10 Questions to Ask Before Making an Offer on a Home

There are a lot of things that go into buying a home from getting pre-approved, hiring an agent, deciding what features your dream home will have, among so many other things. With everything that is going through your mind, there is a good chance you will overlook some important factors.

The next time you view a home, here are some questions to keep in mind:checkbook

  1. Why is the house for sale?
  2. How old is the roof? When was it last replaced?
  3. Have you had any problems with roaches, termites, or any other pests?
  4. What are the monthly utilities bill costs?
  5. Has the sewer ever backed up? Any plumbing problems?
  6. How much installation is in the attic?
  7. How old is the water heater? When was it last replaced?
  8. When was the last time to home was tested for mold?
  9. What are the neighbors like?
  10. Does the home have a septic tank? When was the last time it was pumped? Any problems with it?

Do You Really Need Homeowners Insurance

Like car insurance, homeowners insurance is important to protecting your home from damage, certain natural disasters, or if someone is injured on your property.

There are 6 types of homeowners insurance options, the top 3 being HO-3. HO-4 and HO-6.home-office-336377_640

  • Special Form Homeowner Insurance (HO-3) is probably the most popular and protects against damage to the home, including personal belongings.
  • Renters Insurance (HO-4) protects people who are renting their home or apartment. This policy protects your belongings among other things.
  • Condominium Insurance (HO-6) is the another popular policy and protects those who own a condo or co-op. For more information about this and all the other homeowner insurance policies, here is a great website.

When deciding which homeowner insurance is best for you, here are some things to consider:

Know your homes value. This is important to establish your home’s replacement cost if something were to happen.
Do your research. Not all insurance companies or insurance policies are the same, so make sure you take the time to do your research to know which insurance company and policies are best for you.

Becoming a Landlord 101

terraced-housesChoosing to be a landlord is not an easy decision, but one that can be rewarding and between the tax deductions, long term security, and the flexibility of owning your own business, you can make a little extra money in the long run.

When deciding to become a landlord, take a moment to check out the Utah Landlord-Tenant Laws. Here are some other things to consider before going down the road of being a landlord:

1. Find a Good Tenant. A good rule of thumb is to always trust your gut, but a background and criminal check are just as important. Take the time to ensure your potential tenants who are responsible, clean, and will pay their rent on time. You want to screen them carefully because they will be living in your home.

2. Change Your Homeowners Insurance. When you are looking to rent out your home, you are required to have landlord property insurance specifically for a rental property. Talk to your insurance company to make sure you are covered to keep yourself and your investment protected.

3. Who Will Manage the Property. Being a landlord can be a full time job, so if you don’t have time to put towards being there at all hours, you may want to consider hiring a property management company. Having a property manager takes some of the stress off you and allows flexibility when dealing with tenants.

4. Set Your Price. Potential tenants will be checking out the area for deals and keeping your prices competitive and highlight the valuable aspects of your property.

5. Protect Your Assets. Have a lease the clearly states the agreements between you and the tenant to protect your rights. The lease agreement should have the lease terms, rent due date, up-keeps, security deposit, with some other details your legal representation can advise you on.

If you want more information about becoming a landlord, check out Renting My House for more tips and insights. If you live in the Ogden area, I would also highly recommend joining the Good Landlord Program for excellent information and potential discounts. Other areas should have a Good Landlord Program as well as be sure to ask your city.

 

Indoor Home Projects

SMenvironment-home-plant-3860 (1)If you haven’t noticed, it’s getting cooler! Along with the holidays this is a wonderful time of year. Leaves changing colors, hot apple cider, pumpkin carving, Christmas carols, and snowmen; it is hard not to be happy.

But what about those who love being outside, working in the dirt? Don’t let the cool weather, and eventual snow bring you down. Build your very own terrarium for your home!

When creating your terrarium, there are a lot of fun ideas. Follow this awesome tips to create a spectacular greenery for your home.

Side note: these would be a wonderful Christmas gift to family, friends, and co-workers. What are some things you would add to your terrarium?

Interest Only Loans

Here are a few tips to help you decide if an Interest Only Loan is for you:

You may want an interest only if you:

  • Aren’t taking on more debt than you can handle.
  • Expect your income to rise sharply in the next five years.
  • Are disciplined with money.
  • Are an individual who likes to take risks.
  • Have an irregular income (like commissioned sales).
  • Are content to let rising markets build your equity for you.
  • Are confident that home prices will continue to rise.

You may not want an interest only if you:

  • Have a lot of consumer debt you can’t get a handle on.
  • Plan on being in your house past the interest-only period.
  • Are undisciplined with finances.
  • Are borrowing a small amount.
  • Plan on spending the extra cash on “discretionary” items.
  • Plan to sell or refinance before the interest-only period ends.
  • Want to lock in today’s low interest rates.

These Tips Provided By:

 

Community Gardens

For some people looking to get out and meet new people, community gardening is a great idea. Since the 1970s, community gardens have become more popular and given people who might not have access to a yard a chance to grow their own food, enjoy being outside, and converse with others. The benefits of a community garden are endless which include but are not to:

Extra income. The food grown can be sold for some extra money.

Exercise. Spending time in the garden is an excellent way to get some physical activity in and remain healthy.

Involve children. Community gardening is a fun way to get the kids involved with gardening and provides a safe place for them after school.

If you are interested in joining a community garden, check out the Wasatch Community Gardens in Ogden.

What is your favorite part of gardening? Have you ever worked in a community garden? What did you like best about it?

Wait Before You Throw It Out

As we approach the autumn months, many of us are already thinking about the yard work and other projects we need –or want–to do during those months. For many of us that means a trip to the landfill, but instead of taking your stuff to the dumps, why not recycle it?

You might think you don’t have much to recycle, but you would be surprised but can be reused and upcycled. For example, cell phones, worn up sneakers, computers, and even toothbrushes can be recycled.

Photo via Curbly

Donation is another excellent way to give something you no longer want a second life. In addition to clothing, electronics and furniture can all be donated. I gave a Christmas tree to the DI last year! Your local school, retirement center, and even library will accept any books you no longer want or need.

By taking time to find another use for the items you would normally take to the dump, you are giving someone else a chance to own something they may not have been able to afford before.

For more information about recycling, check out these wonderful websites:

Council for Textile Recycling 

Do you have some recycling places to add to the list?

Achieve Healthy Lawn With These Tips

blade-of-grass-landscape-lens-flare-479-977x550With the summer months, it is important to keep up on your lawn care. In Utah, most lawns are of the Kentucky Bluegrass Blend. A popular grass, Kentucky Bluegrass tends to be thick and lush with a nice texture and good color.  Some tips to keep a healthy lawn is to fertilize your lawnmow a weekly basis—allows grass to stay hydrated—and of course water.

Holmes Property Maintenance suggests watering your lawn deeply twice a week which will train your roots to grow deep, creating a stronger and more durable lawn during a drought.

Another great way to achieve healthy lawn is to aerate. It is best to aerate you lawn at least once a year to break up the compacted soil and allow proper circulation of air, water and nutrients in the soil.

Your Real Estate Agents Role and Hiring the Right One for You

Selling your home is a wonderful and stressful time. Hiring an agent to help you sell your home is the best move you can do to make the whole process simpler. Agents are ready to answer your questions, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure all legal paperwork are completed. But how do you know you are picking the best real estate agent?

When choosing your agent, here are some questions to ask to know if they are the right fit:

    • How long have you been in residential real estate sales?
    • How many homes did you and your real estate brokerage sell last year?
    • What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home?
    • Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need done?

Check out REALTOR Mag for the complete list of questions to ask. What are some questions you wished you’d asked before hiring a real estate agent?

 

Prepare Your Air Conditioner for the Summer

SMblonde-girl-hairs-1206-825x550Though it might not feel like it yet those hot summer months are not too far away. Make sure you stay cool this summer with preparing your air conditioner for those warm months now.  Clear away the
debris and allow for at least 2 feet of clear space around your unit for the machine to work properly. It is recommended you check your air conditioner filter at least once a month and change it every 3 months to ensure it doesn’t clog and slow down the airflow.

Another thing to keep in mind, is to check the duct-work around your home to ensure no rugs or furnishings obstruct the airflow. Remember to also check the duct-work that travels through your attic or basement and make sure the seams are sealed.

If you don’t have an air conditioner, here are some tips and tricks for staying cool during the hot months.

Have something to add? Share your thoughts and tips here – we look forward to hearing from you.