Our Real Estate Blog
The cost of buying a house extends beyond a seller's initial asking price. In fact, there are many "hidden" costs that buyers need to consider as they decide whether to purchase a house, such as:
1. Closing Costs
There are various closing costs that a buyer may encounter before he or she finalizes a house purchase, including survey, appraisal and wire transfer fees. As such, it generally is a good idea to prepare for these costs prior to launching a house search. Because if you prepare for closing costs, you can ensure that you have the finances available to cover these expenses when you are ready to complete a house purchase.
Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions prior to starting a home search. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage and teach you about home closing costs. Best of all, after you get a mortgage, you can start your home search with the financing you need to secure your ideal residence.
2. Property Taxes
Property taxes usually are assessed twice a year, and they vary based on state and county. However, if you learn about property taxes, you can map out your homebuying budget accordingly.
Real estate property tax information is part of the public record. Thus, you can access information about property taxes related to a particular home before you purchase it. And once you have this information at your disposal, you can use it to determine whether to move forward with a house purchase or continue your search for your dream home.
Utility bills vary based on the size of a home, its location and other factors. If you devote time and resources to estimate your utility expenses, you may be better equipped than ever before to make an informed home purchase.
To assess your potential utility costs, you may want to consult with a seller's agent. This professional may be able to provide you with insights into the current homeowner's utility expenses to help you budget appropriately.
It never hurts to hire a real estate agent to help you navigate the homebuying journey, too. A real estate agent can offer expert insights into closing costs, property taxes and other homebuying fees, as well as help you quickly discover your dream residence.
Let's not forget about the comprehensive homebuying guidance that a real estate agent can provide, either. For instance, if you are unsure about whether to submit an offer to purchase a house, a real estate agent can offer recommendations and tips to help you make the best-possible decision. Or, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.
For those who want to buy a house, it helps to learn about all of the potential costs associated with a home purchase. If you start budgeting for a home purchase today, you could accelerate your quest to find and buy your ideal residence.
Plants and flower pots can be heavy items to move around. The good news is you can eliminate the trouble with a rolling plant caddy. You can build one yourself using rustic wood or precut pieces from your local home store.
Stability is the key here. Plan to build the caddy large enough so that your largest potted plant will fit on top. When you choose the wheels, be sure they are big enough to manage any terrain in your yard or patio. Larger wheels tend to be more stable. Consider wheels with a locking option for added safety.
Shapes and Styles
As many planters are round, a round platform works nicely but as long as the flat surface you work with fits the pot you're using with it, any shape can work. Most hardware stores sell pre-cut wood circles ranging in sizes. These often come with smoothly finished sides that look nice with or without additional paint or stain.
Craft stores and superstores sell standard-sized wooden crates, which might work as the top of your caddy if all your planters will fit inside. You may want to use the whole crate or trim the sides down so you won’t have to lift planters as high.
If either of the above options is appealing to you, you'll just need 4 casters and Step 5 of the following project. If you'd prefer to tailor your caddy to a specific size you can build a simple rustic wood square or rectangle with just a few materials. Here's an example that results in a 10-inch rolling caddy
2 10-inch lengths of 1X4
5 10-inch lengths of 1X2
4 casters or wheels of your choice
- Lay the 2 1X4 pieces next to each other on a flat surface. They should be parallel to each other with about 2 inches of space between them.
- Next, evenly place the 1X2 pieces on top of the 1X4s, they should be perpendicular to the Pieces from Step 1.
- Secure the pieces with wood screws and wood glue for extra strength. Allow the glue to dry completely.
- If you want to add some color to your project, paint or stain the caddy and allow the finish to dry completely.
- Flip the project over so that the 1X2 section is touching the table. Place a wheel in each corner and secure to the 1X4 sections with screws.
That's it! This plant caddy will surely come in handy. Apply lubricant to the wheels every so often and it should last a long time!
When we’re trying to find a new home and planning for the changes that will come with moving, it can seem daunting to also have to think about how you’re going to sell your old home.
Everyone has their own unique situation that they’ll have to account for when selling. Some people choose to buy a new home and move in before selling their old home. For others, this isn’t always possible and they have to rent or stay with family while they wait to close on their new house.
Regardless of your circumstances, there are a few things you can do to make the process of selling your home easier. In today’s post, we’ll teach you how to do just that.
1. Make a timeline
Undoubtedly, you’re going to have a lot going on in your life when selling your home. To keep yourself on track, work with your real estate agent to establish a timeline for accomplishing everything you need to do.
This will help you avoid feeling rushed when it comes to completing the tasks on your list. Whether that includes cleaning, packing, preparing documents, or popping the champagne bottle after your sale, it always pays to have a schedule.
To make this process even easier, be sure that you and your spouse/family are working on the same schedule so that everyone is on the same page.
2. Pack and store
When you’re showing your home to potential buyers, you don’t want it to be cluttered with your personal belongings. Furthermore, all of those belongings will soon have to be packed and transported anyway.
To save yourself time and to increase the appeal of your home while it’s on the market, pack up your items by room and store them until you’re ready to move.
You can do this by renting a storage unit or just packing things neatly in your basement until you can move.
3. Make minor repairs now
Before ever putting your home on the market, it’s a good idea to do a thorough walkthrough of the home to check for small issues that you either haven’t noticed or have been putting off.
When a potential buyer visits your home, you can be sure that they’ll be looking for signs that the how was well-maintained. This is your chance to prove that you’ve been staying on top of things around the house.
Making these repairs in advance if selling your home will relieve some of the workload and stress you’ll be feeling once you get closer to selling.
4. Be available
This last step can be the hardest, especially if you and your spouse work full-time and have children with obligations like sports.
Your real estate agent will do most of the work for you when it comes to showing and preparing the home. However, it’s vital that you’re available to respond quickly at key times. This means answering any questions your agent has for you, gathering paperwork when it’s needed, and discussing offers when they’re made.
If you can pull of these four steps, you’ll be in good shape to sell your home quickly, ensuring a smooth sale and transition for you and your family.
Restoring native habitat to our surroundings is like pressing the "refresh" button on biodiversity. Homeowners who embrace native gardening are making big contributions to healthy landscapes, which is great for maintaining the native ecosystems.
Making a Difference—Beautifully
Native plants are the greenery that would grow in certain areas with or without human intervention. These plants evolved along with the rest of the living community in the same area, meaning native, dynamic gardening brings in more than plants. It buzzes with life and energy, above and below the soil - from flitting birds to pollinating insects.
The impact of native plant species on even a small stretch of land is impressive. Areas where oak trees thrive, for example, can sustain about a hundred times the diversity as other types of nursery trees. This is all due to the fact that the oak is the native tree of the land and has a built-in capacity for the surrounding ecosystems.
What's more, native gardens produce beautiful flowers, abundant fruits, and lovely, ever-changing seasonal displays of subtle and vibrant hues. They produce the age-old foods of a local area's wildlife. The nectar attracts pollinators, such as bats and hummingbirds.
Payoffs of Native Gardening
You can re-do your garden completely and go 100% native— or choose to implement a majority of native plants with a few accented implants. You could also gradually transform your garden by bringing a few native plants yearly into what you already have. This is called "conservation by addition."
Either way, native plants in a landscape or garden take about as much effort as establishing other plants you might buy from a market or nursery. Yet after their roots take hold, native plants can flourish with surprisingly little gardening work.
Indigenous plants have evolved to do well in the local weather and soil. This means they rarely need extra resources or sprinkler systems for support. Great news for water bills! No matter what size your garden project, your native garden can help save water and key resources.
Plus, oaks, maples, and other native trees to your region work efficiently to hold in carbon dioxide while replenishing precious oxygen. These trees continually add shade, beauty, and pure, refreshed air to your surroundings.
Ready to Give It a Go?
Visit natural areas around you. This will give you ideas about what will fit in well on your property. Use your zip code to find local plants that will delight your local birds and bees.
Contact other gardeners in your area for advice. Social media is another great source of tips.
Then enjoy learning, and celebrating the natural character of the land on which you live.
Want to relocate to a condo? Buying a condo can be an uphill climb, particularly for homebuyers who are browsing the real estate market for the first time. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who will allocate the necessary time and resources to ensure you can find a top-notch condo in no time at all.
Ultimately, hiring the right real estate agent to assist you during your condo search can be easy. Here are three questions that you should ask a real estate agent before you hire him or her to guide you during your condo search:
1. How have you helped condo buyers in the past?
Ask a real estate agent about his or her past experience with condo buyers – you'll be glad you did. With this information at your disposal, you can find out how a real estate professional collaborates with condo buyers to help them achieve their goals.
A real estate agent should be a good communicator, i.e. someone who keeps condo buyers informed at each stage of the condo buying journey. That way, this real estate professional will keep you up to date about new condos as they become available and ensure you can find a great condo at a budget-friendly price.
When in doubt, be sure to ask for client referrals too. By doing so, you can reach out to a real estate agent's past clients to learn about their condo buying experiences.
2. How do you approach difficult situations?
Unfortunately, the condo buying journey sometimes can be filled with roadblocks along the way. For real estate agents, it is important to remain calm, cool and collected in these situations and do everything possible to limit their impact.
Ask a real estate agent to share details about past condo buying experiences that did not necessarily go according to plan. This will provide you with insights into how a real estate agent approaches unforeseen circumstances and whether he or she can thrive under pressure.
A real estate professional with condo buying experience should do whatever it takes to help his or her client get the best results possible. With this real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble securing your dream condo, regardless of the challenges that you encounter along the way.
3. Why should I hire you?
There is no right or wrong answer as to why you should hire a real estate agent to help you find a condo. For many condo buyers, it is a gut feeling. Meanwhile, other property buyers will choose a real estate professional based solely on his or her education and past successes.
As a condo buyer, it is important to employ a real estate agent who you will feel comfortable working with at all times. This real estate professional should be happy to help you in any way possible and respond to your condo buying concerns and queries. In addition, he or she will go the extra mile to ensure you can buy a terrific condo that matches or exceeds your expectations.