Restoring A Patio On A Budget: 3 Simple Tips

Restoring A Patio On A Budget: 3 Simple TipsThere are lots of homeowners who are looking at their patio and are not satisfied with what they see. This is where it is important to think about ways to bring that patio back to life. Whether this means entertaining friends or simply relaxing with a cocktail and a book, there are a few easy ways to bring a patio back to life.

1. Target The Pests

There are lots of pests that like to make their homes in the patio. This might include debris that is brought in by the wind, critters that like to dig underneath the patio, or even kids’ toys. There are ways to prevent critters from making their homes in the patio. Simply place pine cones in the nearby area. This is far easier than using mulch. As for the kids’ toys, that sounds more like a parenting issue!

2. Add A Splash Of Color

One of the easiest tips that can bring a patio back to life is adding a splash of color. Instead of going with the boring brown patio, add some plants to bring some green to the porch. Then, throw in some colored furniture. Finish it off with a colorful umbrella and the patio will look like new!

3. Build A Fire Pit

Finally, those who want to host a party need to have a fire pit. A fire pit is one of the best ways to draw attention away from the patio itself. A mini fire pit acts as the focal point of the room while adding a bit more fun (and function) to the patio itself. This is a great place to roast a few hot dogs, make some smores, and host a party! Adding a fire pit to the patio is one of the top ways to take a sad patio and bring it back to life once again.

Restore An Old Patio With These Tips

A patio is meant to be a place where family members and friends come together to enjoy each other’s company. In order to bring a patio back to life, think about putting these tips to use. This will make the patio functional once again, making the porch the place to be.

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Buying A New Car Impacts The Ability To Buy A New Home

Buying A New Car Impacts The Ability To Buy A New HomeThose who are in the process of buying a new home need to be aware of some of the factors that might influence their ability to do so. Even though credit score, income, and assets will play major roles in whether or not someone might be approved for a loan, there are other factors that will play a role as well.

Buying a new car might even have an impact on the homebuying process.

Why is this the case?

The Debt Payments On The Car Will Play A Role

There are multiple ways to buy a car. Some people elect to pay cash for the entire vehicle. While this is a challenge for most families, this will prevent any new debt from being added to the family’s finances. At the same time, this could also reduce the amount of cash the family has on hand to put toward the new home.

Most families end up putting a down payment on a car and taking out a loan for the rest. While this is a financially responsible decision, this can also make it harder to purchase a new home. This is because the payments on the car are going to be added to the family’s existing debt. A potential lender is going to see these debt payments and reduce the amount of money they are willing to provide. This could make it hard for a family to purchase their dream home.

Factor In The Cost Of The Car

Those who need a new car need to factor the monthly cost of the car into the home buying equation. For example, if the monthly payments on the car are going to be $200, then this is $200 less that the family can afford for the mortgage payment. The same math has to be done by removing the down payment for the car from the potential down payment on the house.

Do The Math Carefully

People need cars to get around in most parts of the country. At the same time, the financially responsible decision is to take the cost of the car and deduct this from the assets that are available to pay for the home to avoid any surprises. The lender is going to do the same thing.

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4 Ways COVID-19 Has Had An Impact On The Home Lending Process

4 Ways COVID-19 Has Had An Impact On The Home Lending ProcessThe COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone and this includes the real estate industry. One of the biggest impacts that this pandemic has had involves the home lending process. Because many people are looking for ways to buy a home while engaging in proper social distancing measures, the industry has had to adapt. Learn more about some of the changes the COVID-19 pandemic has forced on the home lending process.

Homes Are Getting More Affordable

The demand for homes right now is high; however, homes are still more affordable than they have been in the past. Lenders are trying to find ways to encourage people to purchase homes because they have seen a drop in their business as well. As a result, many lenders are willing to provide potential homeowners with great offers and opportunities to purchase a dream home.

Online Applications Are Becoming More Common

Next, online applications are becoming more common as well. In order to help people buy a home while still engaging in social distancing, it is possible to complete the home application process online. This is usually provided through an intuitive system that provides clear instructions on what has to be submitted for the application process.

Buying Power Is Going Up

Because many homeowners and potential home buyers are realizing that now is a great time to buy, they are learning that they have a lot more power. They might be able to afford a larger home or carry out a home improvement project after buying their home. This provides more flexibility for homeowners.

Refinancing Is Becoming More Common

In addition to changes in the home buying process, there are changes taking place in refinancing as well. Many current homeowners are realizing that they have a unique opportunity right now as well. As a result, they are taking advantage of the opportunity to complete a refinancing deal to save money.

Home Lending Is Changing

These are just a few of the major changes that have taken place in the home lending process due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone who owns a home or is thinking about buying a home should consider looking at their available options as well. There could be opportunities to save money.

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Speeding Up the Close: Five Tips on How to Close Your Mortgage Loan Faster So You Can Start Moving In

Speeding Up the Close: Five Tips on How to Close Your Mortgage Loan Faster So You Can Start Moving InWhen a seller accepts an offer from a buyer, the process of obtaining the property has just begun. The buyer now has to conduct an inspection, get approval from an attorney and obtain a mortgage – all of which can be time consuming. Here are a few ways that you can speed up the mortgage process and close the deal sooner.

Make Sure That You Have Money For Closing Costs

Do you have the money needed for a down payment and to pay other closing and prepaid costs? If not, you won’t be able to close until you find the funds to pay those costs – and this could delay the closing on your home indefinitely. Before you arrange the mortgage, make sure you have enough cash on hand to pay closing costs.

Get Conditional Approval Before Making The Offer

If you have not been conditionally approved for a loan before making an offer, you can’t be sure that a lender will give you a loan for the amount of the purchase price. In addition, starting the process from scratch could push back the closing timeline. Having your mortgage conditionally approved means the mortgage process is already underway when you make your offer, which saves you time.

Have Your Documents Together

Get your bank statements, pay stubs and other documents together before the seller accepts your offer. Having everything that the lender needs right away decreases the time needed for a lender to assess your application before extending the loan.

Work With An Experienced Mortgage Lender

Your mortgage lender may be able to move everything along by staying on top of the loan approval process. By ensuring that documents are being processed in a timely manner, an experienced lender can reduce the closing time from months to weeks.

Create A Timeline For Repairs The Seller Is Obligated To Make

It is not uncommon for a seller to be obligated to fix certain issues with the house before the new owner takes possession. However, it is important to put these repairs the contract along with a mandatory completion date. Otherwise, the seller could drag his feet with no contractual obligation to finish any repairs before he sees fit to do so.

Closing on a home loan can take anywhere from 30 to 120 days depending on work that needs to be done on the home and how well prepared a buyer is. Contacting and working closely with your mortgage lender or broker can result in a speedy and painless close. Contact an experienced mortgage professional today for more information about closing a mortgage.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 14, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - September 14, 2020Last week’s economic news included readings on inflation, job openings, and weekly reports on jobless claims and mortgage rates.

Inflation Rate Slows in August

After posting 0.60 percent growth for each month in June and July, the Consumer Price Index rose by 0.40 percent in August. These growth rates offset declines in inflation during the first three months of the COVID-19  pandemic. Used vehicle prices increased after deep discounts offered when the pandemic started; analysts said that rising prices for used vehicles offset losses in previous months and produced low inflation for August.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, mirrored results for the Consumer Price Index with 0.40 percent growth in August as compared to 0.60 percent growth in consumer prices in July. Prices for items in high demand in the first months of the pandemic have stabilized as panic buying of paper goods and meat has subsided. 

July Job Openings Increase; Labor Market Remains Uncertain

617,000 jobs were added in July as compared to 600,000 jobs added in June. Hiring fell in July to a pace of 5.80 million hires as compared to nearly seven million hires in June. Job openings rose by 617,000 job openings to 6.60 million openings in July. Analysts said that seven million jobs were added per month before the pandemic.

Mortgage Rates Fall to Record Low, Jobless Claims Hold Steady

Freddie Mac reported record low fixed mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.86 percent and were seven basis points lower. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.37 percent and were five basis points lower. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by 11 basis points to an average of 3.11 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims were unchanged from last week’s reading of 884,000 new claims filed. Continuing jobless claims rose to 13.39 million from the prior week’s reading of 13.29 million ongoing claims filed. 

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions, reports on housing starts, and building permits issued The University of Michigan will issue its Consumer Sentiment Index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

 

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3 Handy Tips That Will Prevent Serious Stress when Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time

3 Handy Tips That Will Prevent Serious Stress when Buying and Selling a Home at the Same TimeIf you’re in the process of simultaneously buying and selling a home, you may be in for the most stressful experience of your life. One UK-based real estate survey of over two thousand people found that buying and selling a house is more stressful than divorce, bankruptcy, a death in the family, becoming a parent for the first time, and even planning a wedding!

It’s not easy, but staying calm will help you to plan for your upcoming home purchase and sale and make the process easier. So how can you avoid the stress? Here are three strategies that will keep you calm, no matter what may happen.

Have A Thorough Plan In Place…

Much of the stress that you’ll experience will probably be the result of poor planning. You may feel stressed if you don’t have enough time to move or if you have to pay mortgages on two homes because your old home isn’t selling fast enough.

Before you get too far into the buying and selling process, talk with a real estate agent and ensure you have a solid plan in place for how you’ll manage buying and selling at the same time. Leave a time and expense buffer for unexpected complications – even if nothing goes wrong, it’s still nice to know you have some room to work with.

…But Be Ready To Improvise If Things Go Sideways

There are a number of ways that buying and selling at the same time might result in complications. Poor timing might mean you need to move out before you have a home to move into, or it might mean you don’t have the money for your new home if your old home hasn’t sold. Be prepared to rent a hotel room, take out a short-term loan, or move your belongings into storage if the sale doesn’t go according to plan.

Talk Out Your Problems With Loved Ones

In times of stress, it’s helpful to turn to friends and family for a helping hand. Studies have shown that having a strong social support network can mitigate the effects of stress, and even the Mayo Clinic suggests reaching out to loved ones when you feel overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for emotional support, and whenever you have an opportunity to socialize, take it – you’ll find it easier to handle stress after a fun night out with friends.

Buying and selling a home at the same time is bound to be stressful, but an experienced real estate agent can minimize the agony. Call a real estate agent near you to learn how you can successfully buy and sell a home at the same time.

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Does Your Home Have What Buyers Are Interested In?

Does Your Home Have What Buyers Are Interested In?If you are looking to sell a home in the current market, then you know that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many people look at the world and this includes their home.

Therefore, buyers need to think about whether or not their homes have what buyers are looking for. While this is a hot market and sellers could quickly end up with multiple offers for their homes, they are more likely to get a higher offer if their home has one of the key features that buyers in today’s market will love.

A Home Office

Without a doubt, this is one of the most popular features today. With the pandemic changing the way people work, workers are spending more time at home than ever before. Everyone is looking for a way to be productive at home and this means having a home office. A home office is essential because it gives those working remotely with a place where they can seclude themselves in their own home and be productive. At the same time, if there is an emergency, they can still respond quickly. Buyers today are looking for a home office.

More Space To Accommodate

Lots of families are looking for ways to accommodate their loved ones and this means more space. For example, many schools are still operating virtually. This means that the kids are at home during the day and will need their space. In addition, elderly individuals are particularly vulnerable in today’s environment, so many families have welcomed their elderly family members as well. Homes with the space to accommodate these desires are going to be more popular.

Powerful Internet Access

While this is something that can be adjusted if necessary, powerful internet access is important. Think about everyone who is going to be putting a drain on the home’s internet connection. People are streaming TV more than ever. Kids need to be able to pay attention to their lectures. Those working from home are going to have video conferences. Having strong internet access is a must.

Sell A Home With These Features

Anyone who is looking to get the most for their home should keep these features in mind. They can drive up a home’s value in the current market.  

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You May Need More Than You Think To Buy Your First Home

You May Need More Than You Think To Buy Your First HomeThose who are thinking about buying their first home soon are likely saving up for a down payment. This can be a challenging process because, for many people, this is the largest amount of money they have ever saved in their lives. Sadly, the amount that people might need to buy their first home is more than they think.

There are numerous other costs that go along with buying and maintaining a home. As a result, people need to save up more than they think. Even for starter homes that are usually less expensive than family homes, there are numerous costs that need to be included.

Think about a home that is $250,000. A 20 percent down payment is $50,000. That is already a lot of money. Even for those who might try to get away with a 10 percent down payment, that is still $25,000. That is enough money to buy a very nice car. Where do these other expenses come from?

Buying A Home Has Other Costs

There are other costs that go along with buying a home. For example, there are closing costs that accompany this process. This could be thousands of dollars. In addition, there might be points due at signing and origination fees that accompany the process of taking out a loan. Of course, people could avoid these costs by buying the house in cash; however, for most people, this is simply not realistic.

Furnishing A New Home

On top of this, there are costs that come with furnishing a new home. Think about how much money coffee tables, dressers, desks, beds, and wardrobes cost. This might also include new kitchen appliances, a washer, a dryer, and more. All of these need to be included when trying to figure out the cost of a new home.

Take Advantage Of Low Mortgage Rates

It is possible for people to save up enough money to buy their first home. They simply need to keep a few tips in mind. First, take advantage of low mortgage rates. Use this to avoid PMI, origination fees, and points. Then, find ways to reduce moving costs. Bring old furniture to the new home and try to make sure that all appliances are up to date to avoid repair bills. This will make a new home more affordable.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 8, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - September 8, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on construction spending and labor sector reports on public and private sector jobs. The national unemployment rate was also reported. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.

July Construction Spending Rises

Construction spending rose from June’s seasonally adjusted annual pace of  $1.363 billion to $1,365 billion in July. The U.S. Census Department reports construction spending and readings are subject to adjustment. Growth in construction spending is due to a demand for homes in less congested areas.COVID-19 is creating more demand for larger homes that accommodate working from home.

Mortgage Rates Mixed as Jobless Claims Fall

Mortgage rate activity was mixed last week amid incremental changes. Freddie Mac reported that rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose two basis points to 2.93 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by four basis points to 2.42 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 2.93 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New and continuing jobless claims fell last week. 881,000 initial jobless claims were filed last week as compared to 1.01 million first-time claims filed the prior week.13.25 million continuing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to Ongoing jobless claims were lower last week with 13.250 million claims filed as compared to 14.490 million ongoing unemployment claims filed during the prior week. Falling jobless claims indicate strengthening economic conditions as businesses reopen and employers rehire former employees and add new employees.

Jobs Growth Reports Mixed, National Unemployment Rate Falls

ADP reported 428,000  private-sector jobs added in August as compared to July’s reading of 212,000 jobs added. The Commerce Department’s Non-Farm Payrolls report showed 1.37 public and private-sector jobs.added in August as compared to 1.73 million jobs added in July. Analysts said that looming layoffs in airlines and travel sectors could slow job growth. The national unemployment rate fell to 8.40 percent in August from July’s reading of 10.20 percent.

 Based on these readings, the economy is rebounding from the impacts of COVID-19, but analysts were cautious as the three-day Labor Day weekend approached. COVID-19 cases rose after the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays. Increasing cases of COVID-19 could cause state and local governments to impose restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus. 

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include reports on inflation and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

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How to Get Stains & Grease Off Of Walls

How to Get Stains & Grease Off WallsStains are common issues faced by homeowners; however, when the stains involve the walls, this can be a difficult challenge. Stains and grease are a much tougher challenge than dust and cobwebs. That is why there are specialized methods that help remove grease and stains from walls.

Remove Grease From Kitchen Walls

Grease is one of the most common occupational hazards of cooking. While grease can prevent foods from sticking to pots and pans, this can be a real challenge if it ends up on the kitchen walls.

Fortunately, there is dish soap that can strip the grease right off of the walls. In order to use dish soap to remove grease from kitchen walls, take a quarter tsp of dish soap, mix it with one cup of warm water, and wipe the grease off the walls. Then, rinse the solution from the wall with cool water and blot the wall until it is dry.

If the grease is particularly stubborn, use the same method with a 1/3 cup of white vinegar and 2/3 cup of water.

Remove Dirt And Grime From The Walls

If there are dirt and grime that has to be removed from the walls, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, there are wall erasers that might do the trick. This could be easier than preparing a solution.

Those who would like to use a mixed solution can make a cleaning product from a few common household ingredients. Mix a cup of ammonia with a ½ cup of white vinegar, a ¼ cup of baking soda, and a gallon of warm water. Just be aware that the fumes from some of these products can be pungent. Then, wipe the solution all over the walls using a sponge. Finally, rinse the solution from the wall with warm water.

Permanent Marker Stains

Finally, permanent marker stains can be particularly challenging. Take a cotton ball, mix it with rubbing alcohol, and dab it on the stain. If this doesn’t work, think about using hairspray. Either of these techniques can do the trick.

These are a few great methods that can help remove some challenging stains from the walls. In some cases, the walls can look like new.

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