often the presence of a pool can even deter some buyers from even looking at the home.


Questions To Ask Regarding Return On Investment:


  • Does a pool fit in with the neighborhood?
  • Is the pool in good condition?
  • How old is the pool?

The idea with homes that have pools is to attract the right buyers. Many times, families with young children stay away from properties with pools since they see it as a safety hazard. Other home shoppers may fall in love with the property because of the pool. The important thing about putting in a pool is knowing that you as a homeowner will enjoy the feature. 


Costs


The average cost to put in a pool in the US is around $30,000. Thatís just a basic pool. Youíll probably need to add a few more details like fencing, pool furniture, and more landscaping. That can cause the total investment to rise significantly. The type of pool that you choose also has an effect on the cost of the project. Donít forget about the added energy expenses of running a filter and putting a heater in the pool. 


Insurance


When you have a pool, youíll need to change the type of insurance that you have. The pool can increase your insurance costs significantly. There also could be certain requirements set forth by the insurance company, such as the pool needing to be fenced in. 


While adding a pool to your home may make your life more enjoyable, it may not add to the value and return you get on your home. Donít over invest in an amenity that wonít give you the returns your looking for unless youíre prepared and know that you as a homeowner will truly enjoy the pool.




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Posted by Marie Presti on 7/22/2018

Purchasing a property in a planned development, gated community or a place with leased land can seem confusing due to regulations. The biggest difference in buying one of these properties instead of a single family home comes with one main difference: additional fees. HOA stands for Home Ownerís Association, which is what youíre obligated to join when you purchase a home within a community. Youíll pay the association monthly or annual fees for the upkeep of community centers and buildings within the complex. Before you decide to buy, itís a good idea to know how these fees work and how to get the most for your money when purchasing a home with HOA fees.


HOA Fees 101


HOA fees range from about $200-$400 a month. If youíre looking to move into a more upscale community or are looking for a lot of amenities, expect to pay more for your fee. The association may charge an extra assessment if additional funds are needed for projects such as a new roof or a new pool.


Equal Responsibility


All residents in condos or town homes are equally responsible for the common maintenance such as landscaping, garages, fitness rooms, pools, clubhouses and sidewalks. HOA fees are said to help homeowners maintain a certain quality of life within their community and keep the properties safe and pleasant for all residents. 


The Rules


Homeownerís Associations have certain rules that all residents must follow. These can include what color your house can be, what type of landscaping you can do, if you can install satellite TV, or where you are able to park your car. These rules are pretty similar to the ones that you would need to follow if you were living in an apartment building. If youíd like to do anything outside of the rules of the HOA, youíll need to file whatís called a variance with the association in order to get approval. All in all, itís important to obey the rules when youíre living in a property governed by an HOA, otherwise, hefty consequences can result. 


Tips For Successful Living In A Community Setting


  • Know the rules
  • Make sure that the home you want to buy is in compliance with current HOA standards
  • Be sure your temperament matches with community living


Questions To Ask About HOA Fees


  • How are fee increases set?
  • How often do fee increases occur?
  • What is covered under the HOA fee?
  • What conflicts have occurred in the association and how were they resolved?
  • What kind of insurance is on the building?


Home Ownerís Association Fees are a good thing because they prevent major issues like horrible paint colors and parking issues from ruining a community. However, when purchasing a home in a community setting, you need to be smart about what the fees cover and if living in that community has your best interests in mind.