Restoring A Patio On A Budget: 3 Simple Tips

Restoring A Patio On A Budget: 3 Simple TipsThere are lots of homeowners who are looking at their patio and are not satisfied with what they see. This is where it is important to think about ways to bring that patio back to life. Whether this means entertaining friends or simply relaxing with a cocktail and a book, there are a few easy ways to bring a patio back to life.

1. Target The Pests

There are lots of pests that like to make their homes in the patio. This might include debris that is brought in by the wind, critters that like to dig underneath the patio, or even kids’ toys. There are ways to prevent critters from making their homes in the patio. Simply place pine cones in the nearby area. This is far easier than using mulch. As for the kids’ toys, that sounds more like a parenting issue!

2. Add A Splash Of Color

One of the easiest tips that can bring a patio back to life is adding a splash of color. Instead of going with the boring brown patio, add some plants to bring some green to the porch. Then, throw in some colored furniture. Finish it off with a colorful umbrella and the patio will look like new!

3. Build A Fire Pit

Finally, those who want to host a party need to have a fire pit. A fire pit is one of the best ways to draw attention away from the patio itself. A mini fire pit acts as the focal point of the room while adding a bit more fun (and function) to the patio itself. This is a great place to roast a few hot dogs, make some smores, and host a party! Adding a fire pit to the patio is one of the top ways to take a sad patio and bring it back to life once again.

Restore An Old Patio With These Tips

A patio is meant to be a place where family members and friends come together to enjoy each other’s company. In order to bring a patio back to life, think about putting these tips to use. This will make the patio functional once again, making the porch the place to be.

Buying A New Car Impacts The Ability To Buy A New Home

Buying A New Car Impacts The Ability To Buy A New HomeThose who are in the process of buying a new home need to be aware of some of the factors that might influence their ability to do so. Even though credit score, income, and assets will play major roles in whether or not someone might be approved for a loan, there are other factors that will play a role as well.

Buying a new car might even have an impact on the homebuying process.

Why is this the case?

The Debt Payments On The Car Will Play A Role

There are multiple ways to buy a car. Some people elect to pay cash for the entire vehicle. While this is a challenge for most families, this will prevent any new debt from being added to the family’s finances. At the same time, this could also reduce the amount of cash the family has on hand to put toward the new home.

Most families end up putting a down payment on a car and taking out a loan for the rest. While this is a financially responsible decision, this can also make it harder to purchase a new home. This is because the payments on the car are going to be added to the family’s existing debt. A potential lender is going to see these debt payments and reduce the amount of money they are willing to provide. This could make it hard for a family to purchase their dream home.

Factor In The Cost Of The Car

Those who need a new car need to factor the monthly cost of the car into the home buying equation. For example, if the monthly payments on the car are going to be $200, then this is $200 less that the family can afford for the mortgage payment. The same math has to be done by removing the down payment for the car from the potential down payment on the house.

Do The Math Carefully

People need cars to get around in most parts of the country. At the same time, the financially responsible decision is to take the cost of the car and deduct this from the assets that are available to pay for the home to avoid any surprises. The lender is going to do the same thing.

4 Ways COVID-19 Has Had An Impact On The Home Lending Process

4 Ways COVID-19 Has Had An Impact On The Home Lending ProcessThe COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone and this includes the real estate industry. One of the biggest impacts that this pandemic has had involves the home lending process. Because many people are looking for ways to buy a home while engaging in proper social distancing measures, the industry has had to adapt. Learn more about some of the changes the COVID-19 pandemic has forced on the home lending process.

Homes Are Getting More Affordable

The demand for homes right now is high; however, homes are still more affordable than they have been in the past. Lenders are trying to find ways to encourage people to purchase homes because they have seen a drop in their business as well. As a result, many lenders are willing to provide potential homeowners with great offers and opportunities to purchase a dream home.

Online Applications Are Becoming More Common

Next, online applications are becoming more common as well. In order to help people buy a home while still engaging in social distancing, it is possible to complete the home application process online. This is usually provided through an intuitive system that provides clear instructions on what has to be submitted for the application process.

Buying Power Is Going Up

Because many homeowners and potential home buyers are realizing that now is a great time to buy, they are learning that they have a lot more power. They might be able to afford a larger home or carry out a home improvement project after buying their home. This provides more flexibility for homeowners.

Refinancing Is Becoming More Common

In addition to changes in the home buying process, there are changes taking place in refinancing as well. Many current homeowners are realizing that they have a unique opportunity right now as well. As a result, they are taking advantage of the opportunity to complete a refinancing deal to save money.

Home Lending Is Changing

These are just a few of the major changes that have taken place in the home lending process due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone who owns a home or is thinking about buying a home should consider looking at their available options as well. There could be opportunities to save money.

Keep The Dream Of Owning A Home Alive

Keep The Dream Of Owning A Home AliveFor many people, owning a home is their dream. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire country and has left many people wondering if they can still afford to own a home. While this might put some things on hold, there are steps that everyone can take to keep the dream of owning a home alive.

Get Pre-Approved For A Mortgage

The first step that you should complete if you would like to own a home is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. The pre-approval process will give you a firm idea of what you can afford. Then, you can start to narrow your search and find homes that are within your price range.

Furthermore, when you do make an offer, sellers will know that you are serious about buying the home because you have already been pre-approved. Reach out to a lender and get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Connect With A Top Agent Virtually

Most people are used to going to home showing in person; however, there are ways to do this virtually. A trusted agent is going to have access to all of the listings in the local area and can help you understand what the process is regarding buying a home. You can connect with an agent either by phone or by video to learn what it is like to navigate the real estate market. While today’s market might be different from most markets, there are still opportunities to get a great deal on a home.

Do Research On Options For Assistance

Buying home is one of the most important ways to stimulate the economy. As a result, there are lots of options that have been put into place to help people buy homes in a responsible manner. This could include loan programs, payment assistance programs, and loan options that do not require a large down payment. This can help you afford a dream home without having to necessarily put down 20 percent.

Do Not Put Your Dreams On Hold

While the climate might be a bit different right now, this does not mean that people have to put their dreams of owning a home on hold. This simply means that everyone has to do their due diligence and find the home that is right for them.

Comparing An Online And Offline Home Loan Application

Comparing An Online And Offline Home Loan ApplicationThe internet has changed how many people shop for a home and one of the most important issues that people will face is whether to fill out a home loan application online or offline.

While there is something to be said for going to the loan officer in person and filling out the application with the help of a professional, some people might find the online option to be more convenient. With this in mind, it is important to compare some of the ways in which an online versus an offline home application might be different.

The Eligibility Process

While the most exciting part of shopping for a home is traveling around and looking at the different options, people need to know how expensive of a home they can afford. With the online process, people can fill out the application process online and immediately see how big of a loan they can afford with the help of the home loan provider.

There are simple tools online, such as a loan eligibility calculator. In contrast, going to the office of the loan provider might require detailed discussions that could lead to a denial. This would end up being a waste of time. In this manner, the online process is faster.

The Documentation Required

The documentation process is also much easier online. When someone applies for a home loan online, it is easy to upload the required documents for review later. This might include the application form, proof of identity, proof of address, and more. Home loan providers will list all of the required documents on the site with ease. When it comes to applying in the offline world, this requires people to physically carry all of this information to the office. People run the risk of losing important documents in transit along the way.

The Application Process

Finally, even the process of applying for a loan itself is much easier when people can do this online. It is easy to register on the website, fill out the application, and submit the documents. Often, the turnaround time is much shorter as well. These are a few of the biggest reasons why the online application process is growing in popularity.

A Bidding War Is Taking Place Among Homebuyers

A Bidding War Is Taking Place Among HomebuyersWhile businesses have fallen on hard times during the past few months, there are signs that the economy is going to start to recover quickly. This could mean that homebuyers are entering the market again as well.

With summer being a historically hot time for homebuyers all over the country, there are a lot of experts saying that buyers need to get ready for a bidding war.

There are not a lot of homes on the market right now, as sellers are still a bit reluctant to put their homes back on the market with the economy just starting its recovery process.

The end result is that there is a disconnect between supply and demand. This imbalance is causing home prices to climb upward as homebuyers get into a bidding war.

Homebuyers Might Be Surprised

Many homebuyers are surprised that prices are actually rising instead of falling. When the last recession hit, home prices actually fell significantly. This is because mortgage defaults were the cause of the last recession, which is why home prices fell so dramatically.

The cause of this economic downturn is different. Due to a limited supply of homes, this is leading to more competition among homebuyers. This leads to more competition, handfuls of offers for a single home, and a bidding war. In order to find the right home, there are a few tips that homebuyers need to keep in mind.

Put Forth A More Competitive Offer

Those who are looking for a home right now need to place themselves in a position to compete against multiple offers from other homebuyers. Some of the most important tips to follow include:

  • Hire a local expert who understands the state of the market right now who can help homebuyers find the right home. Right now, the real estate market is not normal. It takes an expert to understand the ins and outs of buying a home in this market.
  • Get pre-approved from the market to make sure the offer looks serious to the seller. Those who get pre-approved from a lender will demonstrate a strong desire to buy, pushing their offer to the top.

There are ways to put forth a competitive offer even in this challenging real estate market.

What Is The Impact Of COVID-19 On Home Value?

What Is The Impact Of COVID-19 On Home Value?It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on everyone; however, there are a few impacts that are being overlooked. In addition to the public health crisis and the tanking of the stock market, there are also impacts of the virus on people’s home values.

Some of these impacts have been positive while others have been negative.

Regardless, it is important for everyone to understand how these impacts might impact someone’s home value, particularly for those who are looking to buy or sell a home in the future.

The Dropping Rates Of Mortgages

Because of the shelter in place laws surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, not many people are looking to move right now. As a result, banks have had a hard time getting people to come in and sign up for loans. 

This means that many people who are looking to buy a home might be able to sign up for a loan at a very low cost. This might open the door for someone to buy a bigger home than they might have been able to during less turbulent times.

The Impact On Sellers

As a result of the low-interest rates from the COVID-19 pandemic, this also means that sellers should anticipate getting a large number of offers for their homes. There are still many people who are hesitant to sell a home in this environment. This means that there might not be many options on the market. For those who decide to take the plunge, they might be rewarded with more offers than usual. This is going to drive up the value of their home, which is good for their next purchase.

The Future Of The Market During The Pandemic

These are just two of the many ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the value of homes. While it is unclear when this pandemic is going to be behind us, it is important for everyone to understand how the pandemic is going to impact them if they are looking to buy or sell a home. This will help everyone make the right decision during a turbulent time.

Should You Buy A Home Warranty?

Should You Buy A Home Warranty?When you buy a new house, the first thing you want to do is protect your investment. You already have property insurance. Should you also buy a home warranty?

What Is A Home Warranty?

A home warranty is not the same thing as insurance. Home warranties are service contracts. If a covered item breaks down and it is covered in the terms of the warranty, the home warranty company will pay to fix or replace that item.

What is Covered Under A Home Warranty?

Every home warranty contract is different but generally, a home warranty may cover items like major kitchen appliances, HVAC components, sump pump, in-home sauna or spa tub, and/or ceiling and exhaust fans.

Often, a homeowner can get an extended warranty contract that covers items like the washer and dryer, garage door opener, septic system and swimming pool components.

Understand The Costs

A basic home warranty costs between $350 and $500 annually, depending on what coverage you get. However, if something does break, you will also be on the hook for incidentals like service call fees or a deductible.

Know The Benefits

There are considerable benefits to having a home warranty contract in place, especially when something expensive breaks down, like a furnace. There is a lot of peace of mind knowing that you will be able to quickly get something fixed in your home.

You Might Already Be Covered

Your homeowner’s insurance policy might cover some of the same things that are covered with a home warranty. So you could be paying for duplicate coverage on some items. However, your homeowner’s insurance likely will not cover a dishwasher that needs to be replaced or a fridge that suddenly goes out.

There Are Alternatives

Finally, before you pay for a home warranty, remember that there are alternatives. For example, most HVAC companies offer financing options to buy a new furnace. Most appliance stores also offer financing on major purchases like refrigerators and dishwashers. You could save your $500 or so a year and put it in a savings account for a rainy day instead of gambling that you might have a major repair or purchase that year.

There are pros and cons to home warranty plans. Just be sure you fully understand both sides of the issue before you sign on the dotted line.

 

How To Tell If A Home Has Been Well-Maintained

How To Tell If A Home Has Been Well-MaintainedAs a homebuyer, your real estate agent will do their best bring you to see homes that meet the criteria you asked for. However, there’s no guarantee that a home will have a history of being properly cared for.

Your real estate agent can choose the homes you see, but they have no control over the property owner’s homeownership habits.

Why Home Maintenance Matters

Home maintenance should matter to you as a homebuyer and later on as a homeowner. A home needs consistent and proper maintenance in order to run efficiently, and that doesn’t only apply to moving parts like the HVAC system. If a home isn’t looked after, it begins to run down and then break down.

Just as a poorly maintained vehicle will eventually strand its owner on the side of the road, a poorly maintained home will eventually fail to properly house its occupants.

How To Tell If A Home Has Been Well-Maintained

A home that hasn’t been cared for will easily give up its secrets to a discerning homebuyer. Conversely, you can tell if a home has been cherished and well-maintained over the years.

  • Home maintenance warranties in place would be a selling feature and indicates the owner understands the power of proactive maintenance.
  • Solid, quality flooring indicates that the owner has shored up the subfloor beneath tile, removed carpet spills expeditiously and replaced cracked, peeling or missing planks or tiles.
  • No signs of basement water damage may signify that owner has installed sufficient sump pump or other drainage solutions, applied basement waterproofing or taken other steps to ensure a dry basement.
  • Finished basement shows that owner has taken care to improve the home where possible and that the owner trusts their basement possessions will be safe from water damage.
  • Straight roof lines mean that there is likely no sagging roof problem that hasn’t already been addressed.
  • Mature, healthy plantings are a sign that the owner has given thought and care to the surrounding landscape over a long period of time.
  • Sound gutters in good condition show that the owner has taken steps to ensure proper roof drainage to water damage.

These are all positive signs for a prospective homebuyer. Of course, you must still pay attention to the home inspection report. But odds are if you see all these signs, you’re probably looking at a new home that will serve your needs for many years to come.

 

The Most And Least Expensive Cities In America

The Most And Least Expensive Cities In AmericaThe cost of living in America varies widely in different parts of the country. In general, it is less expensive to live in the country than in the cities.

However, there are many cities where the cost of living is modest compared to others where the money needed to live there is outrageous in comparison.

These rankings came from comparing the monthly cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment, utilities, the price for gasoline, and the cost of groceries.

The Ten Lowest-Cost Cities For Renters

From Texas and Ohio to New Mexico and Arizona, there are some nice cities in this low-cost group.

The top ten lowest-cost cities are:

  1. El Paso, Texas
  2. Lincoln, Nebraska
  3. Toledo, Ohio
  4. Wichita, Kansas
  5. Louisville, Kentucky
  6. Tulsa, Oklahoma
  7. Memphis, Tennessee
  8. Lexington, Kentucky
  9. Albuquerque, New Mexico
  10. Mesa, Arizona

For the top ten lowest-cost cities, the total monthly expenses for two adults ranges from just under $1,200 per month in El Paso to just over $1,500 per month in Mesa. These cities are a great deal when compared to other cities.

In America, the median rent of $1,566 per month is more than the total amount needed to live in these low-cost cities.

The Ten Highest-Cost Cities For Renters

It is not surprising that the biggest metropolitan areas are on the high-cost list.

The top ten highest-cost cities are:

  1. San Francisco, California
  2. New York, New York
  3. San Jose, California
  4. Oakland, California
  5. Boston, Massachusetts
  6. Jersey City, New Jersey
  7. Washington, D. C.
  8. Los Angeles, California
  9. Seattle, Washington
  10. Irvine, California

For the top ten highest-cost cities the total monthly expense for two adults ranges from just over $2,000 per month in Irvine to over $4,200 per month in San Francisco. For those wanting to live in the “City by the Bay” of San Francisco, both of the people in a couple better have an incredibly well-paying executive position to be able to afford to live there.

What About Home Buying?

The national median home price in America is $229,000. The city with the highest median home price is San Francisco at $1,352,000. New York is only $672,000 in comparison. The median home price in El Paso is $129,800; however, El Paso does not have the lowest-priced homes in the country.

The Top Ten Cities With The Lowest-Priced Homes

There are many cities where the homes sell at bargain prices for under $100,000, these include:

  1. Detroit, Michigan — Median home value: $42,800
  2. Dayton, Ohio — Median home value: $66,500
  3. Cleveland, Ohio — Median home value: $67,600
  4. Lansing, Michigan — Median home value: $77,100
  5. Buffalo, New York — Median home value: $77,800
  6. Toledo, Ohio — Median home value: $78,600
  7. Rochester, New York — Median home value: $79,400
  8. Akron, Ohio — Median home value: $80,100
  9. South Bend, Indiana — Median home value: $81,100
  10. Brownsville, Texas — Median home value: $85,900

Conclusion

There are bargains to be found in many parts of America for those that do not have to live in the big cities.

Many younger people are now part of the “gig” economy. They do all of their work online and can work from anywhere that has a decent Internet connection. For these young people, finding a lost-cost city in America to live in and finding a modestly-priced home to buy is not limited to any particular area.