Our Real Estate Blog
Home insurance can be one of the more significant expenses when you’re a homeowner. You may feel that you’ll pay the same high monthly premium month after month, but there’re plenty of ways that you can save on your home insurance by making a few cuts here and there.
Get a Higher Deductible
Just like any kind of insurance, the higher that your deductible is, the lower your premiums. The fundamental problem with this is that when you need to make a smaller claim, the insurance may cover none of the cost. Compare the risk of paying for expenses out of pocket to the benefits of a lower insurance premium.
Get an Alarm System
Having an alarm system can help you save money on your home insurance. The alarm systems that are directly connected to police departments or a central monitoring place will save you more money. You’ll need proof of this in order to get a discount. Other alarm systems like CO2 detectors and smoke alarms are generally required by law in a home, but check with your insurance company. You could save a little extra for your efforts to protect your family and home.
Use One Insurance Company for Everything
Most insurance companies offer more than one type of insurance. This means that they love customers who use their policies to cover everything. Bundling your home, auto and life insurance with one company can help to save you some cash.
Own Your Home
Yes, paying your mortgage off completely sounds like a feat. Once the mortgage gets paid off, however, you’ll have lower insurance premiums. This is because insurance companies feel that once you own the home, you’ll be more mindful of taking care of it.
Think Before You Build
Building an addition on a home or putting in a swimming pool may sound like a great idea at first. You’ll need to think of how these construction projects will affect your premiums. A swimming pool raises your liability risk. Wood structures are considered highly flammable and cost more to insure.
Review Your Policy Often
You always have the right to do some comparison shopping once you get an insurance quote from one company. The place you work for may even offer some sort of group rate for insurance. Associations that you belong to may also be able to help save you some money. Do a little ground work and you may be able to save big just by comparing policies and levels of coverage.
Assess Your Valuables
The whole point of insurance is for you to replace your valuables if damaged or stolen. If items in your home have changed, reassess the contents of your home and just how much coverage you need. If you have less to replace, you’ll save on your insurance premiums because the value of your policy will go down.When taking a deeper look into your insurance, be sure to consider these and other factors that may have a hand in increasing or decreasing your out-of-pocket cost.
When taking a deeper look into your insurance, be sure to consider these and other factors that may have a hand in increasing or decreasing your out-of-pocket cost.
Buying a new home can be an exciting experience. Unfortunately, the closing can seem a little daunting if you are unsure about what to expect during the closing process. Below is a simple guide as to what you can expect during the closing of your first home.
Knowing How Long the Process May Take
The process of closing a house is a complicated one and can take some time to perform properly. Don't expect to be able to move in shortly after your offer is accepted. If the seller does not request a longer escrow period, it can still take up to 41 days for the closing process to be completed. This length of time is typically the result of delays in the process, with the most common types of delays including transactional and financing issues.
Knowing Who Will Be Present During the Closing
While you may obviously expect both the seller and your's and their real estate agents to be present, there are also other officials who will need to be included in the process. There will be a representative from the title company, the lender who is providing the financing and a closing agent who will be brought by either the title company or the lender. Depending on the level of complication of the transaction, an attorney for you or the seller may be present as well.
Understanding Which Documents You Will Be Expected to Look At
You will be presented with a number of key documents during the actual closing and will be required to sign a number as well. The amount of paperwork can seem overwhelming, but your agent, the finance company and a representative from the title company will be there to answer any questions that you may have about each of the documents. You can better prepare yourself by understanding the purpose of each document before they are presented to you. Documents you are likely to see during the closing process include:
- Loan Estimate: The loan estimate will include the terms of the loan, the interest rate and detailed closing costs. You will be expected to verify that all the information in the document is correct.
- Closing Disclosure: This will outline the details of your mortgage, and you will be able to see the document before the closing, so any changes can be made if necessary.
- Escrow Statement: The statement will detail the payments that will be made from the escrow account during the first year of the mortgage from your lender. It will include taxes and insurance.
- Mortgage Note: This is your promise to repair the mortgage and what steps the lender can take if you fail to make payment.
- Deed: The deed to the property will provide the lender's claim against your home if you fail to pay.
If you are unsure about any of the closing process, talk to your real estate agent, so there are no surprises, and your closing can proceed as smoothly as possible.
If you find lots of great homes are available and cannot decide which residence to buy, there is no need to stress. Rather than submit multiple offers to purchase various houses, you should hone your home search. By doing so, you can discover the right residence, at the right price.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you narrow your home search.
1. Define Your Dream Home
Think about the features you want in your dream home. Then, you can make a list of "must-have" home features and search for residences that offer these features.
Furthermore, consider where you want to reside. If you prefer big city living, for example, you may want to focus exclusively on city houses. On the other hand, if you want to reside in a small town, you can search for residences in myriad small towns.
2. Conduct a Preliminary Housing Market Review
Let's face it – searching for a home can be overwhelming, regardless of whether you are a first-time or experienced homebuyer. But if you perform a preliminary housing market review, you can get a good idea about the volume and quality of available residences. Next, you can use this real estate market information to map out your homebuying journey.
Of course, it may be beneficial to attend open house events as well. These events enable you to get an up-close look at assorted residences. They also can help you understand the features you want in your dream house so you can further refine your home search.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to navigating the housing market, it helps to have a real estate expert at your side. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market experts are happy to help you acquire a superb residence at an affordable price.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to help you find a quality home that won't force you to break your budget. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and teach you about the real estate market. A real estate agent next will help you analyze the real estate market and explore a broad range of houses. And once you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
Let's not forget about the guidance a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. Purchasing a house is no small feat, and a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of the homebuying cycle. Best of all, a real estate agent can respond to your homebuying concerns and questions at any time.
If you want to discover a home that matches your expectations, it helps to plan ahead for the property buying journey. By taking advantage of the aforementioned tips, you can streamline your house search and find your ideal home faster than ever before.
For those who wish to plant a victory garden, container planting might be the best option. Many vegetables and other edible plants grow successfully in containers and may give you the flexibility you need. However, there are some disadvantages to consider, especially when deciding between container gardening or planting directly into the ground. Here we’ll go over some of the pros and cons of container planting for your own victory garden.
Victory Garden Container Planting Pros
Flexibility - The obvious benefit of container gardening is the flexibility it provides. With your plants in containers, you can arrange or move them easily. You can also replace plants entirely without disturbing the rest of the garden. If you move around a lot or are planning to move in the near future, container gardening may feel like a better commitment—after all, you can simply pick up your plants and take them with you.
More Control - With container gardens you have more direct control over each individual plant’s success. You can treat issues individually without risking damage or disturbance to nearby crops. You can even use entirely different soil for plants that need it or even cater to specific lighting and temperature needs. If one plant has a pest problem you won’t have to worry as much about it spreading to the rest of your garden, as well.
Good for All Climates - Container gardening means you don’t have to rely on your local climate being perfect for the plants you want to grow. Because so many vegetables and edible plants can successfully grow indoors, you can have a victory garden virtually anywhere.
Victory Garden Container Planting Cons
Cost - Container gardening can get expensive. Compared to planting things in the ground, there are a lot more potential costs to factor in. Firstly you have to buy containers, and often multiple sets and sizes in order to facilitate comfortable growth for your crops. You also need soil, since you won’t be using what’s naturally occurring outside. Luckily, when it comes to containers there are lots of inexpensive DIY options you can look into.
Water Needs - Container plants are more likely to dry out because they can’t access the naturally occurring moisture in the ground. Without being able to reach the water tables, the soil in containers will dry out completely unless you keep an active watering schedule. If you’re already used to caring for plants, this might not be a huge problem—however, the more plants you have, the more work this becomes.
Lower Yield - Unfortunately, vegetables grown in containers will have a lower crop yield than those grown outdoors in the ground. They will also grow more slowly, potentially making them less viable as a regular food source. Growing edible plants in containers can still be very rewarding but require quite a bit more patience and proper expectations.
Victory gardens are an excellent idea to consider if you are looking for a way to grow your own food. They help the environment by cutting down on transportation costs and emissions, and can also help you lead a healthier life through direct access to fresh produce. There are lots of different ways to plant a victory garden, and using containers, either indoors or outdoors, has both benefits and disadvantages. It’s important to consider your situation carefully and determine what will suit your needs.
If you don’t have a dedicated playroom space in your home, you may feel as though toys and children have taken over. Toys, games, stuffed animals, coloring books, and crayons may be all over the house if children don’t have their own space to play.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There are a few options that you can use to let your kids have their space, and the adults have theirs. You don’t need to move just to find a home that has an area for kids to play. Read on for some ideas to help you stay stylish yet kid-friendly in your home.
Buying furniture that has a couple of purposes can be handy when you have kids. A coffee table with storage drawers can turn into a great place to store board games. An ottoman that has a storage component built in is a fantastic place to fantastic place to keep stuffed animals or action figures. When you have kids, finding ways to keep your style but allow children to play freely can be done easily with these types of furniture.
Turn An Ordinary Shed Into A Magical Place
No matter what part of the country you live in, you can buy a small outdoor storage shed and turn it into a playroom. You can install portable heaters or fans in the shed for comfort. This space can become your child’s playroom detached from the house with all the comforts of home. You might even consider a treehouse, but that may afford slightly less storage or possibilities than a storage shed.
Use The Corner Of A Room
Kids don’t have to take up the whole of a room. Consider giving little ones a corner of a room dedicated to their stuff. A small chair with a bookshelf and a few baskets of toys is all they need for a play space without fuss. Depending on the size of the room, you can even put a toy chest there for the playroom effect without the space.
Baskets are the next best things to furniture that has hidden storage. Baskets look pretty, and the contents are colorful, fun toys. There’s not too much wrong with this solution! You can even give the dog a basket for his toys.
Find Ways To Incorporate Kids Into The Rooms Of Your Home
You can get creative when it comes to living with children. Chalkboard walls. Tiny furniture and more items are available to make your kids comfortable yet creative and keep your home stylish. Consider a chalkboard wall that allows kids to change their artwork on the daily.
With a little creativity, your kids can feel at home without a playroom and without taking over the whole house.