How To Handle Common Homeowner Challenges

How To Handle Common Homeowner ChallengesIt takes hard work to achieve the American Dream of homeownership. Everyday people work to save for a down payment and build a good credit score. When you turn the key to your first home or dream home, the sweat equity feels well worth it.

But the hard work of buying a home continues long after hanging family photos and hooking up a big-screen TV. There are challenges that property owners are unprepared to handle. These are three of the more common ones you may want to be ready to manage.

Leaking Pipes

Plumbing does not last forever and at some point, it will begin to leak. For people who have wells on their property, copper pipes can wear thin faster. That’s because the pH of well water can tend to be on the more acidic side and corrode pipes quicker.

Many homeowners are ill prepared to deal with pipes that spring a leak. If a leak goes unchecked, the water can cause other damage or hazardous mold growth behind walls and under floorboards. While one solution is often having a plumber make an expensive emergency call, there are other simple solutions.

Take a piece of an old bicycle tire tube and fasten it tight over the leak using a pair of hosepipe screw clamps. These clamps wrap around the pipe and can be closed over the rubber and leak using a screwdriver. If you do not have these items handy, it may be in your best interest to spend less the $5 and get them sooner rather than later.

Moisture In The Bathroom

The single most destructive force to any home is not rodents or termite infestations. Water can do more damage than the average homeowner might imagine. A poorly ventilated bathroom can create one of the most hazardous problems.

When moisture seeps behind walls or under the floor, it can spur on dangerous mold growth. These health hazards often go undetected and sick family members may not know the root cause is hidden behind the walls.

Overly moist bathroom walls from hot showers are a telltale sign that you need improved ventilation. Start immediately by opening a window when showering and enlist the help of a professional to properly vent the bathroom. The difference could be thousands of dollars in ripping out walls and rebuilding, not to mention your health.

Power Outages

There are two types of power outages that homeowners would be wise to prepare for — short ones and long ones. If your power is interrupted for a few hours or half of a day, keep the refrigerator shut and enjoy the time without television noise. A few inexpensive battery-operated lanterns or candles will provide enough light.

But if you are hit by a long-term outage, there are things you can do ahead of time to be prepared. Many homeowners in areas that suffer annual severe weather incidents purchase generators. Small ones can be set outside and run electricity to important items. Even a modest generator can help a homeowner through a week-long outage.

If you don’t have a backup generator, the time is now to prepare. They will fly off the shelves when the lights go out.

The joy of homeownership is coupled with ongoing challenges. Planning ahead can save time, money and help keep your dream home in tip-top shape.

Whether you are interested in buying a new home or refinancing your current property, your trusted home mortgage professional is available to help you find the most current and beneficial financing options.

True Facts About 4 Real Estate Reality TV Myths

True Facts About 4 Real Estate Reality TV MythsMany of us are guilty of plopping on the sofa and binge-watching reality TV home flipping shows. The allure of buying and selling homes for big profits with no boss looking over our shoulders has major lifestyle appeal.

Shows like “Love it or List it,” “House Hunters,” “Flip or Flop” and others make it look incredibly simple. Even when they face adversity such as rotted wood or bad pipes, the way the reality TV stars overcome adversity is more of an inspiration than a deterrent. And plenty of everyday people do manage to succeed in the house-flipping industry.

But many of the myths these ratings-driven shows perpetuate could use a little busting.

Consider these four common house-flipping myths and the true facts behind them.

1: Three Viewings And A Closing

Reality TV shows tend to show viewers the industry professional looking at no more than three homes before making a flipping decision. That may play into the limited time slot they have but it’s far removed from reality.

True Facts: It’s not uncommon for potential home buyers to fall head over heels for the first property they view. After all, buyers often already like the neighborhood, school system, and home style. But the National Association of Realtors reports that the average person looks at about 10 properties before making a decision. Home flippers are additionally tasked with developing a return on investment plan. Three and done is not reality, it’s just TV.

2: Homes Linger On The Market

TV shows follow home flippers who seem to have all the time in the world before making an offer.

True Facts: Most of the purchase and sale process is simply staged for television. The homes have been pre-purchased before filming. Today, we are experiencing a seller’s market, meaning there are more buyers than inventory. Homes move quickly.

3: Open Houses Are A Sure Thing

On real estate reality TV shows, the fully renovated home is amazingly staged and sells during the first open house. Multiple offers are often floated.

True Facts: Only in a perfect world or on TV does this happen. Matching properties with potential buyers requires hard work from real estate agents. They must align purchase limits, pre-approved house shoppers, family size, school systems, location, and other expectations. Most homes are sold by real estate professionals setting up appointments and making multiple showings.

4: Homeowners Make Fast-Sell Decisions

On real estate reality TV, homeowners seem to take just moments to decide whether to love it or list it. This certainly doesn’t mirror the process of ordinary homeowners.

True Facts: Homeowners sell their properties for a wide range of reasons. These may include downsizing, retirement, relocation or an expanding family among many considerations. The vast majority of people mulling over a sale also take a long look at their next home options. It’s completely unrealistic to think someone made such a major life decision in five minutes or less.

Reality real estate TV shows are wonderfully entertaining to watch. So is science fiction. Enjoy your binge-watching and speak to real-life mortgage and real estate professionals before making any major decisions.

3 Things To Consider Before Buying A Fixer-Upper Home

3 Things You Need to Consider Before Buying That Fixer-upper Home

What Will It Cost?

If you’re going into a home expecting a few renovation costs, a minor detail here or there may not add up to much. However, if you’re not interested in spending the big bucks on making changes, you’ll want to estimate the cost of renovations you can’t live without. By including all the necessary labor and materials, you’ll be able to determine if the price-point of your offer will be worth it. If there are any serious issues with the house, it may not be worth your time to consider the purchase at all.

Will Renovations Increase The Value?

If you’re buying a home for its investment value, it’s particularly important to consider if the renovations required will actually increase its market value. Adding another bedroom or upgrading a bathroom may not add significantly to a home’s overall price. But certain more inexpensive improvements, like painting and new siding, can actually add a lot to the look (and worth) of your home.

How Much Are You Willing To Take On?

It’s easy to think that you’re prepared to do the dirty work when faced with a fixer-upper. But getting down to brass tacks may not be so simple when the time comes. Before taking on a home that needs lots of work, consider how much you’re willing to do. This will help you determine if fixing it up will even be an economic boon after all the labor that may go into it. If you’re not a DIY kind of person, you may want to avoid a house that has a long list of repairs.

A fixer-upper can be tempting for those who want to invest or save on a home purchase. Be sure to carefully consider if it will be a good choice when it’s time to sell. Contact us for more information.

Looking For A Value-Adding Upgrade To Your Home?

Looking for a Value-adding Upgrade? Why Residential Solar Panels Are Becoming a Popular RenovationIf you’re looking for a home upgrade that can add resale value to your home while paying itself off over time, look no further than a solar panel setup. In the past few years, the cost of installing residential solar has declined while the efficiency of the panels has increased. This combination has made home solar one of the best investments that a homeowner can make – provided they live in an area that receives a good deal of sunshine.

Solar Adds Immense Value To Your Home

While solar panel installations are not inexpensive, in almost every case they add at least their total cost to the value of the home as soon as they are installed. If you decide to sell your home, it will be very attractive to those who are interested in leaving a lighter footprint or for anyone who was thinking of going solar after they bought their new home.

A Quality Install Will Pay For Itself Over Time

As they generate electricity which can be used in your home or sold back in to the public grid, residential solar panels are one of the only home upgrades that will pay for themselves over time. If you live in a very sunny area and watch your home energy consumption, you may even find that after a few years your solar setup actually begins generating a profit each month. Home solar setups typically come with a 25-year warranty so you can rest assured that your panels will be producing energy for at least the next couple of decades.

Tax Credits And Incentives Reduce The Up-front Financial Cost

Renewable energy sources like solar quality can be applied for significant tax credits and rebates which will vary depending on the city and state or province that you live in. A quick web search will show you which types of incentives that you will qualify for, or you can call a local residential solar installer as they’ll be fully aware of all of the various incentives that are available.

Benchmark Colorado

Transform Your Garage Into The Envy Of Your Neighborhood

It's Not Just Car Storage: How to Transform Your Garage into a Brand New, Highly Usable SpaceIn some homes, garages are used only for car storage. They may appear to be bare and without real functional use for homeowners. However, other garages may be an envy of the neighborhood – they have floor to ceiling shelving systems, and be the picture-perfect image of organization.

With a bit of planning and creativity, you can turn your garage into a much more functional space. Here’s how you can make your garage the most useful space in the house.

Determine What You Need To Store

One of the most important steps to take when improving the functionality of your garage is to determine which items you need to store. The last thing you want is to invest in a shelving system or cabinets for your garage only to later realize that your belongings do not fit in the features you have purchased. Take an inventory of the items you want to put in the space as well as their sizes and dimensions, and then take stock of the space available to store these items.

Invest In Storage Features

There are numerous types of storage features that you may choose to invest in for your garage, such as cabinets, drawers, wall pegs, shelves, overhead storage features, and bins.

The best storage features for your garage are those that take into account your accessibility needs. For example, seasonal items that you may rarely need access to may be placed in overhead storage features that hang over the cars. On the other hand, screwdrivers and other tools that you may need to use more frequently should be placed in a more accessible area.

Consider The Look Of The Garage

Some homeowners truly do not care what their garage looks like, but you should keep in mind that this is a room that is revealed to the outside world each time your garage doors are raised. This can indeed affect curb appeal. Therefore, think about investing in a full garage storage system rather than piecing together different items.

If your garage looks like a war zone, you are wasting valuable storage space and compromising your property value. Investing in aesthetically pleasing and highly functional storage solutions can turn your garage into a major selling point and a great multi-use space.

Benchmark Mortgage

Do Fence Me In: A Few Good Yard Fencing Options

Do Fence Me In… Your Yard Fencing OptionsWhether you just got a puppy, have newly mobile children or built a pool, there are a multitude of reasons for wanting to keep people and animals in your yard, while preventing other from entering.

Picking the perfect fence can be difficult, so below we’ve outlined the main fencing materials to choose from and characteristics to consider about each.

Wood

Wood seems to be the most common material used in yards across the country — especially when wanting privacy. Depending on the type of wood you purchase, you’ll probably want to stain the planks to protect them from rot and ultra-violet light. Be prepared to retreat and maintain your wooden fence about every four years.

Chain Link

This economical option does its job well as a security fence. It’ll keep pets in and people out. And with the new black or green plastic coating chain link comes in, it almost blends into any background.

Chain link fences shouldn’t require any maintenance for at least 10 years, and they usually come with warranties for at least that long.

Wrought Iron

If you’re in the market for an ornate fence that you can see through and provides high security, then wrought iron should be your pick. These fences are actually made from steel and aluminum and need virtually no upkeep. Don’t expect to see any issues for at least 20 years.

Vinyl

You like the look of wood, but you hate the upkeep. Well, if you’re willing to spend the extra dough, usually four to five times the cost of wood, then you can have a man-made product that looks like the real thing.

Faux-wood fencing is usually seen in white, but can come in a variety of colors and even look almost identical to actual wooden planks. The best part is — no maintenance required!

Whatever your reason for building a fence, such as privacy, security, safety or to add curb appeal, you’ll have hundreds of options to choose amongst. Be sure you carefully consider each of the main fencing materials above, along with their look and maintenance requirements before you make the investment.

Do Those Additions Really Add Value To Your Colorado Springs Home?

Do Those Additions Really Add Value To Your Home?When you own a home, there are additions that you can make to the property that will improve the value of your home. For example, a newly renovated kitchen or bathroom is a popular choice that will really make the home more desirable to buyers.

Also, adding storage space or a well-thought-out family room or other practical space can be a very good investment that will bring up the home’s value.

However, there are other projects that are not really worth your time or money and will allow very little opportunity to recover your costs when it is time to sell the property. Here are a few examples of things that you think might add to the value of your home, but really don’t.

An Elaborately Landscaped Garden

A beautifully landscaped garden might make the home more visually attractive to buyers when they are looking at the property, but it will not likely add to the selling price.

This is especially true if the new buyer is not interested in putting in the effort to keep the garden well-maintained and sees it as a burden. If they don’t have time to do the landscaping, they will need to hire a gardener which will add to their expenses.

A Hobby Specific Room

Are you tempted to convert a bedroom into a room that is specific to one of your particular interests, such as an art studio, a library or a wine cellar? This will not add a lot of value to the home, because the next buyer is not likely to share your passions.

It might even make the home less than desirable, because the next owner will not want to spend the time and money renovating the room back into a bedroom.

You can create a hobby room; just make sure that you make non-permanent chances to the room so that you can quickly and easily switch it back to a bedroom.

A Renovated Garage

Redoing your garage and turning it into a family room or a play room might give you a short term benefit, but you might regret it when you go to sell the home. Most people want a garage to serve its original purpose – as a place to protect their cars from the elements and store their shovels, garbage cans, leaf blowers and other outdoor things.

These are a few examples of home additions that will not add to the resale value of your property. To find out more about selling your home, call us today.

7 Simple Steps To Finish Your Basement This Holiday Weekend

7 Simple Steps To Finish Your Basement This Holiday WeekendNot only does the Labor Day weekend signal a little time off work, but it also indicates a close to the summer season, which means it’s time to get ready for colder weather.

So get in the spirit of the long weekend and put the labor of love into your home by creating a cozy hideaway that your family can retreat to once the outdoors become too chilly.

One of the best places to create this snug space is to mimic hibernating animals and go under ground — to the basement.

Whether your lowest level needs a facelift or is completely unfinished, Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to make a game plan and get started on remodeling your basement.

Step 1 – Obtain A Permit

Before you can just slap up insulation and drywall, you need to make sure your basement is even fit to dwell in.

Check with your city to ensure there aren’t any permits you need to obtain and that the space is up to code. If you don’t do it right, then this update could haunt you when it comes time to sell.

Step 2 – Get The Air Flowing

You’ll want this space to be warm in winter and cool in the summer. Contact a contractor to see if getting air to this lower level will be as easy as tapping into your current HVAC system and whether or not your existing appliance can handle the extra space.

Step 3 – Design And Frame

Now comes the fun part. Decide what you want down there! A bedroom or two, a man cave, or TV room; a blank slate provides all sorts of exciting options. Once you’ve got a plan, start framing it out.

Step 4 – Add Emergency Exits

This underground level needs exit points that go directly outside. So, install a back door or windows that someone could fit through in case of emergency. If there are bedrooms in the design, they also each need their own exit point.

Step 5 – Insulate And Drywall

While the ground surrounding your home provides some insulation, you’ll want to properly insulate around the perimeter and in between rooms to provide a noise barrier. Then put up the drywall.

Step 6 – Install Flooring

Pick out your flooring, such as wood, tile, carpet or vinyl. It mostly depends on what type of rooms you’re planning to create. Make sure your floors are level before you lay anything down. It’s especially common to find slanted floors in older homes.

Step 7 – Paint And Decorate

You’re almost finished! Pick out your paint colors, move in your furniture and enjoy your new cozy hideaway. Colder weather will be here before you know it, so use the long Labor Day weekend to get this project started.