How To Build Equity In Your Home

How To Build Equity In Your Home

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When you first buy a house it is very difficult for most people to take an amortization less than 25 years. For some people who are on a budget just to make the mortgage payment is very difficult. The key to building your equity and eventually fast track paying the mortgage off is to be very diligent and disciplined. You want to build as much equity in the house without bringing the mortgage up to pay off other debt when the mortgage renews every few years. Here are some steps to building serious equity in your house. Some steps might seems small in the short term but getting in the habit of these steps will shave years off the bottom line. Before you know it, you will have taken off 10 years off that mortgage and the more equity you have, the more fast you can pay it off and then eventually use that money to invest with. 

 
1. Make Two Payments: I for one hate bi-weekly payments. This is a key to making more payments, and this will add one extra house payment each year. This also might be good if you get paid bi-weekly. One pay check goes toward your bills, the other can go into savings or other expenses.
 
2. Add more money to each payment. With some mortgages, you are able to pay more every month. This is a good idea if you have a few hundred dollars extra because it goes directly against the principal. 
 
3. Take the money  you have been saving and make a lump sum at the end of the year. Again this goes directly toward the principal. 
 
4. Home Renovations: This is a quick way to improve the value of the home. The only problem is that you must spend money to do this. You might not have that extra money if you are saving. A way to save money would be to do minor renovations by yourself. Make sure it is a project you can tackle. Do not attempt a project if you have no clue because this can often have the reverse affect on the house. It could bring your value right down. 
Improving Air Quality In Your Home

Improving Air Quality In Your Home

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Three Ways to Improve the Air and Water Quality in Your Home

When it comes to the elements that make a house safe and comfortable, none are as important as air and water.  Poor air and water quality can cause discomfort, damage your home’s structure, and even affect your respiratory health.  Here are three easy ways to obtain better air, better water, and better health:

 

1. Increase Ventilation

Proper ventilation reduces the concentrations of indoor air pollutants and provides healthier air quality in your home.  Start by making the most of exhaust fans or opening windows when showering, cooking, or using the dishwasher in order to let moisture escape your home quicker.  If you have a garage, install an exhaust fan to the outdoors to prevent car fumes from entering your home.  Make use of ceiling fans that draw up and distribute cool air from the floor on warmer days, and circulate warm air that collects near the ceiling on colder days.

 

2. Use Water Softeners to Combat Hard Water

While safe and suitable for drinking, hard water, or water containing high levels of calcium and magnesium, can still have its setbacks. Harder water creates mineral build-up that can clog pipes and appliances and leave a soapy film on bathtubs and shower tiles.  It can also be tough on your hair and skin, and deteriorate the quality of your laundered clothing.

Try using a hard water conditioner that traps minerals during the wash to soften your laundry and eliminate build-up on your dishes.  In the bathroom, use an easy-to-install soft water filter on your showerhead to help prevent dry skin and reduce soap scum build-up.  For a more complete solution, consider installing a water softener system in your home.  This will not only benefit your skin, laundry, and dishes, it will also help eliminate mineral deposits in pipes, fixtures, and appliances.

3. Balance Humidity

If the air in your home is too dry or stuffy, it can irritate your skin and cause respiratory problems.  On the other hand, too much moisture in the air can cause mildew, dust mites, and other conditions that can trigger allergies.  That’s why balancing humidity is important.  Humidity is normally measured by the amount of moisture in the air using a hygrometer.  As a rule of thumb, the recommended humidity in your home should be between 30 – 50%*.

If the air in your home is too moist, a dehumidifier will help prevent a damp environment and protect walls, floors, and furniture from water damage.  If the air in your home is too dry, a humidifier will add moisture and relieve dry skin and many allergy and asthma problems.  It will also reduce cracked paint and plaster occurrences, as well as prevent wood floors from warping.

 

Written Isidro Pereira (RHI)

For more info about GI Home Inspections Click here

Jimmy The Renovator: How to Build a Man Cave

Jimmy The Renovator: How to Build a Man Cave

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1. Take some time to walk through the space and visualize what you want your Man Cave to look like. Be realistic in your assessment of the space and function.

2. Pick an object (pool table, jukebox, picture) that you like and will make part of the room as your inspiration in choosing the overall look and color of your man cave.

3. Measure your space (length, width, height) and transfer these measurements to graph paper using a 1/4″ or 1/2″ scale. Use it to plan your man cave in detail. The more details you work out on paper, the easier the task of building will be.

4. Make a list of all the materials you will need to accomplish the build. If you’re working with a budget, make sure to leave yourself a 10-15% allowance for miscellaneous or unforeseen costs. There will be some!

5. Make a list of all the tools you will need. Whatever you don’t have you can either borrow from friends and family or rent from your local home improvement store.

6. If your build requires plumbing, electrical or HVAC work, contact licensed professionals for their input or services. Don’t tackle something you’re not comfortable with. If you hire a contractor, get a signed quote from that contractor for the work to be done.

7. Before you start your build, make a step-by step list of what needs to be done in order. Schedule these plans with your contractor.

8. Ask friends and family to help with the build. Try to get people with some building skills so that they might help you direct your plan of attack.

9. Set goals for yourself and your team to accomplish each step of the build in a given time frame.

Selling Your Home In the Winter

Selling Your Home In the Winter

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If you live in the North then selling a house in the winter is common place. It is not everybody’s ideal for so many reasons but for some it must be done.

 

Here are some tips to selling your house in the winter.

 

1. Shovel the driveway: Make sure all paths are clear from the street to your house, and to your backyard.

 

2. Take pictures or have pictures ready of the gardens and lawn. Post these pictures at the entrance of the house so buyers can see what the outside looks like. Also make sure you post a picture of the view from the inside.

 

3. Get the brightest bulbs on the market and make sure they are all on. I always have clients that say, “Are you gonna pay my hydro bill”

I never make a comment back because for the $100 it costs you to have the lights on daily for the listing period it is well worth it to show your house properly. You want to make your house as bright as possible. It might also be a good idea to get some flood lights at the local hardware store for the front and the back of the house.

 

4. Keep Religion out of it. It is a festive time and I understand that. While this is always a pushback from people because this is a subject that is very touchy…but some people are biased toward religion, those are the facts. You want to keep your house open to all people when selling your home. You don’t want to turn somebody off because you have so many festive or religious symbols. At the end of the day it is the sellers prerogative, but my suggestion is pretend like your house is a show house without any family pictures or religion there.

 

5. Scented Candles, air fresheners. Have some of these plugged in the morning and open your windows for a bit to get some fresh air and get some fresh scent from the candles or air fresheners. Do not put them on high or keep them lighted too long. Just enough to have an appeasing scent. Furthermore, keep cooking with heavy spices and garlic to a minimum during the listing period. The first thing buyers do is smell the house. If it smells like stale high spicy food then it will turn people off right away.

uh oh…We Bought A DuD :(

uh oh…We Bought A DuD :(

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It happens all of the time. You buy a new house and there is unforeseen damage to the house that was not expected. Picture this, you move into your new house, 6 months down the road you find out you have structural damage and now your basement is leaking. I’ve seen it time and time again in houses. It can cost thousands of damage to fix a house that has been damaged or is defective. There are many things which you can do to avoid this but as good as you may be at trying to detect a problem, some problems are not detectable at all, and you must just fix the problem and move on with your new house. 

Here is a list of things to do to help you move into your house and not have to pay thousands later in repairs. 

1. Get a Home Inspection: It sounds simple right. To go along with this make sure your home inspector is very knowledgeable and has a lot of experience in construction, renovations and has been in business for a while. Use your gut when watching him inspect the house. Some inspectors just look around and pretend they are doing something. 

This is so important, I know back in the day Agents would be the home inspector. Today it is an excellent idea to make sure you have an expert who inspects houses for a living and has a reputation on the line. A good inspector will go through the house, assess any damage, explain necessary repairs, costs, and will also explain how to maintain the house before any damage occurs. 

2. Repair Immediately: Some items will not seem like it needs immediate attention. Once you discover a flaw, tend to it immediately. It will cost a lot less to fix something now rather than later. 

3. Be weary of finished basements & recent repairs: Nobody can see through walls. There may be damage you cannot see because the house has a finished basement. If you detect a problem, it might be a good idea to call an expert to see if they can detect a problem further. 

4. Look for painted ceilings: Another sign there might be some damage which was just repaired or patched up quickly. Sometimes, when there is some sort of damage to roofs, or attic, people will paint or just fix a ceiling of a room, rather than spend the proper amount of money to fix the real problem. They figure they are selling the house anyway and they might not catch the real problem in the attic. 

5. Damaged Roof : 80 percent new construction litigation involves roofing problems. Find out if the roof is damaged by simply checking the attic to find out if there are roof leaks, pest infestation, faulty electrical wiring, inadequate insulation, and so on.

Lastly do research, ask for building plans and survey or the house. If any renovations were done, ask how they were done. If they say they did them, start asking more questions before signing waivers. 

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