Deb Evans ABR,CSG - ERA Key Realty Services



Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 6/2/2020

If youíre getting ready to buy a home, you know it will be one of the most significant purchases of your entire life. However, are you fully prepared for all of the expenses that buying a home will bring? You donít want to buy a house to find out that you canít afford it after all.


Many expenses go into buying a home that you can plan for ahead of time. Other costs arenít as exact that you will need to add in your budget. Read on to learn more about many of the expenses that throw first-time home buyers for a loop. 


Closing Costs


Closing costs encompass a whole bunch of expenses that youíll incur buying a home. These include:


  • Taxes
  • Application fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Title insurance
  • Reimbursements
  • Recording fees

No matter what the closing costs include, you should plan for these expenses to be about 2-5 percent of the price of your home. Costs can vary widely, but itís good to have a bit of extra cash on hand.


Maintaining Your Home


While most homebuyers are prepared for the initial costs of buying a home, they don't know how much it costs to maintain a home. Each year, things will come up on your property that needs to be addressed continually. These tasks include:


Cleaning

Yard care

Gutters

Pressure washing


These routine tasks are independent of other costs like replacing a stove or fixing a furnace. Homeowners need to be prepared for these expenses as well.


Taxes


Taxes can increase or decrease for any given year. You can lookup taxes in the area where youíre planning to buy a home in order to prepare yourself. You should make sure that your property taxes are comparable with that of other homes in your area.

Utilities


Utilities are what your home runs on. Depending on the climate you live in the number of utilities you pay can vary. Take into account these things:


  • Heat
  • Air conditioning
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Phone
  • Cable
  • Internet

Most neighborhoods have one or two choices for services, so you can ask people in the neighborhood what providers they [refer and how much their bills are each month.         



Insurance


Youíre required to have homeownerís insurance when you get a mortgage. Even if you donít take out a mortgage and pay cash for a home, itís a wise decision to protect your investment. Estimate how much a yearly policy will cost you ahead of time. 


This insurance will protect your property from things like theft and fire. You can shop around for the best rates based on policies that suit your needs. Itís easy to price out policies online. See where you can save including discounts for security systems or multiple policy discounts. 


If you live in an area where floods or earthquakes are prevalent, you should be aware. Youíll find you need additional policies to cover damage in the event of these disasters. The most important thing about your homeownerís insurance policy is that you check the details for all of the fine print.       





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Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 5/26/2020

Image by Bronislaw Drůzka from Pixabay

For anyone who is intimidated by the idea of working with garden pavers, for those who may think they are tools only for professionals experienced in masonry, be assured that you too can beautify your garden and yard with these smooth finishing touches.  Perfect for taming and refining wild, overgrown areas, concrete pavers are easily customizable building blocks for framing or accenting outdoor spaces.  And making a permanent commitment or leaving the option to change it up is all up to you--in most cases using grout is optional depending on the purpose and look you’re going for. 

Rock Garden Borders

To complement any small trees in your yard, you can dot the area surrounding the base of the tree with smaller plants and flowers, either potted, in the ground or both.  Creating freeform borders allows you to build around the existing trees and plants, and curved lines give your yard a flowing atmosphere.  Concrete pavers serve this purpose especially well since many styles offer interlocking shapes or flat edges that can be tightly lined up against each other to hold in mulch, natural stones, gravel, or other attractive fillers.  

Planter Pedestals

Flat-edged pavers or designs with interlocking shapes offer an easy way to elevate potted plants and keep them out of the dirt, upright, and steady.  Set a few pavers together on either side of the front door or at the entrance to your garden and place a potted plant on top.  Giving plants some extra height adds interest and spotlights them as welcoming touches.

Stepping Stones

If you enjoy having a fair amount of lawn space and particularly if you live out in the country, having a beautiful yard to curate usually comes with the price of tracking dirt into your house.  Use concrete pavers to form a natural, neutral walkway in the hue and shape of your choice, or arrange several together to create stepping stones to your front door.  Both solutions help keep dirt off of shoes on the way in and don’t take up much of your yard.  

Border For Your Outdoor Kitchen

For sheds, pet houses, or even outdoor kitchens made of wood, the sides collect dirt and sand, particularly in seasons of stormy weather.  Concrete pavers let you easily build a border around these structures to beautifully frame them as well as help protect them from dirt and dust.  You can also add a stepping stone pathway to the building that matches its border.

Border For Garden Beds

Evoke the ambiance of an English garden by filling unused garden space with concrete pavers.  Line the ground beneath first with weed prevention cloth if your garden is especially prone to weeds; without grout you will likely still get some growth between the stones anyway but, when well maintained, adds to the rustic look.




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Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 5/19/2020

Image by Alessandro Lonati from Shutterstock 

The benefits of having an outdoor heater cannot be over-emphasized as it significantly impacts the amount of time you spend enjoying your outdoor space during colder weather. There are critical factors to consider when choosing the right outdoor heater.

The Location of The Outdoor Heater

To determine which type of outdoor heating you need, first, decide where you plan to use the heater. Will it be stationary or moved around your property? With this information in hand, you can choose the outdoor heating that best suits your expectations and your criteria.

For example, if you want an outdoor heater installed on the terrace of your garden, patio, gazebo, or other fixed places and donít plan to move it often, consider opting for an inline gas patio heater. If you like the flames of a gas unit but need it to be portable, opt for a freestanding LP unit. These are heavier and more stable.

If you are looking for a light, space-saving, easily transportable and CO2-free outdoor heating system, then choosing an electric patio heater, an electric heating parasol or a fire pit is best.

The Power of Outdoor Heating

It is crucial to consider the power source of the outdoor heater and its manufacturing material. Be aware that outdoor gas heaters generally produce more heat than electric heaters but are slower in rising in temperature. On the other hand, electric outdoor heaters heat up nearly instantly. For materials, choose stainless steel if you live near the sea or in the mountains to protect against corrosion. Also, note that vertical heat tends to provide more comfort than horizontal units.

Radiation of Outdoor Heating

Different outdoor heaters have a specific range or heating area for which they. Let the surface or area you want to heat influence the choice of your outdoor heating: small garden furniture, dining terrace, large garden furniture, and so forth. For example, an outdoor gas heater is more suitable if the area to be heated is large. Guarantee your outdoor enjoyment by having a professional review your needs to see if a permanent installation (gas or electric) or a mobile option will better meet your needs.

Always remember to protect your outdoor heater from moisture, dust, rain, or ice. Visit your local patio or outdoor living specialty store to explore your options. If outdoor living is important to you, make sure to let your agent know so that homes with exterior entertainment space take priority in your viewing schedule.





Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 5/12/2020

If you find your dream house, you likely want to submit an offer to purchase this residence as soon as possible. That way, you can avoid the danger of losing your ideal residence to a rival homebuyer.

Although you may strive to quickly submit an offer to purchase your dream residence, it is important to allocate sufficient time to craft a competitive homebuying proposal. Ultimately, there are many reasons to be diligent as you prepare an offer to purchase, and these include:

1. You can avoid the risk of overpaying to acquire your dream house.

You want to buy your dream house, but at the same time, you don't want to pay too much for it. Fortunately, if you allocate time and resources to learn about a home's condition and the current state of the real estate market, you may be better equipped than ever before to submit a competitive offer to purchase.

Analyze a house's condition closely as you put together a property buying proposal. It often is beneficial to consider any potential home improvement projects as well.

Also, take a look at the prices of comparable houses in the same city or town as your dream residence. With this housing market data in hand, you can establish a price range for homes that are similar to your dream residence. Then, you can submit an offer to purchase that accounts for the present state of the housing market.

2. You can submit an offer to purchase that falls in line with a seller's expectations.

It usually is beneficial to consider the seller's perspective as you put together an offer to purchase. By doing so, you can craft a homebuying proposal that falls in line with a seller's expectations.

If you think about the seller's perspective, you may be able to avoid submitting a "lowball" offer to purchase. Because if you understand how a seller may perceive your homebuying proposal, you can submit a competitive offer to purchase that likely will make a positive impression on him or her.

3. You can increase the likelihood of receiving an instant "Yes" from a seller.

With a competitive offer to purchase, a seller may respond with an instant "Yes." As a result, if you craft a competitive homebuying proposal, you may be able to move forward with a home purchase and quickly acquire your dream residence.

As you navigate the real estate market and prepare an offer to purchase your dream house, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer honest, unbiased recommendations about how much you should offer to pay for a residence. And if your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase too.

Ready to make your homeownership dream come true? Collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can get the help you need to find your dream home and submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.




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Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 5/5/2020

You may take your front door for granted. Maybe you only use your front door occasionally when company comes or you have a gathering at your home. Itís amazing how much more curb appeal you can give to your home with a properly lit front door. Below, youíll find some tips to help you brighten your front door and the overall appeal of your home. 


Make Your Front Door Shine Through The Night


If you want your home to have curb appeal, you may think of the daylight hours. Sure, you want your home to look good during the day, but there are 24 hours! You can find plenty of ways that you can add nighttime curb appeal to your home with correct types of landscape lighting. Some ideas to help you highlight your front door can be found below:


Put a spotlight on the entryway


Using bold lighting like this can help you to enhance the features that are already present on the front of your home.     


Use sconce lighting

This type of lighting is easily mounted onto the side of walls or the side of your home. You can use these types of lights to add to the style of your home as they come in many different kinds from the stately to the fun and whimsical. These lights also provide quite a welcoming touch to the home.


Consider Lighting Your House Number


Wherever your house number is present, you should try to light it. This way, after daylight hours, guests can clearly see what house number is yours. You can do this with a lamp post or a spotlight depending on where you have your house numbers mounted. 


Use Lighting Variations


Just as you would on the inside of your home, the outside of your home should use variations of lighting. Use sconces for overhead lighting. Think of the lighting on the outside of your home based on the main types of lighting: task, decorative, ambient, and accent lighting. Using these basic design principles can help you to find where the need for light is in your yard.


Highlight Your Landscape


Your hard efforts at landscaping arenít just for the daylight hours. Use lighting in your yard as a way to highlight the beauty of your yard the whole day and night through. If you have particularly unique trees or bushes, or a nice statue in your yard, use lights to brighten the space and show off the best features that your yard has to offer.

When thinking of lighting your yard keep safety as your first priority and design as your second for a great outdoor lighting scheme.    





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