Friday, August 23, 2019

Setting your inspection expectations...



When you are buying a home for the first time, you’re likely to run into many processes that you haven’t been through before. One of the most important parts of the purchasing process is your property inspection. It may seem daunting, but if you know your role and the role of others, it can make the process less stressful. Here is what you should expect for each role in the property inspection process.
The Buyer
Your job will be to learn about the property during inspection. Before the inspection, you should prepare by looking over the property disclosures or any other building department documentation that you’ve received up until that point. Make a list of any questions or concerns you have about those documents and address any issues that the listing agent may have pointed out. Ask your agent what the typical inspections are for your market and make sure you set aside a few hours for the inspection.
The Buyer’s Agent
Your agent should be with you and help to walk you through the inspection. Your agent should know what to look for during inspections and be able to let you know what is important and needs to be addressed before the transaction is complete and what is a quick fix. 
The Listing Agent
In some cases, the listing agent may not be present for the inspection. Otherwise, the listing agent will be there to advocate for the seller and help to address any issues that may arise, as they are likely the most familiar with the property.
The Inspector
You will hire the property inspector as the buyer. You can get a referral from your agent to find a licensed inspector in your state. The inspector is there to explain what may need changed about a property and the potential cost it would have for you. They are not there as a contractor and will not be fixing the problems, simply inspecting the property and overall state of the house.

Home Updates To Make After A Decade



Have you lived in your current home for at least 10 years and are starting to wonder what needs replaced or updated? Even if you make maintenance a priority, some things in your home are going to need updated or replaced after they’ve been used for 10 years. Here are 8 updates to consider making in your home with each decade.
1. Hot Water Tank
Even if your tank isn’t leaking (or not working) quite yet, it is usually ready for replacement every 10 years. It is important to make note of how old your water heater is to prevent any major issues, so be sure to check the manufacturing date and consider replacement once it has worked for 10 years. 
2. Ceiling Fans
If you are someone who has the fans in your home running often, they will likely need replaced after cooling your home for a decade. If you notice lightbulbs are burning out frequently, it is time to consider replacing your fans. 
3. Carpet
The average carpet on the market today is expected to last 10 years. If you’ve got pets or a heavily trafficked home, you may want to consider replacing your carpets before you hit that 10-year mark. If you’ve got stains, tears, or hard-to-remove odors, it is probably time for an update.
4. Dishwasher
If your dishwasher has been around for 10 years, it is likely in need of replacement. The plus side of replacing your dishwasher now is that many on the market are extremely energy-efficient and will end up saving you money over time, making the initial investment to upgrade worth it. If your dishwasher has buttons that don’t work, cracks inside, or has trouble cleaning dishes as well as it used to, it is probably time to replace.
5. Washer & Dryer
If you have a working set after 10 years, you’re lucky. Many sets have a lifespan of around 8 years, so after a decade, it may be time to upgrade. 
6. Bathroom Caulking
This is the best DIY when it comes to updating your bathroom and protecting against leaks. Re-caulking the shower, tub, and sink is an easy task and gives your bathroom a new breath of life. 
7. Garbage Disposal
All blades dull over time, and with the average lifespan of a disposal at between 10-12 years, it may be a good idea to replace your disposal blade after a decade. 
8. Paint
While repainting after 10 years isn’t necessary, it can help give your home a fresh look. Most people don’t wait that long to repaint heavily trafficked rooms, so if it has been 10 years, it is probably time to add a new coat of paint.


How to fix 5 common bathroom issues...



Home ownership has plenty of perks. You can make changes whenever you want, but that also means you are responsible for making any fixes that you want (or need)! Instead of calling the local handyman every time something small goes awry, you can try out these quick fixes for common bathroom issues that arise while saving yourself some money along the way.
1. Shifting Toilet Seat
Is your toilet seat wobbling every time you sit down? Sometimes, there are visible bolts to tighten, but that just doesn't fix the issue. Many are unaware that you can actually purchase a toilet seat tightening kit. Most home improvement stores will carry an inexpensive kit, usually around $10. Rather than investing in a new toilet seat, you can save time and money by picking up a kit the next time you're out.
2. Slippery Shower
There are two main options to remedy a slippery shower. If you have a geriatric family member, a shower chair may be the best option to provide security. These chairs can be as affordable as $20 and can offer peace of mind when it comes to the safety of your loved ones. If chairs aren't for you, a non-slip bath mat will keep you from falling in the shower and cost as much as a few coffees.
3. Clogged Shower Head
Do you normally have great water pressure, but now your shower feels like a slow leak? Your shower head is likely clogged from a build up of minerals in your water. Instead of calling the plumber or heading to the store to buy toxic chemicals, you can use ingredients already in your home to fix your problem. All you need to do is fill a sandwich bag halfway full with white vinegar, submerge the shower head into the vinegar in the bag, and tie the bag to the piping and allow the head to soak overnight. When you remove the bag, you should wipe the head to remove any excess and then your shower should be back to normal pressure.
4. Slow Drain
Before calling a professional, consider trying a Zip-It tool. You can find one at your local hardware store for around $5, but you have to be willing to deal with a little bit of gunk. The tool is placed in the drain and pulls out whatever is clogging it, usually hair and soap. If you can get past that, you'll save yourself the price of a plumber.
5. Leaking Water Valve
Instead of heading to the store for a replacement water supply valve, try tightening the packing nut on the valve. A quick video search online will show you which nut to tighten, and it will only take a few minutes. Now you've saved time and money!

While these are easy fixes to do yourself, selling your home isn't nearly as easy to DIY. Call us today if you are ready to put your home on the market!


Saturday, July 13, 2019

How to decide if you should remodel or move?


After living in a home for several years, it can be easy to discover things you may not be crazy about. While some things can be a quick fix, there may be major changes that make you wonder if it is worth the investment. At this point, you're probably asking yourself if you should remodel or just find a new home. As you have probably realized, this isn't always an easy choice. There are many factors that go into this decision. Here are some things to consider when deciding what will work best for you.
1. Determine which is more cost-friendly
While both options will have costs, one will have more than the other depending on your situation. Some of the costs of selling include agent commissions, moving costs, minor repairs, the costs of a new home, and potential upsizing costs. The costs of remodeling can include permits, architectural plans, materials and labor, and any other additional costs incurred in the process. 
2. Look into the current housing market
Depending on whether your local real estate market is hot, it might make more sense to just sell if houses are selling quickly around you. By talking to a real estate agent, you can find out what to expect in terms of days on market, average sales price, and other important factors when it comes to selling a home.
3. Decide if your roots are deep 
Is your home more than just a home to you? If you and your family are actively involved in the community, remodeling may work best for you. On the flip side, if there are better schooling or job opportunities in a different neighborhood, or you already spend hours a day traveling to those locations, selling may be a better option.
4. Decide if a renovation can solve your problems
Take the time to decide if the problems with your home are fixable. Is it really the house, or do you dislike your neighborhood? Do you have to spend an hour driving one way to work? Do you need a lot more space? If your answer to questions like this make you realize renovations won't solve your problems, consider that it may just be time to put your home on the market. 
5. Consider the ROI on your remodel
Calculating your return on investment will help you determine two things - first, if a remodel will cost you less than selling your home. It will also help you determine if you will be able to make your money back on a remodel if you choose to sell in the future. Look into the Cost v. Value Report for the last year, which can guide you on the most and least cost-effective improvements.
If these considerations make you realize it is time to sell your home, give us a call today!


Energy saving tips that will lower your bills


Temperatures are rising which means that your utility bills are likely on the rise too. With the average American spending around $200 a month on energy, most are looking for a way to decrease those prices in any way they can. Just not using air conditioning is an unrealistic option, so there are other updates and changes you can make to save money and still stay cool this summer.
FIND AN ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME
If you are on the hunt for a new home this summer, think ahead and make energy efficiency a priority in your home search. Keep square footage to the minimum you think you will need - the more unnecessary space, the more space you'll be cooling (or heating this winter). Certain home features, like sun rooms and high ceilings, also contribute to unnecessary space or space that heats quicker than normal. 
CHECK YOUR APPLIANCES
While newer appliances are easily labeled with their estimated yearly cost by Energy Guide, older appliances aren't as easy to determine. Using the Department of Energy's online appliance energy calculator, you can decide if investing in newer appliances with a lower operating cost could save you money in the long run. You can also have an HVAC professional check your equipment to ensure it is the appropriate size for your home. Having a system that is too large or too small can create unnecessary costs.
QUICK FIXES
Replacing appliances and equipment can be a large up-front cost, so if you're looking to start saving now, even small amounts, quick fixes are your best choice. Some options include using cold water for laundry, changing the direction of your ceiling fan, and using energy-efficient light bulbs. Check your doors for sealing issues and replace weather stripping if necessary to prevent drafts.
FIND AN EXPERT
If you want more guidance on how to save energy, you can contact your local utility company. Many provide free energy audits and can offer professional advice on ways to lower your energy use and save you money. 



How to fix 5 common bathroom issues...

Home ownership has plenty of perks. You can make changes whenever you want, but that also means you are responsible for making any fixes that you want (or need)! Instead of calling the local handyman every time something small goes awry, you can try out these quick fixes for common bathroom issues that arise while saving yourself some money along the way.
1. Shifting Toilet Seat
Is your toilet seat wobbling every time you sit down? Sometimes, there are visible bolts to tighten, but that just doesn't fix the issue. Many are unaware that you can actually purchase a toilet seat tightening kit. Most home improvement stores will carry an inexpensive kit, usually around $10. Rather than investing in a new toilet seat, you can save time and money by picking up a kit the next time you're out.
2. Slippery Shower
There are two main options to remedy a slippery shower. If you have a geriatric family member, a shower chair may be the best option to provide security. These chairs can be as affordable as $20 and can offer peace of mind when it comes to the safety of your loved ones. If chairs aren't for you, a non-slip bath mat will keep you from falling in the shower and cost as much as a few coffees.
3. Clogged Shower Head
Do you normally have great water pressure, but now your shower feels like a slow leak? Your shower head is likely clogged from a build up of minerals in your water. Instead of calling the plumber or heading to the store to buy toxic chemicals, you can use ingredients already in your home to fix your problem. All you need to do is fill a sandwich bag halfway full with white vinegar, submerge the shower head into the vinegar in the bag, and tie the bag to the piping and allow the head to soak overnight. When you remove the bag, you should wipe the head to remove any excess and then your shower should be back to normal pressure.
4. Slow Drain
Before calling a professional, consider trying a Zip-It tool. You can find one at your local hardware store for around $5, but you have to be willing to deal with a little bit of gunk. The tool is placed in the drain and pulls out whatever is clogging it, usually hair and soap. If you can get past that, you'll save yourself the price of a plumber.
5. Leaking Water Valve
Instead of heading to the store for a replacement water supply valve, try tightening the packing nut on the valve. A quick video search online will show you which nut to tighten, and it will only take a few minutes. Now you've saved time and money!
While these are easy fixes to do yourself, selling your home isn't nearly as easy to DIY.   Call us today if you are ready to put your home on the market!




Why credit checks during closing area important...



You've found your dream home. After months of searching, you're finally closing on the house that you've wanted for so long. The last thing you want to do is take any action that would interfere with the closing of your home. Since the start of your home search, your agent has probably told you time and time again not to do anything that would impact your credit score, like opening a new line of credit or making a large purchase. While this makes sense during the approval process, you may wonder why it is key to keep your credit in check until after closing. Here is an explanation of the 2 credit checks performed during the home-buying process and why it is important to maintain your credit from start to finish.
Pre-Approval Credit Check
To get a loan to purchase a home, you'll go through a pre-qualification process. You'll let your potential lender know a variety of financial information, from your credit score and employment to your marital status, as well as any number of factors that can impact your qualification. With this self-reported information, you can then be pre-approved. After that, lenders will verify the information you've provided and this is when they will pull your credit history. It is important that what you've reported matches the credit information pulled by the lender - which is why you shouldn't miss any payments or open new cards during this time. Lenders offer approval based on a risk assessment, and you do not want them to think that you are a risk.
Credit Check at Closing
The main concern of the lender is the risk you pose to them. Because it can take time for an offer to be accepted, your lender may pull a second credit check while waiting for your loan to pass underwriting. This is to ensure your credit hasn't changed since the initial credit check. If you took out a loan or created massive credit debt, you could change your debt to income ratio and your lender could decide you are too risky to loan to. This is why it is so very important to keep your credit in check before, during, and after the home-buying process!


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

WHAT TO PACK FOR THE FIRST NIGHT IN YOUR NEW HOME...



You just finished unloading the final box from the moving truck, and now you’re officially moved in to your new home! You go to take a shower to wash off the day, only to realize you don’t have a shower curtain. After spending a full day moving into a new home, the last thing you are going to want to do is dig through all of your unopened boxes to find an outfit or a charger (or even a shower curtain). The next time you’re moving, create a ‘first night box’ so that your essentials aren’t hidden at the bottom of another box. Here is a list of what you should pack:


1. Toiletries
You may have thought about keeping your tooth brush in an easy-to-find place when packing, but you’ll need more toiletry essentials to get through the first night or two. Be sure to pack toilet paper, towels, a shower curtain + rod, shower items, and a first aid kit. 
2. Clothes
Unless you are an extremely organized packer, finding an outfit for the next few days isn’t going to be easy if you have to dig through multiple boxes.  Pack 2-3 days worth of clothes and pajamas.
3. Electronics
Don't forget your chargers. Make sure you've got your phone, laptop, and any other charger you may need for your devices during the first few days at home. Pack any necessary cords and cables needed if you plan to unbox your television the first night  Be sure to pack a flashlight as well just in case!
4. Air Mattress/Bedding
If your bed hasn't made it to your new room yet, you will want to make sure you have an air mattress in your first night box. Check to ensure the air pump is packed as well! If your furniture is unloaded, you will sleep better if the bedding you love is easily accessible on that first night in your new home.  
5. Eating Utensils & Kitchen Items 
Avoid the mess of dirty dishes your first night home and pack disposable eating utensils.  You may also want to pack wipes to quickly clean up any messes made at mealtime and a garbage bag to be able to dispose of any waste quickly. Cleaning supplies typically aren't the first thing on our minds when moving into a new home, so be sure to pack these items so that you aren't scrambling to the store after a long day when you're ready to clean up after a meal. 

DYI FIRE PIT FOR YOUR BACKYARD




Summer is finally here which means plenty of nights spent enjoying the outdoors. While the days may be warmer than usual, some nights are still a little chilly. If you have been thinking of ways to still be outside while also being warm and cozy, a fire pit could be the right choice for you. Here is the way to make your own backyard fire pit for this summer!
PREPARE
First, make sure building your own fire pit doesn't break your local fire code. Check for suggestions or guidelines on how far the pit needs to be away from your home or other structures for safety purposes. 
Now that you know you can build, it is time to pick up supplies! You may already have some of these items at home, but you can find whatever you don't have at your local hardware store. This is what you'll need:
Bricks for the wall
Gravel
Twine
Tape Measure
Stake
Shovel
Trowel
Level
BUILD
The first step you'll make is creating a circle where you want your fire pit. Take your stake and place it in the center of where you want your circle. Next, you'll want to cut your twine to half of the length of your goal size. If you want a pit 5 feet in diameter, make your twine 2.5 feet long. Tie one end of your twine to your stake and the other end to your trowel. Drag the trowel with the twine fully extended around the stake, using the sharp part of the trowel to create a clear circle in the grass.
The second step requires your shovel. You will shovel out all of the grass inside of the circle you have created, and tamp down the dirt remaining in the circle with the bottom of your shovel. Make sure your circle is level, and make adjustments by adding or removing dirt to do so.
Next, you will add several inches of gravel. Make sure you spread the gravel evenly, covering your entire circle.
Now is time to add your bricks. Create a circle with your bricks, leaving a few inches of gravel around the outer rim as a safety buffer. You will want to stack your bricks until the wall of your fire pit is at least a foot tall.
ENJOY
Now you can use your brand new fire pit. If you're still looking for a home where you can build a fire pit, give us a call...805 465-2001

Long distance house hunting ...




Regular house-hunting isn't always easy, but adding distance into the mix can present challenges you don't have when looking a few neighborhoods over for a new home. While it may not be a walk in the park to buy a home from far away, it is possible. If you find a great agent and follow these steps, you can take away some of the stress that comes with moving long-distance.
1. Start Your Research
Knowing what is in your neighborhood is something we tend to take for granted. You know where the best sushi place is and exactly what grocery store is closest to your home for those last minute runs. When moving to a new neighborhood, especially in a new state, it is key to decide what is important to you when it comes to proximity. Does your new house need to be near a park for your kids? Do you need to be 5 minutes from the closest Starbucks? You'll also want to look into crime rates and school ratings if you have children. Researching your potential neighborhoods will help you feel better about choosing a new home that may be far away.
2. Use Technology To Your Advantage
Google Maps may not be constantly updated, but checking out an aerial view can give you an idea of what your neighborhood looks like if you don't have the opportunity to travel right away. Getting the lay of the land is just another way to feel comfortable about your new neighborhood.
3. Have a Travel Budget
Even if you have a great agent showing you as many homes as possible, you need to plan for the possibility of making more than one trip to your future home state if you want to see it in person. While you may have adjusted your budget already to purchase a home, consider factoring in travel costs so you aren't stressed about eating out or gas money during your trips - that way you can focus on finding your dream home.
4. Decide Your Non-Negotiables
Choosing a home from out of town already comes with challenges. If you're heading in to check out houses and have a weekend filled to the brink with potential home tours, it will make your life easier if all of those homes meet your requirements. Instead of seeing all homes that 'might' fit, have your agent remove any houses that have a non-negotiable feature - whether that is no backyard or not enough bathrooms. It will make the most of your time and remove some of the stress of seeing homes that aren't for you.

Remember we can always place you in contact with a Realtor in the city and state you are moving to. We're here to help!

Maria Zendejas & Team 805-465-2001