Our Real Estate Blog
If you’re looking to save more energy and money around your home, perhaps one of the first places that you should look is your plugs. Take a look around your rooms and see what outlets are being used. If every outlet is full of plugs, you may have some adjustments to make.
There are so many things in our homes that require plugs including TV’s, microwaves, toasters, clocks, refrigerators, phone chargers, and more.
Anything that is always plugged in actually adds to your electric bill whether you’re using it or not. This is known as phantom power usage. Even when a device isn’t turned on, it’s still using energy.
You don’t want to go around your home and unplug everything, only to plug it back in when you need to use it. Use this handy guide to discover what you should unplug and what you can leave plugged in your home in order to save some energy and some money.
What To Unplug
Large appliances in your kitchen would be impractical to constantly plug in and unplug. Smaller appliances, however, are much easier to manage. These include toasters, coffee makers, food processors, and microwaves. The small digital clocks on many of these devices, for example, are constantly using energy. Do you really need the function? If you don’t need to know the time, you should just unplug it and save your home some energy usage.
We need to charge just about all of our devices including laptops, iPads, phones, and even electric toothbrushes. these items don’t need to be plugged in all the time. Once a device is charged fully, be sure to unplug it. It’s only wasting energy otherwise!
Unplug your computer each and every night. Screen savers and sleep modes don’t actually save much power from being used while your computer is plugged in. It’s a good idea to keep your computer unplugged for safety reasons as well. A strike of lighting hitting, for example, can cause your entire system to fry.
Keep These Items Plugged In
There are certain items that you can leave plugged in at your home without worry. These items include:
- Power strips
- Nondigital items
- Items without clock or LCD displays
Power strips are particularly useful for items like entertainment centers and computer setups. Flipping the switch to the off position on the power strip helps to stop the phantom power usage. The convenient thing is that you won’t need to plug and unplug everything in individually, and you’ll still save power.
Saving energy and money is easy when you have the right strategies put in place.
Believe it or not, even a first-time homebuyer can become a property buying expert. If you plan ahead for the homebuying journey, you can quickly and easily navigate the path from homebuyer to homeowner.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you master the homebuying journey.
1. Create Homebuying Criteria
If you know you want to buy a home in the foreseeable future, it generally is a good idea to create property buying criteria. That way, you'll know what you want to find in your dream residence and can map out your home search accordingly.
For instance, if you prefer big city life, you may want to hone your house search to a select group of cities. On the other hand, if you want to own a house that offers a large backyard and an in-ground swimming pool, you may want to search for homes that fall in line with your expectations.
2. Get Home Financing
As a homebuyer, you likely will need to secure a mortgage so you can acquire your dream residence. Fortunately, there is no shortage of banks and credit unions across the United States that are happy to help you obtain home financing.
Take a look at the mortgage options available from a variety of banks and credit unions – you'll be happy you did. By conducting an in-depth evaluation of your home financing options, you can make an informed mortgage selection.
Of course, home financing can be complicated. And if you have any concerns or questions, don't hesitate to ask a bank or credit union for assistance. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable home financing specialists, and these professionals can provide mortgage insights you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
If you're unsure how you'll navigate the homebuying journey, there is no need to worry. Dozens of real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can offer comprehensive homebuying insights.
For those who want to master the homebuying journey, it often is beneficial to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can teach you about different aspects of the homebuying journey. Plus, he or she is ready to provide homebuying recommendations and suggestions as you search for your ideal residence.
In addition, a real estate agent offers extensive assistance at each stage of the homebuying journey. From the moment you start your home search to the moment you finalize your home purchase agreement, a real estate agent is available to help. Best of all, a real estate agent will help you alleviate stress as you consider houses and ensure you can make the best-possible home purchase decision.
As you get set to enter the real estate market, you should strive to become a homebuying expert. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can master the homebuying journey and discover and buy your dream residence in no time at all.
Owning a second home or vacation home is the dream of many Americans hoping to retire in style. However, owning a second home can also be a huge financial asset and even an added form of income if you’re savvy with the rental process.
What stops most of us from buying a vacation home in our ideal getaway? The funding, of course. But, there are ways to plan ahead to ensure you’ll be ready to take the plunge and purchase a second home when the time comes.
In today’s blog post, we’re going to be talking about the steps to buying a home away from home and give you some tip on how to accomplish this goal in the most financially-sensible way possible.
1. Location is Key
When you buy a second home, you take on all the responsibilities of homeownership a second time. Since you won’t be around every day to tend to maintenance tasks and troubleshoot problems, you risk discovering costly repairs that could otherwise be avoided.
The most common issues to be concerned with are frozen pipes in northern climates, flooding in coastal areas, and problems like pests that can be found just about anywhere.
Depending on your budget, you might want a home you can drive out to on the weekends, meaning somewhere close by to your primary home. This option also makes it easier to stay up-to-date on home maintenance tasks before they become an issue.
2. Try before you buy
If your ideal vacation home is in an area you’re not totally familiar with, it’s a good idea to visit the neighborhood, talk to the locals, and gain their perspective on the area before buying.
This trip will also give you a sense of what you can expect to spend each time you visit the home. And, if you plan on renting out the property when you aren’t using it, you’ll be able to gauge what a reasonable rent price is for the location.
3. Earning income from your vacation home
Making extra cash from a home that you get to use pretty much whenever you want. Sounds like a dream, right? It can be if done properly, but you’ll need to ensure a few things before you can start earning income from your vacation property.
First, be aware that investment properties often require a larger down payment (typically 30%). Lenders also charge extra interest on homes that will be rented out.
Finally, there are local and state-level laws you’ll need to adhere to. These laws are designed to protect your interests as well as the people who rent out your property, so make sure you use a standard rental agreement for your area.
4. Making an offer
You’ve been here before. Once you’ve decided on a home, it’s time to start crafting your offer and negotiating with the seller’s agent.
However, before you pick a number, do some research on all of the expenses you’ll be paying on the house in question. Property taxes, homeowners association dues, utilities, and any other costs should be on your radar before determining if it’s the right home for your budget.
You’ll also want to be aware of the stipulations of renting out a property you own. This includes reporting income from renting your home to the IRS.
Now that you know the steps you’ll need to take to move toward your goal of buying a vacation home, you’ll be better equipped to make decisions that are best for you and your family’s future.
Purchasing a condo should be fast and easy. However, negotiations with a condo seller can quickly become stressful and may put your chances to acquire your dream condo in danger.
Lucky for you, we're here to help you simplify the process of negotiating with a condo seller to ensure you can purchase your ideal property.
Here are three tips to help you navigate tough negotiations with a condo seller.
1. Consider the Condo Seller's Perspective
Think about the condo seller's perspective and try to find common ground with this individual. By doing so, you and the condo seller may be able to agree to terms that meet the needs of both sides.
When you initially submit an offer on a condo, ensure your proposal accounts for the condo's condition and the current state of the real estate market. That way, you'll be able to avoid the risk of submitting a "lowball" offer that falls below a condo seller's expectations.
Also, maintain open lines of communication throughout the negotiation process. This will allow you to listen to a condo seller's concerns and respond accordingly.
2. Collect Plenty of Housing Market Data
If a condo seller believes you are unwilling to pay a sufficient price for his or her condo, it is always a good idea to present housing market data to back up your offer.
Explore the housing market closely to learn about the prices of comparable condos in nearby cities and towns. This will allow you to see how a particular condo stacks up against similar properties in terms of price and condition.
In addition, check out the prices of recently sold condos in your area to identify housing market patterns and trends. With this real estate market information at your disposal, you'll be able to make an informed decision about whether to continue to negotiate with a condo seller or consider other properties.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent will negotiate with a condo seller on your behalf. Therefore, he or she will help you minimize the stress and anxiety that is commonly associated with condo negotiations.
Typically, a real estate agent will submit an offer on a condo and wait to hear back from a condo seller. If a condo seller decides to negotiate, a real estate agent will work with you throughout the negotiation process.
A real estate agent will listen to your condo buying concerns and questions and respond immediately. He or she also will provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you make informed decisions during negotiations with a condo seller. This real estate professional will even share your concerns with a condo seller to help you get the best results possible.
When it comes to a negotiating with a condo seller, there is no need to worry. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can take the guesswork out of condo negotiations. And ultimately, you may be able to move one step closer to buying a condo that meets or exceeds your expectations.