What is an HOA?

What is an HOA?

It’s important to learn more about the neighborhood HOA, such as annual dues, community amenities, and restrictions when looking to buy a new home. The goal of the HOA is to help maintain home values and the overall aesthetics of a neighborhood.

When looking for a house, many buyers tend to take into account costs associated with owning a home such as insurance, utilities, and taxes. One thing buyers may not think to consider is whether the house is in a neighborhood with an HOA, what the dues are, and how the association is run. Many buyers may be aware of association dues and regulations in multi-family developments such as condos or townhomes. But, it’s becoming a new normal to find HOAs in developments with single-family homes

 

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What is an HOA?

There are different definitions out there for a Homeowners’ Association and many operate differently from one another. A Homeowners’ Association, or HOA, is an association that works to maintain and oversee the common areas of a neighborhood or property complex. It’s fairly common to find them in neighborhoods that offer amenities such as a community pool, gated access, a playground, tennis courts, etc. The HOA is typically a volunteer-based board made up of homeowners living in the neighborhood. Many HOAs have committees that coordinate neighborhood events, review proposed changes homeowners wish to make to their property, enforce the covenants, and more.

Get to Know the Rules

The covenants, conditions, and restrictions are different for every HOA. Some rules commonly seen in HOAs are in regard to the overall appearance and aesthetics of the neighborhood, such as the appearances of houses and lawn maintenance. Some also have restrictions regarding street parking or where residents can park their boats and RVs. Others may deal more with coordinating neighborhood crime watches and events.

When considering a house, it’s a good idea to ask for a copy of the HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions to get a better idea of what is allowed and not allowed in the neighborhood. It’s becoming more common for HOAs to have a website or social media page, which is a great place to learn more about the community. For example, some mandate there can be no cars parked in the yard of any house in the neighborhood. If a homeowner wants to paint the house a new color, change the landscaping, or add on to the property, the owner has to submit the proposed changes to the HOA for review and approval. The committee will review the proposed changes to ensure they fall in line with the covenants of the neighborhood. While these may seem rather burdensome or trivial, the HOA was designed to help maintain home values and the overall aesthetics of a neighborhood.

How are HOAs Funded?

Many HOAs require annual, quarterly or monthly dues. Those dues will vary based upon the size of the neighborhood and amenities. Dues are used for a number of things including maintenance of common spaces such as neighborhood entrances, playgrounds, pools, etc. In gated neighborhoods, many of the items that would normally be maintained by the city or parish must be maintained by the HOA. These items may include roads, sidewalks, and street lighting to name a few. Some HOAs will hire a property management company to oversee the collection of dues and coordinate maintenance issues.

Another thing to consider is whether the house is located in a new development. There may not be many amenities or common spaces to maintain as the neighborhood is being developed, so dues may be minimal. The developer may cover some of the associated costs while the neighborhood is still being developed. The true cost associated with running the HOA and maintaining the neighborhood may not fully come to light until the neighborhood is near completion and the developer turns the HOA over to the new residential board.

It’s important to pay the dues on time. Depending on the bylaws, late fees and interest could be tacked on to the bill and the HOA could place a lien on the property if the dues are not paid. The HOA could also foreclose on the property for nonpayment of dues.

After the Closing

Contacting the HOA should be a priority on the Post Move-in List as it is important to provide contact information to the HOA. It’s also a great time to get more information regarding upcoming neighborhood events or other ways to get involved. The HOA cannot operate without residents who are willing to give of their time.

It’s also a great idea to attend neighborhood events such as an ice cream social, an Independence Day parade, Halloween trick-or-treating, and a Christmas party. These events can serve as a great way to meet neighbors and build relationships.

It’s important to remember that the volunteers who serve on the HOA are your neighbors and friends. Like you, they want what’s best for the community. Every homeowner benefits from a well-cared for neighborhood.

 

Source: AMY POE

Posted on October 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Fantastic Kitchen Staging Ideas for Fall

5 Fantastic Kitchen Staging Ideas for Fall

Wow fall homebuyers with these easy staging ideas from HomeAdvisor

Selling your home in the fall means adding small seasonal elements to make your home feel warm and welcoming. And, what better place to do that than in the kitchen? Here are some ideas to help you make your kitchen — and your home — appeal to fall homebuyers:

Fall counter decor

You should always keep the countertops nearly clear when potential homebuyers are walking through. In fact, you should keep it down to about two to three essentials if you’re living there from day to day. For the fall season, you can add small elements like placemats, fruit and leaf decor (window drapings, vase, etc.).

“Fall odors”

The smell of leaves, apple pie, pumpkin and cinnamon evoke the cozy feelings of fall. Candles are nice and actually baking something “fall-like” before a showing is a sure way to make potential buyers feel more at home during a showing.

Colors of fall

Depending on the current condition of your home, you might consider a fresh coat of paint. What color you decide to use may or may not be influenced by the season. While you should always lean towards neutral colors, you might consider accent walls or cabinets in browns or dark tones of red or green if you think they would work. The cost to paint an interior room is about $380, though prices will vary depending on the size of the room.

Bringing nature in

   

If there are windows in the kitchen, make sure to keep them clean. Depending on the weather outside during a showing, you might open them and let the fresh air in. It helps to create a flow between nature outside and the atmosphere you’re trying to create in the kitchen. If your budget allows, you might also accent the windows with fall-like window treatments to create an even easier flow. If you don’t have these treatments, a professional home stager can sometimes find them for a reasonable price.

Natural lighting elements

Lighting is an essential element of home staging, no matter the season. In fall, in particular, it’s all about enhancing the twilight or sunset and complementing of all the fall colors. For lighting in your kitchen, consider accent and track lighting. Or, you could install recessed lighting on a dimmer switch, which will allow you to control the brightness of the kitchen to complement the mood outside.

take a look at these cool fall elements from Kirklands!

Source: Andrea Davis 

Posted on October 22, 2017 at 7:24 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why the Fall Selling Season Is Better Than You Think

Why the Fall Selling Season Is Better Than You Think

There is a common misconception that spring is the only worthwhile time to list your home, and listing anytime outside the prime “selling season” will lose you thousands. In truth, the fall selling season is the next best time to sell your house.

There is a common misconception that spring is the only worthwhile time to list your home, and listing anytime outside the prime “selling season” will lose you thousands. In truth, the fall selling season is the next best time to sell your house. Here are the main reasons why selling in fall is a good idea — and how to present your home to its best advantage.

The Numbers

The National Association of Realtors reports that 34 percent of homes sell within 30 days on the market during the fall selling season. This is just a shade behind spring, which comes in at 39 percent. Many of these homes sell for above-asking price based on the study, which researched homes sold between 2010 and 2014.

The Reasons to Sell

Though there is a slight slowdown in the market during the fall, there is less competition. By being able to highlight your home — particularly if it’s only one of a few available in your area — chances are high you will end up with multiple offers or an offer over asking price, something that every buyer covets.

It is also important to remember that regardless of the season, serious buyers are still looking — and ready to purchase when the right home comes their way. This means you can focus your marketing on buyers who are serious about your home.

How to Show Your Home

Though it is still a good season to sell, fall does have some unique challenges, particularly if you live in an area where the seasons change drastically throughout the year. Regardless of where you reside, these five tips will help ensure your home stands out.

1. Warm It Up

Regardless of where you live, open shades and blinds and turn on all the lights to warm your home with an abundance of natural light. If you live in a colder climate, consider turning on a gas or electric fireplace or boosting the thermostat by a few degrees to ensure potential buyers feel the warmth.

2. Use Seasonal Decor

Seasonal decor can create an emotional impact on potential buyers. As one of the strongest senses, smell can play a large part in creating a visceral reaction on a buyer. Scented candles in a harvest scent, freshly baked goodies, or even a stew roasting in a slow cooker can help buyers picture themselves gathering in your home with friends and family. Throw pillows, gourds, and fall flowers will also add a bit of extra color to bring the feeling home.

3. Keep Up with Curb Appeal

Raking leaves, and cleaning gutters remain essential in ensuring your home looks good from the outside in. Line pathways or porch steps with pumpkins or brightly colored mums in harvest hues. Even dried corn stalks tied to a porch column can provide a seasonal pop that makes your home stand out

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4. Play to the Crowd

Fall is a prime season for empty nesters or new buyers to the market, so make sure to speak with your agent about how to target your home to the most applicable buyer, and ensure your staging and marketing efforts keep them in mind.

5. Show the Seasons

In fall or winter, your yard may not show at its best, so keeping a photo album of your property in full bloom available for buyers to browse can help them visualize your home in its glory.

Regardless of the season, if a property is priced right, it will sell. Work with a real estate agent to determine local demand, buying patterns, and selling prices in your area to determine the best time for you to list.

Image Source: Flickr/Sharon Mollerus

Source: Melina Gillies

Posted on October 8, 2017 at 6:57 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), local | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 Cities Where It’s Actually Getting Cheaper to Buy a House

Home prices are surging across the country. The national median price for an existing single-family home was $255,600 in the second quarter of 2017, up 6.2% from a year earlier. Home prices were up in 87% of cities the association tracks. In 23 cities, including Seattle, Salt Lake City, Reno, and Ann Arbor, prices increased by 10% or more.

Limited supply is behind the rise in prices. More people are interested in buying homes, noted Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist. But with relatively few homes available, prices are skyrocketing and properties are selling quickly, leaving some people out in the cold. “An increasing share of would-be buyers are being priced out of the market and are unable to experience the wealth building benefits of homeownership,” he said.

The cost of a home may be steadily ticking upward in most parts of the U.S., but there are a handful of places where the opposite is true. In these 16 cities, the median selling price of a home actually dropped from 2016 to 2017, according to National Association of Realtors data.

16. Dover, Delaware

Capitol building in Dover in Delaware

Capitol building in Dover, Delaware | iStock.com/prosiaczeq

  • Price drop: -1.5%
  • Price change: -$3,000

Home prices in Delaware’s capital fell 1.5% from the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017. The median home price is now $201,000, down from $204,000 a year earlier.

Next: Cape Girardeau, Missouri

15. Cape Girardeau, Missouri

The Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

The Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge in Cape Girardeau, Missouri | iStock.com/fozzyb

  • Price drop: -1.5%
  • Price change: -$2,300

In the second quarter of 2017, the median home price in Cape Girardeau was $146,500, down from $148,800 a year previously. Prices are up considerably from 2015, though, when the typical home sold for $136,100.

Next: Abilene, Texas

14. Abilene, Texas

Aerial view of Abilene, Texas

Aerial view of Abilene, Texas | iStock.com/Kit_Leong

  • Price drop: -1.6%
  • Price change: -$2,600

The median home price in the West Texas city of Abilene fell 1.6% over the past year, from $164,300 to $161,700. But buyers will still pay quite a bit more than they would have just a few years ago. In 2014, the typical home sold for $136,200.

Next: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

13. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids City Hall

Cedar Rapids City Hall | iStock.com/beverett

  • Price drop: -1.6%
  • Price change: -$2,500

Buyers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who waited to choose a home got a slight bonus for their procrastination. Median prices fell from $157,000 in the second quarter of 2016 to $154,500 a year later.

Next: Wichita, Kansas

12. Wichita, Kansas

A warm, beautiful sunset along the Arkansas River in Wichita, Kansas

The Arkansas River in Wichita, Kansas | iStock.com/ricardoreitmeyer

  • Price drop: -1.8%
  • Price change: -$2,500

With a median home price of $135,900, Wichita is already one of the cheaper cities in the U.S. to buy a home. (The national median price for a single-family home was $255,600.) A year ago, the median home price in this city was $138,400.

Next: Charleston, West Virginia

11. Charleston, West Virginia

charleston, west virginia

Charleston, West Virginia | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

  • Price drop: -2.5%
  • Price change: -$3,600

In the second quarter of 2016, the median home price in the West Virginia capital of Charleston was $141,800. A year later, it was $138,200, a fall of 2.5%.

Next: York, Pennsylvania

10. York-Hanover, Pennsylvania

York, Pennsylvania, clock tower

York, Pennsylvania, clock tower | iStock.com/MrsJohannah

  • Price drop: -3.2%
  • Price change: -$5,300

Median home prices in the York-Hanover metro area fell 3.2% from the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017. The median home price dropped from $168,100 to $162,800.

Next: Naples, Florida

9. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida

running on beach

A man runs along the beach in Naples, Florida. | Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

  • Price drop: -3.2%
  • Price change: -$14,500

Home prices are dropping on Florida’s Gulf Coast. In the Naples metro area, prices fell 3.2% from 2016 to 2017, from $449,500 to $435,000. But the typical home is still twice as expensive than it is in some parts of the U.S.

Next: Elmira, New York

8. Elmira, New York

Mennonite horse and buggy on a snowy winter

A horse and buggy near Elmira, New York | iStock.com/SimplyCreativePhotography

  • Price drop: -3.5%
  • Price change: -$4,000

A 3.5% median price drop in Elmira, New York, meant home prices went $115,600 in the second quarter of 2016 to $111,600 in the second quarter of 2017. But the median home price is roughly $10,000 higher than it was in 2014.

Next: Bismarck, North Dakota

7. Bismarck, North Dakota

pinned Bismarck on a map of North Dakota

Bismarck, North Dakota | iStock.com/dk_photos

  • Price drop: -3.8%
  • Price change: -$9,600

Home prices in North Dakota’s capital city fell 3.8% from 2016 to 2017. In the second quarter of 2016, the median home price was $251,900. A year later, it was $242,300.

Next: Trenton, New Jersey

6. Trenton, New Jersey

Trenton, New Jersey

Trenton, New Jersey | iStock.com/MIHAI ANDRITOIU

  • Price drop: -4.4%
  • Price change: -$12,000

The median home price in Trenton dropped by $12,000 from the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017. A year ago, a typical home in the New Jersey capital sold for $274,900. Today, the median price was $262,900.

Next: Kankakee, Illinois

5. Kankakee, Illinois

city of Chicago on a travel map

Chicago and its surrounding cities | iStock.com/Seltiva

  • Price drop: -5.3%
  • Price change: -$7,200

The median home price in Kankakee fell 5.3% from the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017. The typical home in this Illinois city now costs $128,400, down from $135,600. Prices are higher than they were a few years ago, though, when the median home price was $114,800.

Next: Decatur, Alabama

4. Decatur, Alabama

train tracks

Historic railroad station in Decatur, Alabama | iStock.com/Jeffrey Schreier

  • Price drop: -5.6%
  • Price change: -$7,200

In Decatur, Alabama, the median home price went from $129,600 in 2016 to $122,400 in 2017, a fall of 5.6%. In 2014, the median home price in this Southern metro was $118,700.

Next: Florence, South Carolina

3. Florence, South Carolina

Multidirectional street sign in Florence, Oregon

Street sign in Florence, Oregon | iStock.com/kschulze

  • Price drop: -6%
  • Price change: -$8,700

There’s been a 6% drop in median home prices in Florence, South Carolina, over the past year. The median home price in the second quarter of 2017 was $136,400, compared to $145,100 a year earlier.

Next: Glens Falls, New York

2. Glens Falls, New York

Hudson River

The Hudson River near Glens Falls, New York | William Waldron/Newsmakers

  • Price drop: -6.2%
  • Price change: -$10,700

Home prices in this city on New York’s Hudson River fell 6.2% from the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017. The median home price in Glens Falls went from $173,500 to $162,800.

Next: Springfield, Illinois

1. Springfield, Illinois

Illinois State Capitol

Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois | Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

  • Price drop: -9.3%
  • Price change: -$13,300

Illinois’ state capital had a bigger drop in home prices than anywhere else in the country. The median selling price for a home in the second quarter of 2017 was 9.3% lower than it was a year earlier, $129,800 versus $143,100.

 

Source: Cheet Sheet and NAR

Posted on August 21, 2017 at 5:59 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Things in Your Bathroom You’re Probably Forgetting to Clean

 

10 Things in Your Bathroom You’re Probably Forgetting to Clean

You missed a spot!

By Lea Schneider

If you’ve showered yourself with good intentions about doing some spring cleaning, there are a few spots you don’t want to miss.

Routine bathroom cleaning means hitting the fixtures and the floor with a good once-over. That’s a terrific start, but for a deeper clean, consult this checklist for 10 things you don’t want to skip.

Bath Mat

It would be great if only clean feet hit the clean bath mat. Since the whole family is in and out of the bathroom all day long, it’s pretty likely your bath mat needs attention. Start by giving it a safety check to see if it is losing its no-slip backing or if it no longer lies flat, as both are trip hazards. Most bath mats can go in the washing machine. Some can be air-dried and others put in the dryer. Check your rug’s tag and follow manufacturer directions.

Organizing Tip: When you buy a new bath mat for a frequently used bathroom, buy two. This way you can routinely throw one in the wash and reach for a clean one to put down in its place.

Shower Curtain

Shower curtains don’t need to be cleaned often, but spring cleaning is the perfect time to take care of this task. Most fabric curtains can be taken down and washed—again, check the tag and follow the directions. As for waterproof liners, inspect them to see if you find mold and mildew forming along seams or areas that often stay wet. Replace with a fresh liner or remove the soiled one and clean it.

Toothbrush

It might be time to toss that toothbrush. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should switch to a new toothbrush every three to four months or when bristles become frayed. The ADA does not recommend any cleaning methods as a substitute for a new brush.

Organizing Tip: Buy a multi-pack of toothbrushes so you have extras available as soon as you need them.

Toothbrush Holder

The spot where you store your toothbrush typically has an accumulation of drippings and toothpaste. Use some hot soapy water to clean your holder. A small scrubbing brush is good for reaching into tight spaces.

Hairbrush

Cleaning your hairbrush and combs should be a regular task. After all, dirty hair and a buildup of products is not something you want to brush back into your clean locks. Clean your brushes by first removing any hair from the bristles. (A comb and a pair of scissors are helpful with this task.) Then shampoo your hairbrush in warm water, rinse well and allow to dry.

Loofah

You may not have given much thought to the pores in your loofah, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, they can be a breeding ground for bacteria that can even lead to skin infections. They recommend to weekly soak it in a diluted bleach solution for five minutes and then rinse thoroughly. The Clinic also recommends replacing your loofah every three to four weeks.

 

Trashcan

Grab the bathroom trashcan and banish the germs. Give it a good cleaning inside and out. Allow it to dry well. Add a liner for easy maintenance.

Vents

From floor vents to bathroom fans, these often-forgotten spots definitely need a spring cleaning. Those on the floor have dirt and hair fall into them, while ones on the ceiling can collect dust. To clean them, first remove the vent cover. Then use the brush attachment to your vacuum to clean the top and underside of the cover. Use your nozzle attachment to vacuum up debris, then replace the clean cover. For fan vents, a wet sponge is useful for collecting dust that has accumulated on the cover.

 Drain Stoppers

Why wait for a clog? Now is the perfect time to fish out any accumulation of hair and prevent buildup. Remove the drain stoppers from your sink and shower. Give them a scrub and return them to the drain.

Medicine Cabinet Clutter

Do a bit of spring organizing and reclaim storage space by purging your drawers and cabinets.

Jose Zuniga of MakeSpace recommends sorting through everything in your medicine cabinet and vanity drawers. “Throw out anything that’s expired, including old medication. Only keep the items that you use on a regular basis, such as your toiletries and grooming supplies, in your bathroom,” he says.

“Now that you’re left with only the items you use on a regular basis, look to your walls. They’re prime real estate for storing your bathroom supplies without hogging any floor or counter space. For the extra items that you don’t use often—like first aid supplies and spare rolls of toilet paper—put them in a labeled basket or clear storage container and store it on a closet shelf,” he recommends.

As you organize, give shelves and drawers a quick wipe to ensure you’re starting with a clean slate.

Armed with a fresh eye for attention to detail, your bathroom will not only look clean, but it will feel clean, too.

Professional organizing expert Lea Schneider writes for Home Depot about cleaning and organizing. She provides advice and tips on cleaning everything from shower curtains to different types of bath mats to loofahs.

Posted on August 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Smart Pergolas Adjust to Any Weather

Smart Pergolas Adjust to Any Weather

Posted on July 31, 2017 at 6:08 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Getting Preapproved- FAQ’s

Getting Preapproved- FAQ’s

Can I apply before I find the home I want to purchase?

Yes! When you apply in advance, we can issue you a pre-qualification letter that will affirm to the seller of the home that you are a qualified buyer. We can also help you determine a comfortable price range to look in and keep your payment within your budget.

What is a rate lock?

A rate lock is an agreement between the borrower and lender that allows the borrower to secure an interest rate range for a specified period of time. This can offer you protection from fluctuations in the market. It is your choice whether or not to lock your interest rate, your loan officer will be able to advise you on whether and when to lock.

Who do I contact if I have a question about the servicing of my loan?

If you need additional information regarding the servicing of your mortgage loan, please submit the following information in writing: your name, your loan number and the additional information you are requesting.

If you believe an error has occurred regarding the servicing of your mortgage loan, please submit the following information in writing: your name, your loan number, and the error you believe has occurred.

What are title and escrow?

Title companies act as a neutral third party during a real estate transaction by handling the transfer of funds and documents between the parties involved. As a neutral party, the title company protects both the buyer and seller by ensuring that all conditions are met for the sale prior to the exchange of funds. Title companies also offer title insurance for property owners, this provides insurance against loss due to title defects, liens and other issues.

Can I still qualify for a loan after short sale, foreclosure or bankruptcy?

This will depend on a number of factors: whether your waiting period has expired, whether you have been able to do any credit repair needed and your current income and employment situation. Contact us anytime for a no obligation, free evaluation to see what we can do for you.

How do points work?

Points can be paid upfront at closing in exchange for a lower interest rate throughout the life of the loan. One point is equal to 1% of the loan amount. Although this means you will be required to pay at closing, you will lower your payments by doing so.

By comparing the costs of the points at origination to the savings you would gain from your lowered monthly payments, you can judge how many payments it would take to recoup the money spent on the points. If, for example, you plan to move or refinance in 3 years, but it would take 4 years of payments to gain a savings from the points, then paying points would not be a good investment

How will my credit score affect my mortgage?

Your credit score is determined by a credit bureau and used to determine the likelihood that you will repay the loan, the number can range from 300-850. The amount and type of credit available to you, the balance owed, your consistency in making payments, credit inquiries and any defaults or late payments all factor into your score. You can view a copy of your credit report from the 3 major bureaus once every 12 months for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com

Your credit score can play a big part in qualifying for a mortgage. Depending on the type of loan you are interested in, there may be a minimum score required and your credit score will also be reflected in the price of the loan. If you are in need of credit repair we would be happy to advise you on ways to improve your score.

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are the costs incurred during the loan process. These costs can include origination fees (the charge for processing the loan paperwork), credit report fees, appraisal and inspection fees, title insurance, recording fees and underwriting fees. Depending on your loan, closing costs may also include fees for escrow deposit or discount points as well.

Typically, closing costs will be between 2 and 5% of the cost of the home. Your loan officer will provide you with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) after you submit your loan application, which will outline the expected closing costs. The GFE is only an estimate, though, and closing costs can change during the transaction.

You may choose to pay your closing costs at the time that the loan closes, or finance them into the loan. You can also consult your realtor about the possibility of asking the sellers of the home to pay some or all of your closing costs.

Most lenders will be happy to run your information for you. Some local lenders will also help you do FREE credit repair.

 

Posted on July 16, 2017 at 5:23 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Stock Tank Pool for Budget friendly Summer Fun!

 

DIY Stock Tank Pool for Budget friendly Summer Fun!

So maybe an olympic size lap pool is out of your budget. Yea, us too. But trending for summer fun in the yard this year is an easy DIY project that uses something from the farm & ranch supply store. Stock tank pools are the perfect plunge pool to cool off from the heat, yet take up very little space and don’t cost a lot to DIY. You can install them above ground, or dig them in. Choose galvanized metal, or poly as a liner for an unground version. Loving this fun idea!

Tractor Supply Company has a great primer on creating a stock tank pool. It isn’t quite as easy as filling a kiddie pool from the hose, but it is a simple DIY. This tutorial will give you all the basics on how to create a site, pumps and sealants.

 

 

Stacey at ‘Embracing Motherhood’ has the happiest kids on the block! They even have a video tutorial on how to make a stock tank pool!

 

Katie and her husband from ‘Let’s Add Sprinkles’ made this cute little oasis in their hot Texas garden for less than $300! Great DIY stock tank pool tutorial – they leveled the land and added decomposed granite for the pool “pad”. Can’t you see yourself soaking in this on a hot July afternoon?

Wanna Stay Cool? DIY A Stock Tank Pool!

 

Marty from ‘A Stroll Through Life’ was so inspired by the last tutorial from ‘Let’s Add Sprinkles’, that she and her family made their own stock tank pool!

 

‘Sew and Tell Quilts’ did an in-ground version of a DIY stock tank pool. This tutorial has lots of photos, and they also shared what went wrong to try to save you some headaches. Ahhhh!

 

This galvanized stock tank pool was made with gorgeous decking, from ‘Good Home Design’. The tutorial is photos only, but there are tons of great tips in the comments of this post!

 

Here is a DIY stock tank pool done by ‘Hot Tub Advice’ on Pinterest. No tutorial, but great inspiration on how to create your own little hideaway! (A cool one!)

 

This next one was uploaded by Pinterest user Rebecca, and just goes to show what you can do with the tutorials you have already seen! Great inspiration!

 

Another Pinterest user upload by Sara, this is cool copper looking stock tank pool!

Source: The Budget Decorator

 

Posted on June 19, 2017 at 9:26 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

25 Smart Home Technologies that Matter Most to Home Buyers

25 Smart Home Technologies that Matter Most to Home Buyers
Nearly 60 percent of the real estate agents polled said they are seeing more smart home features in listing descriptions than they did two to five years ago.

Everyone is talking about the connected home. Smart home technology is becoming the new norm and now according to a survey of more than 500 Coldwell Banker sale associates it’s taking off in real estate as well. Nearly 60 percent of sales associates surveyed said they are seeing more smart home features in listing descriptions than they did two to five years ago, and one in three sales associates noted that properties with smart home features and technologies sell faster than homes without them.

The relevance of the smart home was also apparent at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas earlier this year. Members of the Coldwell Banker Real Estate marketing team attended CES. The team couldn’t walk more than a few feet without encountering a new piece of smart home technology. From security systems with advanced motion sensors to innovative systems that allow for lighting control from mobile devices, the connected home was ubiquitous.

Inspired by CES, Coldwell Banker compiled a list of the top 25 smart home products and technologies that matter most to buyers, based on the Coldwell Banker survey and CES favorites. The list is grouped into seven categories: security, temperature, safety, lighting, entertainment, appliances and overall connectivity.

Check them out below, and follow along all week as we continue to highlight smart home technology on the Blue Matter blog and through social media with #smarthomeweek.

Smart Security

1. Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock – With Kevo the smartphone is now the key. Home sellers can allow their realtors, or anyone else such as a neighbor or a housecleaner, to have access to specified doors for a designated time. Eventually when the new buyer moves in all they have to do is download the app and they’re ready to go.

2. iSmartAlarm –Meet one of the DIY smart home security leaders, with no monthly fees and no contracts. This easy-to-install wireless DIY system is great for apartments or small homes. The iSmartAlarm system is almost infinitely expandable via door and window motion sensors, smart switches, and iCamera and iCamera KEEP models with streaming video and video storage. Packages start at $199.

3. Oplink Connected– Oplink Connected is great for a slightly larger home, and provides a premier service for a low monthly fee. The DIY alarm package includes door and window sensors as well as video cameras which are controlled through its mobile app.

4. SAGE Security & Home Automation– Coming soon — SAGE allows for management of the entire connected home through mobile devices and televisions. The television-centric SAGE system enables consumers to check on children in another room via a video feed, see who rang the doorbell or lower the room temperature — all from the comfort of the TV room couch.

Smart Temperature

5. Nest Learning Thermostat – Tell a buyer that the home has a Nest thermostat and their ears will perk-up. The Nest Learning Thermostat absorbs its owner’s daily routine and adjusts the temperature accordingly. The Nest thermostat can be controlled through a phone, its built-in sensors detect an empty home allowing Nest to set itself to an energy-efficient temperature. Oh, and it also saves customers about 10 – 12 percent on heating bills and 15 percent on cooling bills per year — a huge win.

6. Honeywell Lyric Thermostat – Honeywell is known for temperature control and their new smart thermostat, the Lyric, is a solid entry into the smart home market. The most talked about advantages of Lyric are its geofencing feature and humidity sensor for more accurate comfort, control and savings. All of these qualities are definitely pluses for families.

7. Canary – This sleek-looking product is mostly about security, but it made this smart temperature list for its ability to monitor air quality, temperature and humidity. It’s cool enough to make an impression with potential buyers, at only $249. The Canary system is available in white, black or silver.

8. Big Ass Fans’ Haiku with SenseME – The world’s most advanced ceiling fan knows exactly when to speed up and when to slow down. Not to mention, it is a gorgeous and luxurious addition to any room. Starting at $1,045 it’s a better fit for luxury homes, but it will certainly set any listing apart.

Smart Safety

9. Iris Safe & Secure Kit – With Iris, Lowe’s is making it simple for just about anyone to make their home smarter. Feel more confident that families, homes and pets are safe and secure with the DIY, self-monitored home security system. Receive notifications directly to a smartphone, tablet or computer whenever an alarm event is triggered.

10. First Alert Onelink – This suite of smart home safety products is fresh to the market. Included in this offering (and available for presale on Amazon.com) are a Wi-Fi combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm as well as a watch, both of which send phone notifications if something is amiss. The First Alert Onlink safety products, including the already available Wi-Fi thermostat, will be compatible with Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem.

11. Nest Protect – This smart home device is a smoke and carbon monoxide smart alarm that speaks in a human voice, telling the user if there’s smoke or CO, which room it’s in, and if there is immediate danger. Definitely comforting for families!

12. Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight – This genius little nightlight keeps track of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and home climate. If something’s not right, it sends immediate phone notifications.

Smart Lighting

13. Sengled Pulse Smart Bulb – This combination light and speaker had everyone buzzing at CES 2015. Simply twist the bulb into an existing light socket, download the app and connect to the Pulse bulbs. The Sengled Pulse Smart Bulb can stream music and control lighting at the same time.

14. Lutron Caséta Wireless – This connected home solution allows for lights, battery-powered shades and temperature to be controlled from a mobile device. An easy DIY solution that’s affordable, these products are less than $150. For example, hit “morning,” lights will turn onto a certain level, shades will rise and room temperature is adjusted to the desired level.

15. Philips Hue – Philips Hue delivers more than 16 million colors and all shades of white light to personalize lighting to suit any occasion, mood or moment. With more than 230 apps, Philips Hue can sync lights to music, or even simulate a sunrise effect. Bulbs and lamps are now all controllable via the Hue app or MyHue portal.

16. Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set – With this simple starter set, turn lights off-and-on from anywhere, create schedules and dim to create the perfect ambiance. The set includes the WeMo link, which allows users to connect up to 50 WeMo Smart bulbs. Can’t get enough of Belkin WeMo products? Get tricked out with complete Belkin home automation.

Smart Appliances

17.LG Studio Collection – LG Studio, LG’s premium line of kitchen appliances, seamlessly blends best-in-class innovation with an uncompromising approach to design. Its full suite of appliances — including refrigerators, cooktops, ranges, ovens and microwaves — delivers integrated and timeless styling, embodying LG’s finest expression of aesthetics and performance.

18. Whirlpool Smart Duet Washer and Dryer – Whirlpool has made it easy to control every load at anytime from anywhere. The Smart Front Washer and Dryer now work with the Nest Learning Technology, helping to keep clothes fresh if the cycle ends while the user is away.

19. LG Mega-Capacity French-Door Refrigerator – LG’s Mega Capacity Refrigerator boasts incredibly impressive size. As the largest in its class, families have room for even the biggest shopping expeditions with space to spare! It also includes the Slim Spaceplus Ice System and the Smart Cooling Plus System, which help keep food fresher, longer. The LG Mega-Capacity Refrigerator includes a 10-year limited warranty.

20. GE ChillHub This first-of-its-kind smart refrigerator has two USB hubs, WiFi and an open-source IOS-compatible app that integrates with the refrigerator by allowing access to sensor data and control of fridge components. The first ChillHub accessory, Milky Weigh, will even tell you how much milk you have left!

Smart Entertainment

21. N’FINITY PRO HDX Dual Zone Wine Cellars – The N’FINITY PRO is the most advanced wine cellar on the market. Equipped with an energy saving cooling system, telescopic shelving and dual zone cooling, these smart wine cellars will take care of all wine storage needs in the most cost efficient way!

22. Vizio 60″ P-Series Smart TV –This Ultra HD TV is crystal clear and lets users stream popular apps and favorite shows in UHD quality and use UHD playback from next generation cable and satellite receivers, Blu-ray players and more.

23. TCL Roku TV – The TCL Roku TV was released in August 2014 and quickly became a favorite because of its price and comprehensive smart TV features, such as its selection of more than 2,000 streaming channels, easy-to-use interface and simple remote. Recently, Roku announced plans to support 4K UHD streaming in future Roku TV models.

24. DishWorld TV App – The DishWorld app allows viewers to stream live TV on any smart phone, computer or tablet. The app can be used on Roku, Slingbox, Samsung Smart TV, Apple, Windows or Google Play devices.

Connected Home Platform

25. Iris Smart Kit: With so many ways to make a home smart, it can be a lot to digest and manage. Thankfully Lowe’s is making it easy with a single app to manage a Smart Home. Iris offers three starter kits and basic or premium service plans.

 

Source: Lindsay Listanski/ CB Blue Matter

Posted on June 8, 2017 at 10:05 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Cut Down on Pool Maintenance Costs This Summer

How to Cut Down on Pool Maintenance Costs This Summer

Enjoy your pool without breaking the bank.

Pool maintenance doesn’t have to be an expensive annual chore. Rather than spending up to $700 on pool maintenance, you can cut costs by doing a lot of the work yourself. You don’t want the pool to fall into such poor shape that you have to spend thousands of dollars on repairs. Here are some steps to keep pool maintenance costs down to nearly nonexistent this summer:

#1 Use your pool cover.

Pool covers significantly reduce energy costs over time because they slow how much water evaporates. With a pool cover, your pool heater doesn’t have to work overtime to keep the water cool. And it prevents debris build-up on windy days too, so you don’t have to clean the pool as often.

#2 Run your filter at night.

Running the pool filter at night helps to cut down on energy costs while still keeping your pool clean. Some people opt to run their pool filter 24 hours a day, but this is a waste of energy and over-cleans the pool, which can cause more problems. See if there’s an optimum time to run the pool filter at night and save on your electricity bill.

#3 Clean the pool filter.

Sweet and simple: cleaning your pool filter keeps your swimming pool clear and prevents you from spending more money on other, more costly pool repairs. So just do it.

#4 Invest in an energy-efficient pool pump.

If you have a normal pool pump, it only pumps at one speed — and it wastes energy on filtration, among other tasks. If you invest in an energy-efficient, variable-speed pump, you could save more than a thousand dollars over the life of the pump. You may also qualify for an energy rebate.

#5 Keep the temperature low.

You pay more money for every degree you raise the temperature in the pool. Consider keeping the water as cool as possible while remaining comfortable. You should also turn the heater off in the off season, when you’re not using the pool.

#6 Maintain the pH balance.

You must pay attention to the chemical balance of the water — not only to keep the water safe, but to keep your costs down as well. If the alkalinity of the water is thrown off for any reason, you’re usually better off getting a swimming pool professional involved. Pool chemicals are expensive — and if you don’t get the measurements right, you’re throwing money away as you pour the chemicals into the water.

#7 Balance stabilizer levels.

While all pool owners are aware of how important it is to maintain chlorine levels, not all may realize how stabilizer (cyanuric acid) plays into the process. Stabilizer aids the chlorine in its effectiveness. Too much or too little stabilizer will result in chlorine losing its effectiveness.  Pool owners need to check their stabilizer levels and decrease or increase the amount of chlorine needed in the water to keep the pool safe.

Additional Pool Maintenance Costs:

These are quick and efficient steps to keeping your pool in shape this summer. However, there are some costs you need to keep in mind for the future too:

  • Closing the pool in the fall: $75 – $200
  • Running an automatic pool cleaner: $700 – $2,000
  • Vacuuming the pool: $50 – $100
  • Using chemicals: $20 – $100/month

If this seems like too much work for you, you can hire a swimming pool maintenance service. It will cost more, but they can do a lot of the work as part of a package, which could cost less in the long-term. Packages generally include:

  • Brushing the pool
  • Skimming debris
  • Adjusting chemical levels
  • Cleaning the pool filter
  • Vacuuming

 

Source: Andrea Davis, HomeAdvisor,  LINDSAY LISTANSKI

Posted on June 4, 2017 at 11:32 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,