Category Archives: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hodnett Cooper Real Estate

Five Safe Strategies for Homebuying

With home prices and interest rates rising, you may be wondering if now is the best time to buy a home. The answer is always yes but there are ways to buy wisely and safely. Here are Five Safe Strategies for Homebuying.

Save for a down payment. The more money you can put down, the better borrowing terms you’ll get on your mortgage. Establish a firm budget. Limit credit card spending and pay down your debts. Put your next raise into savings.Five Safe Strategies for Homebuying

Choose wisely. Your home should improve your lifestyle, but not cripple you with debt. It should serve your household’s needs for at least five to ten years, so consider location, neighborhood, commute times, size, number of bedrooms, amenities and condition.

Buy within your means. Your payment, including interest and taxes, should be no more than 28-30 percent of your gross income or 40-42 percent of your income including existing debt. As your income improves, you’ll be able to meet other life goals, such as growing your family, starting a business, or buying more property.

Buy for the long term. The longer you own your home, the more equity, or ownership, you have and the less you owe the bank. Think of equity like savings you’ll get back when you sell or rent the property some day.

Take care of your property. Keeping your home repaired and updated is the best thing you can do to protect your investment. A home in top condition always sells for more money than homes in less desirable condition.

It always a good idea to consult your financial advisor.

Home Buyers and Sellers: Hold Off On the Realtor Until You Do These Things

Home Buyers and Sellers: Hold Off On the Realtor Until You Do These Things

It doesn’t matter if you are in the market for a new home or trying to sell your current home – the first thing most of us think to do is call up a realtor. While a realtor is definitely an expert in the process, there are several things you can do before hiring one to make your life and their job easier. Once you are ready, real estate agent Pat Cooper suggests that you pick a realtor who has a proven record, a fantastic reputation, and a company that is behind the agent with the tools and marketing to get the job done. This will ensure that all your prep work pays off.

From a Buyer Standpoint:

Tackle the Mortgage

Just uttering the word “mortgage” is enough to make anyone shudder but it is a necessity when you are buying a home. Cooper recommends that buyers talk with a mortgage lender or their bank to see what they qualify to borrow. A word of caution: don’t go with the first lender you come across. In addition to getting mortgage pre-approval, look into other ways to finance your new home, such as first-time homebuyer loans, VA loans, or builder financing programs – this article explains in greater detail.

Know What You Want

Looking at homes is fun and exciting, but you’ll make better use of everyone’s time if you know what you need in your future home. Perhaps you’d like a patio or granite countertops, but instead of focus on things that can be added later, think about the future. For example, if you plan to expand your family, you might need an extra bedroom or two. If you have a family member with mobility issues or plan to age in place, a one-story home might be a better option. Look at things outside of the home itself, such as the location, which is a factor that can’t be changed. Is the potential home close to work and school? Child-friendly? Pet-friendly? Safe? Easily accessible? Close to important amenities such as healthcare, recreation, shopping, etc.?

From a Seller Standpoint:

Home Buyers and Sellers

Prepare Your Home

Once your home is on the market, the requests for showings will start pouring in, so it’s best to get a head start on getting it first-impression ready. Cooper recommends that homeowners declutter as much as possible. They should make sure the exterior of their home and yard make a good first impression as that is the first thing buyers will see. To put it simply, you need to clean the entirety of your home, including those places you don’t often think about, such as the tops of high cabinets, baseboards, and ceiling fan blades. Everything should be cleared off of counters and have a place other than stuffed in a closet. If necessary, put items in storage, or host a yard sale so that potential buyers can see the storage potential. Spruce up the outside of your home as well by adding curb appeal with these budget-friendly ideas.

Get an Inspection

After all the cleaning and decluttering, it might seem like your home is in good working order, but there could be underlying issues. It is recommended by Cooper that sellers should prepare their home by either having an inspection done by a professional, or at the very least, making sure that all of their systems, appliances, plumbing, and roof are in good condition. By having your home inspected, you can uncover any problems and make repairs, or reduce your asking price to compensate. It is up to you to decide what repairs to make, but any big issues – such as a leaky roof or a busted HVAC – are worth fixing. If you choose not to make repairs, keep in mind that most states require full disclosure of any known problems.

A Pet-free environment

Now that your home is ready for the public, be sure that your dog, or other pets, are out of the house when you have an open house or when potential buyers are viewing your home. Even though you’re an animal lover, everyone who comes into your home may not be, or they may simply have allergies to your breed. If your schedule won’t allow you to take your dog during a viewing, opt to board your dog with someone you can trust, or ask a friend to take your pooch for a walk.

Finding your new home or selling your current one is exciting and scary all bundled into one. By following the tips above, there is no need to fear. You’ll feel prepared, and your realtor will be ready to take the lead.

Article provided by Natalie Jones from HomeownerBliss.info.

Do You Want Pretty Landscape with Little Water Needed?

Avoid Water Shortages with Xeriscaping: Landscape with Little Water Needed

In many parts of the country, from California to Texas, green lawns are not indigenous to the region. Non-native landscaping contributes heavily to water shortages in many areas, causing watering restrictions.

How can homeowners help? By adopting a concept called Xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is simply creating a landscape that features native plants that don’t require extra water and are capable of withstanding native drought conditions.

While the look of a xeriscaped garden or yard of cacti and hardy shrubs is much different from the lush carpet of St. Augustine or Bermuda grass, you can easily create attractive landscaping Landscape with Little Water Neededthat demands less water.

Simply pay attention to your yard’s shape, size, slope, sun, and shade. Choose grasses, plants and flowers that are “native” to your area and can grow on the typical regional annual rainfall without additional watering needed. Group plants and flowers with similar watering requirements in zones, so that any extra watering is more efficient.

Zoned areas may be broken up by walkways, berms (mounds), bits of turf, glass, walls, large boulders, river rocks and other stones. Add mulch to accent the plants and flowers, as well as to provide a healthy root environment, which also reduces the need for extra watering. In some cases, artificial turf may be an option where it can be effectively used in small areas to accent flowers and plants.

The total effect can be quite beautiful. Landscape with Little Water Needed, lowers your costs and maintenance, and your yard will attract fewer pests.