5 Home Buying Tips for First and Old-timers

home buying tipsWhether you are buying a home for the first time or you are just looking for an upgrade, it is never a bad idea to arm yourself with tips that can make your search go from overwhelming to enjoyable. Rather than learning the hard way about hidden expenses and difficult neighbors, there are things you can do to feel more confident as you begin your search.

With a seller’s market in many parts of the country, these tips are even more important as you battle other buyers for the home of your dreams. The more efficient and straightforward you are in your search, the better chance you’ll have to hear “offer accepted.”

Consider all the costs

When starting the home-buying journey, the first thing to consider is the cost and expenses. When pre-approved for a mortgage of a certain amount, keep in mind that number is not a target — it is a maximum. While a seller’s market often means little wiggle room on price, your best bet is to find a property below that number so you have a financial cushion when negotiations happen.

It is important to remember the mortgage is not the total cost of your home. It usually only covers principal, interest, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance premiums. Homeownership involves many other expenses like closing costs, home repairs and potential yearly increases in property taxes.

Last, and something few people think about, if you have a life insurance policy, be sure to review it to make sure your coverage takes into account the mortgage debt on your new home. This ensures that if something happens to you, your family is financially secure.

Be flexible but firm

Finding the right home requires a delicate balance of flexibility and finesse. At the same time, you want to stand firm when it comes to your non-negotiables in your new home (price, school district, a second bathroom).

This is where having a real estate agent can be of enormous benefit. Agents have the expertise and time to devote to your search that allows you to flex when an opportunity arises and get a home that doesn’t break your budget. Finding the right agent is a lot like finding the right home — you need to do your research. Get referrals for accredited agents and have meetings with two or three of them before deciding who to hire. Make sure they have experience working with homes in your price point and are familiar with the areas you are looking to buy in. Lastly, do not sign an exclusive broker agreement unless you are certain you have found the right agent for you. There are many resources available to help you find an agent that understands your individual needs, such as USAA’s Real Estate Rewards Network.

Meet the neighbors

While the location is important, many factors feed into a great neighborhood. From disputes over pets and parking to personality clashes, neighbors can have a big impact on your happiness as a homeowner. Before committing to a neighborhood, take time to walk the street and gauge compatibility with the neighbors you meet. Talking with the neighbors may also reveal hidden quirks about the home you would not have known otherwise, such as a basement that constantly floods or an ongoing dispute about a property line.

More house is more work

Television shows have glamorized home renovation. Before deciding on a “fixer upper,” make sure you have a full understanding of what it will take — and how much it will cost — to make the house match your vision. Construction projects often take longer than anticipated and can reveal other problems that end up costing more money. If your home is a complete renovation you also won’t be able to live there during construction, so you need to ask yourself, can you afford to pay for two homes for several months?

Similarly, a larger house means more time and money spent on upkeep. A house with a big yard may have great curb appeal but will you truly use all that space? Be realistic, because the money for maintenance on a bigger house is money in your pocket at a smaller house that has many of the features you want.

Lastly, remember that no home improvement project will change your commute or how noisy the nearby traffic is.

Use your head, not your heart

One final piece of advice — do not let your emotions take over the process. Choosing a home can be stressful and overwhelming. It is important to keep a level head. No decision this big should be made on an impulse, so take your time and think through every aspect of the process.

To learn more tips and tricks to buying a home or to find a trusted agent near you, visit USAA’s Home Learning Center.

– (BPT)

Home Buying Tips


River Vale NJ Home Inspections 07675 Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections has been providing 5 Star Home Inspections, Buyer’s Inspection, Certified Move In Ready, Warranty Inspection, Vacation Inspection, Maintenance Inspection and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Bergen County NJ, Rockland County NY and all cities and counties in the area since 2006.

Friendly, Professional and Expert ~ Aurora Home Inspections

Call (201) 654-6505 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

5 Tips to Prevent Insect Infestation in Your Yard

prevent insect infestation in your yardIf you’re like many people, the warm months of summer are when you are most active outdoors. You’re not alone. The same is also true for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. New findings show these pests are more than just an annoyance, they can pose a health risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, illnesses caused by these pests are on the rise, and in recent years, nine new germs spread by ticks and mosquitoes have been identified or introduced into the U.S.

Now more than ever, it’s important to be proactive by putting a plan in place to protect your home and outdoor space from these pests, and any of the other 200 insect types that could inhabit your lawn and enter your home. Start with these five tips:

1. Narrow down your summer guest list

Different pests are drawn to different things. Mosquitoes can breed and thrive in even the smallest amount of water, and yellow jackets enjoy spending time around trash. Many stinging insects are also drawn to the bright bulbs of certain flowers. Remove these appealing targets from your space to keep these unwanted guests away from your family.

2. Protect your home inside and out

When creating your indoor and outdoor pest control strategy, a few preventative measures go a long way. Apply Ortho(R) Home Defense Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter early in the season to protect your home from ants, roaches, and spiders and create a long-lasting barrier around your home to keep bugs out. To protect your yard and keep pests at a minimum, apply Ortho(R) Home Defense Insect Killer for Lawns Granules to your grass. A 10-pound bag treats up to 10,000 square feet and provides three-month protection against listed insects before they can ruin your fun. As always, follow the label directions for any products you apply.

3. Keep your yard clean

Insects love dark, moist areas, many of which can be found in your yard if you don’t keep it tidy. Mow the grass at least once a week so insects have less room to hide and remove debris or clutter as soon as it accumulates, particularly in areas like your wood pile. If you put off these tasks, unwanted visitors may have already moved in.

4. Check your screens

With the windows shut all winter, it’s easy to forget about the condition of your screens when you open them once again. However, even the smallest hole in one of your screens can be all an insect needs to get inside. Check each of your screens — no matter how high the window is off the ground — to be sure it still works, and don’t delay if a replacement must be made.

5. Be proactive about the infestation

When you’re outside, take a moment to look for signs of insect infestation on your property. For example, wasps tend to build their nests in the crooks of your roof and carpenter ants will set up shop in old wood if left to their own devices. Clear these infestations yourself or contact a pest control expert to prevent the problem from growing worse. Don’t assume they’ll go away on their own, or you’ll be dealing with these pests all season long.

The summer months can be some of the best times of the year, and you should be able to enjoy your summer on your terms. Apply the tips above and you and your family will have a home and yard to enjoy all season.

– (BPT)

 

How to Get Rid of Fleas and Bugs in the Back Yard


River Vale NJ Home Inspections 07675 Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections has been providing 5 Star Home Inspections, Buyer’s Inspection, Certified Move In Ready, Warranty Inspection, Vacation Inspection, Maintenance Inspection and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Bergen County NJ, Rockland County NY and all cities and counties in the area since 2006.

Friendly, Professional and Expert ~ Aurora Home Inspections

Call (201) 654-6505 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

Top 4 Factors That Affect The Cost of a New Roof

top 4 factors that affect the cost of a new roofNo one wants to pay more for something than they have to, especially when it comes to a large home improvement purchase. So, why can there be thousands of dollars difference between contractor bids for neighboring homes? And how can homeowners get an idea of what a new roof will cost?

In general, labor for a new roof should make up 60-65 percent of the cost and most of the remaining cost, 30-35 percent, should be the cost for materials, according to Rick Taylor, a longtime roofing contractor now working as a training manager for TAMKO Building Products, Inc. After labor and materials, the remaining costs, approximately 5-10 percent of the total, should consist of disposal for any building materials that need to be removed and any additional fees like paying to have the shingles craned up to the roof or renting scaffolding for the job.

As for the specific dollar figure, there are many factors that go into a roofing bid. Here are the top four factors that can affect the cost of a new roof.

1. Size

The larger the house, the larger the roof, and the more shingles needed to cover it. According to industry standards, one square of shingles is the amount needed to cover 100 square feet of roof, and as a rule of thumb for most three-tab and laminated shingles, there are three shingle bundles in each square. To estimate the number of squares needed, divide the total square feet by 100.

When calculating how much roofing you need, be sure to take into account any additional, detached buildings that would benefit from having a matching roof to the main house — for example, a detached garage, sheds or gazebos.

2. Pitch

The pitch, or angle, of your roof can also affect the cost of re-roofing. A roof with a steep pitch can increase the final roof bid as contractors may build in additional costs for more safety equipment and a longer timetable to complete.

“Typically, a single-story house is considered ‘walkable’ and is going to be easier to roof, but steep-roofed houses and anything two-story is going to be considered ‘non-walkable’ and will cost more to re-roof,” Taylor said.

3. Roofing material

The type of roofing chosen will also affect the final cost. Three-tab asphalt shingles are some of the most economical options, but tend to have shorter warranties than the more popular laminated architectural shingles. And not all laminated shingles are created equal. Unique or specialty styles, like the added dimension of Heritage(R) Vintage(R) shingles or the extra-wide cut of Heritage Woodgate(R) can also affect the final cost, and may also come with a longer warranty than standard cuts.

Metal shingles carry a higher price tag as well, but also feature longer warranties and potential energy savings. Natural materials like wood shake and stone slate will raise the cost of the roof even more.

4. Type

Whether the roof is a “complete tear-off,” or a “layover” will also affect the final bid. If a contractor has to remove all existing shingles before installing new shingles, the labor and disposal costs will increase. Doing a layover is more economical, although homeowners need to discuss with their contractor what local building codes require and implications for the manufacturer’s warranty. Taylor said TAMKO is one of few manufacturers that will provide a limited warranty and arbitration agreement regarding their laminated shingles when applied over one layer of three-tab shingles.

Consider these four factors and you’ll have a much better handle on how the type of project and options chosen will affect your new roof’s cost.

– (BPT)

 

How to Estimate The Cost of a New Roof


River Vale NJ Home Inspections 07675 Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections has been providing 5 Star Home Inspections, Buyer’s Inspection, Certified Move In Ready, Warranty Inspection, Vacation Inspection, Maintenance Inspection and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Bergen County NJ, Rockland County NY and all cities and counties in the area since 2006.

Friendly, Professional and Expert ~ Aurora Home Inspections

Call (201) 654-6505 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

3 Warm-weather Home Cleaning Tips

3 warm-weather home cleaning tipsWarmer weather and more daylight hours bring renewed energy to truly enjoy your home with family and friends. Spring is a great time to get rid of the lingering grime and grit of winter to keep your clean home happening all season long. With a thorough home clean, you can create a vibrant living space for your day-to-day life, whether it’s playing with the kids, tackling your to-do list or simply relaxing. Here are three tips to help tackle some of the dirtiest places in and around your home.

Wash your windows

You’ll be surprised how dirty your windows have gotten and how much brighter your home, and outlook, will feel once they are clean. First, remove the screens and use a vacuum’s extendable attachment to remove the loose gunk and dust. Then, wash with soapy water and a firm brush, rinse with a hose and let air dry. For especially dirty windows, first clean with soapy water, then move on to an even mix of water and white vinegar. While using a lint-free towel or cloth will help avoid streaks, a car windshield squeegee is the expert choice.

Tackle indoor surfaces

It’s important to make sure guests at your next get-together experience a clean and healthy home — but a full vacuum bag or clogged filter can reduce suction, leaving the dirt, dust and allergens that build up on many surfaces behind. For an ideal clean, make sure your vacuum is at its peak performance by replacing bags and filters. Arm & Hammer Premium Allergen bags and HEPA filters are designed to capture allergens and need to be replaced every one to two months for bags and every three to six months for filters. If you have pets, use Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh Dry Carpet and Carpet and Upholstery Extractor Cleaners to neutralize pet odors and break down lingering stains.

Spruce up outdoors

Winter weather and activities can take a toll on the finishes and surfaces outside your home. Cleaning a few key areas will refresh your home’s look and feel as you spend more time enjoying your outdoor spaces for birthday parties, barbecues and more:

  • Siding: No need to get complicated — first, rinse with a garden hose, then scrub the dirty areas with a brush and soapy water and rinse again. Make sure to avoid chlorine-based bleaches to keep surrounding plants healthy.
  • Driveway and garage: First, soak up oil, stains and other nasty winter reminders by spreading a drying material, such as sawdust, on the stain. Leave it for one day before scrubbing with soap and water. A power washer can be used for particularly tough stains.
  • Grill/barbecue: For gas grills, make sure the propane is disconnected. Then, soak the grates in hot soapy water and rinse. Scrub thoroughly under the hood and on the inside walls with a hard brush, first covering the heating elements, to get rid of grease and particles from last year. Wipe down with a damp towel.

With these tips, you are ready for a clean, healthy (and fun) season. For more tips, visit www.armhammervac.com.

– (BPT)

 

7 Expert Cleaning Tips You Need To Be Using!


River Vale NJ Home Inspections 07675 Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections has been providing 5 Star Home Inspections, Buyer’s Inspection, Certified Move In Ready, Warranty Inspection, Vacation Inspection, Maintenance Inspection and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Bergen County NJ, Rockland County NY and all cities and counties in the area since 2006.

Friendly, Professional and Expert ~ Aurora Home Inspections

Call (201) 654-6505 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

5 Tips For Financing Your Next Home Improvement Project

5 tips for financing your home improvement projectWhether it’s transforming a fixer-upper into your dream home or just giving a makeover to your kitchen or bathroom, home improvement projects are on the minds of many new homeowners across the country.

While many things about renovating your home are flexible, your budget might not be. In general, not a single floorboard is laid, or a new countertop installed without money, which is why every home renovation project should begin with careful financial planning.

To help homeowners with their renovation projects, Marcus by Goldman Sachs(R) is working with home renovation expert, JoJo Fletcher, to share her budget-friendly home renovation tips.

“Think about small changes you can make if you don’t have the time to take on a big project right now, like freshening up any kitchen by refinishing your cabinets with a bright white coat of paint,” said JoJo Fletcher, ambassador for Marcus by Goldman Sachs(R). “When it comes to financing a larger project, however, I recommend homeowners explore all their options in order to get the most out of their budget.”

There are several ways to finance these projects and it’s important to explore your options to find the one that’s right for you. Below are five important tips to keep in mind when deciding how to fund your next home project.

1. Shop around

The better you plan, the better chance you’ll save money. Before anything gets torn out or installed, you should spend time consulting with contractors and getting estimates. Look at the work they’ve done to see if they would be a good fit. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions to make sure you’re working with the right people and paying the right price.

2. Consider financing options

There are several options when financing a home improvement project and it is important to choose the right fit for you. Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) require you to borrow against the value of your home, with home equity loans offering a lump sum while home equity lines of credit provide you with a credit line you can borrow against. An unsecured home improvement loan can be used based on your creditworthiness and ability to pay, not tied to a piece of collateral.

JoJo Fletcher added, “I recommend homeowners consider a home improvement loan if they are looking to borrow money and have good credit. For instance, Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers no-fee, fixed-rate home improvement loans up to $40,000, which could be a better option than putting renovation costs on a higher interest credit card or borrowing against your home’s equity. Applying for a loan is easy and you can see your offers in as little as five minutes.”

3. Create a budget

Because of the nature of remodels, things often end up costing more than you might think. No matter how big or how small the project, you need to have a solid sense of what your “all in” budget number is. This should not only account for hard and soft costs for things like labor, materials, and designers, it should also account for contingency costs. Experts typically recommend budgeting an additional 15 to 20 percent for unexpected scenarios that might arise. A thoughtful budget will help keep your priorities in front of you and prevent you from spending more than you want.

4. Remember, this is an investment!

Not all home renovations will pay off in the long term. It’s important to consider cost vs. value before you start making changes, especially for homeowners looking to sell in the near future. If you plan on putting your house on the market sooner rather than later, be sure to keep track of the top home features to get the best return on your investment.

5. Work with a designer

This might sound like a luxury or an added expense, but in many cases, a designer could actually help save money by finding deals or providing suggestions for less expensive alternatives, such as using quartz or white concrete instead of marble. Above all, their expertise can help avoid costly mistakes that can often arise when people try to cut corners on their own.

 

With these tips, you should be better prepared to finance your home improvement project. When you’re ready to start, you shouldn’t have to wait weeks for a home appraisal to get your renovation project underway. You could see your home improvement loan options from Marcus by Goldman Sachs in as little as five minutes and once approved, most people see the funds in their bank accounts in as little as four days. With Marcus, you could be one step closer to your dream home.

– (BPT)

 

Financing Home Improvements


River Vale NJ Home Inspections 07675 Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections has been providing 5 Star Home Inspections, Buyer’s Inspection, Certified Move In Ready, Warranty Inspection, Vacation Inspection, Maintenance Inspection and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Bergen County NJ, Rockland County NY and all cities and counties in the area since 2006.

Friendly, Professional and Expert ~ Aurora Home Inspections

Call (201) 654-6505 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

5 Questions To Ask When Shopping for a Mortgage

5 Questions To Ask When Shopping for a MortgageBuying a home is a major financial commitment. It’s exciting, but can also be confusing and overwhelming. Choosing the best mortgage that fits your needs is an important first step and first-time homebuyers, in particular, should research the many options and know the right questions to ask. Here are some questions to ask a lender that will help you make an informed mortgage decision:

1. How much can I afford?

A home affordability calculator can help you get an idea of what you may be able to afford and keep your monthly payments within your budget. In addition to recurring expenses like car payments, student loans, credit cards and disposable income, be sure to consider other monthly expenses related to the new home, like association fees, homeowners’ insurance, utilities and property taxes. Further, some types of mortgages have firm eligibility cutoffs related to the ratio between a buyer’s total debt amounts and their monthly income.

2. How much do I need for a down payment?

It’s a common misconception that a 20 percent down payment is required to buy a home. Let’s face it, a 20 percent down payment is a lot of money, and often the largest obstacle for homeownership, especially for first-time buyers. You can qualify for a conventional mortgage with as little as 3 percent down. Conventional mortgages originated with a low down payment, which is defined as less than 20 percent, require private mortgage insurance (MI) until approximately 20 percent equity is established through either monthly payments or home price appreciation. When mortgage insurance cancels, your monthly mortgage bill is reduced. It is important to know that not all forms of MI are created equal — private mortgage insurance is temporary and cancelable but the overwhelming majority of mortgages backed by the government’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) contain insurance that cannot be canceled.

3. What is the interest rate and is it fixed?

Most first-time homebuyers go with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which locks you into an interest rate with steady, predictable payments. Different lenders may offer different rates, so make sure to contact several lenders to ensure you’re getting the best option available in the market. A rate lock protects you from rising interest rates while the loan is being processed and lasts for a specific amount of time. In addition, make sure you know whether the rate is fixed or “adjustable.” Adjustable rate mortgages, commonly referred to as “ARMs,” result in periodic adjustments in the interest rate based on the lender’s cost of credit and can be detrimental to homeowners in rising interest rate environments. Finally, ask if you are paying for “points” to reduce the interest rate. It’s an added upfront cost paid at closing, but it results in a lower rate for the life of the loan.

4. Does my credit score matter?

Yes, generally stronger credit scores (FICO 720 and above) come with better interest rates, but fortunately, there are mortgage options for those with imperfect credit scores too. When you apply for a mortgage, your credit record is used to help determine your approval and mortgage terms, but it is not the only thing lenders consider. A lender will also look at your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, cash reserves, and other factors to help gauge your overall creditworthiness.

5. Should I get pre-approved for a mortgage?

Yes. Pre-approval means you receive a conditional commitment from a lender up to a specific loan amount. In a seller’s market with tight housing supply, being pre-approved demonstrates that you are a serious buyer with access to mortgage financing. To become pre-approved, you’ll provide your lender with information on your income, assets, debts and credit history to analyze your financial profile and determine your creditworthiness and amount you can borrow to purchase a home.

Make sure to know your options and choose the one that works for you. Check out lowdownpaymentfacts.org to learn more.

– (BPT)

 

How To Shop For a Mortgage


River Vale NJ Home Inspections 07675 Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections has been providing 5 Star Home Inspections, Buyer’s Inspection, Certified Move In Ready, Warranty Inspection, Vacation Inspection, Maintenance Inspection and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Bergen County NJ, Rockland County NY and all cities and counties in the area since 2006.

Friendly, Professional and Expert ~ Aurora Home Inspections

Call (201) 654-6505 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

Home Checklist for a Worry-free Vacation

home checklist for a worry-free vacationWhen it’s time to embark on your well-deserved getaway, the last thing you want is to worry about the things that could go wrong at your unattended house.

It’s pretty common to wonder if everything is OK while you’re on vacation, says Chip Wade, an HGTV expert. Especially since there are plenty of hair-raising tales out there of people discovering a bad situation awaits them at home, from burst water pipes to a break-in.

“If you have this nagging thought following you around that maybe you forgot to lock the back door before you left, that can really mess up your head space,” Wade says. “And that’s not good, especially since the point of vacation is to forget your cares and enjoy yourself.”

Before you go, eliminate worry from your itinerary and ensure a happy homecoming by following this pre-vacation checklist from Wade.

Stop the mail

“When fliers, deliveries and bills with sensitive personal information pile up in your mailbox, you may as well post a sign in your front yard that your house is unoccupied,” Wade says. “Trust, me, burglars live for these clear-cut signs.” This is a simple fix. Just fill out a quick online form with the U.S. Postal Service, and they’ll hold your mail until after you return. It’s also a good idea to check your inbox just to make sure there aren’t any lingering online orders set to arrive while you’re gone.

Tidy up

Even in your pre-vacation rush to get ready, leave some time for a quick cleanup, because it always feels good to come home to a clean and orderly house. That means getting everyone in the family to pick up and put away. Also, be sure to go through your fridge and cupboards so you can toss any items that are likely to spoil so you can avoid being greeted by unpleasant odors.

Turn off the water

It happens so often, Wade says, that it feels like vacation is something that activates Murphy’s law of homeownership: Somewhere in the house, a pipe springs a leak. After many days of undetected dripping, streaming or gushing, it can add up to major damage to anything in the water’s path: cabinets, floors, ceilings, furniture, drywall. Play it safe and before you go, turn off the water main.

Adjust the thermostat

When no one’s home, there’s no need to keep the thermostat set to your favorite at-home setting. At the same time, you don’t want high temperatures from a heat wave to damage plants or overwork your refrigerator. In the summer, set the thermostat to 85 degrees. It’s also helpful to own a programmable thermostat like the York Affinity Hx Touch-Screen Thermostat, Wade says, because you can adjust the setting from your mobile device from anywhere in the world. Plus, you can remotely monitor your system for alerts, so if something goes wrong, you’re still in control even when you’re not around.

Turn to a friend

Not every situation calls for a house-sitter, but just knowing that someone has an eye on the place lends tremendous peace of mind. Enlist a friend or trusted neighbor to swing by your house each day, checking the doors and collecting any fliers or packages left behind for safekeeping.

“To make sure you have a worry-free vacation, make a list, and check it twice,” Wade says. “And once your friend does that first check-in, just let your worries go. After all, if something really goes wrong, they will let you know.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the York Affinity Hx Touch-Screen Thermostat, visit York.com.

– (BPT)

 

Preparing Your House For Vacation


River Vale NJ Home Inspections 07675 Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections has been providing 5 Star Home Inspections, Buyer’s Inspection, Certified Move In Ready, Warranty Inspection, Vacation Inspection, Maintenance Inspection and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Bergen County NJ, Rockland County NY and all cities and counties in the area since 2006.

Friendly, Professional and Expert ~ Aurora Home Inspections

Call (201) 654-6505 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

Insider Tips and Tactics for Buying a Home in a Seller’s Market

7 tips for buying a home in a seller's marketWhether you’re a millennial looking to buy your first home or a boomer thinking about downsizing your empty nest, you’re probably aware that it’s a seller’s market out there.

Homes are selling at lightning speed, bidding wars are commonplace, buyers often have little to no room for negotiation and the price of those homes keeps rising.

But don’t worry! Just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean you can’t get a good deal on the home of your dreams. Here are some insider tips and tactics from the pros at RE/MAX, LLC to help you get your slice of the American dream at a price you can afford.

1. Work with a full-time, experienced agent

This is critical, vital and non-negotiable. Things move so fast and offers are made within minutes of seeing a home. If you don’t have a real estate agent, you can easily be overwhelmed by this thrill ride. Your agent can help you with negotiation, serve as your champion, and can guide you through this process as a pro.

2. Get pre-approved with a lender

When you’re pre-approved, you’ve done all the paperwork upfront. The bank has decided what you can afford to spend. This tells the seller you mean business and are ready to roll.

3. Use technology

If you aren’t using technology, you are missing out. Hop on remax.com and view homes within your price range or in your desired school zone or neighborhood. You can also get a sense of what’s selling at your budget, and even calculate your estimated mortgage payment.

4. Don’t wait to request a showing

If you’re checking out houses online, ask your agent to request a showing as soon as you see one you like. Don’t wait until the weekend. You know what they say about he who hesitates …

5. Don’t wait to make an offer

If you like it, jump on it. Make your offer clean (no contingencies such as the sale of another property), if possible, and consider offering favorable concessions to the seller such as a flexible closing date.

6. Think outside the box

You might have come into your home search wanting to live in a specific neighborhood. What if you expanded your horizons a bit? Cast your net wider into areas you hadn’t considered. A lovely gem might be waiting out there for you.

7. Don’t make a major purchase between offer and closing

If you do, it could upset your debt-to-income ratio. Your lender could run the numbers again, and you’d be sunk. Hold off buying furniture or ordering new appliances until after closing documents have been signed and the place is yours.

Following the advice of your agent is always critical, but it’s even more important in a seller’s market. He or she will guide you through the process, and you’ll be unpacking boxes in your dream home in no time!

– (BPT)

 

How to Buy a Home in a Hot Seller’s Market


River Vale NJ Home Inspections 07675 Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections has been providing 5 Star Home Inspections, Buyer’s Inspection, Certified Move In Ready, Warranty Inspection, Vacation Inspection, Maintenance Inspection and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Bergen County NJ, Rockland County NY and all cities and counties in the area since 2006.

Friendly, Professional and Expert ~ Aurora Home Inspections

Call (201) 654-6505 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

Home Improvements To Help Your Home Sell Faster and For More Money

home improvement projects to boost resale priceThe real estate market is heating up, and if you’re planning to sell your home in the future, you want it to sell quickly and for as high of a price as possible. By taking proactive action now, you can make a few strategic home improvements that can help you achieve both your goals.

To boost your home sale and reduce time on the market, consider these top home improvement ideas to catch buyers’ eyes.

Garage door

When potential buyers visit your property, you want to make the best first impression before they even come inside. That’s why it’s wise to replace your garage door. It takes up a significant amount of exterior visual real estate and helps define the home’s aesthetic. What’s more, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value report, a garage door replacement recoups an astonishing 98.3 percent of cost upon resale.

Bathroom addition

More bathrooms typically mean you can charge more for your home. Think you’re limited based on existing construction? Think again. With Saniflo, you can add a complete bathroom where no drainage existed before thanks to above-floor plumbing features like a macerating toilet and drain pumps. The Saniaccess3 is a smart choice for full baths, and the Saniaccess2 is ideal for powder rooms.

Kitchen upgrade

A complete kitchen remodel is costly, but a few smart upgrades can make the heart of the home shine. Consider replacing worn laminate countertops and updating hardware for a fresh look. For extra ‘wow factor,’ add an island and use Saniflo Sanivite technology to add a sink to the space for additional functionality. Learn more at go.saniflo.com.

Fresh flooring

You don’t have to replace all your flooring, but focal areas like the kitchen or family room, as well as areas that tend to experience higher wear, such as the entryway, can benefit from a new floor. Forget expensive tile or hardwood replacements. Vinyl wood flooring looks incredibly similar to real wood, and modern luxury vinyl tile mimics the gorgeous look of stone or ceramic tile but is more durable and affordable. You may be able to simply add new flooring on top of old, making it a much easier DIY project.

Neutral paint

Don’t ever underestimate the value of a fresh coat of paint throughout your home. Walls get dingy and colors get dated. Repaint rooms with modern, neutral tones. As much as you love plum, buyers may not, so stick with whites, creams and grays whenever possible. Visit your local paint store and you’ll see there are many neutral options to add excitement to interior spaces. Don’t forget the ceiling, too! A fresh coat of white can do wonders.

These five projects will enhance your listing so you get more attention and book more showings. You may even start a bidding war with enough interest, and that can really drive up the price. Take action now and these home improvement efforts are sure to make an impact.

– (BPT)

 

Tips For Getting Your House Ready For Sale


River Vale NJ Home Inspections 07675 Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections has been providing 5 Star Home Inspections, Buyer’s Inspection, Certified Move In Ready, Warranty Inspection, Vacation Inspection, Maintenance Inspection and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Bergen County NJ, Rockland County NY and all cities and counties in the area since 2006.

Friendly, Professional and Expert ~ Aurora Home Inspections

Call (201) 654-6505 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

4 Tips For Festive Flourishing Flowers, Vibrant Plants And Hardy Herbs

Quick gardening tips for the spring seasonSpring is in full bloom, but are your plants keeping pace? If the answer is anything but a resounding yes, don’t worry. There’s still plenty of time to get into the spirit of the season and grow your most beautiful bed of flowers.

“There’s nothing like the start of the season,” says Emily Murphy of Pass the Pistil blog. “I love planning my space, buying seeds and starts, and making sure I have the right tools to make the gardening season a success. Before I start any project, I do a quick inventory to be sure I have everything I need, like my circular sprinkler. It makes customizing water coverage easy, with shape control collars that move to mirror the area you want to water, which is a real lifesaver throughout the season.”

A lush bed of flowers or a row of beautiful plants is an instant focal point in any outdoor space. To help create a flourishing bed that everyone will notice, follow these easy tips.

1. Plant based on your zone

Not all flowers succeed in the same weather conditions, which makes planting based on what grows best in your geographical area crucial. Use this planting map as a great tool to learn more about what to plant based on your zone. For example, geraniums thrive best in zones that have mild winters and hot summers, like Zone 10. If you live in Zone 1, look for a drought-tolerant and tremendously cold hardy plant, like sunflowers.

2. Preparing the soil

Each plant has different soil requirements. If you’re looking to complement your garden with vegetables like artichokes, you should be sure the soil crumbles and doesn’t clump together when squeezed in your hand. If you wish to plant chrysanthemums, well-draining soil with consistent moisture is essential. In both cases, regular watering helps bring your soil to the right consistency. The Gilmour Thumb Control Watering Nozzle with Swivel Connect offers eight spray patterns that let you water individual plants — or their bases — perfectly with a swivel connection to reduce hose twisting and kinking.

3. Plant properly

Similar to zone and soil, the depth and spacing of the holes you dig also vary per plant. Hydrangeas, for example, should be planted in a hole that is two feet wider than their root ball and shallow enough so that it sits slightly above the ground. This way, once filled in, water will drain away from the plant. On the opposite end of the spectrum, lettuce seeds can be planted in a much smaller space, roughly one quarter to one half inch deep in the soil. Thin leaf lettuce seeds can be planted four inches apart, while romaine lettuce seeds should be planted six to eight inches apart. Following the guidelines for each type of plant is the best way for them to get a healthy start to the season.

4. Apply the right amount of water

Water is essential for growth of both plants and herbs, but the proper quantity varies drastically depending on what you’re growing. For tender herbs like basil, dill and cilantro, use plenty of water, about 1-2 inches per week. For hardy herbs like rosemary, thyme and mint, be sure to let the soil dry out between watering. To navigate around plants smoothly, use a Flexogen Hose. It’s durable and kink-resistant, so you can weave throughout the garden with ease.

 

Get started in your garden today

Successfully growing spring plants requires a strategy as diverse as the plants themselves, so it’s important to learn as much as you can about each plant before diving in. For more helpful gardening tips and information, visit Gilmour.com.

– (BPT)

 

What to do in the garden in early spring


River Vale NJ Home Inspections 07675 Aurora Home InspectionsAurora Home Inspections has been providing 5 Star Home Inspections, Buyer’s Inspection, Certified Move In Ready, Warranty Inspection, Vacation Inspection, Maintenance Inspection and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Bergen County NJ, Rockland County NY and all cities and counties in the area since 2006.

Friendly, Professional and Expert ~ Aurora Home Inspections

Call (201) 654-6505 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.