Easy Repairs to Get Your Home Ready for the Fall Season

home maintenance

Now that the summer is coming to an official end, it is about the time to start prepping your home for the cooler days ahead. You want to get a head start on all of this before the cold weather hits.

Now I know you may not want to think about the cooler months, and you might be in denial that summer is ending but your home will thank you for it.

The first item on the checklist is to check, clean, and maybe replace your gutters. Checking your gutters regularly will save you from possible flooding in the future if they are clogged. This could result in a lot of damage to your interior so bring out that latter and clean all that gunk out.

On the topic of potential flooding and leaks, inspecting your roof for any cracks in the shingles or wind damage can save you from much larger problems. Even though repairing your roof can be pricey, it literally is the roof over your head. Protecting your house and yourself from bigger problems that may occur if you don’t check your roof should be a priority.

Before the weather gets too cold, check your heating system to make sure it’s still up to snuff. You do not want the first freezing day to sneak up on you and you wake up to see your breath in the air. Therefore, checking to make sure it works properly or even getting it inspected by a professional in the early fall is a great idea.

If you happen to have a fireplace in your home, checking for any potential damage and hazards is a must. If you are new to having a fireplace, get it inspected by a chimney sweep but if you know how to inspect it yourself, make sure you do.

Repairing walkways is also important to do before it snows, and ice is coated on your steps and walkways. If the cracks are small enough to do it yourself, save the money and do it but if the cracks are major, you should always get a professional to repair it.

Bringing in outdoor furniture for the colder months and storing it in your garage if you have the space, a shed, or a storage unit will preserve the furniture from being damaged. If you do not have the option to store away the furniture, purchase waterproof covers to put over the furniture.

Now I know not everyone is ready for the fall and winter, but your home will thank you for checking up on things before the cold weather hits.

Mistakes First Time Home Buyers Make – And How to Avoid Them

first home

When you are buying your first home, the long list of tasks may seem overwhelming. You might want to cut corners where you can but that may not be the best idea. You want to make sure you are doing everything that you can to ensure the process goes smoothly.

One of the biggest mistakes first time home buyers do is to start looking for houses when they have not been pre-approved for a mortgage. Getting a pre-approval can show the sellers that you have your credit and finances in order. In a competitive market, you might even be denied or lose on a property if you haven’t been pre-approved for a mortgage.

Alongside getting pre-approved, you might want to consider talking to more than one lender to compare rates, fees, and terms. You might end up saving money if you spend the time to do research and have conversations with multiple lenders.

When looking for a home, make sure you create and stick to your budget. When creating your budget, you want to look at how much your monthly costs are going to be and if you will be able to afford it without draining your bank account. You also want to factor in all the closing costs that can add up. You want to be careful when buying a home and sticking to a budget when prices are on the rise. You might see a home that is everything that you want but is well over your budget or you might find yourself in a bidding war with several others.

On the topic of finances, keep your credit and finances in check throughout the whole process. You want to prove that you are responsible with your money and keep your credit stable. Pay down credit cards and pay your bills on time. You also should not open any new credit cards or lines during this process as well.

Be reasonable when making your needs and wants lists for a home. Don’t put a lot of things that might be hard to find. If you do, you might overlook perfectly good homes for you during your search to find everything you want. Later down the road, you might possibly be able to add some of those features to your home that you want.

When moving into your first home, your first thought might be to start some home improvements, but you will be there for some time. Hold off on any major remodeling projects until you have been there for a little while. See how you utilize the space and go from there.

All in all, there are a lot of steps when trying to buy your first home. If you take your time and not rush on any decisions, you will be able to afford and find the right home for you.

Easy Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

remodeling

The real estate market is a challenging place right now. If you are thinking about selling your home and want to improve your home’s resale value while not breaking the bank, here are some quick and easy ways to boost the value of your home. Even if you are not planning on selling, the tips laid out below will help you do some updates that you may have been holding off on.

First off, you should create a plan. Think about what exactly in your home may need updating and start from there. Are you selling your home or are you just doing some much needed updating? If you are planning on selling your home, hiring a home inspector might be a good idea to see what exactly needs to be done.

Kitchen

Remodeling your whole entire kitchen is an expensive project and can take a long time. If you are looking for cheap and quick ways to upgrade your kitchen, start by doing small renovations.

Changing the color of your cabinetry can make your kitchen look drastically different without changing anything but the paint. If your cabinet knobs are looking a bit old or they might have scratches on them, changing them out will help your kitchen look new and modern. Updating a new kitchen faucet set and fixing a leaky faucet will do wonders as well.

If your budget allows it, replacing the appliances if they are outdated will help your kitchen look better and more modern. You can either choose white or stainless steel but make sure they all match, or you can try a brightly colored appliance to bring attention to a certain part of the kitchen.

Bathroom

Touching up your bathroom could play a major role in people wanting to buy your home. Buyers want areas that make them feel comfortable and maybe almost a spa atmosphere. This can easily be done by updating the shower head, replacing the toilet seat, or adding new countertops to the bathroom. Installing heated lamps or flooring can be a nice luxurious touch as well.

If your floors are looking a little dingy, re-grout the tile as well as in the tub and shower for a new and fresh look.

Bedroom

The bedroom is your sanctuary after a long day. It is the perfect place to unwind and relax so you want it to be comfortable. Switching out the bedding and pillows is a quick fix to transform the room. You can add or eliminate furniture to make it the space you desire.

If you are planning on selling your home, repainting the bedroom, or redoing the flooring/carpet is a great place to start! If you have the space for it, think about expanding the closet or adding a second closet for a his and hers closet!

Other Spaces

Add a fresh coat of paint or redo the flooring in your living room and hallways to add some life back into your home.

If you haven’t updated the artwork or decor in your home in a while, doing that will liven up the place a significant amount. Updating the decor in your home will give your space a whole new look without breaking the bank.

If you have an office or an extra room, think about possibly adding a closet, if you have the space.

Exterior

The exterior of your home is just as important as the interior. Whether you are selling or staying, updating the exterior of your home will go a long way!

Replacing your garage door will help the curb appeal of your home. Your garage door might be discolored or have scratches and dents in it. Replacing the garage door is not something that will break your bank and it will improve the exterior of your home greatly.

As we are on the topic of doors, repainting your front door can increase your home value and curb appeal. Giving your front door a new splash of color or a new coat of paint will help significantly. Replace the light fixtures on the front of your home to ensure that they work and to add more decor.

Plant new flowers or even plant a tree to liven up and add color to the outside of your home.

Takeaway

Whether you are getting your home ready to sell or just doing some much needed remodeling, these quick and easy tips will help improve the look and value of your home.

What You Need to Know Being a First Time Home Buyer

FIRSTHOME

Buying a home may seem like a difficult and long process but there are many steps that you can take to make it easier. The market we are currently in can make the process seem like it’s going to take a while or that it is going to be impossible but with the steps you can take and having a great real estate agent, you will soon be in your next home.

Home prices continue to rise as we move along through the summer which may scare new home buyers into waiting longer. Although home prices are increasing, rent is also increasing so buying a home may save you more money in the long run. Monthly mortgage payments are on the rise but comparing mortgage payments to rental payments, paying for mortgage is still significantly lower than rental payments, according to the National Association of Realtors.

With prices on the rise, determine a budget for yourself and/or if you are buying a house with someone else. Determining and sticking to a budget will allow you to know what you comfortably can afford but if you must go over that budget in a bidding war, it may not be the best thing for you. You may want the house that you are in a bidding war for but if it well exceeds your budget, it may not be the right home. Create a budget where you can possibly exceed by a little bit but not too much.

Think about if you are ready to commit to a loan. Mortgage loans are typically 15 to 30 years so ask yourself if you are ready to commit to this home for a while and if you have the money to do so.

If you are ready to commit to a loan, do your research and find the right type of loan for your situation. There are many types of loans to choose from that range in various forms of how little or how much your down payment can be which may help your financial situation.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan is a major step that you do not want to miss. This major step lets you know just how much you can afford and shows the seller that you can afford to buy their home.

This step may be a very vital part in getting a home. If there are multiple offers on a house, getting pre-approved may make you more desirable to the seller and you may not have to be in a bidding war.

All while in the process of this, make sure you are keeping your credit stable, and you are not draining your bank account. When buying a home, you want to make sure you keep your spending on the low to show that you are responsible with your money.

Also, be sure to scout out the neighborhood at different times of the day to make sure that the community is the right fit for you.

Buying your first home may seem like a stressful and daunting task but with the right help from the right real estate agent, you will find the next home for you!

Possible End in Sight for Record Low Shortage as June Shows Surprising Numbers

Possible End in Sight for Record Low Shortage as June Shows Surprising Numbers

The record low housing shortage that we experienced due to the pandemic might be turning around due to the surprising numbers that June showed. Sellers are starting to feel more comfortable about putting their houses on the market which means the heat of the market might start to cool down a bit.

According to Realtor.com, new listings in June increased 5.5% year over year and 10.9% compared with May.

With more houses coming on the market, buyers should start to feel better about actually getting a house. The chances of multiple buyers on one house and the prices of homes should start to decrease as more homes enter the market. The other side of more homes being on the market means there will be more competition for sellers.

This could mean trying to price their home accordingly. Pricing a home for competition might mean lowering the price to attract more buyers but it could sway the other way where the sellers might price their home higher to get more money.

The number of houses on the market are still historically low compared to the average for this time of year before the pandemic. But it will take a while for the market to recover from the pandemic so any increase in the number of homes is good.

New listings usually decrease in the summer after a busy spring market, which is why an increase in listings in June is surprising, but you must remember that the market is completely different than any other year due to the pandemic. The usual highs and lows cannot even be compared to 2020 and 2021 because of that.

Mortgage rates are projected to start increasing which will make buying a home less affordable so take advantage of the record low mortgage rates and more homes on the market to finally buy one.

The fear of trying to buy a home in this market and potentially being outbid or being put in the middle of a bidding war is frustrating but as more houses become available, the hope is that there will be less offers on one home.

Whether you are planning on buying or selling a home, contact your local real estate agency for assistance!

Easy Exterior Updates A Home Seller Should Never Forget

selling

Every home seller knows that a well-kept interior will attract the eyes of a buyer, but the exterior is almost always just as important. Imagine pulling up to see a house and the exterior is not well kept but then going inside, and it is gorgeous, freshly painted, new floor, and renovated. An unkempt exterior could pull a buyer away from a house.

There are plenty of ways to make the outside of your home look nice and inviting. Some ways are a simple fix and others could be a bit pricey if you don’t know the right way to go about it. Not every home seller needs to do everything on the list but doing one or two of them before selling, might be a good idea.

When looking at your home, one of the first things that a buyer will see is your front door. Simply updating the color of your door or replacing the handle set will do wonders. You want to make a great first impression and set the mood for the rest of the house with your front door. It gives the buyers a sense of what type of style you set for the house and what they can expect color wise, possibly.

Along the topic of updating the front of your house, possibly installing new outdoor decorative lights to illuminate the front door and porch is a great idea. If the outdoor lights that you currently have are a little outdated or have some wear and tear on them, it might be a great idea to liven them up a bit and purchase and install new ones. Illuminating a path to your front porch and door will be a lot easier on everyone.

When thinking about colors for your home, you want to make sure the exterior and interior do not differ too much. If you must touch up the outside of your home, think about whether you want to change the color or keep the same one and simply do a touch up. They do not have to match exactly but they should complement each other. Making sure you have a good uniform look to your house that both the interior and exterior match well will catch the eyes of potential buyers.

If there are any windows that are damaged in your home, replacing them is a must. Even if the crack is tiny, replace them so you have the best chances of selling your home. Also consider buying new window frames to make sure your house pops to buyers.

One major fix that will help you in the long run is fixing roof problems. If a buyer knows that the roof will need to be replaced soon, that might turn them away. The last thing a buyer wants to do is spend even more money after buying a home and fixing a roof can be expensive. Even though it is a big hunk of money to spend fixing roof problems, it may be a good idea. Who knows, you may only have to replace damaged shingles.

You want to make sure that your house not only looks amazing on the inside but also on the outside. Fixing exterior problems will help you in the long run when trying to sell your home.

What To Explore For a Day of Fun in Philadelphia

Philly

Are you looking for a fun day in the sun in Philadelphia? Well, luckily for you, there are numerous things to do in the city and in the surrounding areas for you and your friends and family to enjoy.

Fun And Games

To start off for a whole day of fun in just one area, take a trip to the Blue Cross Riverrink Summerfest for roller skating, mini golf, arcade games, rides, and food and drinks. There is fun for the whole family and for all ages here. While the kids are playing the games, the adults can go relax and drink some beer. Admittance into the Summerfest is free, but the activities are pay as you go!

Wanting to spend a night in the open air and under the stairs of Philadelphia with family and friends? Enjoy outdoor movie nights in several places throughout the city including at Navy Yard and in the Schuylkill Banks.

Live Music

There are an abundance of summer concerts going on so if you are ready to take the plunge from over a year without live music, go ahead! For outdoor concerts check out The Mann and TD Center. Venues are gradually opening to concerts indoors this summer starting with The Met, with TLA starting in July, Union Transfer in August, and Franklin Music Hall in September. Speaking of concerts, Jay-Z’s Made in American festival returns September 4 and 5 with a weekend full of live music from some of the hottest artists on the charts.

Wawa Welcome America returns this summer with their 4th of July celebration with a few weeks full of free events from June 19-July 4 that include free museum admission, movie nights, Wawa Hoagie Day, and a huge outdoor concert.

Interesting Experiences

If you are looking to spend a couple of hours in a museum that is Instagram picture worthy, the Neon Museum of Philadelphia and a wonderful immersive art experience at Wonderspaces will do you just fine! Take some friends or enjoy an afternoon by yourself to fully appreciate and take in the beauty of these art exhibits. For a more traditional museum experience, check out the Philadelphia Museum of Art to explore their newest galleries.

Are you looking for a spookier experience? Take a trip to the Eastern State Penitentiary for either a daytime or nighttime tour. Explore crumbling cell blocks like Al Capone’s cell and empty guard towers for a day or night full of haunting experiences. If you are up for it, enjoy a beer at Triple Bottom Brewing Company at the prison’s Fair Chance Beer Garden.

Adventures

If you are one for an adventure outdoors, there are an abundance of parks, trails, and water to get your adventure on. Fairmount Park is Philly’s largest park, and you can hike, tour, and kayak throughout the park. This Park has everything you could think of for your inner adventurer. Another great place to kayak is at Penn’s Landing but you also can rent a canoe, a swan shaped boat, and a dragon shaped boat to explore the city from the water.

Wissahickon Park is also a great place to hike if you are in the walking outdoor type of mood. There are plenty of trails ranging from different lengths for you and your family and friends to enjoy on a beautiful day off.

Wrapping Up

 There is an abundance of activities to do this summer in the wonderful city of Philadelphia. Come on, come all, and enjoy what this city has to offer. There are activities for everyone from a little toddler to your grandparents. What activity will you do?

Seller’s Leverage in Today’s Market

sale

In a competitive seller’s market, like the one we are currently in, sellers usually have more leverage when negotiating with buyers. The sellers of a house have more power in these types of situations because homes are flying on and off the market at a record pace.

There are simply not enough houses for sale to keep up with the number of buyers. Sales are still increasing each month, but the number of available homes is steadily decreasing.

The leverage between sellers and buyers in this sense is the seller’s ability to award or eliminate costs in order to actually sell their home. Sellers have immense power in this market to influence buyers to move more on their side in the process. Sellers also have the ability to receive more benefits and eliminate costs on their end. Another advantage for sellers right now is to possibly sell their home for more than it would be worth in a far more normal market because buyers are desperate since inventory is low.

The trend of buyers who are being outbid by others is sitting at 40%. Being outbid by others is one of the biggest reasons people have not been able to find a home. The other reasons why people are not able to buy homes usually consist of not finding a home they can afford, having features that they want or need, or not finding a home in a neighborhood they would like. All of these scenarios have been decreasing significantly over the last few years but being outbid by others is increasing.

There are buyers out there offering all cash offers for a home which in the eyes of a seller, is the quickest and easiest way to sell their home. Others are waiving contingencies for a smoother selling process. You could put in an offer on a house that is $20,000 over asking price but be outbid by someone putting in an offer significantly larger than that. This is just how the market is going right now.

Buyers are buying a home right now to just buy a home, buy now before prices continue to rise, and to take advantage of record low mortgage rates. But, with numerous offers on just one home, the sellers have the ability to leverage with the buyers to weed out and find the right potential buyer for their situation.

If you need help finding ways to make a deal with a seller or you are wanting to make sure your offer is good enough, contact a local real estate agent.

FHA Loans Are Being Looked Over for A Clean Sale

loan

For home buyers who are facing challenges and barriers, FHA loans provide mortgage insurance to make buying a home more accessible. These loans are a type of federal assistance. FHA loans allow home buyers to finance homes with down payments as low as 3.5%. These types of loans are often very popular with first time home buyers that may need a little more help if they don’t have enough money in their pockets.

The reason that FHA loans are popular for first time home buyers or low-to-moderate-income borrowers is because they require a lower minimum down payment, as low as 3.5%, and lower credit scores than conventional loans.

As of 2021, the requirements for FHA loans are to have a greater than 580 credit score, a down payment of 3.5%, a debit/income ratio of less than 43%, and mortgage insurance. If you have a credit score less than 580 but greater than 500, the down payment is 10%. Proof of steady income and employment are also required to obtain FHA loans.

With the strong nature of a seller’s market that we are in currently, homeowners are prioritizing other offers over others for an easy sale. Buyers are offering all cash offers, paying way above asking price, and waiving contingencies to have the best chances of getting the house in this very competitive market.

The reason why FHA loans might be phased out right now is because FHA appraisals tend to be stricter about home inspections when it comes to health and safety concerns. The trends of the market right now are sellers looking for buyers with more conventional mortgages because they tend to care more about the price, they can sell their house for and knowing the sale of the home will close.

In a seller’s market, the sellers have a big advantage when it comes to deciding who they are willing to sell their house to. Especially when the market is as competitive as it is right now, sellers want the easiest offer and the best price.

There are many contingencies’ buyers are waiving right now to help ensure that their offer gets approved such as waiving the inspection and appraisal contingencies. If a seller has an offer with contingencies waived or an all-cash offer, there is less for them to do so it’s the easiest option.

In this market, buyers are trying to steer clear of FHA loans and go with conventional loans because that might show they will actually go through with the sale and not back out.

In the meantime, buyers should improve their financial profile so when the time comes to getting a loan, they are able to get whatever loan they want

How to Tend to A Garden

gardening

Gardening is a pastime that has been around for ages. Tending to your land and adding plants not only makes your home more inviting but gives you a sense of happiness.

There are a lot of things about your home that you may not be able to change with the snap of your finger and without spending a lot of money, but gardening is one activity that will change your home more than you may think. You can always change up your garden, moving plants to other places and putting in new ones where you think they may look better. Gardening is something that just keeps going on and on.

The first step for putting a garden in is to find a place in your yard, whether it’s the front yard or backyard, that you will see on a daily basis. Being able to see your garden will entice you to work on it more often instead of doing it once and forgetting about it. Before figuring out a place for your garden, inspect your yard to find the best places with the most sunlight. Sunlight is key to most plants. Along with placement of your garden, make sure you are able to run a hose to water the plants. Just like humans, plants need water and sunlight to thrive.

Plants need space to grow into. With that in mind, the plants you choose should be able to have enough space to fully grow. You can always carefully replant if there isn’t enough room, or you decide another place for them later.

Not only do you have to majorly consider where the physical plants should go, but make sure you buy soil that is rich in nutrients for them to be healthy and grow well. If you do not have that much room in the ground itself, consider using containers and pots for your plants. Many edible plants grow well in containers and pots outside of the ground.

Do your research to find out what types of plants grow and survive the best in your climate. You want to make sure the climate isn’t too hot but also isn’t too cold for your specific plants. Knowing your frost dates is essential so you do not freeze your plants and grow them in times of the year they are destined to die in. If you do want to keep a garden during the colder months, keep an indoor garden in a garage or another indoor space. This is also a way to keep plants alive by moving them inside before the first frost.

When choosing what plants to put in your garden, take a walk through your local garden center and see what sticks out to you. Did your eyes immediately go to a certain flower or vegetable? Did your eyes light up when thinking about a certain tree or brightly colored tulip? If so, do you research on how to tend to that specific plant and start the journey. You can either buy seeds or seedlings to plant, whichever you are more comfortable with and go from there.

Like humans, plants need to be nourished and fed as well. Invest in some plant food and after a few weeks, begin to feed your plants to help them grow and survive.

Remember to slow down and breathe when tending to your plants. This type of activity is not meant to be rushed but to be enjoyed. Take care of your garden and plants like they are your own.