Patricia Betro's Blog
A bathroom renovation represents a major decision, especially for those who plan to sell their homes in the near future.
Ultimately, there are many questions to consider before you embark on a bathroom renovation, including:
1. When do I plan to list my home?
Consider your home selling timeline – you'll be glad you did. If you understand when you'd like to list your residence, you can plan home improvement projects accordingly.
If you intend to list your home in the next few months, there is plenty of time to overhaul your bathroom if necessary. Or, if you want to sell your home as soon as possible, a bathroom renovation may slow you down.
2. Is a bathroom renovation necessary?
Although your bathroom may seem small and messy at times, only minor bathroom upgrades may be needed to transform your ordinary bathroom into an exceptional one.
Performing an extensive bathroom cleaning will enable you to eliminate shower scum, wipe down a bathroom countertop and enhance the bathroom floor. Plus, cleaning a bathroom often represents a fast, easy and cost-effective alternative to a major bathroom overhaul.
Furthermore, a home appraisal may help you better understand your house's strengths and weaknesses. After this appraisal is finished, you can identify problem areas in your home and determine whether a bathroom renovation is a priority.
3. How much will a bathroom renovation cost?
The cost of a bathroom renovation may range from hundreds to thousands of dollars based on the size of your bathroom, the renovations that are needed and other factors. As such, you'll want to evaluate the cost of a bathroom renovation to determine how the project may impact your property's value.
Meet with several bathroom renovation experts. That way, you can receive multiple bathroom renovation estimates to see what it will cost to enhance your bathroom's appearance.
Also, you may want to consider do-it-yourself (DIY) bathroom improvements. A DIY bathroom renovation can be rewarding because it will enable you to learn new skills and revamp your bathroom's appearance on your own. At the same time, you'll want to ensure that any bathroom upgrades you complete are done safely and effectively.
Still unsure about whether you should perform a bathroom renovation? Discuss your concerns and questions with a real estate agent, and you may be able to gain unparalleled insights into whether a bathroom renovation is worth your time.
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market. He or she can help you assess the pros and cons of a bathroom renovation. As a result, you can make informed decisions about a bathroom renovation and other home improvement projects.
In addition, a real estate agent can serve as an expert guide along the home selling journey. This housing market professional can help you get your home ready and ensure it will generate plenty of interest from property buyers as soon as it becomes available.
Take the guesswork out of a bathroom renovation – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can decide whether a bathroom renovation is right for you.
If you intend to buy or sell a house, it frequently pays to hire a real estate agent, and for good reason.
A real estate agent can offer expert insights into the housing market. Plus, he or she can respond to any concerns or questions that you may have as you proceed along the homebuying or home selling journey.
When it comes to hiring a real estate agent, however, it is important to note that no two real estate agents are exactly alike. In fact, there are several factors that differentiate an ordinary real estate agent from an outstanding one, and these include:
1. Industry Experience
Regardless of whether you plan to buy or sell a house, you should definitely spend some time evaluating a real estate agent's industry experience. That way, you can find out how long a real estate agent has been working in the industry and choose one who knows how to overcome potential homebuying and home selling hurdles.
Ideally, you should employ a real estate agent who possesses many years of industry experience. This housing market professional likely understands the ins and outs of buying and selling houses and can help you get the best possible results.
2. Communication Skills
The right real estate agent will be a great communicator. As such, this housing market professional will be able to keep you informed at each stage of the homebuying or home selling process.
To learn about a real estate agent's communication skills, it often is a great idea to meet with a real estate agent and interview this individual. During a face-to-face interview, you can get a better idea about what a real estate agent is all about and ensure you feel comfortable working with him or her.
In addition, a real estate agent should have no trouble communicating with you in good times and bad. He or she will be prepared to provide honest, unbiased feedback, and by doing so, help you make your homebuying or home selling dreams come true.
3. Client Feedback
Reach out to a real estate agent's past clients before you hire this housing market professional. With client feedback at your disposal, you can learn what it's like to work with a real estate agent.
A real estate agent usually will be happy to provide you with client referrals. Then, you can contact an agent's past clients and learn about their homebuying or home selling experiences.
Lastly, if you're uncertain about whether a real estate agent is right for you, it sometimes is valuable to find out how this housing market professional will approach the homebuying or home selling process. Explaining your goals and learning how a real estate agent will help you accomplish these aspirations can make it easy for you to find the right agent, at the right time, every time.
Start your search for a real estate agent today, and you can move one step closer to buying or selling a home.
Homeowners love the idea of creating a personal sanctuary in their outdoor living space, but many aren't quite sure of how to proceed when it comes to making the most of their yard and garden area. One of the most common issues faced by homeowners is that they don't really know how to use hardscaping elements to their best advantage. For instance, it's standard procedure to place a trellis against the side of the house and let a rambling rose clamber up and around it, and while this provides a classically charming cottage garden look, it's not the only way to use a trellis. Following are three suggestions designed to provide you with inspiration concerning how arbors and trellises can help transform your yard into the serene sweet spot of your dreams.
Create a Privacy Hedge With Trellises
One of the most primary elements of serenity is privacy. By putting in a row of trellises on the edge of your property, you can create a living hedge that does double duty by providing aesthetics as well as privacy. Climbing roses are a good option, but if you want year-round coverage, choose something like evergreen clematis. If you like the idea of mixing it up every year with different types of vining annuals, choose fast-growing options such as morning glory.
Define the Back of a Perennial Border With Trellises
Traditional perennial borders sometimes lack the necessary height for optimal balance, but you can fix that situation by installing one or two tall trellises at the back of the border and planting vining perennials. Classic choices include wisteria, clematis, vinca and, of course, old-fashioned rambling rose. Feel free to let your imagination be your guide when it comes to selecting vining plants. Blue potato vine, for instance, is a vigorous climber that's not often seen in modern home gardens but is one of the few vining plants that reliably produce true-blue flowers.
Create a Secret Glade With an Arbor for an Entrance
If you've got a small, treed area on your property, consider creating a private glade where you and yours relax in an environment filled with natural beauty. Create a small seating area using a weather-resistant teakwood bench, and plant plenty of flowering woodland vegetation such as primrose, sweet woodruff and trillium. Plant your choice of vibrant flowering vines near the arbor so they can ramble up and over it to create a lush bower leading to your private retreat.
Any one of the above approaches will bring an average yard from mundane to magical. With a little creativity, you can no doubt come up with more ideas for creating a serene ambiance using garden arbors and trellises.
There is no need to let excess heat slow you down on moving day. Fortunately, those who plan ahead for a hot moving day can remain calm, cool and comfortable as they transport their belongings from one destination to another.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare for moving in warm weather.
1. Get an Early Start
The early bird catches the worm. Much in the same vein, those who start a warm-weather move as early as possible may be able to beat the heat for at least a few hours.
Typically, the sun's UV rays are strongest in the middle of the afternoon. This means if you get an early start on moving day, you may be better equipped than ever before to reduce the amount of time that you'll be required to move large, heavy boxes in extreme heat.
2. Consider What You'll Wear
There is no need to wear baggy clothes that will weigh you down and further increase your body temperature during a warm-weather move. Instead, dress cool and comfortable on moving day, and you can keep your body temperature in check throughout the day.
On a spring or summer day, it usually pays to wear shorts and a t-shirt while moving. Also, you may want to wear a hat and sunglasses to help protect your eyes against the sun's UV rays.
Don't forget to apply plenty of sunscreen before you start your warm-weather move as well. Sunscreen will help you reduce the risk of sunburns on moving day.
3. Keep Plenty of Beverages on Hand
Excess heat can lead to dehydration that can make it tough for you and your moving team to complete your moving day tasks. If you keep a cooler filled with cold, refreshing beverages on hand, you can help your entire team stay hydrated throughout your move.
Pick up lots of bottled water and sports drinks prior to moving day. Furthermore, grab a few bags of ice and fill up your cooler, and you'll be good to go to help your moving team remain refreshed at all times.
When it comes to moving in extreme heat, it is easy to try to push through the heat to get the job done. But this approach may do more harm than good, as it may lead a person to become exhausted or faint. As such, you should try to plan regular breaks throughout a warm-weather move to help your moving team stay focused.
If you require extra moving day assistance, you can always reach out to a professional moving company. This business employs friendly, diligent moving specialists who can pick up your belongings and transport them to your new address, regardless of weather.
Lastly, don't hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent for moving day assistance, either. In addition to helping you buy or sell a residence, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the top moving companies in any area, at any time.
In general, if you have less than 20 percent of a down payment for the house you want, you will have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). This insurance is a cost to you to protect the lender if you default on the loan. In most cases, it’s better to save the 20 percent down payment, but if you absolutely cannot do that and rent is costing you more than a mortgage payment even with PMI tacked on, then it’s better to buy and pay PMI. Another reason to pay PMI is if you have the 20 percent down payment, but you are buying a house that needs some work — you can make a lower down payment and pay PMI so you have more cash for repairs.
You can avoid paying private mortgage insurance in three ways:
Make a down payment of 20 percent or more of the purchase price;
Get a loan backed by the VA or the Department of Agriculture; or
Get a loan that has PMI, but make sure you can cancel it as soon as you get 20 percent in equity built up.
The easiest way to get the 20 percent down is to put money in a savings account that pays high interest. Put what you have for a down payment in the account, then add money to it every month. Some people find it easier to put $50 per week, while others might want to put a lump sum in the account once every month.
With the VA and Department of Agriculture loans, you have to qualify for these loans. Sometimes your only option might be to get the loan with PMI, but make sure you can stop paying PMI once you have 20 percent in equity. Making extra payments on the principle is one way to get equity to build up faster.
Types of PMI
Your lender has five types of PMI to offer you. The most common is borrower-paid mortgage insurance. This is usually a monthly fee that is combined with your mortgage payment. You need to get 22 percent equity before your lender drops BPMI. You also have to be current on your mortgage payments. Some lenders will cancel the BPMI at 20 percent equity if you ask.
Single-payment mortgage insurance is PMI that you pay in one lump sum at closing. In some cases, the lump sum might be divided into equal payments and paid with your mortgage for the year. If you pay this mortgage insurance up front, your monthly payments are lower. However, if you sell your house or refinance it, you won’t get any part of your premium back.
Lender-paid mortgage insurance means that your lender pays for the PMI. However, your interest rates are higher to make up for those payments, so technically, you are still coming out of pocket for it. Because this type of PMI is built into the loan, you can’t cancel it when you have enough equity. And, your interest rate won’t go down, either. The one benefit of lender-paid mortgage PMI is that even with a slightly higher interest rate, your payments are most likely going to be lower.
The fourth type of PMI is split-premium mortgage insurance. This is a combination of buyer-paid mortgage insurance and single-payment mortgage insurance. You pay this insurance in two parts: One part in a lump sum at closing, then the balance is worked into your mortgage payments. You don’t need a huge lump sum at closing and your mortgage payments will be lower than if you were to have BPMI.
Finally, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Protection, or MIP, that is mortgage insurance you can get if the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) underwrites your mortgage. If you have a down payment of 10 percent or less, you will pay MIP in the form or an up-front payment plus extra payments worked into your mortgage.