Friday, March 31, 2017

Rent or Buy...you are Paying Someone's Mortgage

Rent or Buy...you are Paying Someone's Mortgage
You maybe of the mind that you don’t want to jump into the mortgage game but unless you live with mom and dad and pay no rent, you are paying someone’s mortgage. Why not make it your own?

A premier source for small business, Entrepreneur Magazine, put out an article called “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich.” In this article, they state that renting on a temporary basis isn’t the end all, but if you are serious about your finances you need to own your own home. You won’t get rich fast but by renting you are making someone else rich.

Another plus is that with a 30-year mortgage you have the stability of knowing what your monthly payment will be for the next 30 years and can more easily fit it into your budget. Rents have a tendency to rise to rise upon each renewal period, so if you are renting for one year, expect the rent to rise at the end of the year. Most landlords raise their rental rates based on the interest rates or listing prices of homes in their areas.

Being a homeowner, the mortgage company forces you to build equity in your home that you can use later in your lifetime. As a renter, the landlord builds the equity and you get nothing.

Interest rates are still historically low even though the Fed has raised short term rates by .50 already this year. Short term rate increased does not affect 30-year mortgage rates directly. Freddie Mac reported these average mortgage rates as of March 23rd 2017.
  • 30-yr FRM - 4.35% with 0.5 Fees/Points
  • 15-yr FRM- 3.44% with 0.5 Fees/Points
  • 5/1-yar ARM - 3.23% with 0.4 Fees/Points
Freddie Mac also reported on their quarterly house price index that nationally in December 2016, the annual house price changed by +6.5%.

So our takeaway for today is think hard about buying a home as opposed to renting. Home prices will only increase and mortgage rates along with it. A small percentage point can mean an extra $200.00 or more out of your budget each month whether you rent or own.

For notice on events by day LIKE our Facebook page @VictoriaCottlesCorner.

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Debunking Myths from the Internet

debunking myths from the internet
Ok, so we have all been hit with a gluttony of pins on Pinterest or mass attacked with a multitude of Instagrams regarding tips and tricks for your home. Well I did some researched and found 8 myths that you just shouldn’t do because they will cost you a bunch of money in the long run.
  1. Myth: clean your garbage disposal with lemons. This little myth can cost you a visit from the plumber and a new disposal unit. Although citric acid is a natural deodorizer t will corrode the metal parts in your disposal. The peel can also damage the grinding components and then clog up your pipes with debris. Instead drop some ice cubes into the disposal and turn it on. The crunching ice will dislodge buildup on the walls and impellers safely. Then follow up with vinegar to deodorize.
  2. Myth: duct tape can seal your ductwork. The U.S. Dept of Energy did a study that showed duct tape will deteriorate after just a few years due to the hot air from your HVAC system degrading the glue. A better way to seal is to use duct mastic. It is a soft substance that resembles caulking and it is messy. If you have a larger gap, use some fiberglass mesh to patch.
  3. Myth: bleach banishes mold. Believe it or not, bleach only kills mold on non-porous surfaces. It is not effective on any absorbent or porous materials where mold really loves to grow. In places like grout, caulking, insulation, drywall and carpeting. Your alternative is to use a commercial anti-fungal product to kill it when it takes root. Tackle projects that are small yourself, anything large you will need to contact a remediation specialist.
  4. Myth: change the HVAC filter each month. This was introduced more as a rule of thumb because people would remember it but really only change the filter every 2 or 3 months. Instead check it on the 1st of every month and only replace if it is really dirty. The Dept of Energy recommends replacing once every three months.
  5. Myth: you need a rinse aid for your dishes. Manufacturers build dishwashers with a rinse aid holder then they get you hooked on it so your spending $4 for a small 8 oz bottle. However, if you have soft water you don’t really need a rinse aid. But if you do see spots fill the dispenser with plain white vinegar which is really cheap. Then once the dishwasher is done unload the bottom first to prevent the top rack from dripping on it.
  6. Myth: improvements to your home are always a good investment. If you have the budget and making home comfortable is important to you, by all means make your family comfortable. But if resale value is your goal, then know that all improvements don’t net you the full cost of the improvement. For instance, a new bath gets you about 52% return on its cost. For help, contact me to see what people are looking for in homes in your area. The National Association of RealtorsⓇ prepares a Remodeling Impact Report that is a good resource to get a gauge on what projects will boost your value.
  7. Myth: stuff dryer sheets in your air vents for a good smell. DON’T PUT ANYTHING IN YOUR VENTS. The will only succeed in blocking air flow and costing you more money by making your HVAC system work harder. Blockages can even post fire risk. A better solution is to use items such as scented candles, plugins, static air fresheners or wax melt pots such as Scentsy. If you have an offensive odor you need to mask, first hunt down the odor to find the cause then determine what needs to be done about it.
  8. Myth: always by the product warranty to save money on repairs. When buying big ticket items were are usually offered a warranty. But...purchasing the warranty might cost you more than just buying a new item depending on the item. So instead put the money for the warranty aside in a repair fund. Then make sure you get the most of your item by following standard maintenance guidelines and doing routine maintenance. Check with your credit card company to see if they might extend you a year warranty for free if you purchase the item using their card.
For notice on events by day LIKE our Facebook page @VictoriaCottlesCorner.

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Are you Frugal? Or just Cheap! Telling the Difference.



Are you Frugal? Or just Cheap! Telling the Difference.
We all love saving cash! And if you are one who makes it a point to have your phone covered in savings apps, always clipping coupons and grocery shopping after you eat instead of before and shopping around for the best rate or price on big ticket items then you are what we would call Frugal.

But here are some situations where homeowners have gone beyond frugal and ended up being cheap which cost them a ton of money in the long run.

     Using the wrong tools for the job. Examples of this would be; using glue instead of screws, using a chemical drain solvent instead of calling a plumber or buying an auger, using cheap made screwdrivers so they strip your screws, using a hammer when you need a mallet and using a manual saw instead of a table saw. These are examples where you could go beyond frugal and right into cheapskate. Any of these items would cost you more time and possibly more money replacing whatever you broke trying to fix the problem. Invest in the right tool for the job up front and if the tool is expensive considering renting it or borrowing it from one of your frugal friends.
     Ruining your yard to save on the water bill. Watering your yard with bought water is a costly proposition but letting it go to weeds could cost you more. Losing curb appeal when you go to sell will cost you $$ of money in value and your HOA might just start fining you because of the look of your yard. Instead look into adding a separate well in your yard just for watering and tasks like washing cars and running a power washer. You will make up the cost of drilling the well in savings on your water bill. Also, invest in water-saving landscaping which means planting plants that naturally survive on the rain that occurs naturally in your area. Another saving is to create or invest in rain collection barrels. These are easy to set up and rainwater is easy to catch and keep. Add a screen cover over your capture hole to keep out unwanted trash. Use for watering plants. I have a rain barrel set up and it is never empty and there are no additives like chlorine in the water.
     Waiting too long so you don’t pay retail prices. Don’t risk your project by waiting for your flooring or other items to get to 60-70% off. Once a product reaches this rate it is likely there would not be enough for your job. Instead shop around for the best price you can get without impacting your deadlines. Once you find a price that gets you the best deal without your budget and timelines, lock it in and make the purchase. Your contractor or your husband will love you for it.
     Don’t focus too much on the end price when getting bids. Looking for the most inexpensive price can lead to mistakes in workmanship that will cost you time and money to fix after the project is complete. Instead when getting bids focus on the line items and make sure each bid has the same ones, ask why high prices are high and low prices are low, check contractor references and check out their online reviews.
     Putting off routine maintenance items. In a word, DON’T. Putting off things like cleaning out the gutters can cause them to back up and begin leaking into your fascia boards. Once that water intrusion starts it costs way more to get it fixed than it would have to cleaned the gutters. Instead establish a savings account for home maintenance and repairs and start adding in money weekly or monthly so that when something needs to be done you have it covered.
     DIY or not. Hey so you thought you would save yourself thousands of dollars by refinishing your floors or tiling your floors yourself. But what about the cost of renting the tools and spending the time and what happens if you make a mistake. Sometimes it is just a better idea to pay a professional for a job. By getting a professional you are protecting the value of your home as long as you keep the invoices as proof. Buyers are often hesitant when they hear that the homeowner DIY’d major items in the home.

The best way to be frugal and not cheap is by comparing and making informed decisions about spending money when you need a project done. Even if you are not selling your home right away, look at it from a buyer’s point of view. Would you buy your home again knowing that a professional did not do most of the work on it?

For notice on events by day LIKE our Facebook page @VictoriaCottlesCorner.

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Where in the U.S. are Americans Moving?



united van lines movers study
United Van Lines, the nation’s largest household goods mover, conducts movers study each year. They survey their customers to find out why they moved and what state to which they are moving. Here are some highlights from that report.

     Retirees are going west. More retirees than ever relocated in 2016. Retirement hubs are growing in Western states. They are leaving so fast that their data overshadows the millennials who are moving into urban areas.
     Job seekers are moving to find new job opportunities. With the U.S. economy continuing to recover from the financial crisis, families are decided to relocate to advance their careers.
     South Dakota is the most popular move to state for 2016 with nearly 68 percent of moves into the state.

Most Popular States to Move Into
1.    South Dakota
2.    Vermont
3.    Oregon
4.    Idaho
5.    South Carolina
6.    Washington
7.    Washington, D.C.
8.    North Carolina
9.    Nevada
10.  Arizona

If you will notice, South Carolina ranked fifth on the study for inbound traffic. If you have been getting my newsletter, you will have noticed that the sold stats keep rising. In 2016, Greenville SC alone went from a sold average of 656 in January 2015 to a sold average of 950 in December. May through September sold average were all over 1000.

States Most People Moved Out Of
1.    New Jersey
2.    Illinois
3.    New York
4.    Connecticut
5.    Kansas
6.    Kentucky
7.    West Virginia
8.    Ohio
9.    Utah
10.  Pennsylvania

For the fifth consecutive year, the Northeast saw a large concentration of outbound activity. South Dakota got first place for the first time ever. The study attributes a lot of the outbound activity to retiring boomers relocating to warmer climates.

For notice on events by day LIKE our Facebook page @VictoriaCottlesCorner.

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Remodel or Not to Remodel...Did you make these mistakes?



remodel or not to remodel...did you make these mistakes?
Doing a remodel in any part of your home is a difficult task. It doesn’t matter how well you planned it out something is going to go wrong. Like they say; “You don’t know what you don’t know.” So here is a quick list of some time-exhausting mistakes others have made so you don’t make them too.

1.    Creating a design before setting a budget. This would be like designing your dream kitchen and then realizing you can only afford the sink and stove. Always nail down your budget before you start designing so you will know where you need to cut costs and be open to less expensive options.
2.    Make a decision and stick to it. Once you have your design done consider it molded in stone and stick with it. If you start looking at design ideas and the influx of information gets to be too much, indecision can rein, which in turn can cost you more money and push you out of your budget.
3.    Expecting your contractors to work before the materials arrive. A good rule of thumb would be to make sure all materials have been ordered and you know the delivery dates before you start scheduling workers to come into your home. Schedule demolition days (if needed) just before material delivery dates so it lessens your inconvenience and keeps work flowing. Work with your contractors to make the work flow as smooth as possible and as short as possible.
4.    Organizational messes. Don’t get caught on demolition day trying to clear out your cabinets or rooms where work is to begin. Move items ahead of time so you will know where things are located in case you need to use them. Keep all manuals and important docs for new appliances in a remodel folder so you have quick access.
5.    Permitting counts! Before you do a remodel check with your local county or city building departments to see if you need to pull a permit. You don’t want to be saddled with delays waiting for things to get inspected and then fixed if the inspection sees something wrong. Most contractors will do this service for you for the work they are performing on your home. Make sure to ask about permits before you commit.
6.    Test your design with samples. While you are in the design stage before you start scheduling work, test out the colors you picked and the cabinets you like. You can get some cheap stretched canvas at a hobby store and paint each with the colors you picked. Leave each in the room where they will be for a couple of days or a week to see if you are truly in love with the colors. Ask the cabinet shop for a full door sample if you are getting new cabinets.
7.    Too tight a schedule. Don’t rush yourself through your remodel by setting a schedule that is so tight there is no room for delays or issues. Always budget in some extra days on each stage so workers are not rushed and you end up spending more money later to correct their mistakes. Then if the project finishes early you will be surprised and pleased. Then is on to planning the housewarming party!

To help your remodel along, you can turn the items above into a checklist for your sanity. Create a bullet list in document program or a quick list in a spreadsheet program. Wouldn’t take long and you will have a guideline on things to take care of and things to avoid during your remodel.

For notice on events by day LIKE our Facebook page @VictoriaCottlesCorner.

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.