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Red Flags to Avoid when Buying a Home

June 9th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Property Guides

Buying a home takes a bit of consideration, particularly regarding red flags that can cause issues after your purchase. Among previously owned homes, studies show that nearly half of all houses sold have at least one major thing wrong with them. These issues can range in severity but anything that could potentially be wrong with a home should be checked out well before you buy.

Experts recommend that you have certain things checked out before you buy a home, particularly a home that has been lived in before. Environmental hazards are certainly something that you want to watch for. Things like asbestos, mold and lead paint are among the most commonly found issues that should throw up a red flag to anyone buying a previously owned home.

A home inspection is essential before you buy a home, even if that home is brand new and has never been lived in. During your own inspection of the property, look for things like moisture in the basement, separation or settling in chimney areas, foundation cracks and any issues involving the roof. A professional inspection will also be needed and this is something that home buyers should not forgo to save money. A professional home inspection can actually help you to save money by helping you to avoid buying a home that has major structural damage or other severe issues. Your inspector will look for things like insect infestation, electrical issues, plumbing problems and others that could cost you significantly to repair.

Anything that looks like it could be costly to repair should throw up a red flag, particularly if these issues are not included in your disclosure papers. If there are issues found, you can work that out in a number of different ways. The most common is to have the sellers leave enough money in the escrow account to cover paying for those repairs. The lender can also keep part of the loan amount from the seller in order to fund the repairs or the sellers could simply lower the price of the home to reflect the work that needs to be done.

Professional home inspections are not expensive. You can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $500 but this can be a very helpful expense to pay. Without a professional inspection, you may end up buying a home that needs so much work done that it makes it not at all worth the cost that you are paying. An inspection will tell you anything that needs to be done prior to your buying the home so you can decide if you feel that the cost of the home and the task of having repairs done are worth it.

Buying a home is not an easy process at times but if you take the initiative to ensure that everything that needs repaired is, the process can be a bit less difficult. Speak with the sellers whenever issues arise that need immediate attention to see how those repairs are going to be paid for before the sale goes through.

How to Decorate to Make Small Rooms Appear Larger

June 8th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Interior Design

There are a number of tricks and tips that can help you to give the illusion of a larger room. If you have a small bedroom, bathroom or even living room, you can easily give people the impression that the room is a bit larger than it actually is, simply by applying a few interior design tricks to your décor.

First, smaller rooms tend to look cluttered so it is important that you remove everything that you do not actually need in the room. Magazines, mail and other papers should be organized and put away somewhere out of sight if possible. Baskets are perfect for helping to organize papers. Pick up a few inexpensive baskets and store your mail and other important documents in those on shelves or anywhere that you have room. Keeping those papers and books from cluttering up tables will help to make the room seem a bit larger.

Larger furniture normally does not work well in smaller rooms. Choosing smaller furniture items is much better so if you can, move out larger pieces of furniture and replace them with smaller items. Sofas that have thinner arms as opposed to overly stuffed arms are a good choice for small rooms. Smaller beds without footboards are also good choices for small bedrooms. Vintage furniture tends to have a smaller appearance so if you can find vintage pieces, these will work great to give you more space in your small room and vintage furniture is typically relatively inexpensive.

One trick for making a small room appear larger is to avoid furniture with hidden legs. In the living room for instance, your sofa and chairs should have legs that show underneath as opposed to bulkier pieces that hide the legs. Beds should not have a dust ruffle unless of course you want to store things under the bed and hide them from view. Under bed storage is an excellent way to free up space so that the room is less cluttered but if you are not utilizing underneath the bed for storage, allow the floor to show. It will help the room look as if it has more space.

Mirrors are excellent for adding space that is not really there. Mirrors can be integrated into your design and the reflection gives the illusion of more space. The light that reflects off the mirrors will also help to expand the room so place them across from windows if possible or anywhere on the wall where light can reflect from them easily.

Finally, using lighter colors is best in small rooms. Darker colors tend to pull in the room and make it appear more crowded and small. Lighter colors will brighten up your room and give the appearance of much more space than you actually have.

Just a couple of these tips will help you to make your smaller rooms look larger. If you incorporate all of them, you may be surprised at just how much space your small room actually has.

Choosing a Neighborhood for Your New Home

June 6th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Property Guides

When it comes to buying a new home, choosing the right neighborhood is important. Choosing a neighborhood takes a bit of consideration. For instance, if you have children then you want to ensure that you live in a neighborhood that has good schools. Of course, there are other things that you will need to think about as well.

You want to be certain that the location of the neighborhood suits your needs. If you are looking for North Austin homes for sale for instance, then you will want to choose a neighborhood in the North Austin area. The property value of other homes in the area is a consideration as well. Property value of other homes will have a major impact on what you may be required to pay for your new home. If you are planning to live in an upscale neighborhood for instance, then you can expect to pay upscale prices.

When looking at homes, check to see what the crime rates are in the neighborhood in question. A high rate of crime is certainly not something that will make a home more appealing, although it could offer a lower price. The amount of traffic that comes and goes through the neighborhood may also be important to you. If you want an area that is relatively quiet and peaceful, you will not want something that has a high rate of traffic on a daily basis. It may be important to visit the home during different times of the day so that you can get an accurate account of traffic throughout the day and night.

Depending on your personal preferences, you may also want to think about the proximity of your new home to area hospitals, stores, grocers, your job and certain cultural activities like theaters and museums. There are a number of things to think about when buying a home. While you certainly want to ensure that the home itself is what you want and what you need, the location of the home and the neighborhood that you will be living in is equally as important.

Communities that are expected to become popular neighborhoods in the future can be very beneficial should you ever decide to sell your home. If you are not completely certain that this will be your home for the rest of your life, choosing a home that has a good selling potential is important. Homes in more desirable areas offer a better selling rate. They are easier to sell and allow you to recoup your costs of buying.

Choosing a neighborhood does not have to be difficult if you have in mind what you are looking for. If you have children, a neighborhood that is quite, close to quality schools and has other children may be a good choice. If you are retiring, a home in a neighborhood with other retirees may be what you want. Think about what you want in a home as well as in a neighborhood before you buy and take the time to look over both very carefully before you lay any money on the table.

Choosing a Good Home Inspector

May 26th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Property Guides

Once you have found the home that you want to buy, there are a few things that will need to be done before you can begin moving. One thing that you should be certain to do is to hire a home inspector to ensure that there are no serious issues with the home.

A home inspection is worth so much more than you may realize. Without it, you may find that there are serious problems with your new house that may cost you more than you want. Home inspections normally include looking at things like roofing, foundation, insulation, electrical systems and basements. This inspection can help to locate problems like leaky roofs, foundation cracks or settlements and other issues that could pose a serious problem down the road.

Finding a good inspector is not difficult but you have to keep a few things in mind. While your real estate agent could certainly point you in the right direction, experts recommend using someone that has no ties to you, the seller or your agent. This is because some less than reputable inspectors will simply tell you what you want to hear in order to help the real estate agent make a sale. You want someone who is going to be completely truthful and reliable where your home inspection is concerned.

Look in the yellow pages or online to find inspectors in your area. Speak with a few of them to narrow down your choices. Find out what specifically the inspection covers and ensure that the report you receive will meet the requirements for ASHI Standards of Practice. When speaking with home inspectors, find out how long they have been in business and how many homes they have inspected over the years. Make sure that you choose an inspector with experience in residential home inspections. If you come across and inspector with a construction company that offers to perform needed repairs on the home in question, it is better to pass them up and find someone else. This is because an inspector with a construction company could potentially tell you that there are problems with the home just to get a bit of business for the construction side of their company. Find an inspector that has absolutely nothing to gain from telling you about potential problems with the house.

Referrals are a good thing provided they come from the right place. You can ask friends or family members if they have used an inspector recently and if they thought they received good work. Someone who has recently bought or sold a home will be able to give you good insights on the inspector that they used. Remember that you want someone who is a neutral third party but someone who has a bit of experience as well. Someone who has just received their certification may not have the experience necessary to spot all potential problems. It is important that you do not get frustrated in your search. Remember that the inspection is essential to ensuring that you get a home that is worth the price.

Negotiating the Best Deal when Buying a Home

May 8th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Property Guides

The real estate market has changed much over the years. Given the economic turmoil of late, many people are a bit skeptical when it comes to buying a new home. While you may have found a home that you really like, paying for it can be a bit stressful, particularly if you feel that you are paying too much. It is important to know how to effectively negotiate with sellers so that you can ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your new home.

It is important that you do not try to lowball the seller. This can be very insulting and can cause them to simply look over your offer and opt for another. While you certainly want to get a fair price, you do not want to close the door on your home buying opportunity. Not everyone selling a home is in desperate need of money so keep your offer fair. Take some time to learn what the home is worth. You can do a bit of research online to find out what similar homes in the area are selling for and use this when you make an offer.

Find out why the seller is selling. If the home is being foreclosed upon or the seller is divorcing, recently unemployed or planning to move out of state quickly, you may be able to use this information to your advantage. Offering a few thousand dollars under the asking price is perfectly acceptable and if the seller is motivated for the right reasons, you may find your offer accepted rather quickly.

Most experts recommend making an offer after a home has been on the market for at least three months. After this amount of time, many sellers become a bit frustrated with the selling experience. They are tired of opening up their doors for potential buyers to walk through and are tired of keeping the home in pristine condition for viewings. Sellers after this time are often a bit more anxious to get the sale over with so you may find that they will accept a bit less than they are asking.

You are perfectly within your rights to request that the seller pay closing costs and this can actually be part of your negotiation tactics. If the seller will not budge on the asking price, ask for closing costs as an alternative. This 15 percent can really add up so you can end up saving much more by having the seller pay closing costs and giving them what they are asking for the home.

Remember that sellers are people, too. They want to sell their home and you want to buy it so you should actually be working together to come to an agreement. You can request that the seller pay for specific repairs or upgrades that need to be done but keep in mind that if they are selling due to money issues, what they pay for may be limited. Do your homework to find out what the house is actually worth and why they are selling it before you begin your negotiations.