Condo Vs House: Which Is Best For Your Lifestyle?

Condo vs House: Which is Best for Your Lifestyle?Some people love living in condos, while others swear by detached homes. When it comes to deciding between the two, however, you can’t always rely on someone else’s word.

Sometimes it’s as simple as understanding and assessing your lifestyle to make the best choice, since condo living and home ownership are two radically different experiences, and thereby serve two very different types of lifestyles and personalities.

Here are a few considerations if you’re trying to decide whether you should invest in a house or a condo.

House: Best If You Have A Furry Friend

Do you have a furry friend or two that are an integral part of your family? Depending on their size and species, you may want to consider a detached house over a condo, simply for the amount of space available.

If you have dogs, you should consider that many condominiums don’t allow certain numbers, sizes, or breeds, and this could be just another reason you opt for a house. Having a backyard for your dogs to play in, and being able to avoid the daily elevator rides, are just more reasons to add to the list.

Condo: Best If You’re A Busy Business Person

If you’re a busy businessperson who’s rarely ever home, you may want to consider condo-style living. You will be able to save on mortgage costs, which will certainly help you reach your financial goals, and you will have fewer worries involved than you would if you owned a detached home.

Full size houses require significant upkeep, which is a major time investment. In contrast, a condo is a turnkey living space that gives you the amenities you need without the responsibilities of home ownership. If you hardly entertain and would like a space to enjoy yourself during your off time, living in a condo might be just the perfect setup for you, the busy business-minded individual.

House: Best If You Like Privacy And Control

If you’re someone who adores your privacy and likes to be in complete control of the maintenance and care of your home, a detached house is certainly the best option for you. Having your own detached house means living with added privacy, as you won’t have neighbors as close by as would be the case if you were living in a condominium.

You’ll also be pleased to be the sole decision maker when it comes to the upkeep and maintenance schedule of the various aspects of your home. Rather than ask a strata manager for permission to, say, paint your front door, you can simply paint your front door.

Condo: If You’re A Single Minimalist

Condo living can be great for single people and minimalists. If you prefer to live on the lighter side, with fewer responsibilities and chores, a condo setup can be extremely rewarding. All of the big stuff will likely be taken care of, and all you’ll have to worry about is the minimal space inside of your four walls.

If you decide to travel for an extended period, it’s much easier to find short-term tenants for condos than for houses.

It can be difficult to decide whether a house or a condo is best suited to your lifestyle. Don’t be shy to ask your friends and family what they think of your personality, and do your due diligence to discover which home is best to accommodate your daily life. Once you’ve made your decision, contact a real estate professional and find the home that fits your lifestyle.

Can I Pay My Home Loan Off Early If I Refinance?

Can I Pay My Home Loan Off Early If I Refinance?Many people are looking for opportunities to save money on the cost of a mortgage. If you want to save money on your home loan, you might be thinking about refinancing. During the refinance process, you will replace your current home loan with a new mortgage. Some people want to refinance their homes to free up cash for a renovation project, while other people want to pay off their homes sooner. How can you pay off your home loan early through a refinance?

Reduce Your Interest Rate 

During the refinance process, you might qualify for a lower interest rate. There are numerous reasons why you might get a lower interest rate when you refinance your mortgage. The average interest rate may have come down, your credit score may have improved, or your debt to income ratio may have gotten better. If you were due to your interest rate, more of your monthly payment will go towards the principal, shrinking your balance faster. As a result, you may pay off your mortgage more quickly. 

Reduce The Term of the Loan 

If you refinance your home, you might be able to reduce the term of the loan. The term is how many years it takes you to pay off your mortgage. For example, you may be able to reduce your 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage. If you shorten the term of your loan, you may qualify for a lower interest rate, which can help you save money; however, directly shortening the term of the loan could cause your monthly payments to go up. You could work with a professional who can help you with the math. That way, you understand exactly how much you owe every month. 

Consider Paying Off Your Mortgage More Quickly

If you want to save money on interest during the life of your loan, one way to do so is to pay off your mortgage faster. You might be able to do this if you refinance your home loan. Reach out to a professional who can take a look at the balance of your home loan. You might qualify for a refinance that can help you save money on your mortgage. 

A Guide To Helping A Dog Adjust To A New Home

A Guide To Helping A Dog Adjust To A New HomeMost people treat their dogs as members of the family. Just as moving can be difficult for children, moving can be a challenge for dogs as well. Dogs develop an attachment to their homes, and they can have a hard time adjusting to a new place. Fortunately, there are a few steps that homeowners can take to make the moving process easier for everyone involved, including dogs. 

Let The Dog Get Familiar With The Moving Supplies 

A lot of dog owners have found that it is easier to take a dog to the vet if he or she can acclimate to the carrier. The same is true with the moving process. Dogs have a difficult time understanding what is happening when the family moves. Consider giving your dog an opportunity to become accustomed to the packing and moving supplies. That way, they will be comfortable in the car on the way to their new home. 

Allow Dogs Alone Time In The New Home

Moving is stressful for everyone, including dogs. Dogs will need a bit of time on their own in their new home. Give dogs the freedom to explore. When they find a corner they like, let them stay there and decompress. Eventually, dogs will get more comfortable in the new environment, and they will resume their normal behaviors. 

Stick To A Regular Schedule

Even though the home is changing, not everything has to change. For example, try to keep dogs on their regular schedules. If dogs tend to go out and use the bathroom at a certain time, stick to that time. If dogs go for a walk at a certain time of day, stick to that schedule as well. By keeping other environmental factors consistent, dogs will have an easier time adjusting to the home. 

Keep A Consistent Environment

Dogs have already experienced a lot of changes by moving to a new home. It is important to keep the new environment as consistent as possible. Even though some changes will be expected as boxes are unpacked, try to keep the home looking as normal as possible. The faster things get into their new places, the easier it will be for dogs to adjust. By following these tips, it is possible for homeowners to make their dogs as comfortable as possible with the moving process.

 

An Overview Of Electronic And Smart Locks

AAn Overview Of Electronic And Smart Lockslmost everyone has been locked out of their home before. If you do not have a hidden key or someone else with a key, it can be stressful to wait for a locksmith to come and open the door. Fortunately, there are ways homeowners can address this issue, and one of the options is to get a smart lock or an electronic lock instead. 

How Smart Locks And Electronic Locks Work

Every smart lock is different; however, they have a few themes. Basic electronic locks have a combination that someone has to enter before the door unlocks. Other electronic locks use fingerprints, RFID, or Bluetooth recognition to allow someone to enter. Many smart locks also allow the owner to give out digital keys that allow friends, children, and other people to come and go. The combinations are stored and act as a digital log of who has entered the home. 

The Benefits Of Using Smart Locks And Electronic Locks

There are a number of benefits that come with using smart and electronic locks for homes. First, homeowners never have to worry about getting locked out of the house, as they don’t have to worry about losing manual keys. Second, homeowners can keep track of people, including their children, as they come and go. Finally, smart locks do not necessarily have to be rekeyed or replaced. Homeowners can change the combination when they feel it is nessesary..

Choosing The Right Electronic Lock

Even though smart locks and electronic locks have a variety of benefits, it is important for homeowners to think carefully about which option is best for them. Homeowners need to make sure whatever lock they choose is compatible with their phone. They also need to select locks that have security measures in place that prevent people from cracking the code or getting through the keypad. Finally, take a look at how many combinations the lock can handle. Sometimes, homeowners like to assign people specific codes so they know exactly who is coming and going. Some locks can even be customized so that certain combinations only work on certain days. This can be helpful if there is a maid or tutor who comes from time to time. 

How Can Parents Help Their Children Buy A Home?

How Can Parents Help Their Children Buy A Home?One of the most common dreams is homeownership; however, the cost of buying a house is rising quickly, and many children cannot afford to buy a house even after they finish school. They might be encumbered with student loans, and they could have a difficult time finding a job. Fortunately, there are ways parents can help their adult children buy a home.

Help Children Build A Healthy Credit History As Early As Possible

One of the biggest factors involved in an application for a home loan is the credit score. One reason why children have a difficult time qualifying for a home loan is that their credit scores are not high enough. They simply do not have a lengthy credit history. Parents should help their children build credit as early as possible. One way to do that is to help them take out a credit card and co-sign for it, giving children a lengthy credit history of on-time payments when they apply for a home loan.

Let Children Live At Home Temporarily

Another obstacle that gets in the way of homeownership is the size of the down payment. For children to qualify for a home loan with a favorable interest rate, they need to have a sizable down payment. It can take a long time for children to save 20 percent for a down payment, so parents should consider letting children live at home temporarily, rent-free, so they can save money for a down payment.

Offer To Be A Co-Signer

Finally, parents can also make it easier for children to buy a home by co-signing for the loan. While some parents might be reluctant to do so, this could be the best way to help children qualify for a mortgage. If parents are confident that their children can afford the mortgage, they should consider becoming a co-signer to give the lender a greater degree of confidence.

Make It Easier For Adult Children To Buy A Home

These are a few of the best ways parents can make it easier for their children to purchase a new home. Even though homeownership can be a challenge, it doesn’t have to be a fantasy. Parents should start planning for their children as early as possible to make it easier for them to qualify for a home loan.

Tips For Selling A House During The Winter Season

Tips For Selling A House During The Winter SeasonThe most popular time of year to sell a home is the summer. There are a lot of families with children who prefer to move during the summer because they do not want to move their children during the school year. In contrast, many people do not like to move during the winter. It can be difficult to request extra time off of work, particularly during the holiday season. At the same time, it is still possible to sell a home during the winter. What are a few tips homeowners need to follow to sell a home during the winter? 

Maximize Curb Appeal

There is never a second chance to make a first impression, and homeowners need to maximize curb appeal. Do everything possible to make the yard look nice. It is also critical to shovel the walkways. That way, potential buyers do not need to worry about slipping and falling when they walk up the front driveway. It may also be helpful to clean off the patio to make it look larger. 

Warm Up The Inside

People are going to be cold when they step inside during the winter. Therefore, homeowners should turn up the heat. It may also be helpful to have a specific location for winter coats and wet shoes. That way, potential buyers will be comfortable at that look at each individual room in the home. 

Add More Lights

During the winter, it is dark when people go to work. It is also dark when they come home. It might be pitch black when people arrive, so remember to turn on the lights in the home. Having lights can make the home feel more inviting. They can also increase the visibility inside and outside the home so the buyers can see what the house has to offer. 

Showcase The Season

Sellers should not hesitate to showcase the season. Consider putting out a plate of cookies. Arrange pillows and blankets on the sofa. Turn on the fireplace if there is one. Even seasonal accents can make the difference when trying to get an offer on the table. Be sure to stage the home for the season to showcase the potential of a house. 

 

The Top Ways To Add Storage To A Home

The Top Ways To Add Storage To A HomeThere are many homeowners who are looking for help with storage. Even after moving in, many homeowners still have a lot of items they need to get rid of and this is where built-in storage solutions can be helpful. Even though some storage options might be pricey, there are inexpensive options available as well. Take a look at a few solutions below, and improve the storage situation. 

Use Space Under the Stairs

One option that many homeowners overlook is the space under the stairs. If there is a second story, there may be an area under the staircase that looks like a storage space. There should be plenty of opportunities to add a bookcase, a shelf, or even a cabinet. Even a few drawers can make a significant difference. 

Consider Going Under the Bed

Another option is to use storage space under the bed. If the bed is on a frame, there should be room to add a box or two. This could be a great way to create more storage space in the bedroom without adding another piece of furniture. There might even be opportunities to put the bed on risers, creating even more room underneath the bed. 

Use Tilting Drawers

Homeowners may want to get creative by adding tilting drawers. If there is an awkward location in the kitchen, a hinge solution might be the answer. What this means is that it is possible to pull the door out of the drawer and create additional storage inside the area. This is a great way to hide a garbage can or a recycling bin. Most contractors can add this type of storage relatively quickly. This could also be a great solution in the bathroom. 

Take Advantage of Sliding Storage

Homeowners also need to take advantage of sliding storage. This is a great way to get more room out of narrow spaces. For example, there might be room in the kitchen to add a sliding shelf that doubles as a spice rack. One possible location is the area between the refrigerator and the wall or counter. There might also be a small spot between the bathtub and the wall, which could act as a great shelf for linens.

 

A Home Inspection: What To Expect

A Home Inspection: What To ExpectThe process of buying a home can be exciting and stressful, with one important task being the home inspection. All real estate professionals will likely recommend a home inspection. This is usually a condition of making an offer on a home. While not all prospective buyers will ask the seller to make repairs based on the inspection report, it is important for buyers to know what they might have to do to repair the home.

When an offer is made with a contingency, this allows the buyer to renegotiate the price of the home based on the inspection report. Some prospective buyers might elect to walk away entirely. What should buyers inspect?

Choosing An Inspector

A trained real estate professional will probably have a  list of inspectors who might produce the report. All inspectors are trained and qualified. Real estate agents will probably look at sample reports and professional licensing before choosing an inspector to look at a home. Most inspectors also have insurance in case they miss something that shows up later. Home inspectors will need to crawl into the crawl space, inspect the roof, and take a look at storage spaces.

What Do Inspectors Look For?

A home inspector is going to look at every aspect of the home to make sure it is up to code. An inspector will look at the roof for signs of leaks or damage. The inspector will also inspect the plumbing system to make sure no pipes are rusted, corroded, or damaged. He or she will also look at the windows to make sure the seals are not busted. A home inspector is also going to take a look at the HVAC system to see how old it is and how well it is working. The fireplace and chimney will also be an important part of the inspection as he or she looks for signs of damage. The inspector will also look at the foundation for any issues.

A Comprehensive Report

Once all of this is done, the inspector will provide a comprehensive report that contains a list of everything that might be wrong with the house. Then, based on this report, the buyer can decide what he or she would like to do next.

The Top Tips for Saving Money On Energy Bills

The Top Tips for Saving Money On Energy BillsThere are many homeowners who are looking for ways to reduce their monthly expenses. One way to do that is to target energy bills and expenditures. Homeowners might be able to make a few changes and upgrades to their homes, which could reduce utility bills and improve energy efficiency. What are a few ways to do exactly that?

Consider Making The Switch To LED Lights

One of the first changes homeowners might want to make is to switch to LED lights. LED lights are newer lights that can last many times longer than traditional lightbulbs. It is not unusual for homeowners to save $75 per year on energy costs by switching older incandescent lightbulbs to LED bulbs. Talk to a local contractor or professional about some of the top LED bulbs available today.

Seal Leaks Around Doors And Windows Throughout The Home

Heating and cooling expenses are some of the biggest energy expenditures that people have. By sealing a few leaks throughout the home, it is possible to save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs. There are small leaks that could be present around the doors and windows. By sealing these leaks using caulk, homeowners can trap heat and air conditioning in the home, removing stress from the HVAC unit. Homeowners should also consider sealing leaks around lighting and chimneys.

Invest In A Smart Thermostat

It is also possible for homeowners to save money by investing in a smart thermostat. Homeowners should consider using this thermostat to reduce the amount of work performed by the HVAC unit when people are at work or asleep. That way, the heating and cooling system doesn’t work as hard when people aren’t home (or are asleep).

Perform Routine Maintenance On Time

Finally, homeowners need to make sure they perform routine maintenance on their HVAC systems on time to reduce energy expenses. For example, the filters might get clogged, forcing the HVAC system to work harder to heat and cool parts of the home. By investing in maintenance, the HVAC system will operate at peak efficiency, which will reduce energy bills. This will also extend the life of the HVAC system efficiency, which might allow homeowners to put off replacing it.

The Pros and Cons of Mortgage Rate Locks

The Pros and Cons of Mortgage Rate LocksIf you’re just jumping into the game of home purchasing, you are likely considering all of your loan options and may even have heard the term mortgage rate lock. For those who don’t like to gamble, a mortgage rate lock can offer a bit of reassurance, but there are also some downsides to this type of protection. Before signing off on this, here are the details on rate locks so you can make an informed decision.

What Is A Rate Lock?

For many people who are buying a home, the idea of interest rates can make the heart race a little faster, but this is the purpose of rate locks which offer consistency in a market in flux.

Instead of having to deal with day-to-day fluctuations of the rate – which increases or decreases what you owe – a rate lock is a lender promise that you will be held to a specific rate or your rate will not rise above a certain number.

Easy Balancing Of The Budget

The easy thing about utilizing the rate lock, especially for a buyer who is less familiar with the market, is that it will enable you to instantly determine your monthly payments based on that rate. Instead of having to pay more per month, you’ll be able to estimate exactly what your payment will be and it won’t rise above the limit you’ve set for yourself. While daily fluctuations can be a drag, a mortgage lock takes the guesswork out of the day-to-day.

The Added Cost Of Security

It might seem like a rate lock is an option that everyone would utilize, given the stability, but lenders charge for this type of offer because of the risk factor. While lenders can certainly stand to gain if your rate lock is higher than the interest rates, in the event that they rise beyond this point, they will end up losing money. So, while a 30-day rate lock may not end up costing you, this type of lock stretched over a longer period may actually end up costing you more than fluctuating rates.

If you’re not familiar with the world of investing and interest rates, a mortgage rate lock can sound like a great idea; however, there are downsides to this offer and they’re worth considering before getting locked in. If you are currently on the hunt for a home, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.