Hiring the Perfect Home Improvement Company

Finding the right home improvement company for your next home improvement project can be an easy task if you plan it right. When you have a room that needs a fresh new More »

Basic Principles For Designing Your Dream House

Before setting your mind on a particular choice of plan or architectural design, take the time to read through the following pointers as set out below, subsequently you will be able to More »

Color Your Dream With Online Home Improvement Loan

In this expensive world, having a dwelling is rare! Generally, people opt for rented one. However, for those you have a home of their own and want to go for some or More »

Finding a House for Rent

Trying to find a house for rent can be very frustrating, to say the least. Most people complain that there just is not enough houses for rent to choose from. You might More »

A Few Guidelines to Consider When Looking for a House for Sale

When looking for a new home there are several items you should consider carefully before making your selection. These things range from the size of the home, to the neighborhood it’s located More »

Home Improvement Loan

Home improvement includes both major and minor changes that people make to their house. Some of these changes include painting walls, flooring, adding new fixtures to kitchen and bathrooms, installing heating and More »

 

Home Improvement: To Build Your Very Own Comfort Zone

Home is your sanctuary. The place you go back to every night and somehow it doesn’t seem right. Your home is an expression of who you are and if you walk out each of a place that you does not seem to belong to you then probably your home needs improvement. You are probably guessing how you are going to make the payments for your home improvement. Your home remodeling plans are no longer to be restricted to the thought stages. Let them see the light of day. Home improvement loans will provide you with a dependable groundwork to build on the home you have a vision of.

Home improvement is predominantly triggered by the desire to own a comfortable home. Home improvement can be slightly difficult, if your financial position is tight. This is where home improvement loans have a function to perform. Being a homeowner you could not have been in a better position to apply for a home improvement loan. Home improvement loans are functional for any kind of improvement or home extension. Home improvement loan is available for double glazing, new conservatory, heating system, new kitchen, rewiring and plumbing or any home remodeling that you can think of. The cost of home improvements is generally paid by savings or revolving credits like credit or store cards. Credit cards imply no borrowing. In many ways it is idyllic for there are no repayments to be made. But credit cards can be an expensive option especially if the borrowing extends beyond the credit limit. Store card interest rates are as high as 30%. In every circumstance a personal loan for home improvement is a more disciplined and cheaper option.

Home improvement plans can be funded by means of a secured loan, unsecured loan, remortgaging or taking further advance on your mortgage. Unsecured home improvement offers a typical flat rate of interest 12-14%. But a little bit of research will get you an unsecured home improvement loan for 10%. A secured home improvement loan indisputably attracts lower rate of interest. APR of a secured loan is around 7%. You can borrow anything from £ 5,000 to £ 75,000 for home improvement. The repayment term can be extended from 5 years to 25 years depending on the loan amount, your available income and the amount of equity in the property.

In the contemporary context, one of the ingenious thing one can do with a home’s equity is to put it right back into the home. Home improvement is besides providing you with the much needed changes, increases the equity of your home. There has been a rise in home improvement loans in the past decade. If the property cannot be sold then home improvement is the answer. Home improvement is remarkable if your primary motive is to raise large amounts. But not every home improvement will improve the resale value of your home. So it is recommended that you stick to those home improvement plans that give you the maximum returns. It is important to remember that over enthusiasm with improvement won’t lead to any gain. It is difficult to recover investment in a home that is already more valuable than those in the neighbourhood. And keep your whimsical tastes to respite for there might not be many mainstream homebuyers for them.
Home improvement loan might seem like an unreal thing for many homeowners. But the newer more sophisticated home improvement loan options are very easy to adjust to. They are designed to keeping in mind the conditions and status of every homeowner. The ever expanding mortgage market gives you an opportunity to apply for a mortgage for home improvements and that too in the most uncomplicated manner. More and more homeowners are administering for remortgage to raise capital for home improvements. By completely remortgaging the consolidated loan, the entire mortgage market is assailable to the loan borrower. If you care enough to shop around then you can find a very reasonable and cheap mortgage loan for home improvement.

Home improvement loans are a package that includes any kind of meliorations that you can think of. It is your home and you have every right to improve it the way you want to. Contrary to accepted conviction home improvements are vital and absolutely necessary. Why home improvement? If that is what people ask when you suggest it then they probably don’t know what is the meaning of comfortable living is. Home improvements improve the quality of life. We work hard and save money to buy personal satisfaction and comfort. If the house that we have build does not provide the relief then perhaps home improvement is what you need.

Different Kinds of Houses For Sale in Utah

Known for its Great Basin, the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau, the state of Utah in the USA has been blessed with geographical tourist attractions. It is also popular for its natural diversity ranging from arid deserts to pine forests that enables locals and tourists to enjoy recreational activities. This could be one of the alluring appeals why Utah real estate has been on the upward trend.

It is notable to consider that Utah’s Salt Lake City’s 46.35% housing is owned, 43.84% are rented, and 9.81% are the only vacant. This only means that it is conducive to live in Utah neighborhood with people choosing to buy their own homes there.

With its diverse community, there are wide range of choices of houses for sale in Utah, whether you are single, married, with kids, or still a student. Like in any other place to live, here is an array of kinds of houses to choose from:

· Condominiums

There are lots of condominium units near the Brigham Young University or Provo University which is especially suitable for students. With exceptional top floor, vaulted ceiling, master bedroom with private bath, condominium owners can enjoy around a thousand square foot of space for more or less $100,000.

· Villas

Great for working singles, Utah’s villas in the cities offers a generous space and great views. Usually a three to four-storey villas can cater more or less than 20 units and that means private and serene living. Brand new villas now come in 2 to 3 bedrooms, with vaulted ceilings, top floor, granite counters and stainless steel appliances. Prices range from $120,000 to $150,000.

· Townhouses

Literally a “house in town”, Utah’s townhouses are popularly built and sold for starting families wanting a friendly and safe community. These terraced one or two-storey houses provide a spacious floor plan, high ceilings, beautiful paints, and a conditioned fireplace. These homes are also usually delighted with a clubhouse, a gym and a pool for more or less $150,000.

· Houses

To feel and see Utah’s nature at its best, growing families opt to live in a sweet environment with a lawn and a backyard. These lovely houses provide both comfort and security where there are friendly neighbors always saying hello and children free to play and bike around. These usually two-storey Utah homes that come with a garden or a pool can be sold at price range from $200,000 to $400,000.

6 Tips For Having A Successful Open House

One of the best ways to selling your home is to have an open house while it is still furnished and homey looking. While you could just open the doors for people to see it as is, this is not usually the best idea. There are things that you can do to your home that will help you have a better open house which can result in a better chance of selling your home.

Paint – Paint is the cheapest and most effective way of making a house look nicer. While this process does take some time, it’s something that can really affect the sale of the home. Keep the colors neutral so they will appeal to a wider range of potential buyers. You don’t want to turn someone off by bright colors that they don’t like!
Professionally Clean Floors – There is something about professionally cleaned carpets. They look and smell fresher, plus they dry a lot faster than when you do it yourself. You can usually get a pretty good deal on whole house cleaning. Flooring is one thing that people really notice in a home, so if they are clean and bright it will make a huge difference.
Get Rid of the Clutter! Go through each room and survey how it looks from an outsider’s point of view. In an open house, less is more. People want to see some furnishings but don’t want to see clutter all over. They want to get an idea of what the space looks like and how their furnishings will look in it. Keep it simple and they will love it.
Create Mood Lighting. Let in natural light as much as possible and make sure each room is adequately lit. The kitchen and bathrooms should be bright, whereas family rooms and bedrooms can have low, mood lighting.
Remember Curb Appeal! Your home makes the first impression before you even open the door. More people will see the outside of you home than will ever see the inside, so take special care. Remove weeds and trash, power wash siding and brick, and sweep walks. Perhaps paint your front door so it looks fresh and inviting.
The Nose Knows – Make sure your home has a pleasant smell. Put bowls of potpourri or use scented candles in bathrooms and bedrooms. Put some cookies or bread dough in the oven for a fresh baked scent.

Small improvements can go a long way to make your home more presentable when hosting an open house. By making your home ready for visitors you will have a much better chance of selling it.

Houses For Sale in Fredericton New Brunswick

Houses for sale in Fredericton have struck an all-time peak, and there appears to be no letting up in the distant future. With the ease of listing, selling and turning a profit from a house sale, it seems that many have chose to do just this, with success. Fredericton is the capital of New Brunswick and has experienced substantial economic maturation over the past 10 – 15 years. That, coupled with a substantial housing market, has fueled a big residential construction upsurge. The southside of the city is the more populated side of the river, and just recently there is less and less areas to develop. The larger commercialized and residential developments are now occurring on the “northside” of Fredericton New Brunswick.

If you resolve that flipping over a house might be for you, then your first task will be to talk to a real estate agent. Agents in Fredericton are really well versed in marketing homes for sale and have a very powerful rapport with the community and possible buyers or customers. Selling in private is always an alternative, but taking advantage of a real estate’s portfolio and selling skills is by and large the better decision. After a brief conversation with a real estate agent you will get a good sense of comparable households for sale in your price range, and you will be better able to place yourself in the housing market. Fredericton extends many differing regions and houses for sale within them, so adding your uniqueness to the mix is essential to gain leverage in a good housing market.

After deciding on what price you will ask for your house, you must resolve on what offer you would or could go for to close a deal. Potential buyers rarely, if ever, give full price for the house they are about to buy. They tend to make an “offer”. A general guideline is to be willing to swallow anywhere from 5-10% less of what you are expecting. Fredericton New Brunswick has some of the most choosy buyers, so be prepared for the offer, some counter offerings as well as some rejections. This is a part of the business of selling your home in Fredericton.

If you get an offer that is near to your asking price, then it is time to consider your next purchase. It’s more then likely a good idea to stay with the identical agent that sold your household in Fredericton New Brunswick to purchase your next house. You are now going from the seller to the purchaser, and have a lot of insight into how the system works. Use all the insight you gained from selling your previous household, when you go to purchase your new house.

Pressure Wash Your Home For Maximum Value

Pressure washing is a bit of a funny thing because it just looks so easy.  Put on some head phones and a glass of iced tea and just go for it – right?  This approach may work fine if you are a homeowner just looking to clean your sidewalks or something but this will not work if you make our loving as a pressure washing contractor in Houston like I do.  Well, actually the iced tea and headphones are just fine!

To start, make sure you have a good water source, a sturdy garden hose and that your machine is full of gas before you start.  Most power washers will probably run for a few hours with a full tank.  Most professional power washers can run for six or more hours on a full tank of gas so be aware of how much fuel you have before you start or you may have to stop and make an annoying trip to fill up.

Begin by using the lowest possible pressure setting and evaluate how well it cleans.  Some surfaces will respond quite well to low pressure, other will not.  Some surfaces can stand up to higher pressure, others cannot.  It is better to go “low and slow” and dial up the pressure later as needed that start off my ripping the paint off your house!  Do everything you can to stay off a ladder – if you must use one make sure you have someone holding it for you.

Don’t forget the tea and head phones – they will keep you hydrated and help maintain your mental health while you go about what can be a slow moving and tedious chore around the house.

A Sketch of a Bad Credit Home Improvement Loan

Do you think that your house needs a new roof or new carpets? Does the colour of your living room give you a gloomy feeling? Do you want to renovate your kitchen or may be you are looking for a room extension? Overall, all you want is a home improvement………..isn’t it? Now, you might be thinking from where to get the finances from? Home improvement is a costly affair and you don’t have enough of savings. Adding to it you have a bad credit history. After all, how do you get the required finance when your credit isn’t the greatest? Most of the borrowers lose their heart at such a situation and start presuming that they can’t go for home improvement because they have a bad credit history. What most of the borrowers probably don’t realize is that there are a number of financing options available and Bad Credit Home Improvement Loan is one of them. A Bad Credit Home Improvement Loan acts as the ideal solution for those who are looking for home improvement but have a bad credit history.

Bad Credit Home Improvement Loans are especially crafted to help you renovate your house the way you please, even when you have a bad credit history. A Bad Credit Home Improvement Loan can be used to make repairs to your home or real estate, or they can finance expansions, new buildings, or any number of home improvement projects that you want.

The amount that you want to borrow in Bad Credit Home Improvement Loans depends on the equity of your home or real estate. So, the more equity you have in your home the larger will be the amount you can borrow as Bad Credit Home Improvement Loans.

A wide range of sources like Banks, Financial companies, Brokers etc are available to help you access Bad Credit Home Improvement Loans. And, the easiest and the most convenient ways of finding out the best source for Bad Credit Home Improvement Loans are undoubtedly via the internet. You can access and compare a range of Bad Credit Home Improvement Loans by just a few clicks. It is advisable for you to assess and analyze each of the deals that come your way. This will not only reduce the chances of your falling prey to advertising gimmicks and unscrupulous lenders but it will also help you to avail the best rate for Bad Credit Home Improvement Loans.

A Bad credit Home Improvement Loan not only helps you to realize your dream and make your home, the envy of others but it also helps you to rebuild your credit history.

Voice Actors Offer Professional Voice Services at Discount Rates through New Technology

Small and Medium business now have access to Professional voice over artists at discounted rates thanks to a newly updated service from two new crowd sourcing websites run by The Voice Realm. This service was launched on Wednesday August 29th, 2013.

The site’s QUICKcast feature has been updated with new coding which allows the system to assist clients to cast the voice who is perfect for their script. Rates are discounted due to the fact that scripts must be final and re-records are limited.

With the voice over services industry slowly shifting over the past 10 years from casting directors and expensive recording studios, to professional voice over talents having access to free studios, talents can now pass on these savings to their clients.

Casting websites, such as The Voice Realm, allow clients to connect with these voice talents and have professional recordings within a matter of hours. A process that used to take days.

Small and medium business may need voice over recordings for applications such as on hold phone message and greetings, iPhone and iPad apps, corporate narrations.  Some businesses are also required to produce their in house radio and television commercials.

Marketing Manager of The Voice Realm, Robert James says the service has been a hit with businesses that have never used a voice over service before. “Many clients don’t understand the whole casting process or anything about production. They just want a recording that is professionally made at a reasonable price. They are not particular about which voice they get, they just want it to be done right. They can now have the same voice over artist that appear on national radio and TV spots record their on-hold messages.”

Using the QUICKcast feature, cheap voice over rates for small recordings are $55 for a script of ‘Up to 30 seconds’ and $85 for a script of ‘Up to 60 seconds’.

The website also provides a growing number of voice over jobs for voice artists who are looking for professional online representation, rather than be listed amongst newcomers to the industry. The website has a very strict selection process to make sure that all actors are experienced, professional and reliable.

Whilst intuitively automated, websites like The Voice Realm has 24/7 customer support staff ready to help clients with any castings, bookings or auditions queries, all free of charge.

To ensure first that clients have the right voice for their script, they can audition voice talents with no commitment or initial payment.

The updated QUICKcast feature is now live and accessible at http://www.thevoicerealm.com/quickcast.php

Cheap Homes and Tips For Buying a House in Sale

A home is a financial asset and more: it’s a place to live and raise children; it’s a plan for the future; it’s an investment in your community. That’s why all Americans should have an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of owning a home. And here are some tips for first-time home buyers.

Knowledge is said to open doors. This is literally true when it comes to buying a home. To become a first-time home buyer, you need to know where and how to begin the home buying process. The following questions and answers have been carefully selected to give you a foundation of basic knowledge of home purchasing. In addition to helping you begin, these steps will give you the tools necessary to navigate the entire home buying process – from deciding whether you’re ready to buy house, all the way to that final proud step of owning a home, getting the keys to your new home.

1. HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M READY TO BUY A HOME?

You can find out by asking yourself some questions:

Do I have a steady source of income (usually a job)? Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years? Is my current income reliable?
Do I have a good record of paying my bills?
Do I have few outstanding long-term debts, like car payments?
Do I have money saved for a down payment?
Do I have the ability to pay a mortgage every month, plus additional costs?

If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you are probably ready to buy your own home.

2. HOW DO I BEGIN THE PROCESS OF BUYING A HOME?

Start by thinking about your situation. Are you ready to buy a home? How much can you afford in a monthly mortgage payment? How much space do you need? What areas of town do you like? After you answer these questions, make a “To Do” list and start doing casual research about property. Talk to friends and family, drive through neighborhoods, and look in the “Homes” section of the newspaper, Foreclosure Listings, and internet search.

3. HOW DOES PURCHASING A HOME COMPARE WITH RENTING?

The two don’t really compare at all. The one advantage of renting is being generally free of most maintenance responsibilities. But by renting, you lose the chance to build equity, take advantage of tax benefits, and protect yourself against rent increases. Also, you may not be free to decorate without permission and may be at the mercy of the landlord for housing.

Owning a home has many benefits. When you make a mortgage payment, you are building equity. And that’s an investment. Owning a home also qualifies you for tax breaks that assist you in dealing with your new financial responsibilities- like insurance, real estate taxes, and upkeep- which can be substantial. But given the freedom, stability, and security of owning your own home, they are worth it.

4. HOW DOES THE LENDER DECIDE THE MAXIMUM LOAN AMOUNT THAT CAN AFFORD?

The lender considers your debt-to-income ratio, which is a comparison of your gross (pre-tax) income to housing and non-housing expenses. Non-housing expenses include such long-term debts as car or student loan payments, alimony, or child support. Monthly mortgage payments should be no more than 29% of gross income, while the mortgage payment, combined with non-housing expenses, 4 should total no more than 41% of income. The lender also considers cash available for down payment and closing costs, credit history, etc. when determining your maximum loan amount.

5. HOW DO I SELECT THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE AGENT?

Start by asking family and friends if they can recommend an agent. Compile a list of several agents and talk to each before choosing one. Look for an agent who listens well and understands your needs, and whose judgment you trust. The ideal agent knows the local area well and has resources and contacts to help you in your search. Overall, you want to choose an agent that makes you feel comfortable and can provide all the knowledge and real estate services you need.
But make sure you check the prices for homes in the area on internet before you visit any real estate agent.

6. HOW CAN I DETERMINE MY HOUSING NEEDS BEFORE I BEGIN THE SEARCH?

Your home should fit way you live, with spaces and features that appeal to the whole family. Before you begin looking at homes, make a list of your priorities – things like location and size. Should the house be close to certain schools? your job? to public transportation? How large should the house be? What type of lot do you prefer? What kinds of amenities are you looking for? Establish a set of minimum requirements and a ‘wish list.” Minimum requirements are things that a house must have for you to consider it, while a “wish list” covers things that you’d like to have but aren’t essential.

7. WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN DECIDING ON A COMMUNITY?

Select a community that will allow you to best live your daily life. Many people choose communities based on schools. Do you want access to shopping and public transportation? Is access to local facilities like libraries and museums important to you? Or do you prefer the peace and quiet of a rural community? When you find places that you like, talk to people that live there. They know the most about the area and will be your future neighbors. More than anything, you want a neighborhood where you feel comfortable in.

8. HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT LOCAL SCHOOLS?

You can get information about school systems by contacting the city or county school board or the local schools. Your real estate agent may also be knowledgeable about schools in the area.

9. HOW CAN I FIND OUT HOW MUCH HOMES ARE SELLING FOR IN CERTAIN COMMUNITIES AND NEIGHBORHOODS?

Your real estate agent can give you a ballpark figure by showing you comparable listings. If you are working with a real estate professional, they may have access to comparable sales.

10. HOW CAN I FIND INFORMATION ON THE PROPERTY TAX LIABILITY?

The total amount of the previous year’s property taxes is usually included in the listing information. If it’s not, ask the seller for a tax receipt or contact the local assessor’s off ice. Tax rates can change from year to year, so these figures may be approximate.

11. WHAT OTHER TAX ISSUES SHOULD I TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION?

Keep in mind that your mortgage interest and real estate taxes will be deductible. A qualified real estate professional can give you more details on other tax benefits and liabilities,

12. IS AN OLDER HOME A BETTER VALUE THAN A NEW ONE?

There isn’t a definitive answer to this question. You should look at each home for its individual characteristics. Generally, older homes may be in more established neighborhoods, offer more ambiance, and have lower property tax rates. People who buy older homes, however, shouldn’t mind maintaining their home and making some repairs. Newer homes tend to use more modern architecture and systems, are usually easier to maintain, and may be more energy-efficient. People who buy new homes often don’t want to worry initially about upkeep and repairs.

13. WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN WALKING THROUGH A HOME?

In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement and wish lists, use the Home Scorecard and consider the following:

Is there enough room for both the present and the future?
Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
Is the house structurally sound?
Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
Is the yard big enough?
Do you like the floor plan?
Will your furniture fit in the space? Is there enough storage space? (Bring a tape measure to better answer these questions.)
Does anything need to repaired or replaced? Will the seller repair or replace the items?

Imagine the house in good weather and bad, and in each season. Will you be happy with it year-round?

Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Ask your real estate agent to point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint.

14. WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK WHEN LOOKING AT HOMES?

Many of your questions should focus on potential problems and maintenance issues. Does anything need to be replaced? What things require ongoing maintenance (e.g., paint, roof, HVAC, appliances, carpet)? Also ask about the house and neighborhood, focusing on quality of life issues. Be sure the seller’s or real estate agent’s answers are clear and complete. Ask questions until you understand all of the information they’ve given. Making a list of questions ahead of time will help you organize your thoughts and arrange all of the information you receive. Prepare your own Home question list before you visit property. Find out about monthly utility bills for entire home.

15. HOW CAN I KEEP TRACK OF ALL THE HOMES I SEE?

If possible, take photographs of each house: the outside, the major rooms, the yard, and extra features that you like or ones you see as potential problems. And don’t hesitate to return for a second look. Organize your photos and notes for each house.

16. HOW MANY HOMES SHOULD I CONSIDER BEFORE CHOOSING ONE?

There isn’t a set number of houses you should see before you decide. Visit as many as it takes to find the one you want. On average, home buyers see 15 houses before choosing one. Just be sure to communicate often with your real estate agent about everything you’re looking for. It will help avoid wasting your time.

YOU’VE FOUND THE DREAM HOME

17. WHAT DOES A HOME INSPECTOR DO, AND HOW DOES AN INSPECTION FIGURE IN THE PURCHASE OF A HOME?

An inspector checks the safety of your potential new home. Home Inspectors focus especially on the structure, construction, and mechanical systems of the house and will make you aware of only repairs,that are needed.

The Inspector does not evaluate whether or not you’re getting good value for your money. Generally, an inspector checks (and gives prices for repairs on): the electrical system, plumbing and waste disposal, the water heater, insulation and Ventilation, the HVAC system, water source and quality, the potential presence of pests, the foundation, doors, windows, ceilings, walls, floors, and roof. Be sure to hire a home inspector that is qualified and experienced.

It’s a good idea to have an inspection before you sign a written offer since, once the deal is closed, you’ve bought the house as is.” Or, you may want to include an inspection clause in the offer when negotiating for a home. An inspection t clause gives you an ‘out” on buying the house if serious problems are found,or gives you the ability to renegotiate the purchase price if repairs are needed. An inspection clause can also specify that the seller must fix the problem(s) before you purchase the house.

18. DO I NEED TO BE THERE FOR THE INSPECTION?

It’s not required, but it’s a good idea. Following the inspection, the home inspector will be able to answer questions about the report and any problem areas. This is also an opportunity to hear an objective opinion on the home you’d I like to purchase and it is a good time to ask general, maintenance questions.

19. ARE OTHER TYPES OF INSPECTIONS REQUIRED?

If your home inspector discovers a serious problem a more specific Inspection may be recommended. It’s a good idea to consider having your home inspected for the presence of a variety of health-related risks like radon gas asbestos, or possible problems with the water or waste disposal system.

20. HOW CAN I PROTECT MY FAMILY FROM LEAD IN THE HOME?

If the house you’re considering was built before 1978 and you have children under the age of seven, you will want to have an inspection for lead-based point. It’s important to know that lead flakes from paint can be present in both the home and in the soil surrounding the house. The problem can be fixed by repairing damaged paint surfaces or planting grass over effected soil. Hiring a lead abatement contractor to remove paint chips.

21. DO I NEED A LAWYER TO BUY A HOME?

Laws vary by state. Some states require a lawyer to assist in several aspects of the home buying process while other states do not, as long as a qualified real estate professional is involved. Even if your state doesn’t require one, you may want to hire a lawyer to help with the complex paperwork and legal contracts. A lawyer can review contracts, make you aware of special considerations, and assist you with the closing process. Your real estate agent may be able to recommend a lawyer. If not, shop around. Find out what services are provided for what fee, and whether the attorney is experienced at representing home buyers.

22. DO I REALLY NEED HOME OWNER’S INSURANCE?

Yes. A paid home owner’s insurance policy (or a paid receipt for one) is required at closing, so arrangements will have to be made prior to that day. Plus, involving the insurance agent early in the home buying process can save you money. Insurance agents are a great resource for information on home safety and they can give tips on how to keep insurance premiums low.

23. WHAT STEPS COULD I TAKE TO LOWER MY HOME OWNER’S INSURANCE COSTS?

Be sure to shop around among several insurance companies. Also, consider the cost of insurance when you look at homes. Newer homes and homes constructed with materials like brick tend to have lower premiums. Think about avoiding areas prone to natural disasters, like flooding. Choose a home with a fire hydrant or a fire department nearby.

24. IS THE HOME LOCATED IN A FLOOD PLAIN?

Your real estate agent or lender can help you answer this question. If you live in a flood plain, the lender will require that you have flood insurance before lending any money to you. But if you live near a flood plain, you may choose whether or not to get flood insurance coverage for your home. Work with an insurance agent to construct a policy that fits your needs.

25. WHAT OTHER ISSUES SHOULD I CONSIDER BEFORE I BUY MY HOME?

Always check to see if the house is in a low-lying area, in a high-risk area for natural disasters (like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.), or in a hazardous materials area. Be sure the house meets building codes. Also consider local zoning laws, which could affect remodeling or making an addition in the future. Your real estate agent should be able to help you with these questions.

26. HOW DO I MAKE AN OFFER?

Your real estate agent will assist you in making an offer, which will include the following information:

Complete legal description of the property
Amount of earnest money
own payment and financing details
Proposed move-in date
Price you are offering
Proposed closing date
Length of time the offer is valid
Details of the deal

Remember that a sale commitment depends on negotiating a satisfactory contract with the seller, not just Making an offer.

Other ways to lower ins-insurance costs include insuring your home and car(s) with the same company, increasing home security, and seeking group coverage through alumni or business associations. Insurance costs are always lowered by raising your deductibles, but this exposes you to a higher out-of-pocket cost if you have to file a claim.

27. HOW DO I DETERMINE THE INITIAL OFFER?

Unless you have a buyer’s agent, remember that the agent works for the seller. Make a point of asking him or her to keep your discussions and information confidential. Listen to your real estate agent’s advice, but follow your own instincts on deciding a fair price. Calculating your offer should involve several factors: what homes sell for in the area, the home’s condition, how long it’s been on the market, financing terms, and the seller’s situation. By the time you’re ready to make an offer, you should have a good idea of what the home is worth and what you can afford. And, be prepared for give-and-take negotiation, which is very common when buying a home. The buyer and seller may often go back and forth until they can agree on a price. Check Home price in that area on websites.

28. WHAT IS EARNEST MONEY? HOW MUCH SHOULD I SET ASIDE?

Earnest money is money put down to demonstrate your seriousness about buying a home. It must be substantial enough to demonstrate good faith and is usually between 1-5% of the purchase price (though the amount can vary with local customs and conditions). If your offer is accepted, the earnest money becomes part of your down payment or closing costs. If the offer is rejected, your money is returned to you. If you back out of a deal, you may forfeit the entire amount.

29. WHAT ARE “HOME WARRANTIES”, AND SHOULD I CONSIDER THEM?

Home warranties offer you protection for a specific period of time (e.g., one year) against potentially costly problems, like unexpected repairs on appliances or home systems, which are not covered by home owner’s insurance. Warranties are becoming more popular because they offer protection during the time immediately following the purchase of a home, a time when many people find themselves cash-strapped.

GENERAL FINANCING QUESTIONS:THE BASICS

30. WHAT IS A MORTGAGE?

Generally speaking, a mortgage is a loan obtained to purchase real estate. The “mortgage” itself is a lien (a legal claim) on the home or property that secures the promise to pay the debt. All mortgages have two features in common: principal and interest.

31. WHAT IS A LOAN TO VALUE (LTV) HOW DOES IT DETERMINE THE SIZE OF MY LOAN?

The loan to value ratio is the amount of money you borrow compared with the price or appraised value of the home you are purchasing. Each loan has a specific LTV limit. For example: With a 95% LTV loan on a home priced at $50,000, you could borrow up to $47,500 (95% of $50,000), and would have to pay,$2,500 as a down payment.

The LTV ratio reflects the amount of equity borrowers have in their homes. The higher the LTV the less cash home buyers are required to pay out of their own funds. So, to protect lenders against potential loss in case of default, higher LTV loans (80% or more) usually require mortgage insurance policy.

32. WHAT TYPES OF LOANS ARE AVAILABLE AND WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF EACH?

Fixed Rate Mortgages: Payments remain the same for the the life of the loan

Types

15-year
30-year

Advantages

Predictable
Housing cost remains unaffected by interest rate changes and inflation.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMS): Payments increase or decrease on a regular schedule with changes in interest rates; increases subject to limits

Types

Balloon Mortgage- Offers very low rates for an Initial period of time (usually 5, 7, or 10 years); when time has elapsed, the balance is clue or refinanced (though not automatically)
Two-Step Mortgage- Interest rate adjusts only once and remains the same for the life of the loan
ARMS linked to a specific index or margin

Advantages

Generally offer lower initial interest rates
Monthly payments can be lower
May allow borrower to qualify for a larger loan amount

33. WHEN DO ARMS MAKE SENSE?

An ARM may make sense If you are confident that your income will increase steadily over the years or if you anticipate a move in the near future and aren’t concerned about potential increases in interest rates.

34. WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF 15- AND 30-YEAR LOAN TERMS?

30-Year:

In the first 23 years of the loan, more interest is paid off than principal, meaning larger tax deductions.
As inflation and costs of living increase, mortgage payments become a smaller part of overall expenses.

15-year:

Loan is usually made at a lower interest rate.
Equity is built faster because early payments pay more principal.

35. CAN I PAY OFF MY LOAN AHEAD OF SCHEDULE?

Yes. By sending in extra money each month or making an extra payment at the end of the year, you can accelerate the process of paying off the loan. When you send extra money, be sure to indicate that the excess payment is to be applied to the principal. Most lenders allow loan prepayment, though you may have to pay a prepayment penalty to do so. Ask your lender for details.

36. ARE THERE SPECIAL MORTGAGES FOR FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS?

Yes. Lenders now offer several affordable mortgage options which can help first-time home buyers overcome obstacles that made purchasing a home difficult in the past. Lenders may now be able to help borrowers who don’t have a lot of money saved for the down payment and closing costs, have no or a poor credit history, have quite a bit of long-term debt, or have experienced income irregularities.

37. HOW LARGE OF A DOWN PAYMENT DO I NEED?

There are mortgage options now available that only require a down payment of 5% or less of the purchase price. But the larger the down payment, the less you have to borrow, and the more equity you’ll have. Mortgages with less than a 20% down payment generally require a mortgage insurance policy to secure the loan. When considering the size of your down payment, consider that you’ll also need money for closing costs, moving expenses, and – possibly -repairs and decorating.

38. WHAT IS INCLUDED IN A MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENT?

The monthly mortgage payment mainly pays off principal and interest. But most lenders also include local real estate taxes, home owner’s insurance, and mortgage insurance (if applicable).

39. WHAT FACTORS AFFECT MORTGAGE PAYMENTS?

The amount of the down payment, the size of the mortgage loan, the interest rate, the length of the repayment term and payment schedule will all affect the size of your mortgage payment.

40. HOW DOES THE INTEREST RATE FACTOR IN SECURING A MORTGAGE LOAN?

A lower interest rate allows you to borrow more money than a high rate with the some monthly payment. Interest rates can fluctuate as you shop for a loan, so ask-lenders if they offer a rate “lock-in”which guarantees a specific interest rate for a certain period of time. Remember that a lender must disclose the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of a loan to you. The APR shows the cost of a mortgage loan by expressing it in terms of a yearly interest rate. It is generally higher than the interest rate because it also includes the cost of points, mortgage insurance, and other fees included in the loan.

41. WHAT HAPPENS IF INTEREST RATES DECREASE AND I HAVE A FIXED RATE LOAN?

If interest rates drop significantly, you may want to investigate refinancing. Most experts agree that if you plan to be in your house for at least 18 months and you can get a rate 2% less than your current one, refinancing is smart. Refinancing may, however, involve paying many of the same fees paid at the original closing, plus origination and application fees.

42. WHAT ARE DISCOUNT POINTS?

Discount points allow you to lower your interest rate. They are essentially prepaid interest, With each point equaling 1% of the total loan amount. Generally, for each point paid on a 30-year mortgage, the interest rate is reduced by 1/8 (or.125) of a percentage point. When shopping for loans, ask lenders for an interest rate with 0 points and then see how much the rate decreases With each point paid. Discount points are smart if you plan to stay in a home for some time since they can lower the monthly loan payment. Points are tax deductible when you purchase a home and you may be able to negotiate for the seller to pay for some of them.

43. WHAT IS AN ESCROW ACCOUNT? DO I NEED ONE?

Established by your lender, an escrow account is a place to set aside a portion of your monthly mortgage payment to cover annual charges for home owner’s insurance, mortgage insurance (if applicable), and property taxes. Escrow accounts are a good idea because they assure money will always be available for these payments. If you use an escrow account to pay property tax or home owner’s insurance, make sure you are not penalized for late payments since it is the lender’s responsibility to make those payments.

44. WHAT STEPS NEED TO BE TAKEN TO SECURE A LOAN?

The first step in securing a loan is to complete a loan application. To do so, you’ll need the following information.

Pay stubs for the past 2-3 months
W-2 forms for the past 2 years
Information on long-term debts
Recent bank statements
tax returns for the past 2 years
Proof of any other income
Address and description of the property you wish to buy
Sales contract

During the application process, the lender will order a report on your credit history and a professional appraisal of the property you want to purchase. The application process typically takes between 1-6 weeks.

45. HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT LENDER FOR ME?

Choose your lender carefully. Look for financial stability and a reputation for customer satisfaction. Be sure to choose a company that gives helpful advice and that makes you feel comfortable. A lender that has the authority to approve and process your loan locally is preferable, since it will be easier for you to monitor the status of your application and ask questions. Plus, it’s beneficial when the lender knows home values and conditions in the local area. Do research and ask family, friends, and your real estate agent for recommendations. Once again internet research can help you in home financing too.

46. HOW ARE PRE-QUALIFYING AND PRE-APPROVAL DIFFERENT?

Pre-qualification is an informal way to see how much you maybe able to borrow. You can be ‘pre-qualified’ over the phone with no paperwork by telling a lender your income, your long-term debts, and how large a down payment you can afford. Without any obligation, this helps you arrive at a ballpark figure of the amount you may have available to spend on a house.

Pre-approval is a lender’s actual commitment to lend to you. It involves assembling the financial records mentioned in Question 47 (Without the property description and sales contract) and going through a preliminary approval process. Pre-approval gives you a definite idea of what you can afford and shows sellers that you are serious about buying.

47. WHAT IS A CREDIT BUREAU SCORE AND HOW DO LENDERS USE THEM?

A credit bureau score is a number, based upon your credit history, that represents the possibility that you will be unable to repay a loan. Lenders use it to determine your ability to qualify for a mortgage loan. The better the score, the better your chances are of getting a loan. Ask your lender for details.

CLOSING

48. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I’VE APPLIED FOR MY LOAN?

It usually takes a lender between 1-6 weeks to complete the evaluation of your application. Its not unusual for the lender to ask for more information once the application has been submitted. The sooner you can provide the information, the faster your application will be processed. Once all the information has been verified the lender will call you to let you know the outcome of your application. If the loan is approved, a closing date is set up and the lender will review the closing with you. And after closing, you’ll be able to move into your new home.

49. WHAT SHOULD I LOOK OUT FOR DURING THE FINAL WALK-THROUGH?

This will likely be the first opportunity to examine the house without furniture, giving you a clear view of everything. Check the walls and ceilings carefully, as well as any work the seller agreed to do in response to the inspection. Any problems discovered previously that you find uncorrected should be brought up prior to closing. It is the seller’s responsibility to fix them.

50. WHAT MAKES UP CLOSING COST OF HOME?

There may be closing cost customary or unique to a certain locality, but closing cost are usually made up of the following:

Attorney’s or escrow fees (Yours and your lender’s if applicable)
Property taxes (to cover tax period to date)
Interest (paid from date of closing to 30 days before first monthly payment)
Loan Origination fee (covers lenders administrative cost)
Recording fees
Survey fee
First premium of mortgage Insurance (if applicable)
Title Insurance (yours and lender’s)
Loan discount points
First payment to escrow account for future real estate taxes and insurance
Paid receipt for home owner’s insurance policy (and fire and flood insurance if applicable).
Any documentation preparation fees

51. WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO HAPPEN ON CLOSING DAY?

You’ll present your paid home owner’s insurance policy or a binder and receipt showing that the premium has been paid. The closing agent will then list the money you owe the seller (remainder of down payment, prepaid taxes, etc.) and then the money the seller owes you (unpaid taxes and prepaid rent, if applicable). The seller will provide proofs of any inspection, warranties, etc.

Once you’re sure you understand all the documentation, you’ll sign the mortgage, agreeing that if you don’t make payments the lender is entitled to sell your property and apply the sale price against the amount you owe plus expenses. You’ll also sign a mortgage note, promising to repay the loan. The seller will give you the title to the house in the form of a signed deed.

You’ll pay the lender’s agent all closing costs and, in turn,he or she will provide you with a settlement statement of all the items for which you have paid. The deed and mortgage will then be recorded in the state Registry of Deeds, and you will be a homeowner.

52. WHAT DO I GET AT CLOSING?

Settlement Statement (itemizes services provided and the fees charged; it is filled out by the closing agent and must be given to you at or before closing)

Truth-in-Lending Statement

Mortgage Note

Mortgage or Deed of Trust

Binding Sales Contract (prepared by the seller; your lawyer should review it)

Keys to your new home

Louisiana Where Anything Can Happen

Everyone should feel secure in their home; however, for the countless property crime victims, they know that it’s not always the case. Were your home to be targeted by burglars, victims often feel vulnerable, lost and violated. For Louisiana homeowners, ensuring your home and family’s safety is more important than ever. Reportedly, the state has the fifth highest rate for property crimes in the United States. With it being the 25th most populated state, there are about 163,000 annual property crimes throughout Louisiana. And residents in Baton Rouge, Alexandria and Monroe live in cities that are currently on the 100 most dangerous U.S. cities list. So ask yourself if your home is well-protected.

A burglary can cost you around $2,200 in damages and property loss. It’s a heavy price tag to bear—one that is mentally and emotionally draining. The solution is to have 24-hour security protection. ADT Louisiana Security protects against those rainy days that you’d rather not fathom. Having an ADT monitoring system makes you three times less likely to be burglarized. With fast-response, the proper emergency personnel are contacted and alerted of your home’s emergency situation. So whether you are away or at home, ADT is always on watch.

Louisiana Infographic

ADT Louisiana Security

Contractors Home Improvement Loans Discovered

Almost everyone dreams of owning their own home. You may have saved for a long time to buy the home you always wanted, but now things have changed and you need more room. Home improvement loans could be the answer to your need. You searched far and wide to find the home that was just right for you at the time. The one that met your every desire, but your family has grown and you need more space now. Home improvement loans can be used for a number of things, and this article will talk about how to get a home improvement loan and some things you can use it for.

Now that you found the home of your dreams, you don’t plan on moving. You worked too hard to get what you wanted. You love the location and just about everything in and around the home, but now it isn’t big enough. What are you going to do? Home improvement loans can give you the capability to add on to your existing home. You can add that much needed bedroom or two, and possibly a bathroom, or maybe you need to make your kitchen larger. You want a dining room big enough to fit a nice large table in, so the whole family can eat together and share the days events. Home improvement loans can make this a reality.

Depending on how much equity you have built up in your home, you can get home improvement loans to fit your every need. Once you begin paying for your home, you will, over time, accumulate equity. Equity is the difference in, the value of the home on today’s market minus the balance owing on your home. With the way property values are increasing almost daily, you can purchase a home and within a very short time accumulate equity in it. Depending on how much equity you have built up, your home improvement loans can now allow the contractors to come in and begin giving you bids on your new project.

Home improvement loans can be added on to your existing home loan. Most of the time they are called a refinance. Interest rates have gone down quite a bit over the past couple years, so you may discover that you can add on to your home, and with home improvement loans, pay even less money per month, or close to your original payments.
Once you have made improvements on your home, the value has now increased, so you have already possibly built more equity in it. Home improvement loans can be used for just about any kind of home improvement. It may be an outside project as well as inside, so the possibilities with home improvement loans are endless.