Susanne Graves' Blog
If the thought of getting a mortgage and being in that much debt is stopping you from buying a home, plan to pay it off. Here’s how you can do it in just five to 10 years.
- Live well below your means. If you can keep your mortgage payment to below twenty percent of your take-home pay, you’re on your way. That means that instead of buying a larger house in an upscale community, buy the nicest one you can in the neighborhood you can afford. When you do this, you’ll not only save on the payment but your energy and maintenance costs will be lower, as well.
- Take a 15-year mortgage. Instead of the typical 30-year loan, opt for the 15-year choice. Your payments will be slightly higher, but they won’t be double. Use an online mortgage calculator to see the difference in the payment. You’ll be surprised at how much more affordable cutting the loan length in half can be.
- Use an early mortgage pay-off calculator. Try plugging in different payment amounts to see how quickly you can pay it off. Adding as little as $100 extra each month can massively reduce the years to completion.
- This next idea is easy if you get paid weekly or bi-weekly. Instead of making your mortgage payment once a month, pay half of it every two weeks. Using this trick allows you to make an entire extra payment each year, cutting months and years off your mortgage. If you do it to match your bi-weekly payments, you won’t even notice the additional payment out of your household budget.
Your Agent Can Help
When you’re looking for just the right house to put your plan into action, your knowledgeable real estate agent can find you the perfect one. Let them know what you’re trying to accomplish so that they match you to the right house at the right time.
After you accept a homebuyer's offer on your residence, he or she likely will complete a home inspection. Then, the homebuyer may choose to move forward with the home purchase, rescind or modify his or her offer or ask the home seller to complete home improvements.
Ultimately, a home seller is likely to have many questions following a home inspection, including:
1. What did the homebuyer discover during the home inspection?
As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to enhance your residence before you add it to the real estate market. By doing so, you can boost your chances of generating substantial interest in your house. Plus, when a homebuyer performs a home inspection, he or she is unlikely to find any problems that may slow down the home selling process.
An informed home seller may conduct a home appraisal prior to listing his or her house on the real estate market. This appraisal enables a home seller to identify potential trouble areas within a residence and explore ways to address such problems.
If you failed to perform a home appraisal, there is no need to worry. For home sellers, it is important to see a home inspection as a learning opportunity. And if a homebuyer identifies problems with your residence during a home inspection, you should try to work with him or her to resolve these issues.
2. Should I stand my ground after a home inspection?
Be realistic after a home inspection, and you'll be able to make the best decision about how to proceed.
For example, a home seller who goes above and beyond the call of duty may address major home problems prior to listing his or her house on the real estate market. This home seller will dedicate the necessary time and resources to correct home problems and ensure a homebuyer is able to purchase a top-notch residence.
But what happens if a homebuyer identifies problems during a home inspection, despite the fact that a home seller already tried to correct various home issues?
A home seller should consider the homebuyer's inspection report findings closely. If minor home repairs are needed, he or she may be able to fix these problems to move forward with a home sale. Or, if a homebuyer is making exorbitant demands, a home seller may feel comfortable allowing the homebuyer to walk away from a home sale.
3. How should I proceed after a home inspection?
A home inspection can be stressful for both a home seller and a homebuyer. After the home inspection is completed, both parties will be better equipped than ever before to make informed decisions.
If a homebuyer encounters many problems with a residence, he or she will let the home seller know about these issues. Then, a home seller can complete assorted home repairs, offer a discounted price on a home or refuse to perform the requested home maintenance.
Working with a real estate agent is ideal for a home seller, particularly when it comes to home inspections. A real estate agent will negotiate with a homebuyer on your behalf and ensure you streamline the home selling process.
Only Two Toilet Per Building
Many homes have two and a half or more bathrooms. If you want to move to Waldron Island in Washington, you’ll have to give up the idea of having a bathroom for every bedroom or even having that extra half bath. Waldron Island is very small and has a small population. Since the residents want to keep it that way, they have a law that says you can’t have more than two toilets in any building.
Leave the Sasquatch Alone
In Washington state, it is illegal to kill a Sasquatch. The real question is, how many people have actually seen a Sasquatch? Maybe those same people have seen the Loch Ness monster.
Be Careful What You Show Buyers
If you’re selling real estate in Texas, it’s probably better to empty your house before you put it on the market. It’s either that or have a super long purchase contract to list all the exclusions. In Texas, any accessories or improvements that are shown to buyers go with the house. That includes personal photos and artwork on the walls, above-ground pools and even artificial fireplace logs.
No Spite Fences
Many people like fences for privacy, especially in cities. People who live in rural areas often fence in their property to keep wildlife out or to keep animals in. This is all good, as long as those fences are no taller than 6 feet. Anything higher is considered a “spite” fence, at least if you’re in Rhode Island. Yes, that’s ‘spite’ as in, “I’m building a 10-foot-high fence just to spite my neighbor.”
No Burglar Bars
Sometimes, you just have to have burglar bars on the windows. But, Ridgeland, Mississippi says you can’t put them on the outside of the windows. You can put them on the inside of the windows, though.There's uncertainty as to why that law was put into place, but putting the burglar bars on the inside is probably not going to keep someone from breaking your windows.
No More Than Two Female Roommates
In Missouri, you can’t have three female roommates. Even if you decide to live with your three sisters, you won’t be able to do that. Arkansas has a similar law, but theirs says you can’t live with five women. Many years ago, lawmakers were trying to put an end to brothels. The law is very outdated and probably not enforced, but if you and your sisters plan on getting an apartment together or plan on buying a home, you might want to check.
Depending on where you live, recycling may not be an easy task. Some communities don't even have a local center. And beyond that, reusing something has less of an environmental impact than recycling. So when you can reuse, you absolutely should. But it's not always easy to see treasure when "trash" stands before you.
Here are some simple and creative ways to re-purpose your recyclables for storage.
Coffee Creamer Bottle Salad Sprinkles
Are you trying to add more healthy nuts and seeds to your salads? Make it easy for yourself by re-purposing a creamer bottle. Simply remove the label and wash. Then add things like:
Orange Juice Bottle Watering Can
After cleaning the bottle, simply use a small drill bit or hammer/nail to bore some tiny holes into the lid. Fill it with water. Screw on the lid tight. And then, turn the bottle at an angle to allow the sprinkles to cascade over your plants.
Single-Use Plastic Bottle Wastebasket
You'll need a couple of metal rings for support here. So look for old furniture or machinery that has them. Then string four bottles together with a wire running through top to bottom. Glue the bottle columns to each other to create a cylinder. Use a recycled piece of wood, metal or hard plastic for the round base, and Voila!
Old Desk Recycling Station
Do you have a table, desk, armoire or dresser that's on its way out? Turn that old wood into several crates. Use them for anything. But they're perfect for recycling.
Carefully disassemble the furniture. Then cut the wood into slats. Nail those slats together to form a crate. Paint each container with a different vibrant color. Then stencil on a label such as:
Now, when someone visits your home, they immediately sort recyclables into the right bin.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you see other recyclables in a new light to create your own up-cycled storage solutions.
Preparing your home is one of the most important things you can do before leaving for an extended period of time.
Whether you have a vacation home that you spend your summer months in, you travel for work, or you simply have a second property that will be unoccupied for an extended period of time, it’s vital to take the steps to preparing the home for the elements while you are gone.
In this article, we’ll talk about winterizing, preparing a home for heavy rains, and protecting it from a number of external forces. That way you can rest assured that your property will be safe while you’re away, saving you money in costly repairs.
Many Americans spend the winter months in a warmer climate. Similarly, it has become quite common to purchase vacation homes and cabins in the northern part of the country to visit during the summer months. Regardless, these homes will have to be winterized to avoid damage.
First, and most important, be sure to turn off the water at the main supply sources. Next, open up your faucets and drain all of the lines that carry water throughout your home and yard. Drain, and put away your garden hose, to protect it and your fittings from damage.
Now that you’re protected against water damage, you’ll want to protect against potential fires. Turn off and unplug all appliances. Not only is this a way to avoid fire, but it will also help you avoid needlessly spending on electricity.
It’s a good idea to turn your thermostat down so that your home is kept above freezing, but not at a needlessly high temperature.
Preparing a home for extended leave
Even if your home isn’t facing the winter cold, there are still measures that should be taken during an extended leave.
Cleaning your refrigerator out completely and then washing the interior will help avoid odors from spreading throughout the house.
Other odors can arise from the drains in your home, especially if it’s likely to get hot. To prevent this you can cover up your drains with painter’s tape.
You’ll also want to remove any food from your cabinets that could attract mice, ants, or other pests. While you’re cleaning, wash and put away any linens that you won’t be using for some time.
Be sure arrangements have been made at the post office for any mail you receive at your home. You could set up mail forwarding, have neighbors take in your mail, or purchase a PO box for the time you’re away. Regardless, it’s a good idea to not have mail piling up outside an empty home as it could attract the attention of those seeking to benefit from your house being vacant.
Before leaving, make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked. Remove any spare keys from obvious locations around your home, and make arrangements for someone, such as a neighbor, to check on the home and report any problems to you.