Home Maintenance Tips – essential for you and your family’s safety

Most of us hate getting into checking the maintenance jobs like checking the electrical appliances, checking up the leaking and fixes, checking the back pump, renewing the floor finish and seeing the foundation of your house is appropriate or not, on a regular basis which we know are quite essential and important for our day to day lives. Lets us ensure that we do these tasks appropriately and on a timely basis. Here are some home maintenance tips. Home Improvement Tips1 240x300 Home Maintenance Tips   essential for you and your family’s safety home improvement 2 articles

1. Ensuring that your electrical appliances are working fine:  Many accidents in the houses are due to the reason that people don’t realize the defect in the product, and these could have been avoided had found out the fault. These faulty appliances can lead to injuries, accidents and even death. You can avid this situation by writing the model and the serial number of each appliance, and then check for the same on the website: www.recalls.gov and then get to know if your appliance is also affected. This list must be ready to use and handy at all times. Keep a regular check at HouseLogics for information about recalling the appliance. This is absolutely free of cost.

2. Checking for leakages and fixing them: A lot of damage is caused to the house by natural resource like water. Continuous leakage of the taps and piper can lead to mold and mildew and bring insects like termites and carpenter ants. Try fixing this leak as soon as possible. A regular check on piper inside the cabinets, any stains that you see on the ceilings, toilets and even water drippings should be attended immediately, by calling a plumber. It wouldn’t cost you much for buying a new washer, and paying the plumber for his services, rather than spending a few hundred dollars for getting your roof repaired.

3.You must ensure that the sump water is working fine and water is send to the discharged line. If it runs on battery, then the battery needs to be replaced every two years. There is no cost involved, only the installation would vary between $150-$350 and for a battery operated one it could be $200. If not correwcted on time it could also lead to drywall and carpenting.

4. The hard floor polish needs to be renewed
before the old one fades away. Incase you do it timely then you wouldn’t have to apply sand too. Only the scratches have to be repaired and a hardwood floor refinsher has to be applied. You can save the lives of your floor by a few years by regularly polishing it. The cost in doing all of this is not much. It’s advisable to spend a few dollars rather than getting a new floor done up.
5. The foundation of your house has to be protected from any cracks, damages as this is one of the most expensive home job. You need to check the soil around your house is at least 5 feet away from the house. Incase this happens this could lead to dampness and be prone to insects, lead to cracks in your walls. Not a very costly affair, would only cost you $50-$100 for buying the topsoil bag.

Why Home Owners in Santa Clarita Are Selling Off Their Homes?

Southern California is the place to be. With the best of the best schools in South Clarita, many people look forward to staying here permanently. Most homeowners are selling their homes here because of the following reasons:

• Reason no.1: Families are becoming bigger and more folks have disposable incomes. The yard spaces are what people are looking for. Santa Clarita makes offers you just can’t refuse. For expanding families this place is no less than heaven. The kids can take classes they like and the community events make this a great place to live. No wonder people are selling homes in Santa Clarita like hot cakes.
• Reason no. 2: Many construction companies have built new communities in Santa Clarita which are attracting eye balls. Buying an old home makes no sense; their maintenance costs just go through the roof. Buying a brand new home could potentially save a buyer a lot of money. There are many options to choose from here in fact sellers can sell homes in Santa Clarita and purchase a new one.

• Reason no.3: If you are planning on retiring, Belacro is one of the most desirable places to enjoy retirement. Once you do reach that stage, it would make sense to look for a down sized house. A home without any stairs would be ideal. Many sellers would plan to sell homes in Santa Clarita looking to get the best deals in the market for the same.

• Reason no. 4 : Santa Clarita is perfect for doing business. Many multi-national companies swoop in on the opportunity of the potential market here. Many people have their jobs-relocated to this area and require homes to stay. Since there is a large demand, sellers can command a better selling price than what they should be getting. Another solid reason to sell homes in this area.

• Reason no. 5: The homeowners in this region have only recently got to know of the value of their property in the market. Earlier there was no awareness that they had equity but still the area is filled with discontent owners who still live here. These fellows are trying their best to get their loans modified or are either facing closure beforehand with a date of sale from their respective banks.

The best features are on offer in this town and there are so many reasons why people would love to sell homes in Santa Clarita and relocate within the same place.

Choosing the Right Community for You

If you are buying a home, one of the first things your real estate professional will do before taking you on home tours is interview you to determine the type of house you want such as a 2,000-square-foot four-bedroom, split-level with a formal dining room and two-car garage. But just as important is the type of community you want to live in. Knowing what your requirements are will help narrow your home search and save time.

To expedite the house-hunting process, start by making a list of the dream home factors that are most important to you and your family’s lifestyle. Consider style, location, proximity to work and schools, yard size, children in the community, and of course, price.

Price and location generally are the key factors you’ll use to identify the communities that best suit you. If you are moving within the same city, you may want to start your community search by getting in your car and exploring. There are also resources on the Internet that let you compare communities.

You’ll want to ask yourself critical questions, such as: Do you dream of something quaint and charming that can only be found in an older area? Or, do you prefer everything new? Are you willing to sacrifice size and space for architectural detailing? What about drive and commute time to the office and schools? Will you forgo the number of bedrooms and a big yard for proximity to a lake or other recreational areas?

Whether you have children or not, buying a home in a community with good schools is important. It not only adds value to your property, but also is an attractive feature when and if you decide to sell. There are plenty of resources available to get information about schools within the communities you are considering. Various Internet sites offer school reports and profiles. They provide statistical data such as graduation rates, college-bound percentages, and standardized test scores. You can also learn about special programs the schools offer. In addition to these reports, many schools have their own Web sites you can peruse. And of course you can always talk to people in the area or take a tour of the school.

Additional factors you’ll want to consider during your community search are crime, recreational activities, proximity to shopping and restaurants, and other specific family needs.

Once you’ve narrowed your search to two or three communities that fit your price range and lifestyle, make comparisons of price and sales activity. Your real estate professional can help you determine which communities are most sales-worthy at present, and which are more likely to continue to be.

There are many factors involved in selecting the right community for you and your family. Discuss your options with your real estate professional. This will provide the information he or she needs to help you find property listings to tour. Remember, a targeted approach to house hunting is less time consuming, less expensive and more efficient.

Avoid These Seller Mistakes

You want to get the best price for your home, plus sell it in the least amount of time. In a buyers’ market such as the one emerging now, homes will take longer to sell. Therefore, it’s important that you make the right moves at the very beginning of your homeselling process to remain competitive. Here are some common traps that many homeowners fall into and how to avoid them.

1. Over-pricing — It’s easy to think your home is worth more than the current market may support, particularly after the long run-up in home prices. Since home prices have cooled in markets around the country, home sellers must be prepared to negotiate on price and terms, and stay flexible to other stipulations benefiting the buyer. Sellers must also keep their emotions in check during the process. After all, your home is special to you and your family, and you’re proud of the improvements you’ve made over the years. But, how does your home really stand up to the others? And are those improvements important to a potential buyer?

To determine a reasonable listing price, get sales statistics on homes in the neighborhood including listing prices and actual sales prices, how long it took for the homes to sell, and government valuation comparisons. You’ll also want a market appraisal on your property. Visit homes for sale in your area and compare what you see in terms of sales appeal.

2. Negligent Housekeeping — Buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in the home. Take a good, objective look at the condition of your home. Clean, well-kept homes with an updated appearance always stand out, and a little decorating appeal can go a long way. You don’t have to buy new furniture to create charm, but you can put toys and clutter away, freshen up paint and carpet, make the most of window coverings, and add a few key accessories in order to send out welcoming signals.

3. Failing to Fix-It — Buyers, unless they are looking for a fixer-upper, would prefer to move into a home that is in perfect or near-perfect condition. If they have to fix the roof, a broken tile floor, the garage door, worn carpet or just about anything, this may give them pause about buying. At the very least, it may lower the value of the home in the prospective buyer’s mind.

4. Not Identifying Exclusions — This can be a cause of contention just at a critical point in the sale. Be sure to specify any special sales considerations or exclusions from the fixtures and furnishings list. Generally, anything permanently fixed to the house is an asset that stays with the home after the sale. So if you intend to take your grandmother’s antique chandelier that’s hanging in the dining room, clearly specify that the chandelier is not included in the sale price.

5. Not Understanding the Agent Agreement — Your sales endeavor will go smoothest when all parties have a clear understanding of what is expected. Understand the types of agency agreements when you sign with a real estate professional or company. Be sure to check on fees, commission percentages, marketing plans and timeframes. Most importantly, get everything in writing.

Should Buyers Use a Real Estate Professional?

Do you really need a real estate professional to represent you? Absolutely.

Think of it this way, when you go to an unfamiliar place, sure you could do a self-guided tour. However, your tour is much more rewarding and enriching when you have someone who is familiar with the location to guide you along because he or she has inside knowledge on the history, culture and stories that you may not have otherwise received.

The same can be said about sales professionals. Their role is more than someone to drive you around from property to property. They can be a great resource, especially to homebuyers relocating from other communities. He or she knows the local area including home values, taxes, utility costs, and school data, and may even be knowledgeable about resources pertaining to your special interests or needs. For instance, should you require help relocating an aging parent with you, your real estate professional may be able to direct you to local services or organizations for the elderly.

A sales professional can familiarize you with the processes involved in buying a home, alert you to potential risks, help you determine how much house you can afford, explain alternative financing strategies, as well as provide tremendous moral support.

Another benefit is having a strong advocate during the negotiating process. Sales professionals can help you objectively evaluate an offer then work to negotiate a favorable contract. During the process, he or she will review the contract and obligations before you sign, explain how contingencies and release clauses work, and so on.
And something easy to overlook is our familiarity with the complexity and risks inherent in the process. In the years I have been practicing I have been continually amazed at how quickly a seemingly simple transaction can grow legally complex and risky. When complex questions arise, a sales professional can help you quickly locate an attorney or other licensed professionals whose services you may require, such as home inspectors, engineers, surveyors and lenders.
As your single point of contact, a sales professional can manage the entire transaction including coordinating inspections, keeping in touch with the other real estate professionals, managing the documentation for the loan process, monitoring deadlines associated with contingencies, providing applicable paperwork, estimating closing costs, and helping prepare for a smooth and uneventful closing.
If you’re about to begin the process of buying or selling a home, consider involving a real estate professional. When the stakes are high, it’s comforting to have a specialist by your side.

4 Things No One Tells First Time Homebuyers in Santa Clarita

Gohomenew 4 Things No One Tells First Time Homebuyers in Santa Clarita buying articles

 

First time homebuyers in town are told a lot of things —
“Save your money,” their parents advise.
“Location, location, location!” their friend’s friend cautions.

Reasonable advice, for certain. But there some important elements of the home buying process which a typical local first time homebuyer doesn’t usually hear. I’ve listed some of the most important ones, in no particular order:

 

1.    Mortgage rates you see advertised aren’t usually what you get

The banner ads are everywhere online: “3.2% rates!” “No money down!” But the truth is, mortgage rates vary greatly. The only way you’ll know what rates you actually qualify for is to go through a complete mortgage application including credit pulls and income verification. One more point to consider: online mortgage calculators, while handy, can be deceptive if you do not factor in the real cost of tax, insurance and PMI when you’re looking at an FHA-loan.

2.    Every Tiny Bit of Debt Counts

Think that $1400 left on your Visa isn’t going to matter? Think again. Every iota of debt weighs in when your credit is scored. What many local first time homebuyers aren’t told is that when you apply for a mortgage, nearly every element of your financial history is going to be analyzed with a fine-toothed comb. All debt will be factored in as the bank figures out how much it is willing to lend. Standards have stiffened, so the earlier you dispose of even small issues, the better.

3.    Your Choice of Agent Makes All the Difference

Let me guess: your friend’s friend also has an agent to recommend (she carpools with his sister’s next door neighbor). There’s no reason you shouldn’t interview her: maybe that’s the right fit for you. But don’t just sign up with the first agent you find: this is a working relationship that can shape your family’s future. Your agent’s connections, experience, and market knowledge will be key — and can well make the difference between your writing an offer that gets accepted or not.
(Coming Next: Another 4!)

Record-Breaking Interest Rates Cause for…Yawns?

(Yawn). There is something to be said for relaxation, for sure. In today’s fast-paced world, allowing yourself some low-key moments is important. It’s stress-reducing. Health-promoting.hundred dollars md wht 150x150 Record Breaking Interest Rates Cause for…Yawns? uncategorized

But there’s a time and place for everything, and whenever I set out to share the latest real estate news, my hope is to be able to offer new information that is more than just informative – it should be fascinating, too!

(Stretch; yawn). Even exciting. However, sometimes it turns out that, in the interest of accuracy, that just isn’t possible. This month, for instance.

It’s time to share the late-breaking October news on mortgage interest rates, and although it actually is record-breaking (stifled yawn), somehow it’s hard to get awfully worked up about it. So much so that I considered just reprinting the Associated Press account – the one that recounted Freddie Mac’s latest rundown on current mortgage interest rates. But I almost dozed off just trying to wade through it.

Anyway, let’s get ourselves a cup of java, then try to get through this snoozer. Since mortgage interest rates affect every Valencia homeowner (and future Valencia homeowner) one way or another, we really need to stay informed about them. So here goes:

For the umpteenth time, the average rates on fixed mortgages nationwide fell to an all-time record low.

And how about those baseball playoffs, eh?

Rates on 30-year loans dropped to 3.36%, down from the previous record we hit the (yawn) previous week, and “is the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.” And, um, 15-year fixed dipped to 2.69%, which is another record. Let’s see, what else: mortgage applications surged 16.6%, sales of both previously occupied and newly built homes are up from last year…etc., etc., etc.

So the fact is, across the country, the rebound in just about everything having to do with residential real estate — mortgage interest rates; home prices; builders’ confidence; most everything else — is building momentum. Just like last month. And the month before…

It’s good that relaxation is healthy for everyone. This tediously good news could get on the nerves, otherwise.  It is true that if you are considering refinancing, buying a second home, or trading up, it’s not a bad idea to keep an eye on mortgage rates and the rest of the Valenciamarket. And in case you have managed to keep your eyelids open at the same time, and want to talk shop – please do give me a call to discuss your plans.

When it comes to putting this boringly great news to work on your behalf, I’m definitely wide-awake!

Rehabbing Local Foreclosed Homes via FHA 203(k)

One of the key factors serious buyers eye when appraising foreclosed homes for sale in Santa Clarita is condition – the shape those properties have been left in. The Federal Housing Administration has weighed in with a program that can materially affect how that condition – good or bad – will finally affect the bottom line: it’s known as the FHA 203 (k).

If you are among those currently looking at a foreclosed homes for sale, the 203(k) can make a big difference.  Here are some points that might influence your decision:

First in line is whether the program is applicable. HUD tells us that for a local property to be eligible, it must be a one- to four-family dwelling that has been completed for at least one year. The number of units on the site must meet local zoning requirements. Furthermore, any and all newly-constructed units must be attached to the existing dwelling. Importantly, coops are out: cooperative units are not eligible.

The greatest effect is on Santa Clarita foreclosed homes for sale that need a lot of work. HUD guidelines indicate that properties that have been demolished, or will be taken down as part of the renovation, may be eligible — as long as at least some of the existing foundation remains.

As you might expect, none of this helpful news comes without some practical caveats. Although you may get this kind of FHA rehab help for a foreclosure, this is a labor-intensive type of loan requiring multiple appraisals (including “as-is” and “Value After Rehabilitation”), licensed contractor projections, and more. Since time factors are always important when dealing with a foreclosure, it’s important to choose your backup team carefully. You will need to select the right lender and consider enlisting a team consisting of a mortgage broker and real estate professional – both of whom have experience getting approval for FHA 203(k) loans. You want pros who understand the extra steps involved, not those who simply tell you what you want to hear.

Most likely, you will want to get actual pre-approval for the FHA loan (not just a prequalification letter).  There is a lot of additional paperwork involved, and you will want to avoid a last-minute scramble once your desired property is on the line.

 

Can You Afford That House?

Before you start searching for your dream home, you first need to determine a price range you can afford. According to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), depending on the consumer’s current debt ratio, most people can typically afford to pay 31 percent of their gross monthly income for mortgage payments. For example, if you earn $50,000 annually, then your monthly income is about $4,167. Thirty-one percent of that is $1,292.
There are several online tools to calculate a monthly mortgage you can afford using factors such as your current monthly expenses, down payment and the interest rate. You can also work with a lender to get pre-qualified for a loan. This estimate will help you gauge how much money you may be able to borrow and the monthly mortgage payments.
However, the amount you are able to afford for a home loan should not be your only consideration for determining your price range. With homeownership come other housing expenses.
Utilities
The most obvious of additional housing expenses are utilities—gas, electricity and water. But don’t forget about telephone, trash collection, and cable or satellite bills.
Taxes
As a property owner, you are responsible for property taxes. The rate will vary from city to city. In our community, the tax rate is (insert %) percent. That means for a home with a market value of $200,000, yearly taxes will run (insert dollar amount). To get a general idea on how much the tax bill will be for a property, ask the seller for a copy of the previous year’s tax assessment. Your real estate professional can help you refine these figures.
Association Dues
Another cost you may incur is homeowner association (HOA) dues. Most condominiums and some (residential developments/subdivisions/neighborhoods) have HOAs, which are legal entities, created to maintain common areas and enforce deed restrictions. As a property owner, you are required to pay the established monthly or annual homeowner association dues. Be sure you factor this cost into your budget.
Maintenance
You also need to consider the upkeep of your home. You should budget for seasonal maintenance such as lawn care, pest inspections and carpet cleaning, as well as unexpected repairs. The amount you budget will depend on the age of the home, as older homes tend to require more repairs such as installing a new roof, painting and replacing older appliances.
Insurance
Depending on the type of coverage and your area, the costs for homeowners insurance each year can be anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. And, if you live in an area that has high risks for flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc., you may need supplemental insurance.
Remodeling/Upgrades
Unless the home you purchase is picture perfect, you’ll more than likely be adding your personal touch. Therefore, you need add to your housing budget the costs for remodeling and upgrades. According to “Remodeling Magazine’s” 2007 Cost vs. Value Report, the national average for a midrange minor kitchen remodel is $21,185; a bathroom remodel averages $15,789.
Even minor cosmetic fix-ups such as light fixtures, window treatments, carpeting and decorative cabinet knobs can begin to add up.
By determining all the costs associated with homeownership, you can go into your home search with a reasonable price range that will allow you stay within your budget.