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Building Home Equity

The actual share of your property you actually own, better known as equity, is a financial benefit to any homeowner. It means more profit when it’s time to sell or it can offer you cash when you need it. This can be done either through a refinance or home equity loan.

Fortunately, building equity can be easy. Every month you increase your home equity by making your mortgage payment.

If you want to build your equity even further, there are several ways to do it, including:

  • Buying in an up-and-coming market. If home values in your neighborhood start to rise, so will your property value. That can mean more equity, too.
  • Increasing your down payment. The more you put down, the less your lender will need to loan you, and the larger your equity stake will be.
  • Paying more on your mortgage. Putting extra toward your mortgage loan — either each month or a few times a year — can help you pay down your balance and increase your share. Consider putting your annual tax refund toward your loan to really make a dent.
  • Renovating your home. Anything that improves your home’s value also increases your equity. Choose your projects wisely, and reach out if you need some help getting started.
  • Refinancing your loan. With a short-term loan, like a 15-year, you can pay down your balance faster (and sometimes get a lower rate as well). This can help you build equity more quickly.

Do you have questions about home equity? Or are you planning to buy or sell property this year? Reach out today.

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Spring Maintenance Checklist

Knowing that your home is an investment, protecting this investment should be one of your top priorities.

As we enter spring, now is a good time to spruce up and refresh your space. Set aside time for home maintenance as well as spring cleaning.

By keeping up with essential tasks, you will help ensure your that your home stays hazard-free, retains its value, and may even deliver a future profit.

Here are some of the top spring maintenance tasks to add to your to-do list today.

Structure and Foundation

  • Check the foundation and exterior walls for cracks and leaks.
  • Inspect the roof, looking for loose or missing shingles, damage to any pipes, or unusual wear and tear.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts. Repair any leaks or holes.
  • Check for gaps around doors and windows and reseal them.

Systems and Appliances

  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, replace batteries as needed.
  • Schedule an HVAC tune-up to ensure your system is ready.
  • Clean the refrigerator coils to help lengthen your fridge’s life span.
  • Replace air filters if you haven’t done so lately.
  • Clean your dryer vent duct to prevent fires and keep the dryer working more efficiently.

Outside Details

  • Check for termites to stop a damaging infestation as soon as possible.
  • Check for any exterior damage that may have been caused by any animal during the winter months.
  • Clean the siding, check for damage to exterior woodwork, and repair and reseal these areas as needed.
  • Check the sprinkler system to make sure all the heads are facing the right direction and do a test run before setting up your watering schedule.
  • Clean up the landscaping by trimming, mowing and clearing debris. You may also think about planting some seasonal flowers, or even buying some planters.

Proper maintenance is crucial to maintaining your home’s value. If you’re planning to sell soon, it’s even more critical.

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4 Helpful Tips for Finding the Right Neighborhood

When looking for a home, finding the right house is only part of the real estate journey. What’s the main criteria?  Picking the right neighborhood. It all comes down to location, location, location.

The type of home, number of bedrooms and baths, and square footage are very important when buying a home, but the community within the area you are searching can make all the difference when purchasing a home.

Keep this in mind, this is where you’ll most likely entertain, shop, dine, exercise, and possibly where your kids will grow up and go to school. This may just be where you’ll put down roots and build your life (it all depends on the purpose of your home – whether it’s a 5 year plan, 10 year plan, or your forever home).

Ready to start your search? Here are 4 tips to help guide you to find the right neighborhood:

  • Start Researching Your Areas of Interest: Check into each community that you have interest in potentially living.  Look into school district ratings and look at homes nearby for their current value. See what else the community offers, by looking into any community activities, events, or even community centers.
  • Your Needs: Are you commuting to work? How long will your commute be? Do you prefer walking trails with many neighborhood paths to explore? Have you thought about homeowners’ associations?
  • Online Groups Provide More Community Information:  Look up neighborhood groups on social media (Nextdoor, Facebook, and other online communities). Do you get a sense that the online community seems welcoming and helpful? Another good source would be to check neighborhood newsletters or local newspapers (online or print).
  • Familiarize Yourself With the Area: Go on a self-guided tour. Check out the neighborhood at different times of day  so that you can get a feel for its character. Can you see visualize yourself living there? Is this somewhere you want to come home to each night, content that this place is your home? If you’re out of state and are planning to buy, Google Maps is a good source to take a virtual walk.

Once you’ve narrowed down the neighborhoods you can envision yourself living, get in touch with us to take an online tour or go see homes in-person. We’ll find the right home and neighborhood for you, to suit your budget and your needs.