Home buying: Act now or wait it out?


The housing market is always changing, so it can be hard to determine exactly when to buy — and when to wait it out.

What if home prices or interest rates rise? What if lower costs are just around the corner? No crystal ball can give us these answers, but there are some factors you can take into account before making your decision.

Are you hoping to buy a home soon? Not sure if you should act now or wait until next year? Here’s what to think about:

  1. The State of the Market: Is a housing market crash or recession likely? Look to expert predictions to determine how the future of the market may look. Then, you can evaluate any risks there might be in buying now.
  2. Supply and Demand Trends: If supply is up and demand is down, you might be able to get a great deal. If the opposite is true, there’s probably a lot more competition (and higher prices due to bidding wars). We can talk about the market trends to come up with a strategy for you.
  3. Mortgage Interest Rates: Keep tabs on overall economic trends. If rates are expected to keep rising, acting sooner could save you money in the long run, especially if home prices also rise. And you may be able to refinance for a lower rate in the future, too.
  4. Home Prices: Consider that price declines can help you get a deal upfront, but they could also mean your home may not gain as much value immediately; this might be more of an issue if you’re not planning to stay there for the long haul. Small price fluctuations in either direction are usually not indicative of larger trends.
  5. Personal Finances: Your financial situation is the most important factor. Does it make sense for you to buy a house now? Consider your credit score, debts, income and other expenses when evaluating whether or not buying a home is affordable.

Are you interested in buying a home? Do you have questions about the market?

Let’s chat.

Prep your Home for Winter


Winter is fast approaching, and if you’re a homeowner, that usually means now’s the time to tackle key maintenance tasks: at least if you want to ensure a warm and comfortable season.

There are appliances to check, inspections to complete and exterior tasks to do. 

Are you ready for the incoming colder months? Want to make sure your home is too? Here are five steps to take ahead of the winter months. 

  • Weatherproof your doors and windows. Cracks and gaps can let in cold air. Reseal old caulking and fill in any holes, splits or openings you find.
  • Get a roof inspection. Replace any damaged or missing shingles. Also make sure your roof is protected from leaks that could result in moisture- or mold-related problems.
  • Tend to your yard. Heavy storms can weigh down branches, causing them to fall on your roof or car. Check that all trees and foliage are cared for and well-trimmed.
  • Insulate your attic, pipes and walls. Better insulation can mean lower energy bills and a more comfortable home. Take some time to evaluate yours, and consider adding extra if needed.
  • Check the water heater. Make sure your water heater is operating effectively and efficiently. You might also want to flush the system to remove any sediment that may be at the bottom of the tank.

Completing this essential winter maintenance can set your family up for a cozy, relaxing season at home. It’ll also help you identify any potential issues before they have a chance to turn into costly repairs. To learn more home upkeep tips, reach out today.

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Getting Your Home Ready for Winter

Winter weather, especially in northern parts of the country, can cause major damage to homes. Roof leaks, lack of insulation or foundation issues can all have a massive impact on your quality of life and the ability to resell the home in the future. So how can you winterize your home?

Here are a few simple steps to get you started.

Add Attic Insulation

Many of us don’t consider the efficiency of our home’s insulation, but it can make all the difference in the winter. Before the season sets in, check out your attic to see whether there are any improvements you can make. There are a variety of products to choose from today.

Caulk Any Cracks

Inspect the inside and outside of your home. Look for cracks that might let cold air into the home during the winter months. You can repair these by using the right caulk to seal them and help keep your home better insulated.

Install Storm Windows and Doors

If your doors or windows are old, chances are they aren’t the most efficient option. Today there are plenty of environmentally friendly and insulation options on the market. Consider replacing your windows and storm doors with newer products.

Change Furnace Filters

Every season, before you run the furnace, it’s time to change the filters. They get clogged up from regular use and will affect the efficiency of your HVAC unit. Look at the furnace model to find out the best furnace filters to use.

Do you want to be in a new home this winter? Call us now.

Prevent Water Damage at Home


Homes often get a lot of water exposure in the back half of the year due to storms and winter weather. And that doesn’t even include the internal issues that can cause water damage, like undetected plumbing problems.

It’s important to consider how that water could threaten your property: It can damage your roof, cause mold and mildew, and ruin your belongings.

These four steps can help prevent water damage to your home and everything in it.

  1. Keep gutters and downspouts clear. Clogged gutters cause water and ice melt to build up instead of flowing out. This can cause damage to the roof and lead to expensive repairs.
  2. Monitor water pressure and plumbing issues. It’s important to catch leaks and other plumbing problems early — before they cause serious destruction. You may want to consider installing a water leak monitor for your pipes; many come with handy apps that alert you of even the smallest leak or potential problem.
  3. Make sure your roof and chimney are maintained. Get your roof and chimney inspected annually. Sometimes, just repairing a small area of the roof can make all the difference in a storm.
  4. Keep an eye out for mold and mildew. Monitor your ceilings for signs of mold and mildew, which typically indicates a leak or deeper moisture issue at work. If you see anything remotely suspicious, call a plumbing professional to look at it.

Those in flood- or hurricane-prone areas should look into their options for a flood insurance policy — separate from homeowners insurance — that protects you in case of weather-related flooding.

If you want to learn more about home ownership or anything real estate-related, please get in touch.

Posted in Events Life Real Estate Stuff by Being BOB. No Comments

8 DIY Garage Organization Ideas That Will Make the Best Use of Your Space

garage tools hanging on s-hooks that are suspended from copper pipes mounted on a wall

Garages can serve a multitude of purposes. Sure, they’re earmarked for cars but the added square footage always makes them an enticing zone for extra storage. It also doubles as a dumping ground for holiday decorations, old furniture, toys, you name it. Naturally, integrating an organizational system can be the difference between a cluttered area you can barely fit a car into and a streamlined zone that comfortably houses all of the odds and ends that you’ve accumulated over the years.

Now, while there may be a whole host of garage storage and organization products out there, we’re partial to a DIY project, which can offer a more customized approach with a design-friendly spin to boot. Another major plus? You can cater each project to a specific need and spot, which will allow you to maximize every available square inch. With that in mind, we set out to source a few clever solutions that took on garage storage with effortless flair.

1. Get to labeling

DIY garage organization idea with cabinet with labeled bins

Having dedicated garage storage and organization is half the battle — getting the family to stick to it is the other. Cue this easy DIY from Tidbits, which entails a cabinet outfitted with all of the essentials for keeping staples in check. Labeled pull-out bins mean no more excuses for misplaced items while bungee cords looped around a set of dowels help contain balls and toys in their respective areas.

2. Create a drop-off zone

DIY garage organization idea with art and shoe rack

Taryn Whiteaker transformed a lone corner of her garage into a certifiable mudroom courtesy of a little DIY project. The blogger paired a wall-mounted shelf with a set of milk crates to store hats, gloves, etc. She then completed the look by adding hooks (perfect for hanging backpacks and scarves) below the shelf and a stylish shoe rack.

3. Shelve it

DIY garage organization idea with garage shelving unit

If you’re looking for an all-encompassing DIY garage organization idea, Modern Builds has the ultimate solution: custom-built shelving. The four-tier unit is open and provides ample space, with assorted opportunities for holding everything from bulky containers and power tools to outdoor gear and generators.

4. Add some luster

DIY garage organization idea with tools hanging on s-hooks from copper pipes mounted on a wall

Not all garage storage and organization ideas need to entail plywood and pegboards. Cue this clever DIY by Trisha Sprouse, which uses a sleek set of copper pipes and matching S-hooks to deliver a handy hanging system for tools, accessories, and any other gear that comes your way.

5. Embrace the pegboard

DIY garage organization idea with pegboard with power tools above a work bench

Pegboards are as versatile a solution as any when it comes to garage storage and organization. Joann of Woman In Real Life installed one in her space to stash an assortment of tools — she even framed the pegboard so it would have a finished look. Below, the creative added a workbench, which can be folded down when not in use.

6. Hang your bikes

DIY garage organization idea with bikes hanging from garage ceiling

Bicycles can take up a lot of floor space in a garage, especially when you have an entire arsenal. Instead of giving up valuable square footage, follow Dream Green DIY’s lead and take to the ceilings with this easy hack. Secure a heavy-duty hook to a stud and use that to hang your bike up and out of the way.

7. Use the walls

DIY garage organization idea with elements hanging from the walls

This setup by Chris Loves Julia is pure goals when it comes to garage storage and organization. By installing GearWall panels, the couple was able to transform their walls with purpose, effectively maximizing the amount of excess space they had. From there, they added a series of hooks (some that even held up wire baskets!) to contain everything from bulky wires to ladders and more.

8. Line up your tools

DIY garage organization idea with tools and shovels on pvc pipe stand

If your garage functions as a space for outdoor storage, too, that can make things a little tricky. Finding a viable spot to store garden and landscaping tools is a tough job, but luckily, the bright minds behind Newly Woodwards have just what you need. Using cut PVC pipes attached to wooden boards, the creatives were able to fashion a sturdy landing spot for shovels and rakes, without taking up any floor space at all.

Do you have questions about home equity? Or are you planning to buy or sell property this year? Reach out today.

5 Fall Maintenance Tasks


Your home is a huge investment, an investment you’ll want to protect for the long haul.

That means proper maintenance is key. Completing a few seasonal chores can help you extend the life span of your home while also cutting down on repair and renovation costs.

Want to make sure you’re keeping your home in tiptop condition? Then don’t skip these five must-do fall maintenance tasks:

Check for (and seal) air leaks around windows and doors. Leaks in these areas can make it hard to control your home’s climate and, as winter approaches, that could mean sky-high heating and gas bills. It could also make your home pretty uncomfortable year-round.

Clean out the gutters. When gutters get clogged with leaves and debris, water can’t drain properly. This might lead to standing water on your roof or eaves, which can cause significant and costly damage over time.

Inspect your roof. At the very least, your roof needs an annual inspection. Even small leaks or missing shingles can cause big problems like water damage, mold, mildew and more.

Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These vital safety devices should always be in good working condition. Put them in test mode and make sure they’re all functioning properly. Batteries will usually need to be replaced every six months to a year.

Have your furnace inspected. If you heat your home with a gas-powered furnace, you’ll want the unit inspected at least once per year. Furnaces can pose serious fire and safety hazards if they’re not functioning properly.

It won’t take long to check these tasks off your list, and the payoff is well worth the effort.

Considering buying a new home? Have questions about your home’s value? Get in touch today.

What Does/Doesn’t Come With a Home


When you tour a house for sale, it’s often staged, complete with appliances, window dressings, furniture and decor.

These items can certainly make a place look appealing, but the reality is that most of them won’t come with the house if you decide to buy.

So, what exactly do you get when you purchase a house from its previous owners? Do you know which items stay and which ones go? Here’s what you should know:

Only “attached” fixtures tend to come with the house. This means ceiling fans, security systems, built-in appliances, window screens, storm doors, blinds and similar items should remain part of the home. Removable items — like curtains or furniture, for example — aren’t attached and probably wouldn’t be included.

Outdoor items that are fixed to the property are included. The mailbox, a built-in fire pit, plants, shrubbery and an in-ground pool would all be examples of items that stay. Portable things, though — like a hot tub or unattached grill — typically would not come with the house.

Almost everything is up for negotiation. If there’s a certain item you saw and loved in the home, we can discuss it to negotiate with the seller and their agent. Depending on how in-demand the property is (and how special the item is), the seller may ask for more money — but, in some cases, they may be willing to throw it in for free.

Sometimes, sellers will specifically call out items they don’t want included in the sale — even some attached items. We’ll talk about negotiating and comparing these elements of an offer as we go.

Do you need help finding your next home? Get in touch today to get started.

Posted in Events Life Listings Real Estate by Being BOB. No Comments

Reduce Home-buying Stress


Buying a home can be stressful (especially in a hot market). 

But you’re in luck: There are ways to combat any worries you have and make home-buying a more enjoyable journey.

Are you getting ready to purchase a home? Want to ease the stress of it all? Here are four strategies that could help.

  1. Prep your finances early. Having your finances in order can help make the process significantly smoother. You should have plenty saved up for your down payment and closing costs, and be sure to gather all the documentation you’ll need to apply for a mortgage (W-2s, bank statements, etc.).
  2. Communicate openly about what you want. Knowing your needs and deal breakers — and communicating them early on — is critical to a hassle-free process. We’ll go over your budget, home purchase goals and any questions and concerns you might have along the way.
  3. Delegate where possible. You don’t have to do everything on your own; in fact, that could make the process more stressful. Instead, rely on the experts — your loan officer, home inspector and other pros involved in the process. Lean on us for help and support, and don’t feel like it all rests on your shoulders. Family and friends could help carry some weight, too.
  4. Keep the big picture in mind. There may be hiccups along the way, but never lose sight of the big picture: your dream home and all that comes with it. Keeping things in perspective can help you weather anything that might come your way.

Get in touch so you can have an experienced real estate agent by your side and reduce your home-buying stress considerably.

Make the Most of Your Home Equity


Home equity is a powerful thing.

As you pay off your mortgage, your equity or the stake in the home you actually own increases. And the more equity you build, the more you stand to gain when you sell.

But even if you aren’t planning to sell your property, equity can be used in a few different ways. Consider these four possibilities if you’d like to make the most of what you have.

Make Renovations

With a home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC), you can turn your stake in your home into money that you can use for renovations, repairs or any other cost you might be facing.

Buy a New Home

Taking out a home equity loan or other product may give you the money you need to buy a vacation home or investment property. You could also sell your existing home, turn a profit and use those funds toward your next place.

Pay Off Debt

If you have high-interest credit card debts, personal loans or car loans, you might consider using a home equity loan or cash-out refinance to pay them off. This essentially rolls those balances into your new loan (and mortgages tend to have lower interest rates than other loans or credit lines).

Use It Toward Retirement

Equity also makes a great nest egg. Once you retire, you have the option to sell your home, downsize and use the profits your equity gave you to boost your income.

Do you want to learn more about home equity? Are you looking to buy or sell a home? Reach out today for assistance.

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Common Renovation Mistakes to Avoid


When the market is competitive, many homeowners opt to renovate their properties rather than sell or buy.

This can be a smart move for many reasons, but as you know, home projects can often end up being expensive and time-consuming.

Don’t want to make a costly mistake or even regret a renovation altogether? Take a look at these four common missteps — and find out how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Choosing the Wrong Project 

Ultimately, you want your upgrades to increase your home value and deliver a return on your investment when you eventually sell. You also want to use your precious time wisely. When selecting a project, make sure you choose one that isn’t more trouble than it’s worth.

Mistake #2: Going Too Big

You don’t have to completely redo your kitchen or bathroom to make a big impact. Could you simply repaint the cabinets or replace the fixtures instead? Try to consider low-cost, low-effort alternatives that could deliver a similar result to what you’re aiming for. 

Mistake #3: Trying to DIY Something You Shouldn’t

You can tackle some projects yourself, but if it requires specialized skills like plumbing, electrical work or structural updates, you’re better off leaving it to the pros. DIY work is typically best reserved for small-scale renovations like painting or landscaping. 

Mistake #4: Failing to Budget Properly

Make sure you have a plan to avoid the most common budgeting problems. These include underestimating your costs, not saving enough before starting your work, and failing to have a good buffer set aside in case of surprises. 

Considering buying new instead of renovating? Get in touch today.

Reduce Your Homeowner-ship Costs


From taxes and insurance to maintenance and repairs, homeowner-ship comes with a variety of costs. 

But don’t worry: These expenses don’t have to break the bank.

With a strategy (and maybe a few key home updates), you can reduce your costs in the long run. You may even make your home safer and less prone to damage.

Want to cut the costs of homeowner-ship? Try these five approaches:

  • Homeowners Insurance: Want to reduce your insurance premiums? You could bundle your home and auto policies, upgrade older systems in your home, or add safety devices (like burglar alarms and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors).
  • Utilities: To reduce your monthly utility bills, invest in Energy Star-certified appliances, and consider getting a smart thermostat. Other things that may help include seasonal weatherproofing, updating your windows, adding more insulation and installing LED lighting.
  • Taxes: If your property taxes increase, you can challenge them with your local appraisal board. You might also be able to file for a homestead exemption for a primary residence, which puts a cap on how much your taxes can increase each year.
  • Repairs: Contractor costs and building material prices are still rising. Shop around for the parts you need, and consider doing any projects you’re qualified for on your own rather than outsourcing. You can also shop secondhand for lower-cost supplies.
  • Mortgage: Refinancing for a lower rate could lower your monthly mortgage payment and help your financial situation overall. Even if you refinance to a shorter term (raising your monthly payments), you can typically reduce your long-term interest costs.

If you have questions about home buying and homeowner-ship, reach out today.

Your Home Is a Retirement Asset


As a homeowner, your house is likely your biggest asset.

It can help you build wealth and improve your finances — and in retirement, it might serve as a much-needed source of financial support.

That last part is important. Whether you’re 25 or 55, having a plan is critical to an enjoyable and worry-free retirement.

Want to know how your home can help you plan for your golden years? Here are four ways it can factor in:

  1. You can leverage your home equity. Most homeowners are sitting on serious amounts of equity right now. You can tap into that by taking out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC). In retirement, these can be great options for covering medical bills, paying off higher-interest debts, or funding home improvements.
  2. You can sell and use the profits. Many retirees choose to sell their homes and downsize to a smaller property. If you decide to take this route, you can use the sale proceeds to support your retirement — plus, you’ll enjoy a smaller home that’s easier to maintain.
  3. You can refinance. Refinancing could help in a couple of ways: A regular refinance may help you reduce your monthly payment and create liquidity. But if you opt for a cash-out refinance, it could also give you funds to use toward your retirement goals.
  4. You can rent out your home. Your house can become a source of regular income in retirement if you rent out a room or the whole home for short- or long-term tenants. Get in touch to learn about local laws and restrictions.

A home can be a valuable financial asset at any life stage. Are you interested in buying a new property?

Get in touch today for help.

Posted in Events Life Real Estate Stuff by Being BOB. No Comments