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Mon Jan 1, 2018 3:57PM

SHORT SALE AND FORECLOSURE: HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?

As unfortunate as it can be when homeowners fall behind on mortgage payments and must face the possibility of losing their homes, short sales and foreclosures provide them options for moving on financially. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different, with varying timelines and financial impact on the homeowner. Here’s a brief overview.
A short sale comes into play when a homeowner needs to sell their home but the home is worth less than the remaining balance that they owe. The lender can allow the homeowner to sell the home for less than the amount owed, freeing the homeowner from the financial predicament.
On the buyer side, short sales typically take three to four months to complete and many of the closing and repair costs are shifted from the seller to the lender.
On the other hand, a foreclosure occurs when a homeowner can no longer make payments on their home so the bank begins the process of repossessing it. A foreclosure usually moves much faster than a short sale and is more financially damaging to the homeowner.
After foreclosure the bank can sell the home in a foreclosure auction. For buyers, foreclosures are riskier than short sales, because homes are often bought sight unseen, with no inspection or warranty.

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Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:42PM

FIVE MONEY-SAVING GREEN UPGRADES
  1. Solar panels: The upfront cost is big, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low, and a typical system could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can even sell your surplus electricity.
  2. Going green is great for the environment, but that’s not the only benefit. When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some major savings.
  3. Solar panels: The upfront cost is big, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low, and a typical system could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can even sell your surplus electricity.
  4. Wood furnace: Wood-burning furnaces are relatively inexpensive, and though the yearly savings aren’t as dramatic (about 10% on heating bills), it adds up over the long run.
  5. Insulation: There’s a good chance your insulation isn’t very efficient, especially in older homes. Look into installing floor, cavity, wall, and loft insulation to reduce your heating bills.
  6. Rain barrels: Rain barrels are extremely inexpensive, and provide gallons of free water to use when you wash your car or water your garden.
  7. Geothermal system: OK, so the price tag is scary at first. A geothermal system uses the earth’s temperature to heat and cool your home, but can cost $30,000 to install. But tax credits allow you to get a lot of that money back, and the energy savings average about $1,900 per year. If you plan to be in your home for a decade or two, it’s a great investment.

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PRIORITY TASKS FOR YOUR MOVE IN

Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:07PM


Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you're probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.

Change the locks 

Even if you're promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It's worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.

Steam clean the carpets

It's good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It's pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner-your local grocery store may have them available.

Call an exterminator 

 Prior to move-in, you probably haven't spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home. Clean out the kitchen If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances.




BATHROOM TRENDS FOR 2017

Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:02PM

Staying on top of the latest trends in home decor isn’t for everyone, but even for traditionalists, it can be fun to incorporate some new ideas. Here are five bathroom decor trends that are appearing in 2017.


  1. Geometric Patterns: Many homeowners are selecting bold patterns in geometric shapes, like chevrons, triangles, or hexagons. These patterns can add intrigue and continuity to your tile or shower curtain.

  2. Plants: Even the best-designed bathrooms can benefit from some small plants. If you have a windowless bathroom, there are some low-light options that can survive with little maintenance.

  3. Dark Colors: This can be tricky to achieve, but it comes with a big pay off. While traditional bathrooms are often painted with brighter whites and greys, opting for darker colors can make a bathroom seem more luxurious and relaxing. Imagine sinking into a deep bath with dim lighting—that might convey the appeal of a darker palette.

  4. Brass Hardware: Trends often come back around, and this year, brass fixtures of the ‘70s are popular once again.

  5. Minimalism: The massive master bathroom is still great, but there’s also some appeal in smaller bathroom designs. Minimalism allows for smaller spaces to feel more intimate, but still airy and open.


 

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RECONSIDER THESE CHOICES WHEN YOU’RE DESIGNING YOUR KITCHEN

Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:00AM

The kitchen is one area of the home that sees the most wear and tear. All the water, heat, and food spills add up quickly so it’s important to focus on quality and lasting appeal when you’re choosing materials for a kitchen remodel. Here are a few things you should avoid:

Cheap Laminate Countertops: The bottom rung of laminate is extremely susceptible to wear and tear. It can melt if you forget to place a hot pad under a pan that’s fresh out of the oven and the edges can chip off from repeated exposure to moisture and heat.

Flat Paint: A flat or matte finish is great in rooms with lower traffic, but it’s a bad idea in the kitchen where the walls are regularly exposed to splatters and spills. You need paint that can withstand an occasional heavy scrubbing, so opt for gloss or semi-gloss finishes.

Trendy Backsplash: If you watch any home remodeling show, you’ll certainly see kitchens with expensive, elaborate backsplash designs and materials. Those trends can be pricey to pursue and can look dated in a hurry. Subway tile is a cheaper, classic option that you’ll never regret, plus you’ll have more room in your budget to purchase quality materials to be used elsewhere.

Cheap Flooring: Just like the countertops, your kitchen floor needs to be strong enough to take some abuse. Cheap flooring easily scuffs and peels (especially from moisture). Quality flooring is worth the investment.

 

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WHAT AFFECTS PROPERTY VALUES?

Tue Aug 1, 2017 4:59PM

Some the features that increase property values are obvious-like a remodeled bathroom, a modern kitchen, or a sought-after neighborhood. But here are a few features and circumstances you have not have realized can affect property values.


  1. The neighbors: Not every neighborhood or community has an HOA that can keep the neighbors from going overboard with decorations or neglecting to care for their home. Homes adjacent to crazy neighbors can potentially be undervalued.

  2. Trendy groceries and coffee: Recent statistics suggest that if your home is a short walk from popular grocery stores like Whole Foods or coffee chains like Starbucks, it can actually appreciate faster than the national average.

  3. Mature trees: A big beautiful tree in the front yard is enviable, and it's not something that can be easily added to any home. Homes with mature trees tend to get a little boost in value.

  4. Parking: This isn't too much of an issue if you live in the suburbs or in a rural area, but residents in dense cities can have real problems with parking, and homeowners might need to rent a spot just to guarantee a place to park each night. That's why having guaranteed parking in urban areas will raise property values.

  5. The front entrance: First impressions matter to buyers-many will cross a home off their list within 10 seconds of stepping through the front door. An appealing front door, a friendly entryway, and a functioning doorbell are all necessities for getting top dollar.


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