Consumer Real Estate News

    • 5 Factors Newlyweds Should Consider When Buying a Home

      14 January 2022

      Now that the wedding is over, you and your spouse are ready for the next exciting milestone: homeownership. But there are so many factors you need to keep in mind, and you want it to be a pleasant house hunting experience. The following are just a few things you should consider as newlyweds searching for a new home.

      Neighborhood
      Marriage is a big transition, and it may come with some adjustments to your lifestyle. Have a talk with your spouse and discuss your long-term goals, such as whether you want to start a family or move to a different location for job possibilities. You also should take into account the safety of the neighborhood, the school district in which you live and the amount of families that reside in the area. If you're thinking about having kids soon, having great public schools nearby is important.

      Required Space
      Discuss what your expectations are for square footage and the general space you want within your home. Keep in mind the space you need for day-to-day activities, family gatherings and your future children. Create a list that helps you prioritize what kind of space is important to you as individuals and as a couple. For example, if you host a lot of parties, you may want to prioritize a large kitchen and living room. If one of you works from home or needs office space, put that on the top of your list.

      Compromise is often necessary. Identify which spatial features are and aren’t deal-breakers, especially when compared with other factors like location.

      Bed and Bath Layout
      The number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home is another important factor you should discuss. Determine whether you want your home to be able to lodge many people or if you’d prefer to not have visitors. Just make sure you don't go over your budget, because the number of bedrooms and bathrooms has a major influence on the asking price of a house. Decide if you really need that extra guest room if it means sacrificing a large kitchen or the perfect location.

      If you intend to add a bedroom or bathroom in the future, check the county’s code and permit requirements, as well as the potential cost of the addition. If the price is less than what it would cost to buy a house that already has an extra bathroom, it may be worth it to wait and build one that’s to your exact specifications.

      Hidden Expenses
      When you determine your budget for your home, make sure you include any ongoing expenses the home has. Utilities are a major cost that vary based on the sustainability and efficiency of your house. Consider the cost it may take to upgrade your heating and cooling system, major appliances, and windows and doors. It may cost more upfront but save you a lot of money in the future, so it's important to figure out what you can afford in the short and long term. You should also be aware of costs like homeowners association dues (if applicable), structural update costs, property taxes, insurance and any other regional fees.

      Shopping for your first home as a newlywed couple should be a fun and memorable experience. Be sure to discuss your needs ahead of time, stick to your budget and enjoy the process.

      Source: Kyla Stelling/RISMedia’s Housecall

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Is It Time to Sell Your Home?

      14 January 2022

      Choosing to sell your home is a big decision—one that requires the careful weighing of a variety of factors, both lifestyle and financial. To help sort things out, here are a few telling signs that now might be the time to finally put your home on the market.

      You’ve outgrown your space—really. Truly needing more space is about more than an overflowing closet or two. Do you have kids outgrowing shared bedrooms? An in-law moving in? A new virtual work opportunity that requires a home office? These are the life events that truly necessitate a bigger home—not the inability to curb one’s shoe-buying habit.

      Your neighborhood is booming. Are you smack-dab in the middle of a hot housing market? Contact your local real estate agent and check out comparable sales. If homes in your neighborhood are selling above listing price and you’ve been on the fence about selling for a while, now might be a wise time to take the leap and cash in on the opportunity.

      You’re letting things go. Remember when home improvement projects and landscaping chores were fun? Well, if that’s a distant memory and your grass is knee-high and the porch railing is rotting, this may be a sign that you’re ready to move on to a maintenance-free way of life. Realize that the more you let things go around the house, the more money you’ll have to invest to get it ready for market. So, honestly evaluate if it’s time for a home that offers a simpler, less work-intensive option.

      Your life has changed. An important life change can surpass all other reasons to sell your home. Growing or shrinking families, a new job with a new, long commute, retirement, divorce, etc., are all cause to seriously consider moving to a home that makes more sense for life as you now know it. Ultimately, a happy home is one that’s in sync with your current phase of life.

      Of course, these are just a few signs that it might be time to sell your home. Reach out to a real estate agent for more information that may help you decide. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • A Guide to Safe and Smart Snow Shoveling

      14 January 2022

      Winter is here, and that means snow for many areas of the country. And while some winters result in less white stuff than others, a lot of people can count on having at least one major snowstorm this season.

      If your home is on the market, you have to be vigilant about shoveling your driveway, walkway, porch, etc., because you want the property to look good and be safe and accessible when potential buyers come for a showing.

      With that in mind, here’s your guide to effective and safe snow shoveling.

      It All Starts With the Shovel
      There are a wide variety of snow shovels on the market, so choose the right one for you. First, pick one with the right length and weight, depending on your height and strength. There are also different types of blades (flat, rounded, metal, plastic, combination) and handles (wooden, fiberglass, plastic, metal). Some models are better at chipping away at ice and heavy snow, while others are lighter and easier on the back. 

      Dress for Success
      You want to stay warm while shoveling, so make sure you wear a hat, scarf and gloves. Because you’re moving your body, you may get warm as you shovel, so be sure to dress in layers. Wear a sweater or hoodie under your coat in case you get so warm you need to take your coat off. You can also remove your scarf if you get warm. Be sure to wear snow boots to keep your feet from getting wet.

      Get Ready for a Workout
      Before heading outside to shovel, make sure you eat a good breakfast and do some stretching. This is especially important for people who don’t exercise regularly. As you shovel, be sure to take breaks when necessary.

      How to Shovel
      If your street hasn’t been plowed yet, don’t start with the end of your driveway because when the plow does arrive, it will dump snow there and you’ll have to do it all over again. As you shovel, bend your knees and lift with your legs. It’s also a good idea to switch between shoveling right-handed and left-handed, changing your grip occasionally. For heavy snowfalls, don’t shovel to the ground. Instead, skim off a few inches at a time so that you’re not lifting too much snow at once.

      Once you’ve cleared away all the snow, get inside and warm up with a hot chocolate or warm apple cider.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Ways to Save on an Engagement Ring

      13 January 2022

      A well known rule of thumb for buying an engagement ring is that it should equal three months’ salary. The typical American, however, spends two weeks’ pay, or about $1,900, according to the New York Times.

      However much you plan to spend,there are many ways to save money when buying one. Here are some ways to start. 

      Spend Less
      Start by setting a realistic budget of what you can afford. If three months’ salary is realistic for you and you’re willing to spend that much money, then do so. 

      But maybe you have other spending priorities or you and your future wife would rather spend most of that money on a honeymoon. You could also upgrade to a better ring in a few years. However much you decide to spend, know that the rule of thumb of three months is a rule you can break. 

      Shop Around
      This is obvious advice for almost any purchase, but it shouldn’t be forgotten. Don’t be pulled in by the beauty of a store or persuasive salespeople. 

      Go wherever you normally shop: the mall, Costco, department stores and diamond stores far from the main shopping area and compare rings and prices. 

      Educate yourself on how diamonds are graded so that you have a good idea what type of diamond you’re looking for. You want to compare apples to apples when looking at diamonds from different sellers, so look at similar diamonds in different stores. 

      Know the Four Cs
      You don’t have to be an expert in how the Gemological Institute of America grades diamonds, but you should understand some of the basics of what the diamond industry calls the four Cs: carat weight, cut, color and clarity. 

      The more carats a ring has, the bigger and more expensive it is. It’s also worth knowing how a diamond is cut and how that affects its appearance and beauty, among other aspects of diamonds you may want to know about before shopping. 

      A Family Heirloom?
      Tell your relatives that you’re looking for an engagement ring and they may surprise you by giving you the wedding ring of your great-grandmother or someone else in your family. You may only have to pay to resize the ring. 

      Consider Lab Diamonds
      Lab-grown diamonds are grown by scientists instead of in the Earth’s crust and are as real as natural diamonds dug out of mines. They can cost 30 percent less than mined diamonds, which can cause ecological devastation, and can be mined by forced labor. 

      Lab diamonds are created in high-temperature, high-pressure chambers that reproduce the conditions in the Earth’s crust. Carbon atoms are arranged in the structure of a diamond crystal, creating a diamond that looks the same as ones created naturally millions of years ago and mined today. 

      They’re not diamond simulants—stones that share some properties of diamonds but aren’t actual diamonds. These are much cheaper than real diamonds, as are cubic zirconia and moissanite that are composed of man-made crystalized materials.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Protect Your Gutters in the Winter

      13 January 2022

      With winter weather upon us, those living in areas of snow and freezing cold temperatures need to think about their gutters and how best to keep them working. Unfortunately, gutter maintenance is rarely done until it’s too late, when something has already gone wrong. 

      If not tendered to properly, a clogged or under-performing gutter can potentially wreak havoc on homes during the coldest months of the year. Water can get into the house, or the heavy weight of snow and ice on top of piled up leaves can cause them to break off, causing quite the expense. That’s why you want to make sure that you do all you can to get your gutters in shape.

      Here are five ways to protect your gutters in the winter:

      Remove All Debris
      During the fall, leaves will find a way into your gutters so you need to have a thorough cleaning once all the leaves have fallen. Dirt and waste can clog gutter system and create an environment ripe for ice dams that degrade your home’s roof, walls, foundation and ability to insulate. 

      Stay on Guard
      Consider adding gutter guards to your system to prevent such buildup in the first place. Gutter guards are available in brush, foam, screen or mesh, reverse curve and other styles. Factors like budget, climate and proximity to sources of debris will determine what kind of gutter guard is right for you. 

      Keep Things Hot
      By installing a de-icing cable as a heating system to your gutters and roof, you can stop ice dams and even melt away ones that have begun to form. While not common, this is making its way into more and more households in colder climates.

      Look for Holes
      Identify any holes in your gutters and repair them. Leaks in your gutters will divert water from the appropriate downspouts, and instead, trickle down the side of your home. This can cause water damage, such as rot and mold, as well as weaken your home’s foundation. You can make a patch with the same material as your gutters and install it with roofing cement. 

      Get Out of Your Slump
      Check for sagging gutters and fix or replace them. Slumping gutters will cause a buildup of water and debris. Remove problem areas and replace damaged screws, brackets or entire sections, as needed. 

      While many of these things can be done by yourself, you can save a good deal of time, effort and exposure to potential injury by hiring professionals. It’s not too expensive and you won’t have to worry about getting hurt on the ladder. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.