How To Keep Your Home Cool During The Summer Heat Wave
The summer heat is raging in many areas. Keeping your house cool during the summertime not only helps one stay comfortable but when done right can also save money. Cooling is a major expense for homeowners during the summer. Check out the great tips in this article to help keep your home cool.
Homeowners need to make sure their HVAC is tuned up and the filter is changed on a regular basis. Clogged or old HVAC filters lead to less cool air being pumped through the home as well as result in increased cost when running the furnace. HVAC filters need to be changed based on the recommendations of the HVAC manufacturer and the filter maker.
Regular tune-ups on the HVAC system make sure things are operating smoothly and at peak efficiency. An inefficient HVAC means less cooling capacity and increased energy costs. Professional HVAC companies can come out, tune-up an HVAC system and make sure problems don’t happen. Having an HVAC system go out during the hottest days of summer will lead to plenty of discomfort for the homeowners and can possibly cause damage to the home through excess heat and humidity.
Homes located in humid regions, close to rivers, lakes and oceans can experience high humidity which makes it feel hotter. Homes in general can build up humidity through everyday activities like cooking, bathing, and more. A dehumidifier takes that humidity out of the air resulting in the body feeling more comfortable. While...
Tips For Saving Energy In and Around The House
With energy prices increasing along with the cost of everything else, saving energy in the home should be a priority for homeowners. During the extreme periods of hot and cold weather homeowners can save quite a bit of money but making energy efficient improvements in their home. As with anything the homeowner needs to weigh the cost of making the improvement versus the potential savings. Spending five dollars to save one dollar on a one-time basis is a bad investment. On the other hand spending five dollars to save one dollar a month for the foreseeable future would be a good investment. This article provides some tips on how to save energy in and around a home.
Adjust Your Thermostat
Are you used to cooler temperatures in the summer and warmer temps in the winter? Adjust the thermostat one degree above or below your normal setting is a great way to save on the heating/cooling bill. It will take a little getting used to body comfort wise but once changed and forgotten the money savings can add up over time. Couple that with using a programmable or smart thermostat and additional savings can be had. Some smart thermostats know when no one is home and can automatically adjust the temperature up or down to save money.
Mind Your Windows
When the weather outside is mild opening one’s windows is a great way to let the fresh air into the home. Inside air can get stagnant with cooking, household cleaning products...
Garage Updates That Can Help Increase The Value Of Your Home
The garage is often one of the under looked areas of the house when it comes to making updates. While some homeowners are using their garages for keeping cars there are plenty of other homeowners who use the garage for more. Generally, the garages on the whole should be kept with the main purpose of parking cars when making updates regardless of how it is used. This article looks at some useful updates that improve the look of the garage and can help boost the value of the home.
Garage Updates The Make Sense
Unless a garage is only used to park cars and nothing else it can always benefit from better organization. Adding shelves, wall hooks, cabinets and more make the garage more functional and give a place to put everything in or on. A cleaner more organized garage looks better and makes it easier to find things when they are needed. Garden/lawn tools that are set out of the way secured by wall hooks means lower chances of injury to the homeowner and to the cars as they come in and out of the garage.
Many companies sell garage specific cabinetry that are more durable and designed to fit tall tools. With those cabinets regardless of what is stored in there they are designed to take a beating and still look great. They come in different color options depending on what works for the home. If the goal is to sell the house, a clean and well-organized garage is a big selling point for home buyers.
Most garage floors are plain concrete. While...
What To Know About Remodeling A Bathroom
Remodeling a bathroom can improve the look of a home, increase its value and maybe even save the homeowner some money over the long term. Homeowners need to understand the process of remodeling a bathroom so they can make sure it is done correctly. This article looks at some of the steps a homeowner should take when wanting to remodel a bathroom.
Steps To Take Prior To Remodeling
Homeowners need to consider whether they plan to take the do it yourself (DIY) approach for the remodel or hire a contractor. While the DIY approach can save money, if the homeowner does not have the necessary skills to lay tile, update or move plumbing and install electrical fixtures it might be best to leave it to the pros. It will cost more to redo work than it would had the homeowner hired a pro from the start.
The homeowner should be considering what are the goals for the bathroom remodel? Are they simply looking for an update of the bathroom or do they want to do more like add or remove a shower or tub? A simple bathroom update which usually means new vanity, sink top, faucet, toilet, tile and paint will not be as expensive as would be adding a shower or tub to an existing bathroom along with the remodel. Adding a shower or tub to a bathroom that does not have one can increase the value of the home since full bathrooms are valued higher than half baths.
On the other hand,...
What Can Cause A Home’s Foundation or Structure To Go Bad?
The foundation of a home is a critical part of the home and it what keeps a home standing up. While factors outside of a homeowner’s control (such as severe storms, earthquakes, sink holes and more) can cause foundation problems there are things the homeowner can do to prevent foundation problems. Foundation problems can lead to uneven floors, broken windows, stuck doors and much more. Therefore, preventative maintenance to control what is in the homeowner’s control is important and this article looks at some of the common problems that can cause issues with the foundation and house structure.
Water Caused Foundation Damage
Water related issues are one of the biggest causes of home damage in general. Water and excess humidity can lead to mold, wood rot, and more which can make a house unlivable. Water when not properly diverted away from a home results in water entering collecting close to the basement walls. As the water builds up it creates inward pressure on the wall which can cause cracking and can even force walls to fall inward into the basement. Homes have gutters and downspouts to help properly divert water away from the foundation of the home. Gutters or downspouts that get clogged means water is not drained away properly which then results in the foundation issues noted above.
When water enters into the basement either through gaps in block foundation mortar or cracks in concrete and stone walls that water over time causes the gaps to get bigger if left untreated which means more water entering the basement. Over...
Tips For Automating Your Home
Home automation can help reduce some of the effort of managing a home and make it overall more enjoyable to live in. Certain automation tools available for the home can maintain proper temperatures, keep an eye on security, and even report serious issues like HVAC or water heater issues. This article explores some of the home automation technology out there and how it can benefit homeowners.
A flooded house can be a huge disaster for homeowners especially if not caught in time. Many homes have finished basements with carpeting, furniture and electronics that if exposed to water can result in a total loss to those items. Even worse, water that is allowed to sit in a basement for any length of time can make the entire house unlivable since water will cause mold to grow and that mold will spread to the rest of the house. Smart water leak monitoring devices can keep an eye on leaking pipes and basement floods in general which will alert the homeowner to water issues before it is too late.
Things like sewage ejector failing to work or leaking from the ejection pipe, back up in the sewer lines can be make for even a worse (read stinky) situation. The sooner one knows about sewage leaks/backups in the basement the sooner one can act to stop any further damage. There are a number of companies who make smart water leak sensors and some of them will integrate with existing smart home systems like Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and more.
Maintaining the proper temperature in a home helps keeps the inside of the home healthy. Too much heat and humidity...
What Should You Do With A Bonus Room In A House?
A bonus room is one of those extra spaces found in the house that does not fit within the definitions of the other rooms found in the house. Bedrooms and other rooms have their names and particular uses whereas the bonus room does not. The bonus room still can be useful for the homeowner and this article explores what homeowners might want to utilize their bonus rooms for.
What Exactly Is A Bonus Room?
As mentioned above a bonus room is usually not one of the other typical rooms like bedroom, family room, living room, or den. Sometimes the bonus room is found in the upper levels of the home like an attic space that has been finished. The room may not be large but is still big enough to utilize in some way. When in an attic there may be slanted ceilings or lower than normal ceilings. Basically, it is not a typical room and rather than let that room be wasted space someone (builder or the homeowner) decided to covert that room to usable space.
Can A Bonus Room Be Used As A Bedroom?
Depending on the size of the bonus room, some can be used as a bedroom. Whether it can be described as a bedroom in marketing remarks when selling a home is a different story. In most locations a bedroom has to have a closet and two ways in/out of the bedroom (a window can be one of those ways) in order to be legally called a bedroom. So, a bonus room on the third-floor attic space may not be technically called a bedroom that does not mean people won’t use it as such. Even without a closet there are plenty of furniture stores that offer...
Does A Mortgage Payment Always Stay The Same?
When one buys a house with a mortgage the common thought may be that now my house payments are fixed for thirty years and there is nothing else to worry about. Depending on the type of mortgage a house is purchased with and whether taxes and insurance are escrowed the monthly home payment may not stay the same for thirty years. This article explores what a home mortgage payment actually consists of and how sometimes the monthly payment can go up or down at times.
What Does A Mortgage Payment Consist Of?
The most common parts of a mortgage payment consist of the principal and interest payment. As the homeowner pays off their mortgage over time they are paying a certain amount towards the principal balance of the mortgage (the amount of the actual loan) and towards interest. The principal and interest payment rarely will be the same amount and will change over time where the balance being paid towards principal will increase and the amount going towards interest will decrease. One common way of paying down a mortgage faster over time is by paying extra towards the principal so that way less interest is paid overall for the mortgage.
If a homeowner has paid less than 20% down towards the purchase of their home then the lender will require that the homeowner also pay into escrow a pro-rated monthly amount to cover the payment of homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. Generally, whatever the total amount of annual taxes plus the insurance premium will be is divided by twelve in order to determine the monthly required ...
What Is Deed In Lieu Of Foreclosure?
Deed in lieu of foreclosure is a term used by mortgage lenders to mean the homeowner gives up their ownership of the home to the lender in order to avoid a foreclosure action against them. There may be any number of reasons why a homeowner wants to give up ownership of their home and a foreclosure is a huge negative mark on one’s credit score. For the mortgage lender a foreclosure action can be a lengthy and costly process. This article explores deed in lieu of foreclosure and why a homeowner may want to choose that option.
How Does A Deed In Lieu Of Foreclosure Work?
Sometimes deed in lieu of foreclosure is referred to as jingle mail since the homeowner is literally mailing the keys of their home to the lender as a statement that they are giving up their ownership of the home. The process is not that simple though as title to the home needs to be transferred back to the lender. Usually this can be done by signing the deed over to the mortgage lender and filling out any other paperwork the lender requires.
Generally, lenders are willing to take a deed in lieu of foreclosure since it will be less costly than pursuing the foreclosure process. Of course, this assumes that there are no other liens or other loans secured by the property. If there are tax liens, mechanics liens, home equity loan liens on the home that could make the process a little more difficult for the primary mortgage lender. If the home still has equity in it the mortgage lender may be willing...
What Should A Homeowner Do With Mortgage Forbearance
During this pandemic that started in 2020 many homeowners found themselves out of a job due to local economy shutdowns meant to slow the curve. Through government action homeowners with certain types of home loans were allowed to defer paying their mortgage due to impacts from COVID shutdowns. For those who were impacted economically by job loss or reduction in pay and have their mortgage payments in deferral may be wondering what actions they should take once the deferral of payments come to an end. This article explores what homeowners should be considering about their current home situation and their deferral of mortgage payments.
What Did The Deferrals Allow?
People had to prioritize their spending due to either being temporarily or permanently out of work because of the the virus related shutdowns. Mortgage payments along with the corresponding insurance and property tax payment account for a large part of many homeowners monthly spending. Some homeowners were faced with not spending on food or medicine or not paying their mortgage and facing possible foreclosure and years of a wrecked credit report. Through the CARES Act the government postponed lender foreclosures until December 31, 2020 and also gave homeowners the ability to ask for forbearance of their mortgage payment if they were experiencing financial hardship caused by the pandemic. The CARES Act applies to mortgages sponsored by government entities and include mortgages like FHA, USDA, VA and more. Other mortgages...
How To Prevent Hackers From Hacking Your Home
With many home appliances having internet connected features to make them “smart”, the risk of some hacker taking over those smart devices in the home increases. In many cases hackers take over important functions of business or government computer systems and demand payment in exchange for releasing those systems back into the owner’s control. It is not hard to envision something similar happening more frequently to homeowners who increasingly are relying on smart features in their home devices. This article provides tips for homeowners to secure their home thereby making it less likely they fall victim to a hacker.
Start With The Basics
Physical security is not just for keeping the inside of a home safe, physical security can also help keep a home’s network safe. Peeping Toms are not all out there looking to get an eyeful of someone, sometimes they are looking to see if they can spot credit card numbers, network passwords, social security numbers sitting out in the open. No breaking and entering needed. If someone can get see the network password, credit card numbers, bank account numbers or other sensitive information it is not hard to steal from that person at that point. Homeowners should not be leaving that information out in the open. That means no network passwords on sticky notes out in the open where anyone walking by can see it.
With a network password a criminal can gain access to the network and with the right tools see what is being sent across the network. There...
What To Know About A Home’s Roof
The roof is an important part of the home that help keeps the bad weather out of the home and helps retain heat in the cold months and retain cooler air during the hot months. There are a number of components that make up the roof. Keeping all parts of the roof in good working order and properly maintained will help with keeping the house standing and healthy for a long time to come. This article looks at the importance of routine roof maintenance homeowners should be doing and how to determine if a roof needs replacement.
How Is A Roof Assembled?
A home’s roof consists of a few different components. Shingles on top of felt underlayment on top of roof decking. The felt underlayment helps with keeping water from getting into the attic. Other components of the roof system include the gutters, flashing installed to keep water from leaking into openings of the roof (like the chimney, vent pipes, sky lights and more). While part of the roof, the gutters are mainly designed to channel water away from the base of the home in order to protect the foundation.
A majority of roof shingles are made out of asphalt that kind of look like very rough sand paper. Other types of roof shingles include slate tiles, clay tiles, metal, ceramic, plastic and more. Asphalt shingles are the most commonly installed shingles due to cost and ease of installation. For longevity metal, ceramic and clay tile shingles usually last longer than asphalt but also cost a bit more. Some companies have created solar shingles that serve a dual purpose of protecting the home...
Tips For Renting Your Home
Whether you are looking to convert your home into a rental investment property or need to move and are unable to currently sell your home, converting it into a rental property is an option. Contrary to what may be shown on television getting a home ready for rental and finding good tenants is not as easy as it appears. This article explores what steps homeowners should be taking in order to rent out their home.
Determine If The Home Can Be Rented Profitably
Renting a home and not making any money on it, or worse losing money on it is not a great investment strategy. While the homeowner may be forced to move due to a job or family situation, renting out a house where one has to pay money out of pocket to cover the mortgage and taxes does not make any financial sense. Part of the reason for renting out real estate is so the owner can have a positive cash flow, some of which should be saved to account for repair and maintenance expenses associated with the home. If the HVAC goes out the repair/replacement expense can be pretty. If there is a water leak the repair of the leak and repair of the damage associated with the leak can be high as well.
Thinking that long term appreciation will make up for the current lack of cash flow is also a faulty strategy to could end up costing the owner. Appreciation is never guaranteed in real estate as depending on the economy and migration one may find themselves with a depreciating asset. If a large employer decides to relocate or the desirability of an area decreases real estate prices as a whole in that area can go down.
A home especially is prone to depreciation unless it is continually updated...
Tips For Setting Up The Perfect Home Office
With the recent virus issues many more people are working from home on a regular basis. A properly setup home office will allow for a good work environment that allows one to be productive and be healthy at the same time. Having a home office can also help increase the value of a house providing it is not taking away from existing rooms. This article looks at some best practices for setting up a home office.
Consider The Location
If one plans to work full time from a home office then having a “room with a view” is ideal if possible. While a lot of times homeowners have extra space in the basement for setting up a home office that does not make it the best place to have a work space where one will be spending eight or more hours a day unless of course the basement is a walkout basement and has a view. The reason that a basement is not a good place for an office is the lack of the view and the lack of natural light.
Office workers who stay in a confined space with no access to natural light and a view of the outdoors to break the monotony up will have a harder time keeping focused. Even if for only a few moments at a time having a view where one can look out a window provides a break from staring at a computer screen all day and is a great way for mental refreshment. Having natural light during the workday also boost productivity and helps with sleep!
While some homeowners may not be able to find extra space for the home office depending on house size and family size there are always options to explore. If all the bedrooms in a home are not being used consider converting one of the bedrooms into...
What To Consider With Updates For A Home
With the change in economic conditions some who were previously considering selling their home may decide to stay put and instead update the home. Others who still want to sell their home might be considering what updates can help them obtain the best value for their home. This article explores the types of updates homeowners may want to consider and what makes sense for homeowners who want to stay put versus homeowners who want to sell soon.
Updates For Those Wanting To Sell
For those homeowners who want to sell their home the updates done should be ones that bring the home up to a modern look and function. Homes with old appliances, outdated cabinetry and fixtures can easily get a good return on investment (ROI) without going to extreme lengths in terms of spending on the updates. Since the homeowner plans on selling their home it does not make a lot of financial sense to overspend as the short-term ROI will not be positive especially if they plan on selling within 6-12 months. Instead homeowners should be looking for cost effective updates that make the home look better than it already is and will satisfy buyers who are looking for modern features.
Kitchen appliances are one of those areas where home buyers look to right away when they are touring homes. People spend time in the kitchen on a daily basis and having modern updated appliances are something they expect to have when buying a home. Homeowners should be looking for appliances that match in finish and have modern features. Appliances such as the refrigerator...
Tips For Avoiding Foreclosure
With the recent troubles caused by the COVID-19 virus (also known as Corona virus) many homeowners find themselves stuck at home with no ability to go to work. While some may be able to work from home and still get paid, those who cannot work from home may start to find their financial resources under pressure. This article provides tips for homeowners to help prevent the possibility of a foreclosure on their home.
Communication With Lenders Is A Must
Whether a homeowner is expecting to be late on a credit card payment or their mortgage it is always best to contact the lender before the payment is due and find out what options are available. Simply missing a payment without communicating with the lender is more likely to end up with the lender sending a late payment notice to the credit reporting agencies and tacking on late penalties. Due to the extreme nature of the virus situation many lenders are understanding of situation homeowners find themselves in and are offering to waive late fees and offer payment options. Without contacting the lender though they have no idea of an individual situation and will proceed with business as usual.
Many lenders are offering forbearance on bill payments in the short term which basically means they will accept that debt payments cannot currently be made and are willing to work with homeowners in order to avoid foreclosure. An important thing to note though is if a homeowner can afford to pay their mortgage because they are working and getting paid then they should continue to do so. Do not consider this as a mortgage or debt payment holiday. Forbearance simply means the lenders will be delaying payments but still expect the money to be paid back.
When things get back to normal...
Tips For Homeowners To Save Money
By having a savings fund in place homeowners can weather the good and the bad times with less stress. Even non-homeowners can benefit from having a savings fund since the money will be helpful during a “rainy day” event. Building up that savings fund does not mean big sacrifices either as some seem to think. Easy things can be done to start saving money that can translate into big numbers with the right effort as this article explores.
Refinance High Interest Rate Debt
When people think of refinancing high interest rate debt they often think of high interest rate credit cards. While credit cards do carry high rates homeowners can benefit by refinancing their mortgage when the rates are lower than their current interest rate. Many homeowners lock in interest rates with fixed term mortgages. With a fixed term mortgage the interest rate stays the same for the life of the loan (usually 15 or 30 years). In order to get a lower interest rate for the fixed term mortgage homeowners will need to refinance their current loan.
Homeowners need to look at the overall numbers rather than just the interest rate as there are many mortgage expenses that can eat up any savings that come from a lower rate. So while the interest rate may be lower the homeowner can end up in a worse situation when they are paying points or other mortgage fees as part of the refinance process. When financed into the loan those mortgage fees also may not be noticed upfront. Homeowners need to be checking that their overall monthly payment is lower as a result of the refinance.
Once a homeowner has refinanced their mortgage they should make a conscious commitment...
Who Pays For Pest Control Treatment?
Pest control treatment can be either a one-off thing that does not cost much overall or something that is expensive and requires multiple treatments due to the type of pests involved. This article explores who should be paying for pest control treatment. In the case of a home for sale or in the case of a landlord/tenant matter the answer of who pays for pest control treatment will vary.
When A Home Is For Sale
In the case of a home up for sale the most common pest treatment that is called for after a home inspection has been conducted is treatment for wood damaging insects (WDI). Termites are one of the more common WDI, live in the ground and will find their way into homes where they will make a meal of any wood products they come into contact with. Wood support beams, basement joists, framing 2x4s and more all make a great place for termites since they like to eat dead wood which is what is found in many homes. Treatment for termites can be relatively expensive (compared to other type of insect treatments) though it is a one-time treatment that should last for a couple of years. Subsequent treatment may be required or the homeowner may want to consider installing termite bait stations which can keep them away from the house.
If termite damage is discovered during an inspection the home buyer can request the home seller to pay for treatment to stop further infestation in the home. Sometimes the treatment of the termites will be required by the lender in order for them to approve the mortgage loan as the lender does not want to finance a home that may fall apart due to termite damage. Generally in these cases the seller will be the one paying for the treatment. If the lender does not require nor does the buyer ask for treatment then the buyer should pay for treatment after they take ownership...
Tips For Avoiding Bad Home Contractors
When the home is a castle making sure that home is in tip top shape or looks great is essential for both keeping the occupants happy and for retaining the value of the home. Homes require routine maintenance and updating to keep everything in good working order. Deferred maintenance can quickly turn a great home into something that is unlivable. Using the wrong contractors can result in overpaying for a job or worse having the contractor create more problems than what were to be fixed This article provides tips for homeowners to find the best contractors to keep their home in tip top shape.
Search More Than Traditional Sources For Information On Contractors
One tried and true source of information on contractors is reviews on various review and social media sites. Facebook, Google, Yelp, Better Business Bureau and more have reviews for contractors. Keep in mind though those reviews should not be the first and only stop when researching a contractor. Positive reviews can also unfortunately be bought by contractors to make themselves look better when in fact they have a poor track record. Reviews also can be left by family and friends who have only seen the contractor’s best quality work and may have not seen the other clients they left hanging by not completing the job they were hired to do.
Contractors may even offer referrals from past clients as a way to show that people are happy with the work they do. While past client referrals can be helpful they also can be faked or the contractor can pick from the very best jobs they did for client referrals, conveniently ignoring the jobs where they almost burned a house down (or left some other disaster). A way...
Advanced Tips For Securing Your Home and Personal Identity
A home is a person’s castle and protecting the home is a top priority. Beyond just protecting the home physically homeowners should also look at protecting their home and themselves from digital thieves who don’t even need to enter a home to steal. A lost credit card number or worse a social security number can lead to long term issues. This articles provides some advanced tips for securing one’s home both against physical intruders and against those who want to steal your information.
Having an alarm installed is one great way a homeowner can protect their home especially if the alarm is monitored. A monitored alarm means if the alarm is triggered the monitoring company will first call the homeowner to check if everything is ok or if they are not able to reach the homeowner they will call the local police department. The police will then come out to check on the home to see if there is an issue.
Home alarms can also be unmonitored where the only warning they provide is in the home through the use of a siren and/or lights. Monitored home alarms systems usually require a monthly fee for the monitoring service and with monitored service the homeowner may be eligible for homeowners insurance discounts. There are many do it yourself (DIY) home alarm kits like Ring, Simplifi, and more where installation of the security devices and keypads are easily done by the homeowner. For the homeowner who prefers to have a professional install their alarm system there are also a number of companies who do that and establish...