5 Tips for Buying a House

Buying a home can be nerve wrecking and thrilling at the same time. This is especially for a first time home buyer. It is also difficult to know what exactly one should expect. The learning curve is obviously steep but the issues can be resolved by simply doing some homework on it. Some important tips have been explained as below.

1. Evaluate your credit

Your credit score is extremely important because it can be helpful for you to qualify for the loan. The standards are also higher in terms of what score you actually require and how exactly the cost of the loan is going to affect you.

2. Evaluate your liabilities and assets

This should be done so that you don’t owe a lot of money and all your payments are processed up to date. However the exact manner in which you spend your money must be taken into consideration. Any first time homebuyer should have a very good idea of what is owed and what is exactly coming in. Understanding a little bit about the monthly cash flows can also help you.

3. Organize all your documents

While you are applying for a mortgage, you must document all your taxes and incomes. Buying a home can take a long period of time but exactly knowing what you require and where you have to find it can help you to save time whenever you are ready.

4. Qualify yourself

As any first time homebuyer, you should know how much you can exactly afford to spend before any mortgage lender tells you how much you can qualify for. There is however no ratio of fixed debt to income that the lenders might require, but the old standard can dictate that not more than 28 per cent of the gross income will be devoted to housing costs.

5. Your down payment must be figured out

It takes a lot of effort to scrape together your down payment. There are also a variety of programs that can assist the buyers with qualifying situations and incomes. You can also speak with all the mortgage lenders when you are beginning the process. Check with all co-workers, friends and neighbors to find out the lenders they have enjoy being associated with. Take their advice to how to go about with it as it can help you to simplify the process. It is one of the important things to remember.

A Serious Look at the Green Elements of Home Buying Or Renovation

Home builders and developers of new residential units are now instituting major changes in their design and development priorities in response to the growing desire of buyers for homes that meet higher standards for health and safety concerns for the household and Mother Earth.

Home developers are now actively engaged in the development and promotion of their respective green home dwelling options that have the following major features:

• Use of alternative steel framing which are more structurally sound and healthier than wood frames

• Low emission and energy-efficient window system

• Installation of HEPA air filtration modules

• Use of kitchen sinks outfitted with water filters

• Use of ceramic or hardwood floor materials as alternative to carpeting or vinyl floor materials

• Ventilators with heat recovery capability

Another home developer that is based in the British Columbia area has included in the mix of their home development specialties the use of healthy house features. If you are in search of new home design concept, regardless of whether you are buying from a home developer or going for custom-built units, it is important that you discuss with builders, architects and contractors about the use of healthy features in your dream home. This option may turn out to be more expensive upfront. However, the extra cost of using green elements in your home can easily be offset by long term benefits.

What are your options if you are not in the market to purchase or construct a new home property? What are your alternatives in incorporating earth-friendly aspects in your home renovations and improvements? If you are replacing something old in your home, or adding elements in order to enhance your level of comfort, you also have the opportunity to make your home a healthier and safer place for you and your family. It is also an opportunity for you to consider home repair and improvement concepts that are earth-friendly. With the incorporation of green elements in your home renovation and improvement projects, you instantly reduce your operating cost, increase home value and decrease waste and reliance to fossil fuels.

Here are some alternatives that you can consider if you are planning to incorporate green features in your home:

1. For your insulation, you may use cotton as your insulating material. Cotton delivers the same level of performance as fiberglass. It is also a safe and earth-friendly alternative.

2. You can use CA-B pressure treated wooden materials instead of the usual pressure-treated lumber for the external structures of your home. You have to remember that the latter type of lumber are treated with hazardous or toxic chemicals to prevent infestation and rot. You may also consider using sustainable construction material such as ipe, a type of Brazilian wood, for your outdoor constructions or decking. It is an attractive material aside from being rot-resistant and long-lasting building material.

3. You can also opt for the reclaimed type of redwood shingles if you require natural wood shingles in your home construction or renovation.

4. It is also wise to choose smoke detectors that don’t incorporate radioactive materials. While these trace amounts of radioactive materials in smoke detectors don’t affect the health of the inhabitants, proper disposal of these hazardous materials is a major issue.

5. You will significantly improve the quality of air in your home if you are going to replace the ordinary filters of your air conditioner and furnace with genuine HEPA filters.

Home Buying: Resale vs. New Construction

It can be a difficult decision whether to purchase a resale home or a new home from a builder

Although new homes typically have a higher sales price than comparable existing homes, buyers are willing to spend more up-front with an understanding that part of what they are paying for is assured low maintenance costs. A builder’s warranty, along with brand-new roof, appliances, furnace, and other operating systems that make major repairs unnecessary, work together to counteract possible slower appreciation initially.

Buying New Versus Resale

In today’s highly competitive market there is a vast array of choices to be made when deciding on the type of dwelling you wish to reside in. Below is a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of buying a new home versus a resale home.

Advantages of a New Home

One of the primary advantages of buying a new home is the ability to decorate your home from the beginning exactly the way you want. You can pick all the colors, which range from paint to carpet. You can also make the tile and cabinetry selection for the kitchen and bathrooms.

Often, new homes will have more modern conveniences, better insulation and can be more energy efficient.

Disadvantages of a New Home

Unfortunately, with a new home purchase you should be prepared for the on-going construction you will find around you. Chances are that your grass and lawn will not be in, your driveway will be gravel and your street will turn into a sea of mud whenever it rains or snows. If things are going to go wrong with a newly constructed house, they will appear in the first one to two years.

As the house settles you may find cracks appearing in the walls of the basement, especially near any windows in the basement, make sure you get them fixed right away. Also, you should not finish your basement in a new home for at least a couple of years, just in case cracks and leaks develop.

There are additional expenses associated with new homes that you will not typically find in a resale home. For example, you may have to spend additional money for appliances, curtains, drapes, central vacuum, humidifiers, decks, fencing, electric garage door openers, finishing the basement, walkways, outdoor lighting, indoor light fixtures, trees, shrubs, gardens and landscaping, children’s play sets, swimming pool, air conditioning, etc.

Closing costs are typically higher for new homes. The purchaser will pay for such additional costs as the New Home Warranty Program, tree planting, utility hook ups and paving of the driveway.

Usually, when you buy a new home, you don’t have an opportunity to see the actual layout. All that is provided is a blueprint and in many cases the end product may be a disappointment to the purchaser because of changes that the builder or sub-contractor does not follow or does themselves. Additionally, there is the uncertainty as to who will be your neighbours.

Advantages of a Resale Home

The major advantage of buying a resale home is that you are moving into an established neighborhood. Your lawn is green, your shrubs are growing, your driveway is paved and your trees are well enough established to give your street a feeling of permanence. Often, most extras are already present, such as appliances, curtains, drapes, central vacuum, humidifiers, decks, fencing, electric garage door openers, finishing the basement, walkways, outdoor lighting, indoor light fixtures, trees, shrubs, gardens and landscaping, children’s play sets, swimming pool, air conditioning, etc.

In terms of investment, a resale home will often give you far more value than a brand new home. Many owners put tens of thousands of dollars into home improvements ranging from small items, such as landscaping, to major projects, such as a finished basement or any of the items above. Although these improvements will make the home more attractive to potential buyers, they may not increase the market value of the home.

A $35,000 swimming pool or a $15,000 finished basement or even $5,000 worth of landscaping may make the home very attractive. However these additional costs incurred may not necessarily increase the market value of a home, especially if you have to sell it at a time of year where these major items add little or no perceived value. The buyer gets the home at its real fair market value, which is based on comparable homes for sale or sold in the neighborhood. All those expensive extras may be included in the home with benefit to the buyer at little or no extra cost. This can be a substantial savings over buying a new home.

With a resale, the vendor’s asking price is almost always negotiable downwards unlike the builders list price which is usually firm. Any extras or changes are added to the list price of a new home and add up quickly.

Disadvantages of a Resale Home

A small percentage of homes in the marketplace are not considered to be in move-in condition. If both live-in partners happen to be working at full time jobs, a move-in condition home is by far the best alternative. If the property is being under “power of sale” or the property has been rented for many years the home may require a lot of work. If the buyer is not handy or does not have the additional up front capital then the purchaser would be better off buying a home in move-in condition or a brand new home. Additionally, as a home gets on in age certain systems such as heating, cooling, roofing, and/or windows need to be upgraded.

Although some perceive the paragraph above as a disadvantage, some consider it as an advantage. A home that needs some fixing up can in fact present some clear cost advantage to a buyer. Usually, it can be purchased below the going market value, while at the same time providing an opportunity to have it decorated to suite your specific tastes.

Neighbourhood: Known or Unknown Factor

When you buy a resale home, you can find out a lot more about the property and the neighbourhood before you buy than when you buy a new home. Land to support new-home developments usually is located on the outskirts of town. Potential buyers should ask the developer about future access to public transit, entertainment activities, shopping centers, churches, and schools. Local zoning ordinances also should be reviewed. A rather remote area can turn into a fast-food-chain haven within a couple of years. Try to ensure that the neighbourhood, if not strictly residential, will not begin sprawling out of control.

Buying into a new-home community may seem riskier than purchasing a house in an established neighbourhood, but any increase in home value depends upon the same factors: quality of the neighbourhood, growth in the local housing market and the state of the overall economy. One survey by the National Association of Realtors shows that resale homes do have an edge over new homes when it comes to appreciation.

More Questions and Items to Consider

There is a major decision early in the process of purchasing a new home and that is whether to build a new home or purchase a resale home already on the market. The following provides some considerations that may help you make an informed decision.

Location, location, location.

Are new homes being built in the area you desire? Do you know the surrounding zoning and what will be constructed in the area? How far away are services (schools, stores, hospital, doctors, etc.) that you need? How long is the commute to work?

Investment.

Typically, due to the continual addition of features, rising labor and material costs, new homes cost more than similar resale homes. Are you having to pay significant impact or lot levies or taxes and fees that are imposed on the builder? Are the taxes on the new home much higher than a comparable resale home? Will you be in the new home until the area is built out so you will not be competing with the builders should you need to sell the home? Is the home going to be high priced compared to other homes built or going to be built in the area?

Features.

Are the style and features that you desire only available in a new home? Can you find a resale home with most of the features and amenities you desire? Can you add the features you desire to a resale home? Are newer resale homes available that meet your needs?

Risk.

Is the new home builder or developer financially stable? Is the builder a large well known company with a good reputation? Is the builder asking for significant down payments or advance payments? Are there complaints lodged against the builder for shoddy work or not making repairs? Has the builder been delivering homes when promised? Check with your Better Business Bureau, the town or the city and talk to homeowners that have purchased a home from the builder.

In summary, a resale home can cost less, be more conveniently located, you know the area and amenities and have less risk involved. A new home can be constructed to have the exact style and features you desire, but usually with much higher costs, limited locations, and more risk.

Conclusion

In today’s market place both new and resale homes are selling briskly. Once you’ve evaluated the pros and cons of each alternative, you can make an intelligent, educated decision as to which option is best suited for your particular needs.

Ultimately, the decision should be based on your needs and wants, your family and/or children, your tolerance for risk and the unknown and ultimately your budget.

What You Need to Think About Before Buying a Home Theater Projector

While setting up a projector for a home theater system can be challenging, the process can be simplified by keeping certain things in mind. This article discusses what you need to keep in mind when buying and installing a home cinema projector. So, here goes…

1) Ambient lighting: Even a small amount of ambient light can wash out a projected image. Some projectors are better than others at competing with the ambient light in you room, but none are totally perfect.

When buying a home projector, do check out the brightness rating, measuring in ANSI lumens or just lumens. If your projector has a brightness rating of at least 1700 ANSI lumens, it should be able to deal with a small amount of ambient light.

Similarly, a projector with a 3000 lumens rating would be able to handle stronger ambient light. However, you should try to block out all ambient light if you do not want your images to look washed out.

2) Room size: If you want to set up your home cinema projector, you will need a large room. This is because the screen size for a projector can get rather large. Also, if you room is large, you will not end up blocking part of the screen when you walk through your room.

3) Mounting your projector: Most projectors can display in a normal or upside-down mode, which gives you the flexibility in determining where to mount your projector. Ceiling mounts work best because the allow more floor space for seating. The longer the room, the better it is.

4) Buying a screen: You need the right surface for the projector to reflect off of. You can choose one of several types of screens. These range from pull-down screens to screens made up of matte vinyl fabric.

You can also use a section of your wall for your entertainment plans by painting a section of the wall with reflective matte paint. This works because you don’t have to worry about fabric getting ripped or frayed.

There are so many different screens that can be used along with your home projector that you need to do your research before buying and installing one.

5) Replacement lamps and other costs: Most projectors are a fantastic deal. However, some projectors come with hidden costs. Some of these are: replacement lamps, audio systems, and screens.

Projectors require extremely high-powered lamps to project their images and these bulbs do not last as long as most HDTVs. Right now, most projectors you buy will last a year or two under heavy use before they need replacing. Also if you are investing in a quality home cinema projector, chances are you plan to also buy an audio system. Also, even though discussed before, buying the right screen can add to costs. However, these accessories are important if you want your home projector to run optimally.

So, now you know what you need to think of before buying a home projector. Do keep these points in mind and invest in a projector that will be the envy of your social circle. Here’s to fantastic images!

Financial Planning, For Buying A House

We, so often, become, so emotionally involved, with the concept of home ownership, that, we overlook, and forget about, the necessary details, involved, in properly planning, for, buying a house. When one seeks a house, based on, meeting many needs, goals, and priorities, and considering, present realities, and foreseeable contingencies, he, generally, remains happy, with his decision. Since, for most of us, our house represents our single – biggest, financial asset, doesn’t it make sense, to be well – prepared, and fully plan, for the process? With that in mind, while accepting there are many emotional considerations involved (Why would someone want to live somewhere, which doesn’t make him satisfied or happy?), this article will attempt to consider, examine, review, and discuss, some basic essentials of financial planning, for owning a house, of one’s own.

1. Before you begin your search: The better you plan, the easier this process becomes! At least six months, before, you begin your search, either, personally, review your Credit Report, for accuracy, etc, or, consult a recommended, mortgage professional, and ensure, you optimize your credit – worthiness. The better, your credit, the easier the process, of getting the needed loan, as well as, qualifying, for the lowest possible, available rate. Remember, the lower the rate, you pay, the more house – for – your – dollars!

2. Down – payment, and closing expenses/ costs: Since most people, depend on financing (generally via a mortgage loan), you will need, to save, for the down – payment. Most conventional loans ask for 20% down (although some require less), and you must have these funds, liquid, and available. In addition, you will have to pay, a significant amount in closing costs, including, pre – paid real estate taxes and utilities, filing fees, title (title and title insurance), legal costs, etc.

3. Reserves: Will owning a home, of your own, be your American dream, or some sort of nightmare? When prospective homeowners, realize, and commit to the need, to maintain reserves, especially for: a) Unanticipated needs for monthly payments (6 – 9 months reserve is recommended); b) repairs (regular); c) major repairs/ unanticipated; d) maintenance; and, e) renovations, they experience a far lower degree of stress, and tension, during the home ownership experience.

A smart, well – prepared, homeowner, is far more ready, and able, to enjoy, the positives of owning, a home, of one’s own! Will you be a prepared owner, or, cause yourself, lots of extra, unnecessary stress and tension?