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How to Avoid the Top 8 Home Inspection Mistakes

July2018DigitalMarketingCampaignLinkedInImage-1530541658504It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of buying a home. Once you’ve had an offer accepted on your dream house, you’ll probably be anxious to move in. However, before you make a significant financial commitment, it’s best to know exactly what you’re buying.

When you hire a home inspector, you get a professional, in-depth examination of the property’s structures and systems. It’s a worthwhile investment that can save you money in the long run, either by warning you away from a bad purchase or by providing a list of deficiencies you can use to negotiate with the sellers.

The inspector’s report will also list minor repairs that, if made, will help to maintain your home over the long term. Additionally, a good inspector can often predict the standard life expectancy of your roof, HVAC, and other big-ticket items so you can start planning for their eventual replacement.

However, many buyers make mistakes during the inspection process that cost them time and money and lead to unnecessary stress. Avoid these eight common buyer blunders to minimize your risk, protect your investment, and give yourself peace of mind and confidence in your new home purchase.

MISTAKE 1: Skip Your Own Inspection

Many buyers rely on their home inspector to point out issues with the property. However, by conducting your own visual assessment before you submit an offer, you can factor expected expenses into the offer price. Or, if you suspect major problems, you may choose to move on to a different property altogether.

Examine the walls and ceilings. Are there suspicious cracks, which could point to a foundation issue? Any discoloration? Yellow spots can indicate water damage, while black spots are typically mold. If there’s a basement, look for powdery white deposits along the walls and slab, which can result from water seepage.1

To assess the plumbing, start by turning on a bathroom sink or tub, then flushing the toilet. Check for a drop in water pressure or a gurgling sound coming from the pipes. You can also try running the water in sinks and tubs for several minutes to test for drainage issues. Peak underneath sinks to spot signs of leaks or drain pipes that go into the floor instead of the wall.1

Look for fogged or drafty windows, which may need replacing. Examine the roof for signs of cupped, curled, or cracked shingles. Check siding, decks, and other wooden structures for evidence of rot.

Overall, does the home appear to be well maintained? Unless it’s a highly-competitive seller’s market, consider the overall condition of the property BEFORE you submit an offer. Work with your real estate agent to factor in repairs and updates you know you’ll need to make when you determine your offer price.

MISTAKE 2: Hire the Cheapest Inspector

We all love to save money, but not all inspectors are created equal. Before you hire one, do a little research.2 You may even want to start shopping for an inspector before you complete your home search. Inspection periods are typically short, so it never hurts to be prepared.

You can start by asking around for recommendations. Check with friends and family members, as well as your real estate agent. Then contact at least two or three inspectors so you can compare not only price but also levels of experience and service.

Ask about their background, years of experience, and the number of inspections they have completed. Verify their certifications and credentials, and make sure they carry the proper insurance.

Find out what is (and what isn’t) covered in the inspection and if they utilize the latest technology. Ask to see a sample report so you can compare the style and level of detail provided. Finally, make sure you feel confident in the inspector’s abilities and comfortable asking him/her questions.

MISTAKE 3: Miss Attending the Inspection

Make every effort to be on-site during the inspection. Buyers who aren’t present during their inspection miss out on a great opportunity to gather valuable information about their new home.

If can attend the inspection, don’t spend all your time picking out paint colors or chatting with your new neighbors. Instead, use your time there to shadow the inspector. It’s the perfect chance to find out where everything is located, ask questions, and see first-hand what repairs and updates may be needed.3

Of course, if you do choose to tag along with your inspector, exercise good judgment. Don’t get in the way, become a distraction, or do anything to jeopardize your (or the inspector’s) safety.

If you can’t make it to the inspection, ask if you can schedule a time to meet in person or speak by phone to go over the report in detail. It will give you an opportunity to ask questions or request clarification about issues in the report you don’t fully understand.

MISTAKE 4: Skim Over the Report

Inspection reports can be long and tedious, and it can be tempting to skim over them. However, buyers who do this risk missing crucial information.

Instead, you should read over the report carefully, so you don’t miss anything significant. Now is the time to address any areas of concern. You have a limited window of time to request repairs or negotiate the selling price, so don’t squander it.

Your inspector may also flag some minor items that you wouldn’t typically expect a seller to fix. However, ignoring these small issues can sometimes lead to bigger problems down the road. Make sure you read everything in the report so you can take future action if needed.

MISTAKE 5: Avoid Asking Questions

Some buyers are too embarrassed to ask questions when there’s something in the inspection report they don’t understand. Afraid they might look foolish, they avoid asking questions and end up uninformed about important issues that could impact their home purchase.

The reality is, questions are expected. You hired your inspector for their professional expertise, so don’t be shy about tapping into it. For example, you might ask:

  • Would you get this issue fixed in your own home?
  • How urgent is it?
  • What could happen if I don’t fix it?
  • Is this a simple issue I could fix myself?
  • What type of professional should I call?
  • Can you estimate how much it would cost to make this repair?
  • How much longer would you expect this system/structure/appliance to last?
  • What maintenance steps would you recommend?

Don’t bother asking your inspector if you should buy the property, because he/she won’t be able to answer that question for you. Instead, use the information provided to make an informed decision. A skilled real estate agent can help you determine the best path.

MISTAKE 6: Expect a Perfect Report

Some buyers get scared off by a lengthy inspection report. But with around 1600 items on an inspector’s checklist, you shouldn’t be surprised if yours uncover a large number of deficiencies.4 The key is to understand which problems require simple fixes, and which ones will require extensive (and costly) repairs.

Your real estate agent can help you decide if and how to approach the sellers about making repairs or reducing the price. Whatever you do, try to focus on the major issues identified in the inspector’s report, and don’t expect the sellers to address every minor item on the list. They will be more receptive if they perceive your requests to be reasonable.

MISTAKE 7: Forgo Additional Testing

There are times when an agent or inspector will recommend bringing in a specialist to evaluate a potential issue.5 For example, they may suggest testing for mold or consulting with a roofing expert.

Some buyers get spooked by the possibility of a “red flag” and decide to jump ship. Or, in their haste to close or desire to save money, they choose to ignore the recommendation for additional testing altogether.

Don’t make these potentially costly mistakes. In some cases, the specialist will offer a free evaluation that takes minimal time to schedule. And if not, the small investment you make could provide you with peace of mind or save you a fortune in future repairs.

MISTAKE 8: Skip Re-inspection of Repairs

Most buyers request receipts to prove that repairs have been correctly completed. However, it’s always prudent to go a step further and have negotiated repairs re-evaluated by your inspector or another qualified professional, even if there’s an additional charge.6

While the majority of sellers are forthcoming, some will try to save money by cutting corners, hiring unlicensed technicians, or doing the work themselves. A re-inspection will help ensure the repairs are completed properly now, so you aren’t paying to redo them later.

To avoid having to go back to the sellers, be specific when requesting repairs. Identify the problem, how repairs should be completed, who should complete the work, and how the repairs will be verified.7

Some buyers prefer to avoid this step altogether by completing the work themselves. They either request that the seller fund the repairs or reduce the selling price accordingly. Whichever path you choose, protect yourself and your investment by ensuring the work is done properly.

WE CAN HELP

A home inspection can reduce your risk and save you money over the long-term. But to maximize its effectiveness, it must be done properly. Avoid these eight common home inspection mistakes to safeguard your investment.

While these are some of the most common missteps, there are countless others that can trip up home buyers, cost them time and money, and cause undue stress. Fortunately, we have the skills and experience to help you avoid the potential pitfalls.

If you’re in the market to buy a home, we can help you navigate the inspection and all the other steps in the buying process … typically at no cost to you! Tap into our expertise to make the right decisions for your real estate purchase. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

Sources:

  1. Family Handyman –
    https://www.familyhandyman.com/tools/diy-home-inspection-tools/view-all/
  2. HGTV –
    https://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/finding-the-right-home-inspector
  3. The New York Times –
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/realestate/home-inspection.html
  4. Realtor.com –
    https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/what-does-a-home-inspector-look-for/
  5. Realty Times –
    https://realtytimes.com/advicefromagents/item/37369-top-5-biggest-home-inspection-mistakes
  6. Realtor.com –
    https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/home-inspection-mistakes-buyers-should-avoid/
  7. Star Tribune –
    http://www.startribune.com/who-verifies-repairs-after-the-home-inspection/132844523/

Real Estate Relocation Guide: 7 Steps to a Seamless Move

Whatever your reasons are for relocating to a new area, the process can feel overwhelming.
Whether you’re moving across across town or across the country, you’ll be changing more than your address. Besides a new house, you may also be searching for new jobs, schools, doctors, restaurants, stores, service providers and more.

Of course you’ll need to pack, make moving arrangements, and possibly sell your old home. With so much to do, you may be wondering: Where do I start?

In this guide, we outline seven steps to help you get prepared, get organized, and get settled in your new community. Our hope is to alleviate the hassle of relocating—so you can focus on the exciting adventure ahead!

1. Gather Information

If you’re unfamiliar with your new area, start by doing some research.1 Look for data on average housing prices, demographics, school rankings and crime statistics. Search for maps that illustrate local geography, landmarks, public transportation routes and major interstates. If you’re moving across the country, research climate and seasonal weather patterns.

Check out local newspapers and blogs for information on political issues and developments that could impact your new community. You may also want to search for online forums and Facebook Groups relevant to your new area. These can be a great place to find information, ask questions and just observe local attitudes and outlooks.

If you’re relocating for a job, find out if your new employer offers any relocation assistance. Many large corporations have a designated human resources professional to assist employees with relocation efforts, while others may contract this service out to a third party. Some employers will also cover all or a portion of your relocation and moving costs.

By gathering this information up front, you’ll be better prepared to make informed decisions down the road.

Let us know if you’d like assistance with your information gathering process. We have a wealth of knowledge about this area, and we keep a number of reports and statistics on file in our office. We would be happy to share information and answer any questions you may have.

2. Identify Your Ideal Neighborhoods

Once you’ve sufficiently researched your new area, you can start to identify your ideal neighborhoods.

The first step is to prioritize your “needs” and “wants.” Consider factors such as budget; commute time; quality of schools; crime rate; walkability; access to public transportation; proximity to restaurants, shopping, and place of worship; and neighborhood vibe.

If possible, visit the area in person to get a feel for the community. If you’re comfortable, strike up conversations with local residents and ask about their experiences living in the area.

Still not sure which neighborhood is the best fit for you and your family? Contact a local real estate agent for expert assistance. It’s usually the most efficient and effective way to narrow down your options.

We provide neighborhood assessments and advice as a free service if you’re relocating to our area. Or, if you’re moving out of town, we can refer you to a local agent who can help.

3. Find Your New Home (and Sell Your Old One)

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of preferred neighborhoods, it’s time to start looking for a home. If you haven’t already contacted a real estate agent, now is the time. They can search for current property listings that meet your needs, typically at no cost to you.

Create another list of “needs” and “wants,” but this time for your new home. Include your basic requirements for square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms, but also think about what other factors are important to you and your family. An updated kitchen? A large backyard? Double sinks in the master bathroom?

Narrow your list down to your top 10 and prioritize them in order of importance.2 This will give you a good starting point to begin your home search. Unless you have an unlimited budget, don’t expect to find a home with everything on your list. But having a prioritized list can help you (and your agent) understand which home features are the most important, and which ones you may be willing to sacrifice.

If you already own a home, you’ll also need to start the process of selling it or renting it out. A real estate agent can help you evaluate your options based on current market conditions. He or she can also give you an idea of how much equity you have in your current home so you know how much you can afford to spend on your new one.

Your agent can also advise you on how to time your sale and purchase. While some buyers are able to qualify for and cover the costs of two concurrent mortgages, many are not. There are a number of options available, and a skilled agent can help you determine the best course given your circumstances.

We would love to assist you if you have plans to buy or sell a home in our area. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your unique needs and devise a custom plan to make your relocation as seamless as possible. If you’re relocating outside of our area, we can help you find a trusted agent in your new city.

4. Prepare for Your Departure

While everyone considers packing a fundamental part of moving, we often overlook the emotional preparation that needs to take place. If you have children, this can be especially important. Communicate the move in an age-appropriate way, and if possible take them on a tour of your new home and neighborhood. This can alleviate some of the mystery and apprehension around the move.4

Allow yourself plenty of time to pack up your belongings. Before you start, gather supplies, including boxes, tape, tissue paper and bubble wrap. Begin with non-essentials—such as off-season clothes or holiday decorations—and sort items into four categories: take, trash, sell and donate/give away.5

To make the unpacking process easier, be sure to label the top and sides of boxes with helpful information, including contents, room, and any special instructions. Keep a master inventory list so you can refer back to it if something goes missing.

If you will be using a moving company, start researching and pricing your options. To ensure an accurate estimate of your final cost, it’s best to have them conduct an in-person walkthrough. Make sure you’re working with a reputable company, and avoid paying a large deposit before your belongings are delivered.6

If you plan to drive to your new home, map out the route. And, if necessary, make arrangements for overnight accommodations along the way. If driving is not a good option, you may need to have your vehicles transported and make travel arrangements for you, your family and your pets.

Lastly, if you will be leaving friends or family behind, schedule final get-togethers before your departure. The last days before moving can be incredibly hectic, so make sure you block off some time in advance for proper goodbyes.

Looking for a reputable moving company? We are happy to provide referrals, as well as recommendations on where to procure packing supplies in our area.

5. Prepare for Your Arrival

To make your transition go smoothly, prepare for your arrival well before moving day. Depending on how long your belongings will take to arrive, you may need to arrange for temporary hotel accommodations. If you plan to move in directly, pack an “essentials box” with everything you’ll need for the first couple of nights in your new home, such as toiletries, toilet paper, towels, linens, pajamas, cell phone chargers, snacks, pet food and a change of clothes.7 This will keep you from searching through boxes after an exhausting day of moving.

Arrange in advance for your utilities to be turned on, especially essentials like water, electricity and gas. (And while you’re at it, schedule a shut-off date for your current utilities.) Update your address on all accounts and subscriptions and arrange to have your mail forwarded through the postal service. If you have children, register them for their new school or daycare and arrange for the transfer of any necessary records.

You may want to have the house professionally cleaned before moving in. And if you plan to remodel, paint or install new flooring, it’s easier to have it done before you bring in all of your belongings.8 However, it’s not always feasible without someone you trust locally who can supervise. Another option is to keep a portion of your things in storage while you complete some of these projects.

If there are no window treatments, you may need to install some (or at least put up temporary privacy film), especially in bedrooms and bathrooms. And if appliances are missing, consider purchasing them ahead of time and arranging for delivery and installation shortly after you arrive. Just be sure to check measurements and installation instructions carefully so you aren’t stuck with an appliance that doesn’t fit or that requires costly modifications to your new home.

If you own a car, check the requirements for a driver’s license and vehicle registration in your new area and contact your insurance company to update your policy.8 If you will rely on public transportation, research options and schedules.

If you’re relocating to our area, we can help! We offer “VIP Relocation Assistance” to all of our buyer clients. Contact us for a list of preferred hotels, utility providers, housekeepers, contractors and more!

6. Get Settled In Your New Home

While staring at an endless pile of boxes can feel daunting, you should take advantage of this opportunity to make a fresh start. By creating a plan ahead of time, you can ensure your new house is thoughtfully laid out and well organized.

If you followed our suggestion to pack an “essentials box” (see Step 5), you should have easy access to everything you’ll need to get you through the first couple of nights in your new home. This will allow you some breathing room to unpack your remaining items in a deliberate manner, instead of rushing through the process.7

If you have young children, consider unpacking their rooms first. Seeing their familiar items can help them establish a sense of comfort and normalcy during a confusing time. Then move on to any items you use on a daily basis.10

Pets can also get overwhelmed by a new, unfamiliar space. Let them adjust to a single room first, which should include their favorite toys, treats, food and water bowl, and a litter box for cats. Once they seem comfortable, you can gradually introduce them to other rooms in the home.11

As you unpack, make a list of items that need to be purchased so you’re not making multiple trips to the store. Also, start a list of needed repairs and installations. If you have a home warranty, find out what’s covered and the process for filing a service order.

Although you may be eager to get everything unpacked, it’s important to take occasional breaks. Have some fun, relax and explore your new hometown!

Need help with unpacking, organizing or decorating your new home? Contact us for a list of recommended professionals in our area. And when you’re ready to start exploring local “hot spots,” we’d love to fill you in on our favorite restaurants, stores, parks and other attractions!

7. Get Involved In Your New Community

Studies show that moving can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. People who have recently moved tend to be isolated socially, more stressed, and less likely to participate in exercise and hobbies. However, there are ways to combat these negative effects.12

First, get out and explore. In a 2016 study, recent movers were shown to spend less time on physical activities and more time on their computers, which has been proven to lead to feelings of depression and loneliness. Instead, get out of your house and investigate your new area. And if you travel by foot, you’ll gain the advantages of fresh air and exercise.12

Combat feelings of isolation by making an effort to meet people in your new community. Find a local interest group, take a class, join a place of worship or volunteer for a cause. Don’t wait for friends to come knocking on your door. Instead, go out and find them.

Finally, be a good neighbor. Make an effort to introduce yourself to your new neighbors, invite them over for coffee or dinner, and offer assistance when they need it. Once you’ve developed friendships and a support system within your new neighborhood, it will truly start to feel like home.

Want more ideas on how to get involved in your community? Contact us for a free copy of our report, “Welcome Home: 10 Tips to Turn Your Neighborhood Into a Hometown Haven.”

LET’S GET MOVING

While moving is never easy, these seven steps offer an action plan to get you started on your new adventure. To avoid getting overwhelmed, focus on one step at a time. And don’t hesitate to ask for help!

In a 2015 study, 61 percent of participants ranked moving at the top of their stress list, above divorce and starting a new job.13 But with a little preparation—and the right team of professionals to assist you—it is possible to have a positive relocation experience.

We specialize in assisting home buyers and sellers with a seamless and “less-stress” relocation. Along with our referral network of movers, handymen, housekeepers, decorators, contractors and other service providers, we can help take the hassle and headache out of your upcoming move. Give us a call or message us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation!

Sources:
1. You Move Me –
https://www.youmoveme.com/us/blog/105-tips-for-a-successful-relocation
2. HouseLogic.com –
https://www.houselogic.com/buy/house-hunting/must-have-items/
3. Livestrong –
https://www.livestrong.com/article/436651-the-effects-of-sunlight-fresh-air-on-the-body/
4. Parents Magazine –
https://www.parents.com/parenting/money/buy-a-house/make-moving-easier-on-you-and-your-kids/
5. The Spruce –
https://www.thespruce.com/starting-to-pack-for-your-move-2436470
6. Moving.com –

11 Tips For Hiring Quality Movers


7. The Spruce –
https://www.thespruce.com/unpack-your-entire-home-2435815
8. HouseLogic.com –
https://www.houselogic.com/buy/moving-in/before-you-move/
9. HGTV –
https://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/moving-checklist
10. Moving.com –

How to Start Unpacking & Organizing Your Home After a Move


11. ASPCA –
https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/moving-your-pet
12. Psychology Today –
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/is-where-you-belong/201607/why-youre-miserable-after-move
13. The Daily Express –
https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/574171/Divorce-stressful-moving-home

Be Informed: What is Escrow?

The first time you heard the term, “escrow” you may have been thrown for a loop. While the word may have had you confused the first time, here are some essential things to know about escrow—what it is, what it’s used for, and how it works.

What Is Escrow?

Escrow is a legal notion where money or assets are held by a third-party on behalf of two other parties in the middle of completing a transaction.

An escrow company provides two parties the service to make sure everyone does what they say they’re going to do. The escrow company acts as a middleman to protect the assets while the home purchasing process is happening.

Applied to real estate transactions—when buying or selling a home, escrow is the trusted third-party, who is someone other than the buyer or seller, who will hold money to make sure you execute the transaction correctly.

The key thing to remember here is that the third-party is a trusted party. This is a neutral entity who doesn’t care whether a home buyer or home seller comes out ahead of the other. The primary role of an escrow service is to make sure each party in a real estate transaction holds up their end of the deal.

Search for a reputable escrow company, or ask your real estate agent for a recommendation to find a trustworthy service.

How Escrow Works When Purchasing A Home

When buying a new home, you agree to pay the purchase amount within a certain time, and the seller will provide the home they’re selling. Your home purchase is probably contingent on a few things; namely financing and a home inspection. While you’re securing financing and scheduling a professional home inspection, you will make an escrow payment, or an “earnest deposit,” writing a check to an escrow provider in an agreed-upon amount that shows your intent or seriousness of purchasing that home. This gives the seller some reassurance that you’re serious.

Escrow opens when a buyer and seller sign an agreement for a real estate transaction, then deliver the agreement to an escrow officer who helps make sure everyone meets the contract conditions.

Escrow closes when everyone did everything they agreed to do, and the homeownership is transferred to the buyer.

Once the escrow provider verifies everyone held up their end of the agreement, they’ll either give you a refund, apply it to the purchase price or the home, or pass the money along to the seller (if the buyer doesn’t satisfy requirements).

Escrow Accounts For Homeowners Insurance And Property Taxes

The other time you’ll hear about escrow may be for an escrow account—which is slightly different than for a real estate transaction. When making your monthly mortgage payments on your home loan, you may also be paying for additional home expenses like property taxes and homeowner’s insurance as part of one lump sum.

Property taxes are usually an annual expense, and sometimes homeowner’s insurance is as well, though many insurance companies accept monthly payments. To alleviate the lender’s risk of you not budgeting properly for these payments, they make sure tax and insurance get paid by adding them to your monthly mortgage payment.

This portion of your monthly payment is deposited into a separate, escrow account. These funds are kept in escrow (by a company outside of both you and your lender) until their respective payments are due once a year, then they’ll make the payment on your behalf. You’ll discuss this with your lender when you finalize the purchase of your home, so it shouldn’t be a surprise.

If there’s a difference in how much you owe and how much you’ve contributed to the escrow account, your lender will let you know. You’ll either receive a refund if you overpaid, or if you didn’t contribute enough, your lender will pay the difference, then send you a bill for the additional amount. You may be able to pay the bill over the coming year.

If you need help finding an escrow company or have any questions about the escrow process for real estate, get in touch

This is a Relationship Business – My Clients Come First!

Relationships are what makes the world go around and makes life worth living.  In business, I understand my relationships with my clients are based on trust, in my words but also, in my actions. In business as in life, having integrity, being honest and acting in your best interest and mine, is what I believe leads to true success and peace of mind in the short and long run.  I am blessed because I truly care about my clients. Their happiness is my happiness. 

NextHome City Realty believes that by investing in the strongest possible relationships with our brokers, they have an expert-level understanding of the market, as well as the NextHome philosophy which is simple: clients come first. We pledge to be in constant communication with our clients, keeping them fully informed throughout the entire buying or selling process. We believe that if you’re not left with an amazing experience, we haven’t done our job. We don’t measure success through achievements or awards, but through the satisfaction of our clients. WE ARE HERE FOR YOU!The most knowledegable, confident brokers are also the most successful and that is why Paul Mychalowych, Broker-Owner is present whenever needed, as a resource and bringing over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial real estate sales.

All of us at NextHome City realty have a shared vision. We are unwavering in our commitment to the absolute best offerings in local and global marketing, property representation, and offer negotiation.

OPEN HOUSE THIS APRIL 21 & 22 – MACOMB

18190 Hogan Drive, Macomb Township, MI 48042

Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 1:00 PM — 3:00 PM , and on  Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 3:00 PM — 5:00 PM

Incredible home, Must See! Over $60,000 in pre construction builder upgrades inside the home. Over $42,000 in exterior landscaping which include stamped concrete patios and walkway with built in fire pit and LED lighting outside.

Owner also contributed over $11,000 (+labor) in interior upgrades that include crown molding, wainscoting, and custom stone work throughout the home. Open loft upstairs for additional living space. Vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom with walk-in closet and ensuite. Main floor bedroom and full bath. This home has incredible finishes and is move in ready!

cropped-Great-room-kitchen-1.jpg

c.Living room1

Dining Room 3

HOUSE CARE CALENDAR: A Seasonal Guide to Maintaining Your Home

From summer vacations to winter holidays, it seems each season offers the perfect excuse to put off our to-do list. But be careful, homeowners: neglecting your home’s maintenance could put your personal safety—and one of your largest financial investments—at serious risk.

 

In no time at all, small problems can lead to extensive and expensive repairs. And even if you avoid a catastrophe, those minor issues can still have a big impact. Properties that are not well maintained can lose 10 percent (or more) of their appraised value.1


The good news is, by dedicating a few hours each season to properly maintaining your home, you can ensure a safe living environment for you and your family … and actually increase the value of your home by one percent annually!1 You just need to know where and how to spend your time.

Use the following checklist as a guide to maintaining your home and lawn throughout the year. It’s applicable for all climates, so please share it with friends and family members who you think could benefit, no matter where their home is located.

 

Spring

 

After a long, cold winter, many of us look forward to a fresh start in the spring. Wash away the winter grime, open the windows, and prepare your home for warmer weather and backyard barbecues.

 

Inside

 

  • Conduct Annual Spring Cleaning
    Be sure to tackle those areas that may have gone neglected—such as your blinds, baseboards and fan blades—as well as appliances, including your refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and range hood. Clear out clutter and clothes you no longer wear, and toss old and expired food and medications.

 

  • Shut Down Heating System
    Depending on the type of heating system you have, you may need to shut your system down when not in use. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for proper procedures.

 

  • Tune Up A/C
    If your home has central air conditioning, schedule an annual tune-up with your HVAC technician. If you have a portable or window unit, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance.2

 

  • Check Plumbing
    It’s a good idea to periodically check your plumbing to spot any leaks or maintenance issues. Look for evidence of leaks—such as water stains on the ceiling—and check for dripping faucets or running toilets that need to be addressed. Inspect your hot water heater for sediment build up. Check your sump pump (if you have one) to ensure it’s working properly.3

 

  • Inspect Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    Check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so change them now and again in the fall. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer’s recommendation.4

 

Outside

 

  • Inspect Perimeter of Home
    Walk around your house and look for any signs of damage or wear and tear that should be addressed. Are there cracks in the foundation? Peeling paint? Loose or missing roof shingles? Make a plan to make needed repairs yourself or hire a contractor.

 

  • Clean Home’s Exterior
    Wash windows and clean and replace screens if they were removed during the winter months. For the home’s facade, it’s generally advisable to use the gentlest method that is effective. A simple garden hose will work in most cases.5

 

  • Clean Gutters and Downspouts
    Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned at least twice a year. Neglected gutters can cause water damage to a home, so make sure yours are clean and free of debris. If your gutters have screens, you may be able to decrease the frequency of cleanings, but they should still be checked periodically.6

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OPEN HOUSES THIS APRIL 6th to 8th – MACOMB AND OAKLAND

 

18190 Hogan Drive, Macomb Township, MI 48042
$423900
5 Beds 3 Full Baths 3,210 sq ft
Residential Listing #218023365

Great room kitchen

OPEN HOUSE Schedules:

Friday, April 6, 2018
5:00 PM — 7:00 PM
Saturday, April 7, 2018
12:00 PM — 3:00 PM
Sunday, April 8, 2018
12:00 PM — 3:00 PM

Incredible home, Must See! Over $60,000 in pre construction builder upgrades inside the home. Over $42,000 in exterior landscaping which include stamped concrete patios and walkway with built in fire pit and LED lighting outside. Owner also contributed over $11,000 (+labor) in interior upgrades that include crown molding, wainscoting, and custom stone work throughout the home. Open loft upstairs for additional living space. Vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom with walk-in closet and ensuite. Main floor bedroom and full bath. This home has incredible finishes and is move in ready!

For more details/photos: HERE

 

175 Wimbleton Drive, Birmingham, MI 48009
$584,900
3 Beds 2.1 Full Baths 1,936 sq ft
Residential Listing #218011832

OPEN HOUSE Schedule:

Sunday, April 8, 2018
1:00 PM — 3:00 PM

You couldn’t ask for a better location! Close to the shops and restaurants of downtown Birmingham yet far enough so you can hear the gurgle of the creek behind the house. Fabulous ranch on pristine riverfront land. Huge living room with bay window and natural fireplace, and spacious dining room. Updated kitchen with granite countertops and snack bar. Original hardwood floors throughout. Updated baths with granite countertops and detailed tile walls, one with a roll-in shower with euro glass. Three spacious bedrooms and bonus Florida room overlooking the river and ravine. Newer deck with stairs to a lower deck and fire pit next to the water. Award winning Birmingham Schools.

For more details/photos: HERE

 

THE HOME BUYER’S GUIDE TO GETTING MORTGAGE READY

Don’t wait until you’re ready to move to start preparing financially to buy a home.

If you’re like the vast majority of home buyers, you will choose to finance your purchase with a mortgage loan. By preparing in advance, you can avoid the common delays and roadblocks many buyers face when applying for a mortgage. Follow these three steps to begin laying the foundation for your future home purchase today!

STEP 1: CHECK YOUR CREDIT SCORE

It’s a good idea to review your credit report and score yourself before you’re ready to apply for a mortgage. If you have a low score, you will need time to raise it. And sometimes fraudulent activity or erroneous information will appear on your report, which can take months to correct.

The credit score most lenders use is your FICO score. Base FICO scores range from 300 to 850. A higher FICO score will help you qualify for a lower mortgage interest rate, which will save you money.1

Your FICO score is a weighted score developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation that takes into account your payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%), and credit mix (10%).1

By federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months. Request your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Minimum Score Requirements To qualify for the lowest interest rates available, you usually need a FICO score of 760 or higher. Most lenders require a score of at least 620 to qualify for a conventional mortgage.2

If your FICO score is less than 620, you may be able to qualify for a non-conventional mortgage. However, you should expect to pay higher interest rates and fees. For example, you may be able to secure an FHA loan (one issued by a private lender but insured by the Federal Housing Administration) with a credit score as low as 500.

STEP 2: SAVE UP FOR A DOWN PAYMENT AND CLOSING COSTS

When you purchase a home, you typically pay for a portion of it in cash (down payment) and take out a loan to cover the remaining balance (mortgage).

Generally speaking, the higher your down payment, the more money you will save on interest and fees. For example, on a conventional loan, you will be required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) if your down payment is less than 20 percent. PMI is insurance that compensates your lender if you default on your loan.3

For a conventional mortgage with PMI, most lenders will accept a minimum down payment of five percent of the purchase price. FHA loans only require a 3.5 percent down payment if your credit score is 580 or higher.3

There are a variety of other government-sponsored programs created to assist home buyers. Consult a mortgage lender about what options are available to you.

Closing costs—which can range between two to five percent of a home’s purchase price—should also be factored into your savings plan. These may include loan origination fees, appraisal fees and other fees associated with the purchase of your home.4

If you don’t have the funds to pay these outright at closing, you can often add them to your mortgage balance and pay them over time. However, you’ll be charged interest on the fees.

Current Homeowners If you’re a current homeowner, you may have equity in your home that you can use toward your down payment and closing costs on a new home. We can help you estimate your expected return after you sell your current home and pay back your existing mortgage. Contact us for a free evaluation!

STEP 3: ESTIMATE YOUR HOME PURCHASING POWER

It’s important to have a sense of how much you can reasonably afford—and how much you’ll be able to borrow— to see if homeownership is within reach.

To get started, visit the National Association of Realtors’ free Home Affordability Calculator at www.realtor.com/ mortgage/tools/affordability-calculator.

This handy tool will help you determine your home purchasing power. It also offers a monthly mortgage breakdown that projects what you would pay each month in principal and interest, property taxes, and home insurance.

Once you have a sense of your purchasing power, it’s time to find out which neighborhoods and types of homes you can afford. The best way to determine this is to contact a licensed real estate agent. We help homeowners like you every day and can send you a comprehensive list of homes within your budget that meet your specific needs.

If there are homes within your price range and target neighborhoods that meet your criteria—congratulations! It’s time to begin your home search.

If not, you may need to continue saving up for a larger down payment … or adjust your search parameters to find homes that do fit within your budget. We can help you determine the right course for you.

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

START LAYING YOUR FOUNDATION TODAY
It’s never too early to start preparing financially for a home purchase. These three steps will set you on the path toward homeownership … and a secure financial future!

And if you are ready to buy now but don’t have a perfect credit score or a big down payment, don’t get discouraged.

There are resources and options available that might make it possible for you to buy a home sooner than you think. We can help.

Want to find out if you’re ready to buy a house? Give us a call! We’ll help you review your options, connect you with one of our trusted mortgage lenders, and help you determine the ideal time to begin your new home search.

Sources: 1. myFICO 3. Bankrate 2. Bankrate 4. Investopedia

OPEN HOUSES THIS SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MARCH 24TH & 25TH – MACOMB AND OAKLAND

41645 Little Road, Clinton Township, MI 48036
$369,900
4 Beds 3 Full Baths 2,900 sq ft
Residential Listing #218016041
OPEN HOUSE Sunday, March 25, 2018
10:30 AM — 12:30 PM

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What an amazing setting; private, gated, and overlooking the North branch of the Clinton River. Fabulous home on over 2 acres with beautiful gates, and a long, winding, treed driveway that circles around a magnificent fountain in front of your new home.

 

 

For more details/photos: CLICK HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 
18190 Hogan Drive, Macomb Township, MI 48042
$424,900
5 Beds 3 Full Baths 3,210 sq ft
Residential Listing #218023365
OPEN HOUSE:
Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 3:00 PM — 5:00 PM
Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 3:00 PM — 6:00 PM

A Front1

Incredible home, Must See! Over $60,000 in pre construction builder upgrades inside the home. Over $42,000 in exterior landscaping which include stamped concrete patios and walkway with built in fire pit and LED lighting outside. Owner also contributed over $11,000 (+labor) in interior upgrades that include crown molding, wainscoting, and custom stone work throughout the home. Open loft upstairs for additional living space. Vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom with walk-in closet and ensuite. Main floor bedroom and full bath. This home has incredible finishes and is move in ready!

For more details/photos: HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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