Buying Land to Build a New Home On? Don’t Forget These Three Important Considerations

Buying Land to Build a New Home On? Don't Forget These Three Important ConsiderationsWhen most people talk about real estate, they envision buying an already-built house on already-landscaped property. However, buying vacant land and building a new home is a great way to ensure that you get the home that you want in the location that you want.

It’s also a major undertaking, which is why you should take these three considerations into account before you buy any land for your new home.

Location, Location, Location: It’s More Important Than You Think

People often hear the phrase “location, location, location” and it’s a very prudent maxim with buying land. The parcel of land that you buy should be in a good geographic location and on stable ground – which means there shouldn’t be any major water sources nearby (like a swamp) and hills should be minimal. You’ll also want to consider zoning regulations that influence the acreage and other regulations that influence how you can and cannot use the land.

Utility Connections Will Be Your Responsibility

New land tends to not have utilities laid out under or over the ground. If this is the case, you will need to invest in electrical, water, and possibly heat utilities for the home.

This process involves communicating between the municipal government and utility companies so that the proper infrastructure is put in place. These costs and the implementation can be quite a headache depending on how isolated the land is from municipal or regional infrastructure.

Access: Look Up Any Easements on the Land

Many homeowners may not realize how legal access to land can affect their purchase. An easement refers to the legal right of other entities to use your land even though they do not own it. Before you buy land, you and your lawyer should investigate whether or not the land has easements, and whether or not these easements may interfere with your goals for the property.

These are just a few of the major considerations you need to make when you buy land. Purchasing a plot of land is quite a bit more complicated than buying a house, and if you’re not prepared, it can easily turn into a nightmare. When properly planned, though, buying land can give you a great backdrop on which to build the house of your dreams.

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Should You Buy A Fixer Upper?

Should You Buy A Fixer Upper?If you’ve expressed any interest in buying a home that you can work on, your real estate agent may present you with one or two fixer upper properties for your consideration. Fixer upper homes can offer good value for certain kinds of homebuyers.

But not everyone should buy a fixer upper. Here are some considerations to keep in mind.

There May Be Unforeseen Conditions

Until you actually get in there and start renovating, you cannot know exactly what is behind those walls. Fixer uppers could have unforeseen conditions that could blow away your renovation budget.

If you do decide to forge ahead with an offer, consider hiring a structural engineer, a pest control technician and a mold expert to carefully inspect the property first.

Will You Be Able To Live There During Renovations?

Sometimes a fixer upper requires a complete overhaul. Other times there are a few inhabitable rooms you can stay in while completing the rehab.

Consider whether you and/or your family can be comfortable during the work, or if you will need to rent an apartment or stay with family.

This will heavily impact your fixer upper experience.

How Handy Are You – Honestly?

This is the time to be really honest with yourself. How much of the work can you actually do? Are you a wannabe handyman, or do you truly possess the skills and experience to complete quality work? If everyone you know is astonished that you want to work on a fixer upper house, it is a smart idea to take stock of your abilities. 

Can You Afford To Hire Workers?

Just because you buy a fixer upper does not mean you have to do the work yourself, either. Maybe you have the money to hire a contractor or workers to get the job done. If hiring others is part of the plan, make sure you budget accordingly. Do not forget to budget for the unexpected because with a fixer upper, you can expect the unexpected.

Finally, if the only house you can afford is a fixer upper and you really want to buy now, then maybe you should go for it. After all, when you finish the rehab, you could be in a position to take some equity out of the house after a new appraisal.

For the right person in the right circumstances, a fixer upper can be a viable choice.


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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 20, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 20, 2020Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of  Home Builders on housing markets along with Commerce Department data on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and unemployment claims were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence in Housing Markets Increases in July

Homebuilders gained confidence in housing market conditions as home buyers sought homes in less-congested suburban areas. Builder confidence rose 14 points to an index reading of 72 in July. NAHB Chair Chuck Fowke said, “Builders are seeing strong traffic and lots of interest in new construction as existing home inventory remains lean.”

Homebuyers sought larger homes to accommodate work-at-home needs and also fled from urban congestion posing hazards due to Covid-19. Robert Dietz, chief economist for NAHB said, “Flight to the suburbs is real.” This trend benefits home builders, who must meet buyer demand.

Inventories of pre-owned homes remained low and improved builder outlook on current sales of single-family homes by 16 points to an index reading of 79.

Builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months rose seven points to 75 and builder confidence in buyer traffic rose 15 points to 58. Index readings over 50 indicate positive market conditions.

Commerce Department readings for June housing starts and building permits issued were higher than in May. 1.19 million housing starts were reported on a seasonally adjusted annual basis as compared to May’s reading of 1.01 million housing starts. 1.24 million building permits were issued in June on a seasonally adjusted annual basis as compared to May’s reading of 1.22 million permits issued.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported the lowest mortgage rates in 50 years last week;  the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell five basis points to 2.98 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell three basis points to 2.48 percent; rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose four basis points to 3.06 percent on average Analysts said that as low mortgage rates encouraged would-be buyers to enter the market, increasing cases of COVID-19 in some areas could cause markets to cool as fears of layoffs and unemployment impact real estate markets.

New and continuing jobless claims fell last week but remained much higher than pre-COVID-19 readings. 1.30 million initial jobless claims were filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.31 million new claims. Continuing jobless claims fell to 17.30 million claims as compared to the previous weekly reading of 18.10 million ongoing jobless claims.

What’s Ahead

Readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes will be released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and unemployment claims.

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Get Your Finances In Order With A Few Simple Steps

Get Your Finances In Order With A Few Simple StepsIf you are looking to buy a home one day but don’t think you are ready just yet, you are not alone. One of the most important tasks that you have to complete involves getting your finances in order.

There are a few ways to get your finances in order before you buy, no matter how long you have been waiting to buy a home. Getting your finances in order with these simple steps can help you become a more competitive applicant both for a mortgage and a home that is on the market.

Focus On Your Credit Score

While it is true that your credit doesn’t have to be perfect in order to get a home, a strong credit score will increase your chances of getting approved. In addition, a great credit score can also help you get a lower interest rate on your mortgage.

Some of the ways that you can improve your credit score include disputing errors that might be on your report, reducing your debt, producing a long track record of on-time payments, and avoiding late payments. All of this will help you get ready to apply for a mortgage.

Open A Bank Account For Homeownership

The cost of a home is far more than a down payment and mortgage bills. The reality is that owning a home comes with a variety of expenses for which you must be prepared. Therefore, it is a prudent idea to open a bank account that is solely for homeownership expenses. This account should contain a variety of funds including those for utilities, maintenance, landscaping costs, and even renovation expenses. This will help you visualize the amount of money that you have set aside.

Calculate The Budget

Finally, it is also smart to calculate a budget for the home. Some of the factors that are going to play a role in the sticker price of a home include the down payment, closing costs, and potential taxes. For help with this calculation, it is a smart idea to meet with a trained mortgage professional.

Prepare To Buy A Home

These are a few of the steps that you should follow to get your finances in order. These steps will make you a more competitive applicant for a mortgage.

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Three Key Tips for Assessing Value To Find Out How Much Your Home Worth in Today’s Market

Three Key Tips for Assessing Value To Find Out How Much Your Home Worth in Today's MarketIf you’re thinking about putting the house on the market, or are simply curious about its value in the current economic atmosphere, it’s essential to get an honest assessment of its value. An overly inflated figure won’t hold up and will only turn potential buyers away.

It’s best to get a fair assessment in order to ask a reasonable price or avoid over-extending oneself when it comes to taking out a home equity loan. Consider these three key tips to get a true assessment of a home’s value.

Identify Positive Features About The Home And Property

When seeking an appraisal for a home, it’s important to look at the big picture. While the neighborhood and specific location are important, as well as the size and condition of the home, it’s also essential to tally up any improvements or upgrades. Any recent renovations are a plus that are sure to give a boost to a home’s value.

Outbuildings and swimming pools add more positives that will increase the initial value of a home. The most important thing any homeowner can do is to stay on top of repairs and give the property a facelift periodically to keep things fresh. This will be taken into consideration during an appraisal.

Pay Attention To The Competition

Whether homeowners try to estimate their home’s value on their own or bring in the professionals, it’s important to pay attention to the surrounding real estate. Take a close look at other properties in the area and their price tags when they come up for sale. It’s especially helpful to look at properties that compare in size and condition. From that point, the most expensive and least expensive homes should be tallied as well, providing a price range for the concerned individual’s home.

Think About Present Circumstances

Be sure to consider if the area is in a recession or showing a period of strong economic growth. If a home is located in an area that is booming, this will inflate the value of the home. It is all part of the law of supply and demand. When buyers are coming in droves, home sales will be ripe for the picking and homeowners can ask a higher price.

However, if the population is dwindling and people are migrating elsewhere because job opportunities have fallen, there is a much greater chance that the home’s value will decrease. For those who want to sell, the best bet is to strike when the iron is hot and put the house on the market during a period of economic strength. If the economy is failing, it may be necessary to wait or cut ones’ losses.

Act Now To Learn More

There is no better time than the present to contact a name you can trust in real estate. Discover all the ins and outs of assessing your home’s value, discuss your options, and find out ways to boost your property’s potential as you seek a reliable assessment.

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Considering a Major Home Addition? Why a Detached Garage Can Drastically Improve Your Resale Price

Considering a Major Home Addition? Why a Detached Garage Can Drastically Improve Your Resale PriceBefore you make a major structural change to your property, it is important to consider how this will affect your resale value. While there are many steps that you can take to improve your property, the addition of a detached garage may be beneficial to you and may drastically improve your resale price when you are ready to sell.

You can contact a trusted real estate agent today to obtain customized information about how the addition of a detached garage may affect your property’s value.

Adding Square Footage to Your Home

As a property owner, you may be well aware that one of the most common ways the value of your property is determined is by the market rate for price per square foot of homes in the area.

While factors such as age of the property, condition of the property and amenities in the neighborhood may affect whether your property’s price per square foot is above or below market average, the kind of the improvements has a direct impact on property value.

While adding a detached garage adds overall square footage to the property, it generally won’t be considered at the same rate as finished square footage within the home.  However, outbuilding improvements do add value to your property and a real estate agent can help you to determine the true financial gain you may experience through this addition.

Increasing Appeal to Potential Buyers

Properties that are more appealing to potential buyers may sell for a higher price. When you add a detached garage to your property, you may be adding style and function to the property by adding a place to park vehicles and to store items like seasonal items and lawn equipment. You can also create a detached garage with a workshop or another functional area for added appeal.

Transforming Existing Space

Some home additions will add a detached garage to a property because a garage was never constructed on the property, but others will be added because the homeowner wants to transform the existing garage attached to the home into a more functional area. For example, a new home addition, may turn the existing garage into a living room, a bedroom or another functional area. With the addition of a detached garage, the property owner can retain the benefits of having a garage while also improving the functional use of the main area of the home.

The addition of a detached garage can benefit you and your family in a number of ways, and it can also improve the resale value of your home. By speaking with a real estate agent, you can get a better idea about how this addition will affect your property.

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4 Ways To Choose The Right Home Service Professional

4 Ways To Choose The Right Home Service ProfessionalAs a homeowner, there are numerous situations in which someone might need a home service professional. On the other hand, this can also create a sense of vulnerability because people might not know who to choose. In order to find the right home service professional, there are a few tips that people need to follow.

Confirm Credentials

Credentials and experience are great markers of a home service professional’s training and track record; however, it is still important to confirm these credentials. Be sure to ask the contractor for references regarding his or her prior work.

Then, take the time to confirm these references. This will help homeowners make sure they are getting the right person for the job. If the past contracts went well, the future ones are likely to meet expectations as well.

Talk About Licensing And Permits

Home service professionals need to have the right licensing and permits for the project. In some cases, it might be the responsibility of the homeowner to collect these permits. If someone doesn’t have the right permits for the job, this could lead to a ticket. This might also impact the home’s value when it comes time to sell it. A contractor should be able to help homeowners work through these issues.

Ask About Insurance

All contractors need to have insurance for their work. In some cases, problems might arise as the project unfolds. This could lead to expensive home repairs. Contractors are supposed to have insurance to cover the cost of these repairs. If not, the contractor is opening himself or herself up to a lawsuit. Ask to see the contractor’s proof of insurance upfront before the project starts. This will provide an extra layer of protection.

Get Everything In Writing

Finally, all expectations need to be written down. While some contractors might not like to have their words set in stone, professionals who are confident in their ability to deliver should not have a problem with this. This is particularly true when it comes to price quotes. Make sure that all guarantees are received in writing and kept organized. Any agreements on behalf of either the client or contractor need to be tracked. This way, everyone is held accountable.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 13, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 13, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on consumer credit, job openings, jobless claims, and mortgage rates.

Consumer Borrowing Declined at Slower Pace in May

According to Federal Reserve data, consumer borrowing fell at a slower annual pace of -5.30 percent in May as compared to April’s reading of -20 percent. Non-revolving consumer credit, which includes vehicle and student loans, increased by 2.30 percent in May. The Federal Reserve does not report on real estate loans.

Federal assistance programs including the first round of stimulus checks, additional unemployment payments and support for businesses contributed to better readings for the economy in May, but last week’s rising coronavirus cases may cause all or part of economic gains to be lost as local governments reverse decisions to reopen businesses and local government services.

Job Openings Rise  in May as Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 5.40 million job openings in May as compared to April’s 5.00 million job openings. Rising job openings coincided with reopening business and government services as state and local authorities eased stay-at-home requirements and began easing restrictions on economic activity.

Weekly jobless claims were also lower than for the preceding week. 1.31 million initial jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.41 million first-time claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims fell to 18.10 million claims from the prior week’s reading of 18.80 million continuing jobless claims. Jobless claims remained much higher than pre-pandemic readings.

Mortgage Rates Drop to Record Lows

Freddie Mac reported the lowest recorded average mortgage rates as rates for fixed-rate mortgages dropped by four basis points to 3.03 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and fell by five basis points to 2.51 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose two basis points to 3.02 percent; discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

The U.S. Senate is expected to work on its version of the next Coronavirus relief package next week; it should be completed by the end of July or in early August.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes reports on housing markets, housing starts, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.


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4 First Things You Should Do After You Move In

4 First Things You Should Do After You Move InCongratulations on moving into your new house! But hold on. Now that the house is yours, there are a few things you will want to do in order to make life in your new home more comfortable and secure. Before you plan your housewarming party, here is a list of the first things you should do after you move in.

1. Change The Locks

As the new homeowner, you have no way of knowing how many others have keys to your new home. The previous owner may have made copies for their housekeeper, their parents, the babysitter, a neighbor, or anyone else. You definitely don’t want anyone else having keys to your home. Have a locksmith come in and change all the locks. The investment will help you sleep soundly.

2. Find Out Your Boundaries

Check in with town hall to see if there are documents on file that lay out the boundaries for the land you just purchased. If not, consider having a land surveyor come out to mark the boundaries around your new home. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally do things that encroach on your new neighbor’s land, such as planting trees or flowers, erecting a fence, or setting up a swing set.

3. Introduce Yourself To The Neighbors

Pencil in a day to go around and meet your new neighbors. Don not wait too long to do this; the longer you wait, the more awkward it becomes. In theory, they should be introducing themselves to you, but these days you could be waiting a long time for an apple pie to show up at your door. Just wait for the weekend and give a light knock on the doors on your street. Your neighbors will appreciate the gesture and you might just meet a new friend.

4. Make A House Map

A house map is just a general layout of where all the important fixtures are. The map should include the furnace, all outdoor spigots, the main water shut-off valve, the septic tank lid cover (if applicable) and the circuit box. Finally, invest in some fire extinguishers and mark their locations on the map, too. Have it laminated and put it someplace where all the family members can access it.

Once you take care of these four things, you willll feel better knowing that you’ve done all the necessary chores. Now, just sit back and enjoy your accomplishment!


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The Renovations That Provide The Best Return On Your Investment

The Renovations That Provide The Best Return On Your InvestmentRenovating a home is not only a way to increase the family’s standard of living but it can also be seen as an investment. There are multiple ways for someone to increase the value of their home and renovations are one of the most straightforward. At the same time, some investments offer a better return than others.

Those who are thinking about selling their home in the future should strive to get every dollar possible. Renovations can make this happen.

Garage Door Replacement

When people think about renovations, they don’t often think about the garage. Some people don’t even include their garage in their square footage because it might not be heated; however, replacing the garage door can provide a major investment return.

In some cases, the value of the garage door itself may double with a simple replacement. While some people dread the prospect of replacing a damaged garage door, even upgrading a working one can lead to a significant return!

Manufactured Stone Veneer

Stone is a popular building material because it provides a sleek look in addition to being versatile. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a stone veneer will also provide a major investment return. For those who spend around ten thousand dollars on a stone veneer, the value of this investment may nearly double. This provides a great way to not only upgrade the home but also increase its resale value.

Entry Door Replacement

A home’s doors are incredibly important because not only do they a measure of security but also they also draw someone’s eyes. Replacing an entry door may provide an investment return of close to 90 percent. Because this job can be handled quickly by a trained professional, this can be a quick upgrade for those looking to boost the value of their home before selling it.

Plan for Warm Weather Renovations

With the weather starting to heat up, many individuals and families are looking to plan their renovation projects for the summer. Think about the projects wisely as they can have a significant impact on the value of a home. Renovations should be viewed as investments as well as upgrades for the family’s standard of living. 

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