Jenny Mendez Isenburg's Blog
If you plan to sell your house in the foreseeable future, it usually pays to clean out the garage. In fact, a home seller who declutters the garage today can show homebuyers the true size and beauty of this space, thereby increasing a house's overall appeal.
Ultimately, it won't take long for a home seller to declutter the garage – here are three tips to help you remove clutter from your garage before you list your residence.
1. Identify Excess Items
Old automotive parts, tools and other excess items can take up lots of space in your garage. However, a homeowner who dedicates the necessary time and resources to identify garage clutter can plan accordingly.
Separate must-keep garage items from excess items. Then, you can determine exactly how much space that you'll need to store the items that you want to keep.
For many homeowners, storage cabinets and shelving units make it easy to keep track of items in a garage. Or, if you need extra space to store garage items, you may want to consider renting a storage unit until you finalize your home sale.
2. Sell, Donate or Dispose of Excess Items
When it comes to excess garage items, there is no need to delay the inevitable. If you sell, donate or dispose of garage clutter, you can quickly eliminate excess items from your garage.
Selling your excess garage items online or hosting a yard sale may prove to be worthwhile. In both instances, you can generate interest in assorted garage items and earn extra cash at the same time.
In addition, you may be able to donate excess garage items to local charities. If you reach out to local charities and learn about their donation policies, you can find out which charities will accept your excess garage items and schedule donation pick-ups.
On the other hand, if you find garage items that are broken or damaged, dispose of these items. That way, you can free up space in your garage immediately.
3. Conduct In-Depth Garage Cleaning
After you remove garage clutter, it is important to spend some time cleaning your garage from top to bottom. This will enable you to transform an ordinary garage into a spectacular one.
If you need extra help with garage cleaning, don't hesitate to contact a professional home cleaning company. This business likely employs friendly, diligent cleaning experts who can help you accelerate the garage cleaning process.
Lastly, if you're searching for the best ways to improve your home before you list it, you may want to hire a real estate agent.
A real estate agent can offer honest, unbiased garage cleaning recommendations and suggestions. Plus, this housing market professional will set up home showings, keep you up to date about offers on your residence and ensure you can enjoy a fast, seamless home selling experience.
Want to sell your residence soon? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can bolster your garage's appearance in no time at all.
Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, the terminology of mortgages can be confusing. Since buying a home is such a huge financial decision, you’re also going to want to make sure you understand every step of the process and all of the conditions and fees along the way.
In this article, we’re going to explain some of the common terms you might come across when applying for a home loan, be it online or over the phone. By learning the basic meaning of these terms you’ll feel more confident and prepared going into the application process.
We’ll cover the acronyms, like APRs and ARMs, and the scary sounding terms like “amortization” so that you know everything you need to about the terminology of home loans.
ARM and FRM, or adjustable rate vs fixed rate mortgages. Lenders make their money by charging you interest on your home loan that you pay back over the length of your loan period. Adjustable rate mortgages or ARMs are loans that have interest rates which change over the lifespan of your loan. You may start off at a low, “introductory rate” and later start paying higher amounts depending on the predetermined rate index. Fixed rate mortgages, on the other hand, remain at the same rate throughout the life of the loan. However, refinancing on your loan allows you to receive a different interest rate later down the road.
Amortization. It sounds like a medieval torture technique, but in reality amortization is the process of making your life easier by setting up a fixed repayment schedule. This schedule includes both the interest and the principal loan balance, allowing you to understand how long and how much money will go toward repaying your mortgage.
Equity. Simply state, your equity is the the amount of the home you have paid off. In a sense, it’s the amount of the home that you really own. Your equity increases as you make payments, and having equity can help you buy a new home, or see a return on investment with your current home if the home increases in value.
Assumption and assumability. It isn’t the title of a Jane Austen novel. It’s all about the process of a mortgage changing hands. An assumable mortgage can be transferred to a new buyer, and assumption is the actual transfer of the loan. Assuming a loan can be financially beneficial if the home as increased in value since the mortgage was created.
Escrow. There are a lot of legal implications that come along with buying a home. An escrow is designed to make sure the loan process runs smoothly. It acts as a holding tank for your documents, payments, as well as property taxes and insurance. An escrow performs an important function in the home buying process, and, as a result, charges you a percentage of the home for its services.
Origination fee. Basically a fancy way of saying “processing fee,” the origination covers the cost of processing your mortgage application. It’s one of the many “closing costs” you’ll encounter when buying a home and accounts for all of the legwork your loan officer does to make your mortgage a reality--running credit reports, reviewing income history, and so on.
Is a two-car garage a luxury or an essential feature of a home? While it may not always be a top priority for first-time buyers, many seasoned homeowners consider it a "must have" item. In a lot of cases, it all boils down to expectations and what people have grown accustomed to.
Climate also plays a key role in how important a two-car garage is to you and your family. However, even if your winters are mild and your snowfall amounts are slim to nil, there are other weather conditions that a garage can shield you (and your cars) from.
Being able to park your vehicles in a protected, enclosed area is especially welcome when you have an armful of groceries, inclement weather outside, small children in tow, or an elderly parent to care for. Once you start adding up the advantages of having a two-car garage, it makes you wonder how you ever got along without one!
- Crime deterrent: No matter where you live, if your cars are parked in your driveway or on the street overnight, they're going to be much more vulnerable to vandalism, car theft, and break-ins. From a personal safety standpoint, it can also be safer to drive into your garage, close the automatic door behind you, and go directly into your house. Even if you live in a low-crime neighborhood, safety habits are a good thing to cultivate, especially if you sometimes arrive home late at night.
- Valuable storage space: As you acquire more possessions and your family grows, storage space becomes more of a precious commodity. In addition to protecting your vehicles from the elements, spacious garages are also great for housing lawn mowers, bicycles, barbecue grills, golf clubs, yard maintenance equipment, spare tires, gardening supplies, firewood, tools, and lawn chairs. If you don't have a backyard shed, then garage storage space is indispensable.
- Protection From The Elements: Besides wind and rain and dark of night, other elements your cars don't need to be subjected to include the hot, baking sun, bird droppings, and air pollution. And speaking of the hot, baking sun: Keeping your cars in a cool, shady place during the hot summer months can help spare you the discomfort of having to sit down in a sweltering vehicle! For those who live in chillier climates, garages can make your morning commute just a little less bone chilling!
- Privacy: There are a lot of benefits to being sociable with your neighbors, but it's also nice to be able to pick and choose when those social interactions takes place! Parking in your garage can provide you with an extra measure of privacy when you don't have the time (or inclination) to stop and chat.
If you recently bought or sold a house, you likely will need to pack up your electronics and transport them to a new location in the near future. As such, it is important to pack your electronics correctly to reduce the risk of damage.
Now, let's take a look at three best practices for packing electronics.
1. Follow the Manufacturer's Instructions
In many instances, electronics manufacturers will offer tips and recommendations that you can use to pack your video game consoles, TVs and other electronics properly. Review any electronics product manuals at your disposal, and you can gain deep insights into how to pack these items.
If you lost an electronics product manual, there is no need to worry. Most manufacturers will post information on their respective websites about how to pack various electronics. Or, you can always contact the manufacturer directly or consult with an electronics retailer.
In addition, if you still have the original electronics box, you may want to use this box on moving day. The original box is the perfect size for your electronics, and as a result, will make it simple for you to pack and store your electronics safely until you complete your move.
2. Pick Up the Right Packing Materials
Tape, bubble wrap and other packing materials are essential, particularly for those who want to protect their electronics.
Visit a local convenience store or supermarket to pick up a wide range of packing materials. By doing so, you can purchase the packing items you need to properly secure your electronics.
Furthermore, if you need moving boxes for your electronics, a convenience store or supermarket may be able to help you out. Contact local convenience stores and supermarkets, and these businesses may be able to supply you with free boxes that they no longer need to store a variety of electronics.
3. Proceed with Caution
Most electronics consist of glass and other sensitive materials, so you'll want to do everything possible to protect these items.
It usually helps to wrap electronics in moving pads, sheets or light blankets. You also should wrap electronics in linen or clean paper to minimize the risk of dust damage.
For those who want expert help with packing electronics, you may want to hire a professional moving company. With this business at your disposal, you can receive comprehensive assistance as you prepare your electronics and other belongings for moving day.
Lastly, if you need extra help as you search for a moving company or try to buy or sell a house, you should work with a real estate agent.
Real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide. These housing market professionals can connect you with local moving experts, along with provide plenty of support throughout the homebuying or home selling process.
Ready to pack up your electronics? Use the aforementioned best practices, and you can keep your electronics safe as you get ready to relocate to a new address.
The process of buying a house may prove to be long and complicated. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take before you pursue a home to streamline the homebuying cycle, and these include:
1. Create a Homebuying Checklist
It helps to start the homebuying process with a homebuying checklist in hand. This checklist will enable you to differentiate between home must-haves and wants, resulting in a fast, efficient homebuying journey.
Think about what you require from a home. For example, if you need a house that is located close to your office in the city, you should include this information in your checklist.
Also, if you want a house that features a built-in swimming pool, you can include this information in your homebuying checklist. But keep in mind that a swimming pool likely is a non-essential item. And if you find a home that is virtually perfect but lacks a swimming pool, it may still be a good idea to pursue this house.
2. Establish a Budget
How much can you afford to spend on a house? This question frequently plagues buyers as they proceed along the homebuying journey. Luckily, you can determine how much money is at your disposal if you develop a budget.
To budget effectively, it helps to meet with local lenders. Banks and credit unions generally offer a wide range of mortgage options and can help you make an informed mortgage decision.
In addition, it often helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to entering the real estate market. Because if you have a mortgage, you can pursue houses that fall within a specific price range and reduce the risk of overspending to acquire your dream house.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
If you want to enjoy a quick, seamless homebuying experience, it is beneficial to have a homebuying expert at your side. Thankfully, real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals will do what it takes to help you discover a great house at an affordable price.
A real estate agent understands housing market patterns and trends and can help you plan ahead for a buyer's or seller's market. He or she will teach you about the real estate market and respond to your homebuying queries as well.
Furthermore, a real estate agent acts as a guide throughout the homebuying journey. This housing market professional will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and help you finalize a home purchase. By doing so, a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of buying a house, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.
When it comes to purchasing a house, it helps to prepare. If you employ a real estate agent today, you can get the support you need to plan ahead for the best- and worst-case homebuying scenarios. That way, you'll be able to identify and address potential homebuying hurdles before they escalate.
Ready to buy a house? Follow the aforementioned steps, and you can move closer to pursuing your dream residence.