The Top Questions Everyone Should Ask Before Renovating A Home

The Top Questions Everyone Should Ask Before Renovating A HomeThere are a lot of people who are looking to improve the home in which they live. One of the top ways to do this is to renovate the building; however, it is also important for everyone to make sure they know exactly what they are doing before they get started. There are several questions that everyone should ask before they start a home renovation project.

Is The Home Worth Renovating?

One of the top reasons why people renovate a home is that they think this is going to increase the value of the home. While this is certainly possible, everyone has to run the numbers and make sure they are either going to recoup their investment when they sell the home or that they are going to be in the home for a long time before they sell it. If the home is worth renovating, then it is fine to proceed.

What Is The Budget On The Renovation Project?

Next, it is also important for everyone to know what the budget is one the renovation project. Remember that there are always going to be expenses that are not foreseen, so be sure to include some room at the top in case the contractors come asking for a budget increase. They almost always do.

What Are The Offers On The Home Renovation Project?

Finally, it is also important to collect multiple offers. Talk to designers, contractors, and architects. Collect a few referrals. Then, talk to all of these individuals and see how much money it is going to cost to complete the project. This is one of the top ways that everyone is able to save money on their home renovation projects and make sure they get exactly what they asked for when the project started.

Answer These Questions Before Starting A Home Renovation Project

By planning ahead of time, everyone is able to plan accordingly, making sure they know what they are doing before the project gets started. When homeowners take the time to plan a home renovation project, they increase the chances of the project being a success. This includes not only an aesthetically pleasing project but a wise financial investment as well.

Junk Drawer Organization Ideas That Will Help You Avoid Stress

Junk Drawer Organization Ideas That Will Help You Avoid StressAt home, everyone has something they wish was just a little bit cleaner. For many people, this is the junk drawer. The kitchen drawer is crammed with who knows what simply has to get better organized.

This could include loose batteries, old cellphones, and even matchbooks from restaurants back when that was still a thing! The good news is that there are ways to clean up this junk drawer and turn all of that chaos around!

Rename The Junk Drawer

First, it is important to rename the junk drawer. If the junk drawer is called a junk drawer, then it is going to take on the personality of a junk drawer. Instead, call it something else. If the drawer has a name, then it isn’t going to get so disorganized. This will also help people remember what is supposed to go in the drawer.

Start With A Fresh Drawer

Yes, this means that the drawer has to get dumped out. Take everything that is in there, throw it on the floor (or the countertop) and see what is in the drawer. Then, figure out what has to be thrown away. This will help reduce the pile right off the bat. After this, see if there is anything in the drawer that can be placed somewhere else. Finally, all that should be left is what belongs in the drawer.

Make The Junk Drawer Pretty With Organizers And Nice Decor

Finally, think about ways to make the junk drawer appear more attractive! This could involve smooth little containers, dividers, or something else entirely! Think about using tools that can help divide the drawer into smaller compartments. This could help everyone keep the items organized. Once this is done, the drawer should have an entirely new appearance that will make the items easier to track.

Reorganize The Junk Drawer Following These Tips

These are a few of the top tips that everyone can follow to make their junk drawer just a little bit more organized. By putting these tips to use, everyone can find a way to make their house a bit cleaner. This can lead to a much less stressful living experience for everyone at home.

Buying a Home? 4 Steps You Can Take to Ensure You Start out with a Low Monthly Mortgage Payment

Buying a Home? 4 Steps You Can Take to Ensure You Start out with a Low Monthly Mortgage PaymentAre you thinking about buying a new house or condo? If so, you’ve likely given some thought to your mortgage and as to how you can pay as little as possible in order to own your new home.

Below we’ll share four easy steps that you can take to ensure you start out with an affordable monthly mortgage payment.

Make A Large Down Payment On Your Home

The easiest way to reduce your monthly payment is to invest as much as possible in your down payment. The less you have to borrow, the less you’ll be required to pay back.

If you can put a sizeable amount down on your home you’ll find that your monthly payments are going to be very manageable. You’ll also save a lot of money in interest.

Maintain A High Credit Score

When a lender assesses your financial history they’ll take an in-depth look at your credit score in order to determine how much risk you present to them. If you’ve kept a clean credit rating and have a high score, it’s likely that you will qualify for a lower interest rate than someone with a lower credit score – even if you both have the same monthly income.

Buy A Smaller, More Efficient Home

When you’ve made your short list of homes and you’re scheduling your viewings, ask yourself – do you need a home this big, or this expensive? If you can do with a smaller, more efficient home you can reduce the amount of mortgage financing that you require and this will in turn reduce the amount that you need to pay each month.

Consider A Longer Mortgage Term

Finally, if you need to reduce your monthly payment at any cost you can stretch out your mortgage repayment period by a few years. Note that while this can reduce your payment amount it will actually increase the total amount that you end up paying back as you’ll pay more in interest.

While the above are general tips for reducing your mortgage payment, it’s likely that there are other strategies that are unique to your financial situation. Contact your local mortgage professional at your convenience and they’ll be able to share insights that are relevant to your income, your credit and the price range you’re looking to buy into.

Are Home Warranties Worth The Money?

Are Home Warranties Worth The MoneyThose who own homes might regularly receive mail advertising something called a home warranty. Many people end up tossing these leaflets away because they think this is just another form of home insurance, which many people get through their mortgage lender. In reality, a home warranty is not home insurance. Therefore, some people might be wondering whether or not a home warranty is worth the money.

There are a few important points that people should know.

What Is A Home Warranty?

A home warranty is similar to insurance is that people are going to pay a set premium per year to protect them against the risk of larger expenses down the road; however, people need to know what a home warranty is going to cover. This is where people need to read the policy. 

Typically, a home warranty is going to cover the cost to repair or replace certain appliances or home systems is they are damaged or break down. If someone needs to file a claim, this is usually done online or over the phone. Then, the homeowner is going to bring out a professional and pay a service fee (which is similar to a deductible) to get the repair completed. In some cases, the homeowner will have to pay the entire bill and get reimbursed later.

Is The Home Warranty Worth It?

In general, if someone has purchased a brand new home, this policy simply isn’t necessary. In many states, the builder is required to repair defects for a few years after the home is built. The common time-frames range from two years to ten years. Therefore, a home warranty might be duplicate coverage and, thus, unnecessary. Furthermore, brand new appliances are almost always protected by one or two-year warranties. Again, a home warranty might be duplicate coverage.

On the other hand, if someone has an older home or older appliances, the home warranty might be worth it. Older appliances are more likely to break down and, thus, require repairs. Therefore, people need to think about their own individual circumstances and weigh the risk of a broken appliance against the cost of the policy. A home warranty may be right for some people but not others.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 19, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 19, 2020Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation, retail sales, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on average mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Inflation Rate Slows as Retail Sales Increase

Inflation rose 0.20 percent in September, which was the slowest growth rate in four months. Analysts credited the rise in consumer prices to less post-pandemic price shock as consumers adjusted to higher prices for goods. Consumer prices were boosted by used vehicle prices, which increased at their highest pace in 51 years. Core consumer prices, which exclude volatile food and fuel sectors, also rose by 0.20 percent in September as compared to August’s reading of 0.40 percent.

The Commerce Department reported higher retail sales growth in September at a pace of 1.90 percent as compared to the expected reading of 1.20 percent and August’s reading of 0.60 percent growth in sales. Retail sales excluding the automotive sector grew by 1.50 percent in September and exceeded expected sales growth of 0.30 percent, and August’s retail sales growth of 0.50 percent.

Mortgage Rates Fall to New Record Low, Jobless Claims Data Mixed

Freddie Mac reported new record lows for average mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by six basis points to 2.81 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.35 percent and were two basis points lower. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by one basis point to 2.90 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.20 percent.

Last week’s jobless claims data showed mixed readings as initial jobless claims rose to 898,000 claims filed and surpassed the expected reading of 825,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 845,000 initial jobless claims filed.  10.02 million continuing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to 11.18 million ongoing claims filed in the prior week.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose in October with an index reading of 81.2; this surpassed the expected reading of 79.9 and September’s reading of 80.4. October’s higher index readings suggest that consumers are adjusting to new economic realities caused by the pandemic and revising their expectations accordingly. The upcoming holiday season’s data for retail sales and consumer sentiment will provide additional indications of how Americans are coping with and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from the NAHB on U.S. housing markets Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Data on sales of previously-owned homes will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

3 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Plumbing

Get The Most Out Of Your PlumbingEveryone wants their pipes to last as long as possible, but there are a couple of simple problems that might be sucking the life out of your plumbing. Long-term stress is the enemy when it comes to your water system.

The three most common enemies are high water pressure, mineral-laden hard water, and grease. Avoid these three mistakes, and your water system will last years longer.

Take The Pressure Off Your Pipes

You might enjoy high water pressure when you’re taking a shower, but your pipes aren’t enjoying it at all. Over time, this high pressure stresses your plumbing system and can lead to leaks.

Is your high-pressure shower worth an expensive plumbing leak? To test your water pressure, you’ll have to hire a professional. Proper pressure should be somewhere between forty and eighty pounds per square inch.

To have a plumber reduce your water pressure should cost no more than about three or four hundred dollars. That sounds expensive, but it’s a lot cheaper than a leak.

Soft Water Is Good Water

If your water has a lot of minerals dissolved it, then it’s known as hard water. If you don’t already have a water softener you should consider it, because over time, those minerals will build up in your plumbing.

Eventually this will lead to a leak, so nip the problem in the bud, and look into getting a water softener. A good water softener should cost around five hundred dollars.

Hard water also makes soaps and detergents less effective. Soft water will get your clothes, your dishes, and even your hair cleaner.

Cease The Grease

Don’t ever pour cooking grease down the drain. It might be liquid when you pour it, but after a while, it will cool and solidify in your pipes. This won’t break the plumbing and cause a leak, but it will clog it all up.

The water that goes down afterward won’t do anything to wash away the sticky grease. You don’t want your pipes backing up, trust me. That is one messy problem.

Instead pour your grease into containers and throw it away in the garbage. Even better, go ahead and save it in the pantry and cook with it later.

Indoor plumbing is one of the most convenient technologies we have. So don’t take it for granted. Take care of your plumbing, and get the most out of it.

Avoid excessive water pressure, get a water softener, and don’t pour any grease down the drain. A little care now will go a long way. No one wants to deal with a plumbing leak. They’re expensive and a huge hassle.

Falling In Love With An Imperfect Home

Falling In Love With An Imperfect HomeWhen people start the process of trying to find a home, they want to make sure that they take the time to get this decision right. The reality is that a home is the most expensive purchase that most people are ever going to make. As a result, they need to make sure they find a home that will meet their needs.

At the same time, it will be hard to find a home that is truly perfect. Therefore, it is a great idea for everyone to come up with a list of necessities and a list of features on which they can be more flexible. How can people do this? How can people fall in love with an imperfect home?

Remember That There Are Options

Every home is going to have its flaws. Those who spend the time trying to find a home that is absolutely perfect are going to have decision paralysis. On the other hand, it is important to remember that there are options available. Nearly everything that is wrong with a potential home can be remedied, fixed up, or recycled. In this manner, even if a home is not perfect when people first look at it, there is a way to make it perfect with a few improvements or upgrades. This is a nice alternative that people should keep in mind.

The Styles Of Homes Change

Furthermore, keep in mind that it might be helpful to find a home that will grow with the family or the homeowners. Styles rotate and change on a regular basis, so people should not worry about finding something that is going to be absolutely perfect right this minute. For example, the open concept is one of the biggest shifts that has taken place during the past few years.

Closet standards have changed as well. There are even inconvenient structural columns that people have found a way to love. There are plenty of ways that homeowners can take a home that has flaws and find ways to help them match new and trending styles.

These are just a few of the ways that homeowners can find ways to love a home that is not perfect. This could make it easier for homeowners to find the right home for them.

Have You Had Trouble Getting a Mortgage? Three Tips for Sprucing Up Your Credit Before Reapplying

Have You Had Trouble Getting a Mortgage? Three Tips for Sprucing Up Your Credit Before ReapplyingIf you’ve had some trouble getting approved for a mortgage recently, you’re not alone. Many individuals face mortgage challenges due to past blemishes on their credit reports or a personal financial crisis that resulted in bills not being paid on time.

In this post we’ll share three quick tips for sprucing up your personal credit before reapplying for a mortgage. With a bit of luck and hard work you can be on your way to purchasing that new dream home.

Pay Off Your Credit Cards And Lines Of Credit

The easiest way to improve your credit score and prove that you can afford your mortgage payments is to eliminate other forms of debt from your monthly budget. If you have outstanding credit card, student loan or other debts, get them paid off as quickly as possible.

You’ll also want to avoid taking on any new loans while you’re trying to get your mortgage approved as these are likely to show up on your credit report and can hurt your chances at approval.

Pull Your Credit Report And Look For Errors

If you haven’t seen your credit report recently, it might be worth investing in a copy so you can see exactly what your lender sees when they are evaluating you for a mortgage. You may discover that there are errors or inaccuracies that can be cleared off with a quick phone call, such as a past loan that was fully paid or a missed car payment that was reported in error. Every credit report error that you can fix will bring you one step closer to your mortgage approval, so spend a few minutes combing through your report.

Pay All Of Your Bills On Time

Did you know that every overdue bill can leave a negative mark on your credit report? With so many bills to juggle – credit cards, cell phones, utilities and more – it can be tough to keep them all organized and paid before the due date. However, if you’re working to secure a mortgage you must keep your bills paid to avoid being reported as a late or overdue payment.

If you’ve had some trouble getting approved for a mortgage in the past, take a few minutes to contact your local mortgage professional today to ask for their advice. You may find that they have additional tips and strategies that you can leverage to better your chances of being approved.

Getting A Home Mortgage Through Virtual Lending

Getting A Home Mortgage Through Virtual LendingThere are many people who are looking to buy a home during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, given the public health crisis that the pandemic has created, some potential homeowners are finding it difficult to go about buying a home in the traditional manner. As a result, banks and credit unions have woken up to a major shift in society as they have had to catch up to the digital age.

Right now, there are record numbers of people who are looking to buy a new home or refinance due to the massive rate cuts that the government has instituted in an effort to jump-start the economy. At the same time, without virtual lending options, banks and credit unions might miss out. This has led to a growth in virtual lending choices.

Lending Is Going Virtual

One of the major shifts that has taken place is that many homeowners and potential homeowners are taking advantage of virtual lending options. Some of the major benefits of this virtual lending process include instant pre-approvals, constant access to status updates, and even the ability to upload and sign documents in a virtual manner.

When potential homeowners are able to use the virtual world to compare offers on mortgages, this also allows them to find the best deals possible. In this manner, community banks and credit unions are all embarking on a new journey in the virtual world. There are a few points that potential homeowners should note.

Customers Are Making An Adjustment As Well

It is important to note that many customers are making an adjustment in the manner in which they pursue loans. Remember that many of the people who are going to be helping potential homeowners navigate the mortgage approval process are working virtually as well. Therefore, it is critical for customers to take steps to protect their data. When banks and credit unions place the safety and security of their potential borrowers first, this is going to lead to higher customer satisfaction rates.

The growing preference for this online approval process should let all lenders know that the virtual lending process is here to stay. It is quickly becoming the preference of potential homeowners and those looking to refinance.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 12, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 12, 2020Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation,  job openings, a speech by Fed Chair Jerome Powell on the economy, and the latest Consumer Sentiment Index from the University of Michigan. Weekly reports on new and continuing jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

Hiring Surge and Job Separations Ease in August

The U.S. Department of Labor reported fewer job openings in August with 6.49 million job openings reported as compared to July’s reading of 6.70 million jobs available. Analysts noted that this indicated a slowdown in hiring after businesses re-opened when COVID-19 restrictions lapsed. Job separations, which include quits, layoffs. and terminations were also lower with 4.50 million job separations reported in August as compared to 4.99 million separations reported in July.

Fed Chair Says Economy Needs More Fiscal Support

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that the U.S. economy could use more support in a speech made to members of the National Association for Business Economics. Mr. Powell said, “Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, which would lead to  creating unnecessary hardships for households and businesses.”

Mr.Powell said that if too much assistance was provided, it would not go to waste; he also said that the economic recovery would be stronger and move faster if monetary policy and fiscal policy continue to work side by side to support the economy until it is clearly out of the woods. Forecasts of increased COVID-19 cases during fall and winter indicate the importance of additional economic relief measures.

Mortgage Rates Little Changed; as Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported incremental changes in average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.87 percent and were one basis point lower. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages was one basis pint higher at 2.37 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell by one basis point to 2.89 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.20 percent.

New jobless claims fell to 840,000 claims filed as compared to 849,000 initial claims filed in the prior week. Continuing jobless claims also fell last week. 10.98 million continuing jobless claims were filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 11.98 million ongoing jobless claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on inflation, retail sales, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims filed will also be released.