5 Items Homeowners Must Prepare For

Since owning a home, of one’s own, represents ownership, in the single, largest, financial asset, doesn’t it make sense, before one should make the decision, to become a homeowner, the individual must prepare for the responsibilities, duties, and relevant factors? Owning a house, should be a positive, fulfilling experience, which enhances, rather than makes one’s life, worse, and more stressful! With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly examine, consider, and discuss, 5 specific items, potential homeowners should be prepared for, thoroughly, effectively, and in, a well – considered manner.

1. Known monthly charges: Owning a home, is usually accomplished, with the assistance of a mortgage. The first thing, one should consider, is if he can comfortably afford this fixed monthly expense, and secondly, if he can do so, without, stressing – out! Mortgage expenses generally include interest and principal payments, taxes, insurance and other escrow items, etc. In addition, it’s important to consider other regular costs, including utilities (including electric, gas, oil, heat, hot water, telephone, Internet, cable television, etc).

2. Reserve for minor repairs: When you own a house, invariably, something needs to be fixed, repaired, and/ or replaced. These regular maintenance issues should be planned, and prepared for, and smart homeowners, make regular, directed deposits, into a reserve fund, focused on these priorities, and issues.

3. Reserve for major repairs: There will be times, when a necessary repair, may be somewhat costly, and considered, a major repair. This may include, issues pertaining to paved/ cemented areas, structural (unforeseen) issues, or related to the grounds (such as a retaining wall, etc). Therefore, one should plan accordingly, and have a separate reserve fund, which one regularly contributes to, for those contingencies/ emergencies!

4. Renovation fund: Often, once someone lives somewhere, they realize they would benefit, if certain areas were renovated, upgraded, enlarged, etc. While this might be put – off, for a short time, it might be essential, for thoroughly enjoying one’s home. For that reason, it’s wise to create and contribute to, a renovation fund, so when it’s time to renovate, the stress is reduced, and one is properly prepared, and ready.

5. Recurring replacement fund: Certain items in a house have somewhat of a finite – life span. For example, generally, hot water heaters, need replacing, approximately, every 10 years. Roofs may have anywhere from a 20 to a 40 year, life. Heating systems, HVAC, etc, also eventually need replacing. Items such as carpets, or refinishing hardwood floors, must be considered, also. Remember, you are buying a house, where these items have served, already, for some period of time, so doesn’t it make sense, to be prepared, and better, safe, than sorry?

These are just 5 basic items, where homeowners should prepare, as well as possible, so they can maximize their enjoyment, by reducing their stress. Are you willing to discipline, yourself, and take the necessary steps, to prepare, to the best of your ability?

Newlyweds – Our First ‘Home’

Years ago, when my wife and I were students at BYU-Idaho having only been married for a few months, and living in a tiny apartment with paper thin walls we were frustrated by the fact that we didn’t have a lot of money and had to pay $300/month in rent, money we were never going to see again. ( Looking back I can’t help but wonder: Who could possibly complain about $300 rent!? However, it was a lot of money to us at the time.)

Late one night, we decided that there has to be a better financial option than “throwing away” $300 in rent money each month. We set out in search of another option. Obviously, as students we were not going to qualify for a loan for a house or condo and wanting to be independent in the world, we quickly found out that mobile homes were the only thing in our budget.

A quick search for mobile homes in the area showed a list of 3-4 units for sale. The list of homes went something like this:

1- 1998 14 x 60 $17,500

2- 2001 14 x 65 $19,800

3- 1999 13 x 50 $14,500

4- 1977 14 x 70 $ 4,000

Being a bit naive and unfamiliar with mobile homes, all we looked at was the price of the unit. You can guess which one we picked! $4,000 for a home!? (To this day we still joke about how our first home was less expensive than our first car!)

When we called the number on the listing, the lady seemed almost surprised that we had called, and said that it was still available and could show us the home the next day. We went to bed that night dreaming of what it would be like to own our own place and not have to pay rent each month!

The next morning, around 10 am, we drove to the address the lady had provided. When we drove up to the unit, we saw this old white and blue mobile home with a yard that would take about 1.5 minutes to mow, right at the entrance of the mobile home park. Additionally, the mail box to the community was right in the front of the house and had people stopping every 10 minutes to get the mail and a laundry list of other concerns that our excitement blinded us from seeing in full view.

After our own quick walk-through of the house and persuading some more experienced friends to take a look as well, we decided that all the problems could be fixed and after some money and love put into the house we would be set.

We then drove right over to the bank and withdrew the $4,000 needed to buy the place and met the owner at her friend’s house to sign the paperwork. A few short hours later, the place was ours!

The next day, we got to work making the trailer into a home. We would then spend that day and the next 6 months working every date night and weekend to make that place ‘liveable’. We had a lot of ups and downs during the process of transforming that into our home.

We made some fun and exciting memories together and even today we pull out the photo book of pictures to show our kids what we did and what we can do if we work together as a team, husband and wife. In the living room my wife had a phrase made in vinyl that completed the whole project for us in more ways than one. It read: “A house is made of boards and beams, a home is made of love and dreams”.

4 Useful, Smart-House Solutions

If anyone reads, nearly any publication, about the latest trends, in home living, they have become aware of the terms, smart – houses, and/ or smart – homes. While some of these, such as certain devices, etc, fall into this category, I felt, it might make sense, and be somewhat useful, if we discussed, and evaluated, a few useful ways, to take advantage, of the best, there is to offer, when it comes, to relevant, useful technology, and technological essentials. With that in mind, this article will consider, identify, review, and briefly discuss, 4 useful, smart – house solutions.

1. Security systems; alarms; monitoring: A few years ago, one could not have imagined, having the ability to remotely monitor, one’s home, including the security system, appliances, entry – ways (windows and doors), smoke/ fire, etc. Today’s security systems, are digital, automated, efficient and effective, and provide an additional layer of protecting, not only our property, but also our mindsets! There are companies, which provide, closed – circuit monitors, where we can witness, and observe, what is going on, around our properties, even when we are not present. We can, also, remotely, have the peace, of mind, to observe, our premises, when there is a baby – sitter, etc.

2. Heating; cooling; HVAC: We’ve come a long way, in many things, related to technology, and our heating and ventilation systems, also known/ referred to, as, HVAC, is another example. Newer heating systems are smaller, more efficient, and effective, than many of the older systems. In the past, when we wanted air conditioning, our options were only, choosing a Central system, or individual window units, but, today, we also have ductless systems, to choose from. These ductless systems, are extremely quiet and efficient, effective, and permit us, to cool, only those sections of our homes, where we are residing, rather than paying to cool, the entire house, as we, do, with most Central Air Conditioners.

3. Lights; energy: It’s not only possible, but suggested, for homeowners, to have energy usage, monitored, and have a professional, make suggestions, to save money, and increase efficiency, and effectiveness. Most utility companies, today, remotely monitor, energy usage, which saves time, inconvenience, and manpower, while also reducing the amount of time, when there is an outage.

4. Robotics: There are many areas of the home, where robotics are now available. One of the best examples, is robotics, available, regarding vacuums, etc. There are also, possibilities, when it comes to, service – related/ butler systems, cooking, etc.

While there are numerous possibilities, each individual, should choose, for himself, which ones make sense for them. My professional suggestion is to wait, and see, and opt for the finest ones, for your specific needs, and usage.

Things to Do Before Moving Into Your New House

You have just purchased a new house, done with all the payments and paperwork. You must be relaxed now that the pain of searching for a home has finally reached an end, but my friend, wait for a moment, as you have just won half of the battle. The struggle of moving into your new address is yet to be fought. You may not even realise but the D-day of shifting will come as if you just wake up from a dream. Hence, here is a bucket list of a few things to do before moving into your new house so you can remember this day, not as a painstaking one but a day filled with loads of memories.

Change the Locks

As soon as your deal is over, and you can call that new house your own, the foremost thing that you need to do is to change the locks on all the exterior doors. The reason is pretty obvious. It is really difficult to get assured that whether the last owner, the home guard, the broker or even the neighbour can have the house keys. As precaution is always better than cure, we would suggest you to install new locks before moving into your new house.

Paint the Walls and Ceilings

Though it is not really necessary that you need to whitewash the entire house, but then it’s something that we would definitely suggest you to do. With painting walls and ceilings, you get to see their actual condition. There is a strong possibility that the house may look lucrative from the exterior but it may not be the same case beneath a few layers. Also, this is a good time to repair all the holes, cracks and any other defect in the house. As it is a tedious task, so try to hire a professional who can make it perfect from inside out.

Inspect Plumbing Leaks

It is one of the most important things to do before moving into your new house. Numerous homebuyers complained that their homebuilder hasn’t given a damn to the plumbing leaks in your new house. So, before you make a shift to your new home, check if there is any seepage in the home or even in the building. For this purpose, inspect washbasins, toilets and dripping faucets, and exteriors of the building and if you find one, do get it repaired immediately. Maybe slowly, but even an inconsiderable amount of seepage can eat your entire house.

Call Pest Control

Are you still thinking why you should call a team of pest control experts? Well, you can consider eliminating it if you are buying a new home. But, in any case, if you are buying a home that was used by someone in the past or has been unlived for a long time, then you should unquestionably have to opt for pest control before moving into your new house. Who wants to stay in a house which is a playground for a variety of awful creeps and nocturnal pests.

Notify Your Family, Friends and Service Providers About the Shift

Though you have hosted a housewarming party for most of your friends and relatives, and they all know about the shift, there will be many who are still not aware of this move. Hence, it is a good time to update them of moving into a new house and share the good news. And not just friends and relatives, in fact, also inform your landline company, insurance card company, bank and others with a text message or email stating the details of your new address. Obviously, you don’t want to miss a bill-payment deadline just because you have shifted to a new place.

Greet Your Neighbours

Neighbours are the people with whom you are going to spend a long time of your life. They are the one who stands resolutely in your good as well as bad times, whenever needed. So, it is an act of utmost importance to greet them after moving into your new house. Show courtesy and take initiative to greet them simply by saying, “Hello, I am your new neighbour”. Yes, it won’t make a huge difference in their life yet it will at least break the silence between you and your neighbour. Once you are friends with them, you may not feel alone in a totally new setting.

The HEART Of A Home

The most important aspect of a home, is, often, a rather, individual thing, because we all are individuals, with specific needs, preferences, priorities, and situations. However, regardless of which consideration, might be considered, most important, it’s relevant to individually, consider, the HEART of a home, and pay keen attention, during the house – hunting, transaction, and process. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly consider, review, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, some of the key considerations, etc.

1. Heat; heath: Home buyers should have a professional, inspect, carefully, all aspects, related to the condition, operations and efficiencies of the HVAC, or Heating – Ventilation – Air Conditioning, systems. Inefficient systems waste energy, may be unhealthy (unless the vents, are clean and pure), and excessively costly, to use, and maintain. How old is the system, and are there any weaknesses, and/ or areas of stress, which might end – up, creating major expenditures, and other inconveniences. Is the house, green, in terms of environmental considerations, etc? What is the monthly, average cost of operating, and are there, air – leaks, and other inefficiencies?

2. Education; environment: Are there any environmental challenges/ obstacles, which might induce health issues, either in the home, on the property, or, in the area? Areas to examine, include: environmental waste; asbestos; dangerous toxins, such as Radon, or landfill, or toxic plumes; etc. Pay attention to the ratings, and quality of the school system, because your family deserves the best, and, education, and schools, are major influencers on selling prices, now, and in the future.

3. Area: Objectively, casually, walk around the area, including the block, neighborhood, and immediate surrounding area. Do the positives, significantly, outweigh the weaknesses? Why would you enjoy living in thus location?

4. Region: Is this region, considered, relatively safe, and have, a lower, than average, crime rate? Is it convenient, to those things, you want and need, including transportation, shopping, entertainment, restaurants, etc? If you are moving into a new region, will you be happy, with the local climate? It’s always better, to be, safe/ cautious, than surprised, after you purchase the house!

5. Transportation: Is mass transportation, important to you, in the near, and/ or, foreseeable future? Is this location, convenient to roads and highways, while far – enough, away, to avoid excessive noise, etc? Does it fit your needs, and will this factor, probably, be a pro, or con, in terms of resale values?

Always consider, carefully, and thoroughly, the HEART of a potential home, before you purchase it! Potential, qualified home – buyers, should, do, all they possibly can, to protect what, for most of us, is our single – biggest, financial investment!

Are You Struggling to Manage Your Existing Family Home As You Age?

For large numbers of people approaching or at retirement age, their existing home can start to become something of a liability.

Emotional attachment

As we age, for many of us our home is a source of continuity and emotional attachment.

Although populations today are far more mobile than ever before, even so, that existing property might be the place where our families were born and raised. It’s perhaps something that contains a significant investment of our memories and emotions.

Nevertheless, it can also bring with it some potential problems.

For many people in their sixties and above, their existing family home is something that is simply too large. It may have been ideal 20 or 30 years previously when a family may have been involved but now it’s something that is becoming a problem.

Perhaps we are struggling to keep it as clean and tidy as we once did. It may be that internal decoration is becoming too demanding in terms of the physical and financial effort required. Possibly that large garden has gone from being our pride and joy to something that is now consuming far too much time and requiring more energy than we can realistically put into it.

All these are factors may well balance off that emotional attachment mentioned above.

Options for accommodation

At earlier stages in your life, the obvious solution may be to simply sell up and buy a property more suitable to your current needs.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always an option for people at or around retirement age. The main reason is that it can often be difficult to secure a conventional mortgage or other funding to purchase another property outright once you have passed your major income-earning years.

In theory, any equity you have in your existing property might be available to help purchase another property as well. The difficulty there though is that any capital freed up from the sale of a property can often be something we value as a source of disposable income that can help make our retirement years that bit more enjoyable.

Fortunately, there is an alternative. It involves putting a capital sum into an investment fund, which will then generate amounts sufficient to enable you to lease a property that is suitable for your new situation.

This type of revolutionary system for funding retirement accommodation is growing in popularity. It’s a way of avoiding some of the pitfalls and logical dead-ends that can arise If you are trying to simply purchase a more suitable property outright.

Making a decision

It is a fact of life that as we age, it can be more difficult to make and implement major changes in our lifestyles.

That’s why it is never too early to start to consider some of the above issues and opportunities. Some people start planning and even implementing a change in their property basis while they are in their fifties and long before conventional retirement age.

Whatever your age, if you are looking at your existing property and starting to think that it is simply not a suitable basis for a comfortable retirement, it might be sensible to start doing something about it now.

Making A House Your HOME

We’ve all heard the expression, A House Is Not A Home, but, often, overlook it, or, at least, don’t pay sufficient attention, to, it’s significance! Since, in the vast number of circumstances, one’s house, represents their single – largest, financial asset, wouldn’t it make sense, for a homeowner, to, also, thoroughly enjoy, his experiences, at that home, to as large a degree as possible? The happiest owners, are those, who successfully transform, a mere, house, to their beloved, HOME! With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly examine, review, consider, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, what this means, and why it makes a difference, for the better.

1. How (it serves you); heart: Will your residence, become your friend, or just, a place, to hang your hat? Every homeowner should consider, what he seeks from his house, and why, he believes, his vision, will be addressed, in a positive way, which means, how it might serve his needs, desires, goals and priorities. While the so – called, bones, of a property, are, of course, very important, until/ unless, it meets the emotional necessities of the owner, it will never be transformed, from a house, to a true home! What aspects, of home ownership, will enhance the emotional components, needed, or what might be referred to, as the heart of the matter?

2. Options; opportunities; organized: Don’t approach home ownership, in a haphazard manner! Rather, proceed, in an organized way, and consider the possibilities, options and alternatives, in terms of how, each, might enhance one’s experiences, and enjoyment, of living, in a particular house! Never overlook any opportunities, which might make you happier, and better meet your specific needs, and goals, etc!

3. Meaningful; motivation: What might make your experiences more meaningful, happier, and/ or more significant? Will each, provide you with more happiness, pride – of – ownership, and positively, motivate you, to truly, enjoy, your living, in your home?

4. Enriching; excellence; exceed expectations: Will you have realistic perceptions, and will, living somewhere, consistently, exceed expectations, so you are proud of your home, and develop, an emotional bond? How will this be personal enriching and fulfilling, and serve your focus, on personal excellence, enjoyment, and the utmost degree of happiness, etc?

Will you want to make that house, you bought, own, and live in, your HOME? Anything, which makes your life, more enjoyable, will probably be, personally enriching!

How To Examine/Consider A HOME

Many people consider, home ownership, to be, an essential component/ ingredient, of, the American dream! In light of this, wouldn’t it make sense, therefore, if we gave some thought, to how to make the smartest, possible decision, when purchased a HOME of our own? This will focus on features, and physical needs, and components, rather than the emotional aspects, and with that in mind, using the mnemonic approach, we will briefly review, consider, and discuss, some items to think about, in order to make the best decision, for you.

1. Heating; HVAC: One of the most essential components of any house, is what is referred to, as HVAC, or heating, ventilation, and air – conditioning. In addition to its obvious importance, in terms of one’s comfort, and thus, personal enjoyment, when one needs to service, repair, or replace, these components, it’s also, one of the most costly! In addition, if the efficiency and effectiveness, is less, than it should and, might, be, we end up, wasting money, on the costs of the energy used, whether it be, oil. gas, or electric, etc. Have these items carefully examined, take out a quality service contract, and create, a reserve fund, to address any possible, future needs, in order to reduce stress, and be prepared!

2. Options; opportunities: When you purchase a particular house, consider, far more, than, merely, the cosmetic options, but, whether they serve your present, and perceived, future needs. How easily, and hoe costly, might it be, to make alterations, etc? Will you address the finest, possible opportunities, so you maximize your personal enjoyment, of this home?

3. Meets needs; motivates: What is your prevailing, personal motivation, for purchasing any house? How will it, or fail to, meet the needs, today, and into the future? How long will you plan, to live, in the house? Will it be, a starter – home, or one, for the longer – run? Well – motivated, homeowners, generally, are the happiest ones!

4. Excellence: Rather than focusing on minor issues, or prioritizing cosmetic factors (which most new owners change, anyway), wise buyers look at the quality, and degree of excellence, in terms of how it’s built, maintained, etc, The emphasis and priority should be, the bones, of the particular house, including how well – built, etc, it might be!

When you decide, it’s time, for you, to buy, a HOME, of your own, make the decision, carefully, and wisely, with your eyes – wide – open! An educated buyer makes the smartest decision!

6 Factors To Consider In Selecting Windows For Your Home

One of the most frequent renovations, and/ or repairs, many homeowners, perform/ have performed, is changing, repairing, or replacing their windows. This may be done, for design – reasons, structural, cosmetic, and/ or energy – related, reasons, but, regardless of the reasoning and purposes/ intentions, it makes sense, to decide wisely, and choose, sensibly, and in a way, which serves and addresses, your needs, goals, and purposes. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly review, examine, consider, and discuss, 6 factors, to consider, to proceed, in the best possible manner.

1. Changes, or replacements: Will you be changing the location, size, etc, of your windows, or will, these be, simply, direct replacements? Many locations require building permits, to do these, and, often, there is no fee (or a far smaller one) for direct replacement, ones, than when there are structural alterations. In addition, will you be changing all of the existing ones, or some, because, you would want, the appearance, to be coordinated, and make sense?

2. Materials used: There are many different materials used, in manufacturing these items. This includes, not only, the type of glass, but also, the panes, supporting materials, etc. Will you be, best – served, with double – hung types, thermal, storm – windows, etc? What supporting structures will you prefer – wood, vinyl, or some hybrid/ composite? Each has certain advantages, as well as weaknesses, including insulating ability, endurance, maintenance, etc.

3. Types: What type will you seek to use? Do you want a picture – window, sliding ones, double – hung, or some other types? Which might best serve your needs, priorities, goals, purposes, and pocketbook?

4. How mounted?: Are you replacing your windows, for cosmetic, structural, design, or energy – related, reasons? How will these be mounted, and by whom? How will they be installed, sealed, etc? Will they reduce heat – waste, and save you energy costs, and make your living conditions, more comfortable, and enjoyable?

5. Brand differences: Review the technical reports, and determine which brand, type, etc, is for you. Weigh various factors, including performance and affordability. Determine if the extra costs of a specific brand, in the longer – run, actually, provides, the best, bang – for – the – buck!

6. Direction faced: Often, it is wise, to use different types of windows, depending on their location. While one generally wants all, to fit – in, cosmetically, it often, makes sense, to use, specific tints, etc, to address factors, such as southern – facing, heat – needs in winter, as well as cooling needs, in summer!

Since, for most homeowners, their house represents, their single – biggest, financial asset, doesn’t it make sense, to make the wisest possible decisions, when making any changes? Hopefully, this brief article, will assist you, in focusing properly, on your needs, expectations, and personal priorities, as well as what, you might be able, to afford.

6 Options/Considerations For Home Renovation Projects

Many homeowners, either, discover, or strongly believe, either immediately after their purchase, or at some future point, they need to perform certain renovations, to enhance their enjoyment of their residence! Many factors go into, making the best decision, for the specific individual, and house, including emotional, hopes, etc, as well as financial considerations, and the potential, Return on Investment, or ROI. With that in mind, this article will attempt to identify, examine, consider, discuss, and review, 6 of these options and/ or alternatives.

1. Needs: What do you need, from your house? Is the potential renovation, based on a genuine need, or, rather, other factors and/ or, considerations? Our needs, include the type, size, and design – factors, involved, family considerations, structural issues or potential ones, etc.

2. Wishes: Sometimes, we are simply, not fully satisfied with certain aspects of where, we reside! If one can afford to renovate, he must clearly identify, why he feels a specific way, and determine the best, and most practical, realistic, fiscally responsible approach.

3. Property/ zoning considerations: Most areas have building regulations, requirements, and restrictions. Some limit the permissible, total size, or square footage, of a house, in relationship, to the size of the property. Others have strict requirements, which limit what one is allowed to do, and, thus, it is wise, to balance, the costs and limitations/ restrictions of renovating, or whether it would make more sense, to sell one’s existing home, and relocate, to some place, which better fits one’s needs and requirements.

4. House’s limitations: Are there any structural limitations, which might adversely impact, the advisability of renovating your house? Consider costs, expenses, limitations and possibilities/ potential, when deciding whether, it makes sense, to renovate, rather than relocating!

5. Personal finances: Realistically, objectively, introspectively, examine your personal finances, and whether, you will be comfortable, with the additional, immediate costs, as well as monthly commitments, which expanding and renovating, will introduce and demand! The happiest homeowners, are those, who enjoy their houses and homes, but, limit the degree of financial stress, involved. Know yourself, and what works best, for you!

6. Present and future considerations: Do you presently have a growing or reducing, family, or will you in the foreseeable future? Do you intend to reside in your current house, for a longer – term, or do you perceive this residence, as a starter – home?

Measure whether it makes sense to renovate, as well as the best way to proceed, in terms of present needs, costs, affordability, and future considerations! A wise homeowner, is a happy, satisfied one!