Robert Ross' Blog
Termites and other wood-destroying organisms can destroy a home in no time. Even if you have stucco on the outside, you have wood under the stucco. If a piece breaks off, termites and other bugs can get inside and destroy the walls. Wood is everywhere in our homes. Even block homes have wood in them. The trusses for the roof and the floor joists are usually wood. Keeping pests away from the house is part of maintenance that every homeowner should address.
Ways to Keep Pests Away From Your House
If your home does not have shrubs, flowers and bushes next to it, don’t plant anything there except for low flowers or shrubs. Keep them at least a foot away from the house. Plants are like superhighways into your home for bugs and rodents. If you do keep bushes next to your home, be sure to keep them trimmed at least a foot away from the house, and pick up any plant debris such as leaves and grass cuttings.
Termites are not the only bugs to worry about. Fleas, gnats, mosquitoes and other bugs make their home around your house. These bugs bite and are usually make spending time outside uncomfortable. Be sure you don’t have anything that will hold water near your house, such as old tires, empty flower pots or birdbaths. Items that hold water are a big invitation for pests.
Keeping Pests Away
If you prefer not to hire a pest control company, you can often do your own pest control as long as you keep up with it and keep the area around your house free from debris. Always choose a pest control spray that is from a known brand and follow the instructions faithfully. If you have other pests that are not common, such as Japanese beetles or you are getting overrun with Asian ladybugs, always read the label to see if the product you choose will control these types of bugs.
You could also try planting certain flowers and herbs that are known to keep pests away. For example, basil, garlic and lavender all tend to keep mosquitoes away. You could plant one or all of these, or create a garden with several plants to keep a variety of bugs away from the house. If you have pets be careful with some plants as they may be poisonous to cats and dogs.
Chemicals and Pets
If you have pets, be sure to keep them away from the areas you sprayed until the spray dries. The instructions for the spray usually include information that will help keep your pets safe. If you need to spray your entire yard, spray a section at a time, so animals have available outdoor space while you wait for the treated area to be ready for use again.
Buying a home ranks among the largest purchases everyday people make in their entire lifetimes. If you have gone through the process at least once, you probably gained some valuable life lessons. Whether it’s time to purchase a larger home for a growing family or downsize to a more manageable living space, there are pitfalls that trip up even experienced homebuyers. These rank among the unforeseen issues that can cause setbacks and ways to avoid them.
1: Overcompensating For Past Regrets
When buyers search for their next home, it’s not uncommon to be driven by the perceived shortcomings of the last. For example, you bought a property that had all the living space you need. This may have included a home office, attached garage, and plenty of room to entertain guests. The downside may have been a lack of outdoor living space. Driven by the desire to have a veranda, deck, or big yard, emotion may cause you to compromise on other musts. It may be in your best interest to make a checklist of your needs and be certain you won’t experience buyer’s regret, a second time.
2: Skipping Contingency Planning
It’s not unusual for people to see properties moving quickly in their area and become overconfident yours won’t sit on the market long. The common mistake is to move forward and buy your dream home while expecting only a short period of holding two mortgages. If for some odd reason the market goes dormant in your neighborhood, the financial implications could prove disastrous.
The flipside is selling your hot property and renting as a stop-gap measure. Low housing inventories and competitive markets could land you in a pinch, and home-ownerless for an extended period. These are the reasons why people rely on contingency plans. Craft a deal that sets the homes up like a series of dominoes. When one sells, they all move, and you spend only one day relocating instead of many in a tight spot. Contingencies provide security and stability.
3: Forecasting A Neighborhood’s Future
No homebuyer or real estate professional has a crystal ball that accurately predicts a property’s value. But there is plenty of hard data that can be used to indicate whether a neighborhood is trending in the positive or negative. This may be particularly true in 2020.
Potential homebuyers can look at the pricing that includes listing, sales, and valuations that began before the last recession and lending crisis. You can expect to see a decline in these measures during that rough period. But these days, the economy is robust in many areas. How the property, and surrounding area, performed coming out of the recession could be a telltale sign of where values are heading. The point is to conduct thorough due diligence about the home and others in the neighborhood. Making an informed decision is critical to purchasing a property, regardless of whether you’re a newbie or seasoned homebuyer.
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Finding financing for a home could be as simple as applying for a conforming FHA loan or it could be as difficult as having to locate a portfolio loan or even a combo loan. What you need depends on the real estate you are buying. Most people buying a primary residence get a conforming loan, whether it is conventional or government-backed.
Conforming vs. Non-Conforming
The first thing to determine is whether your loan is going to be conforming or not. A conforming loan for a single-family unit must be under $510,400 in most areas and $765,600 in other areas. The Federal Housing Finance Agency sets the rates. If you have to borrow more, you will need a jumbo loan or a piggyback loan. A common piggyback loan is where you pay 15 percent of the price, then take out two mortgages: one for 80 percent of the purchase price, then a second mortgage for 5 percent of the purchase price. You can work the percentages however you need them based on the purchase price. The piggyback loan keeps you from going into jumbo loan territory and possibly paying higher interest rates.
Conforming loans are conventional or government-backed loans. A conventional loan usually has a higher interest rate because it’s riskier to the lender. A government-backed loan, such as a VA or FHA loan is guaranteed by the federal government, thus it is less risky to lenders. Because of the lower risk, you get a better interest rate as long as your credit is good.
Adjustable vs. Fixed-Rate Loans
If interest rates are low and are projected to stay low, you can get an adjustable-rate loan to save a bit on the interest rate. As interest rates change, so does your mortgage payment. Adjustable rates are based on a certain index. For example, if your base interest rate is 4 percent, which means your interest rate will never go lower than that, and the Libor London rate is 1 percent, your rate is 5 percent. If the Libor London increases by a half percentage point, so will your loan. However, if it decreases by a point, your interest rate also lowers by a point.
Adjustable-rate loans are risky for the buyer because you don’t know if the rate will significantly increase over the life of the loan. If you plan on refinancing or selling the home after a few years, an adjustable-rate might be beneficial.
A fixed-rate loan means that your interest rate does not change over the life of the loan.
You might have a hard time finding a loan because you are self-employed, your credit isn’t the best, or you are buying a property that doesn’t conform to most lenders’ standards. A lender doesn’t sell the loan on the secondary market, but instead holds it in the bank’s portfolio. These loans are riskier for the lender and will often have a higher interest rate.