by Julian Lane www.thefixitchamp.com
The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer, which can only mean one thing for homeowners: it’s time for some post-winter maintenance. Winter can really take a toll on the outside of your home, especially if your area is prone to snow, ice, and other winter weather. So, before you can start enjoying more sunshine and spring days at home, you need to make sure you check off these essential yard- and home-maintenance items.
Trim Tree Branches and Tidy Up Yards
Your yard is the first thing folks see when they are looking at your home, so if yours is looking a little rough after winter, set aside a weekend to clean it up. You can start by taking a walk around your yard and seeing what needs some attention. Be sure to check any trees or bushes for dead branches, which can fall and damage property or injure individuals. If you can easily reach these branches, you can remove them on your own. If not, you may need to find a tree expert who can get rid of dead or unhealthy tree branches for you without risking your safety.
Upgrade Security Systems for Summer
If you plan on taking a family vacation during spring break or summer, now is a good time to think about upgrading your home security. Would-be criminals tend to target homes while families are out of town but you can take a few simple steps to reduce the risk of your house broken into this spring or summer. If you have a security system, be sure to put up signage that lets people know your home is protected. You can also use smart locks and automated lighting to make your home look occupied even while you are away. Looking to improve your landscaping? Then you can also consider adding protective plants to safeguard your home.
Disinfect Any Outdoor Furniture and Toys
Before you start getting outside for family cookouts and playtime, you need to make sure your loved ones are protected from germs, mold, and bacteria. During the wetter winter months, everything from patio furniture to playground equipment can turn into a breeding ground for these harmful pathogens, especially as the temperatures warm up. So, use a stiff brush and effective cleaning products to get these items nice and clean. Quality bleach products tend to be the best bet for eliminating grime from hard surfaces, so consider picking up the appropriate cleaning products to protect your family from germs on toys, furniture, and tools.
Check for Loose Board on Patios and Fences
Winds and other winter weather can also do a number on your fences and patios, so you should check these areas for loose boards before you begin using them in spring. If you find any boards that seem loose or that need to be replaced, know that this can be a simple DIY fix. You will just need a quality hammer, some nails, and perhaps pieces of wood, and you should have all you need to patch your patios and fences right up. For fences or patios that are worn or faded after winter wraps up, you can also easily re-stain wood surfaces on your own.
Get a Ladder and Get All Gutters Cleaned Out
Cleaning out gutters is never a fun job, but it is necessary if you want to keep your home protected through the spring and summer. Leaves and other debris can get trapped in your gutters during fall and winter, which can make it difficult or impossible for stormwater to drain properly. That can spell disaster once those April showers begin to roll in, with a risk for damages to your roof, your siding, or other structural elements of your home. So, get out your ladder, your hose, and a few other basic tools and get those gutters cleared out. Need to reach those high places? Then you should also consider investing in a safe and quality ladder.
Proper maintenance is the most effective way to protect your home from needing serious repairs. So, spend some time cleaning up your yard and inspecting the outside of your home.
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Here are some helpful tips that will help you in the future.
Every home is different; therefore, this list is just a recommendation, some documents won’t be available and in some cases additional documents should be requested.
We at Home Inspection Tennessee know that the Corona Virus is a serious bump. However, life will go on, and changes should be adopted.
Finding your new home should start with doing your homework before you go out and physically look at the listings.
In general, the Realtor websites don’t give you too much information and are very one-sided - of course, they usually work for the seller.
Check out public information, here in TN you can go to assessment.cot.tn.gov/RE_Assessment/
You get information about the value on which the property tax is based. You even can check the approx. property lines. Don’t just focus on one house, pick out three or four. Then ask the Realtor for more information, like
You shouldn’t sign a contract or offer without knowing what you get.
I don’t care what they tell you. Would you make a down payment for a car before you can test drive it? Nobody would. So why should you pay huge down payments without knowing what you get?
In some cases, they will tell you “the owner doesn’t know”. Well, if he doesn’t know what he’s selling, how did they figure out the price?
Especially during these hard times, you should have all information together before you visit a potential object, and if necessary – hire a home inspector to fill in the blanks.
Unfortunately, these days the buyer is stuck with the costs for the home inspection, even if the actual condition of the advertised home is totally different than the listing. We see it all the time that buyers end up paying for several inspections.
Just tell the Realtor that you want all information before you spend your money and time. I’m sure they understand your concerns and help you to stay safe during the virus situation.
Also, if you hire a home inspector, provide as much information as you can, like – it must be wheel chair accessible, if you have allergies, or indoor pets. A good home inspector will report on the situation he finds and address your concerns.
This is what we at Home Inspection Tennessee always did. We are here to assist you, we will report what we find, regardless if they like us or not. And yes, we will be more than happy to inspect your new dream home. We are highly qualified, affordable, available, and accurate.
A recommended checklist for home buyers will be added tomorrow, stay tuned.
Thank you Kristin Louis for letting us share your great article. More of her articles and tips can be found at www.parentingwithkris.com
It’s true that having children changes everything. And while this typically means for the better, having little ones around does pose a challenge when it’s time to upgrade your living arrangement. When you have your house on the market and you also have children, keeping it staged and ready to show at a moment’s notice means you have to put in a bit of preemptive work. Don’t bow your head in defeat as you step on your third Lego of the morning. Instead, grab your coffee and read on for tips on how to make it all work out.
Purge Everything Except the Necessities
Spend a day or two removing everything in your home that’s not necessary for health and happiness. Start with your stuff first; this will alert your children of what’s coming their way and might even encourage them to start weeding through their belongings before you head to their bedroom. Toss out the trash first — old papers, broken hairbands, and cords that you will never use can head straight for a garbage bag. Next, invest in sturdy storage bins — you can pick them up at Lowe's or Home Depot — to store the things you don’t want to get rid of but that you don’t need at the moment. Off-season clothing and holiday decor are a few suggestions.
Now You Can Start Cleaning
Once you are left with nothing but items that you’ll need within the next 30 days or so, start cleaning. The American Cleaning Institute suggests that you prioritize the rooms that buyers pay the closest attention to. This will be your living and dining rooms, along with the kitchen and bathrooms. Deep clean each area, which should include dusting, sweeping, mopping, shampooing the carpet, and searching for dirt and grime. The kids can help, too; hand them a damp washcloth and let them get to work wiping down the baseboards. You can even make a dust bunny puppet to make the process fun and engaging. Make a chore chart of items that need to be done every day, and only allow playtime/video game time once they are done.
Prepare for an Open House
Chances are, your realtor will suggest hosting an open house within the first week of your home hitting the MLS. If everything is already clean, it should not take that much time to get ready for the big day. Put together a checklist to ensure that all of your proverbial Is are dotted and your Ts are crossed. Redfin notes that this should include things like opening the windows to bring in natural light, reducing odors, and securing valuables. You’ll also want to make arrangements for your pets; ideally, you can keep animals out of the house in the days before your open house.
Don’t Forget About the Exterior
Even if you are selling your home during the cooler months, there are likely toys scattered about your lawn. If possible, put all of these in one place, preferably to the side of the home where they are not immediately visible. Alternately, if you have a playhouse or trampoline, you can store larger items in and under these to get them out of sight. Make sure, however, to remove bicycles and other large objects from under the trampoline before the kids start to play again.
Play Up the School Zone
If you’re moving out of your home because you need more room, you can almost bet that another family is going to move in behind you. If you live in a great school zone, make sure to leave information out and available; GreatSchools.org and Niche are excellent resources.
Selling a house when you have kids isn’t impossible. It is going to take work, that’s for sure. But the time and energy that you put into it now can turn into hundreds or thousands of dollars on closing day, which might come even faster when things are neat and tidy.
Image via Pexels
This article was written by Christy Rakoczy and is courtesy of LendEDU
Image via Pixabay
Home equity is the difference between the value of your home and the current outstanding mortgage debt. Calculating your home equity is as easy as figuring out what your home is worth and subtracting the existing liens on the property (including a home equity loan or home equity line of credit) from that total.
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Most homeowners have a mortgage, which means they don’t actually own their home — at least not all of it. However, when you provide a down payment at the time of purchase, make your monthly mortgage payments, or your home rises in value compared to what you owe, you acquire some value in your home that doesn’t belong to the bank. That’s your home equity.
Knowing how much equity you have in your home can provide insight into your net worth. It also lets you estimate how much profit you’d be left with if you sold your home and how much money you could access by taking out a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC).
This guide will show you exactly how to calculate your home equity and why it’s important.
In this guide:
How to Calculate Your Home EquityIf you own your home free and clear, your home equity is easy to calculate. It’s equal to the total appraised value of your home. You own the entire house and the bank owns none of it. But if you have one or more mortgages or other liens against your home, your equity is equal to the current appraised value of your home minus the remaining balance on your loans.
When doing this calculation, it’s important to note the current appraised value of your home is likely different from the amount you originally paid. If property values have been rising in your area, the appraised value could actually be much higher — but if property values have fallen, the appraised value may be lower. This was common during the 2008 financial crisis when real estate values tumbled.
>> Read more: Home Equity Loan Calculator
For example, if you owe $200,000 on your mortgage but your home’s appraised value is just $175,000, you’d actually have negative equity of $25,000.
It’s also important to realize the equity you have grows with each mortgage payment you make. It increases based on the amount of principal you pay down — the interest portion of your payment goes directly to your lender as part of the cost of borrowing, so it doesn’t actually reduce your outstanding balance.
However, it’s not enough to know how to calculate the equity in your home. You should also learn how to calculate your loan-to-value ratio.
How to Calculate Your Loan-to-Value Ratio
Your loan-to-value ratio shows the percentage of your home’s total value that you still owe. You need to know this because lenders consider your loan-to-value ratio when deciding what kinds of loans — such as mortgages, home equity loans, and home equity lines of credit — you might be eligible for.
Your loan-to-value ratio also determines the interest rate you’d pay if you borrowed against the equity in your home, as well as whether you’ll need to pay for private mortgage insurance, which protects the lender in the event you default on your loan.
To calculate your loan-to-value ratio, you’ll divide your current loan balance by the current appraised value of your home. For example, if you owe $140,000 on a $250,000 home, you’d divide $140,000 by $250,000 to get a loan-to-value ratio of .56. Loan-to-value ratios are usually expressed as a percentage, so multiply this number by 100 to get your LTV ratio of 56%.
How to Tell If You Qualify for a Home Equity Loan or HELOC
Both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit are a source of affordable financing based on your property’s assessed value. To qualify for either type of financing, you’ll need to have:
>> Read More: Home Equity Loan and HELOC Requirements
Should I Choose a Home Equity Loan or HELOC?
Although home equity loans and HELOCs both let you tap into home equity, they work a bit differently. A home equity loan allows you to borrow a set amount of money upfront. The loan has either a fixed or variable interest rate and is repaid over a specified time period. A HELOC, on the other hand, gives you a line of credit. This means you can borrow as much or as little as you need at any given time, up to your total approved credit line. Usually, HELOCs come with variable interest rates.
Think about the pros and cons of home equity loans vs. HELOCs before deciding which one is better for you. You might also consider a second mortgage or cash-out refinance as another source of funding.
Before taking out any of these loans, though, you should be aware you’re taking a big risk. If you become unable to repay the lender, your risk losing your home to foreclosure. If home prices fall and you end up owing more than your house is worth, selling could also become impossible unless you have enough cash to pay the difference between what you can sell your home for and what you owe — or unless you’re willing to ruin your credit and get your lender to agree to a short sale.
These risks may be worth it because of the lower interest rates associated with these loans, especially compared to credit cards and personal loans. If you’re using the loan to pay down existing high-interest debt or to pay for home improvements, you may decide that borrowing against your home equity makes sense.
Hi - this is Werner with Home Inspection Tennessee LLC, 113 Hillcrest St, Stanton TN 38069. Phone (346) 300 5196