Want to make the best out of this spring? We have some home maintenance tips and techniques for you.

Being a homeowner can be a tough job at times as there is always something that needs get done. Before you know it weekend passes by and you find yourself behind schedule. This scenario may sound familiar to lot of us and with spring around the corner, this might be a good time to catch up to few things. We have gathered few tips and techniques here that you can perform yourself starting today.

Change HVAC Filter

If your homes filter is a HVAC system it usually gets around a year use time and should be serviced every year. HVAC filter should be changed by homeowners every three months and if possible more often. A system that has a dirty filter can suffer from pressure drop, which can lead to reduced air flow, or “blow-out,” resulting in no air infiltration at all.  Any of these conditions can cause the system to work harder to keep the home warm or cool.

Repair paintings

You can have a look around the exterior of the house for any peeling paints. Over time the pain may tend to peel off here and there leaving the wood exposed. Spring is a good time to take care of that and re-painting them to save them from being damaged. While repairing, you should start by scraping off the peeling paint and then applying a fresh paint on it.

Re-caulking window frames

During summer or winter it is important to have air-tight windows to maintain the cooling or heating system. Over time the old caulk might dry out and become weak or even start peeling off by bits and pieces. Similarly as paint repairing, you should start by scraping or cutting off the old caulk before applying a new one. This will help the caulk to last longer and improve efficiency of windows and doors.

Servicing the air-conditioning

This is a perfect time to get ready for the summer. You can check if your air conditioning is working smoothly and if any maintenance is needed. Last thing you want for your air conditioner is to stop working during summer when the temperature hits high.

Downspouts & Rain Gutters
Water damage can cause a lot of distress if the downspouts and rain gutters are not maintained properly. It is advisable to perform a thorough inspection and repair or clean out downspouts and rain gutters that are loosen and replace the one that don’t seem to be working.

Flushing out water heater

Flushing out water heater every year /couple of years could extend the life of the tank and the water heater itself. How often this should be done may depend on the water of your area. It can easily be done on your own and there are lots of tutorials available on YouTube explaining the procedure. The water heater operating manual itself should explain the maintenance. However, if you are not confident, it is advisable to seek the help of a professional plumber.

There are lots of other maintenance areas that you can look at like replacing the batteries of smoke detectors, cleaning driveway, preparing lawn equipment etc. If you own a house there will be always something to do around. Sometimes the tasks may seem endless and this can be tackled by making a list. Prioritizing and breaking the list down over few weekends or spare time could be a good starting point. A well maintained house not only ensures a healthy living but also increase your home value.

Spring home buying tips that you should know!

When spring approaches, many people start focusing on multiple activities; basketball season, spring break, holidays, moving house, buying /selling houses etc. Spring is most definitely the best season for buying and selling home and if you are looking to buy a home this spring, the following tips will provide some useful insights for regular and first time home buyers.

Talking to a mortgage lender

When it comes to buying a home, many experts would suggest talking to a Real Estate agent first. A Real Estate agent would be happy to help you find the right home as soon as you secure your mortgage pre-approval. Many sellers will ask what type of funding you have to make the purchase and with a pre-approved mortgage, you will be able to make instant offers. You get a pre-approved mortgage from a mortgage lender. It is best to describe and disclose all your financial goals about new purchase and your future plans. You might be just looking for a small house right now and will be willing to move to a bigger house in future. These sort of disclosure will help the lender to determine the right mortgage option that would best suite you.

Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Talking to multiple sources and selecting a referred Real Estate agent is wise.  You can ask family, friends or co-workers to get suggestions. As you are likely to work with your agent for a significant amount of time, it is important to pick someone who is not only good at their job but also someone that you like. It is imperative to pick someone who has local knowledge and expertise and can work on the area where you want to live.

Analysing and researching

Before moving to a new home, you should analyse the neighbourhood that you are moving in. There are a lot that depends on a neighbourhood; you can read our full article on how neighbourhood plays an important role in a successful move here.

Additional documentation

The lending rules might have eased up over the years but lenders still have the recent recession in mind. Mortgage loan officer might ask for different documentation from time to time and explanation of any big bank transactions if you have any. If you recently have changed jobs be prepared to explain why this was a better option for you. They might even be asked about benefits and commission packages.

Buying a home

Once you are pre-approved for a mortgage and your real estate agent have the knowledge of what you are looking for, you are ready to make an offer. It is important to work closely with your Real Estate agents and be on top of appointments. You should make sure that you really like the house before making any offers. If you are buying a house for the first time, it would be a good idea to take a friend or relative with you who have previously owned a house. They can point out valuable areas relying on their experience to help you make a better choice. Read more on the things/areas you should keep in mind while buying a house here.

If you are buying or selling home this spring, need a reliable and efficient Real Estate agent or have any Real Estate needs, Contact us today!

Moving To A New Neighborhood? How would you choose the best neighborhood?

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A large part of a successful move depends on a neighborhood. Sometimes choosing the right neighborhood can be just as important as choosing the right home, especially when you are raising children. It is important to remember when you are moving to a new area, that you are not just changing a home, you are joining a new community. Not every neighborhoods are the same and similar, not every neighborhood are going to be a perfect fit for your individual needs. However, there are certain things to consider that could work in your favor to ensure that you are joining a better community.

Top preferences

It is better to make a list of the community features that you would prefer. You could ask yourself certain questions while writing down your thoughts. For example: Do you prefer to live in the city or in a quiet countryside neighbourhood? How far your workplace should be from your home? Is it important to have top schools in that area? Do you plan to drive or use public transportation to work? How close supermarkets, restaurant, shopping malls or parks are located?

Suitable lifestyle

It would be a high advantage to talk to some of the neighbours in the area that you are moving into. They will have a lot more and valuable information that are not available online or to a Real estate agent. You can ask them if there are any advantages or disadvantages living in that neighbourhood. If you have any concern about the area, you can discuss as well. In some neighbourhoods people don’t even know the people living next door.  Therefore, you should have a walk around the neighbourhood possibly on multiple occasions and different times of the day to have a feel for the environment. You can assess your preference list at that time and can picture yourself living there.

Education

Homes that are located fairly close to good school district holds better value when it comes to Real Estate. You should consider the quality of school system in the neighbourhood you are moving. Good schools in a neighbourhood should be one of your top priority when you have children or are planning to have some. You would want to ensure that your child gets into a good school in order to get a good education. There are several websites online and even local council that will have the information about schooling system and quality of education of a respective area.

Transportation

Regardless if someone uses public transportation or not, a high value home should have easy access to main junctions and routes. Access to nearby public transportation makes it easier to move around. If you intend to use public transportation, your home should have convenient access to public bus or trains. You can get help from Google maps to find out about transportation and public transportation related to your subject home.

Crime statistics

A safe neighbourhood should be at the very top of anyone’s list. You would want to feel safe in your neighbourhood while walking down the street or driving in your car. You can look at different statistics at Google about the crime rate of the area. If you look at statistics of the past few years, an ideal home would be where there are low or decreasing crime rates. Other than the information available online, the local council should have that information available. You can even contact the local police station with your concern for further help.

Amenities

If you are an active person then you would possibly prefer certain amenities close by. Easy access to Gym, Park, Play-ground or Swimming pool would be a top priority. As the amenities of a neighborhood greatly depends on the location of the neighborhood, it is normal that you might not have access to all that you desire. An ideal community should be full of activities and events. You should have enough enjoyable activities to spend your free time.

Moving to a new location! Would you sell your house or rent it?

Owning more than one house can be beneficial especially when you know how to get the best out of it. On the other hand, for many of us selling the old house would make much more sense. In real life scenario what happen is, you buy a house. Everything’s going fine, but then you need to move to another property. Maybe by choice or sometimes work is forcing you to relocate. Either way, the big question that raises at that moment is: what to do with the old house?

Sell your old house and move on? Or rent it out? There can be no right or wrong answer but evaluating and understanding your options would help at such times to make a better decision.

What about the cash flow?

It is important to look at how much money is coming in/going out from your property. This is a simple calculation which can be beneficial. When your property is rented out, will it produce a profit after deducting all the expenses like mortgage, taxes, utilities, insurance, repairs, etc. If you see that your property will not make a profit, then it is a safe option to consider selling it.

Return on Investment (ROI)

You should make a rough idea about how much profit you would make if you sell your house in the present market. You should also keep in mind that you will have to deduct agent fees, closing cost, listing fees, etc. in some cases it might be wiser to hold on to the property if it generates positive cash flow and sell it when market value gets higher.

If you see that there will be a profit, consider the return you will receive on your investment. For example, if you could make $120,000 in profit by selling your house and achieve only $1200 per year in cash flow, that’s a 1 percent return on investment. It would make sense to take that $120,000 profit and invest it somewhere else that could produce a higher return.

Long term plan and Taxes

If you decide to hold on to the property, what would it look like in 10 or 20 years’ time? Would the value increase? What about the location, are things improving? Will the average household value decrease or increase? These are the questions that don’t have an accurate answer. However, by doing current trends analysis, you can have a fair idea about the market.

Tax is an important thing to consider while selling or keeping your house for long term. Normally if you sell a real estate and make a profit, you will have to pay capital gains on the scale up to 20%. However, IRS allows homeowners to exclude the scale up to 250,000 for a primary residence and $500,000 for married filing jointly. These numbers can change in time and you should keep in touch with IRS WEBSITE for the latest information.

Handle the tenants

If you come down to the decision to hold onto the property, you should ask yourself; are you willing to be a landlord? Many people don’t want to put up with the idea of being a landlord. It’s because some tenants can be a dream to manage where others can be just as much difficult. On the other hand, you can hand over the management duties to a property management company. This will help to keep your stress at minimum.

If you are in a situation where you need help making the decision to sell or rent a property, relocate, buy your first home or have any Real Estate needs, Contact us today!