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February
26

 

 

Home warranties are an interesting thing, considering they can bring peace of mind but also affordable fixes for a home with older appliances. A seller may offer one in closing to sweeten the pot, which makes it a reasonable consideration for potential buyers. Even though a home warranty may sound like good financial protection, it is good to know more about them and whether this investment is worth making.

 

How a Home Warranty Works

A home warranty is a contract between a homeowner and a home warranty company. Costly repairs on appliances in a new home purchase can be difficult to swallow, especially after spending so much to move into the home. Home warranties typically cover repairs of a furnace, air conditioning unit, plumbing, and electrical systems. Major appliances like washers, dryers, and refrigerators are often also included. Most plans offer the basic coverage, but some additional components can provide a better umbrella for any repairs that are needed which exceed the basics.

 

Know the Costs

Even though a home warranty is only a few hundred dollars upfront for a year, the cost depends on what property is purchased. If the family owns a condo or townhouse, the warranty may cover more or less than a single-family home and costs will shift accordingly. The home's square footage does not impact the price unless the property is more than 5,000 square feet. Garages should be covered by the basic policy, also. Some other considerations:

  • Home warranties charge a service call fee of between $75 to $125 every time the request is made to examine an issue
  • If more than one contractor is needed, there may be costs for each of them to visit the property
  • Some problems are not covered by the warranty or will be denied coverage

 

Peace of Mind

A home warranty truly provides peace of mind to homeowners looking to pay the premium 'in the event something happens.' Much like any other insurance, those premiums get paid out in case something were to go wrong or something major breaks. For sellers of the home, a one-year home warranty with purchase can provide protection against buyer complaints later if defects arise. This does not exempt a seller from the legal requirement to disclose problems with the home upfront.

 

Potential Drawbacks

One gray area homeowners may not be aware of once they move is the 'proper maintenance' clause. This clause is the source of many disagreements between home warranty companies and warranty holders. Companies may use this clause to exclude or deny claims. The homeowner and contract who make the house call may disagree on what constitutes proper maintenance. If the furnace was not maintained by previous owners, for example, they may limit how much they payout or the company can deny payment of the claim. Another area that is not always discussed is the fact the premium may get paid yearly but that money could be put into a fund for emergency repairs that won't cost a premium upfront. Just because a premium is paid, and a contractor paid to visit the home, does not mean repairs will be made and the homeowner is out a few hundred dollars or more.

 

Although a home warranty is not a guarantee, it is protection against potentially expensive repairs. Prior to purchase, discuss it with the realtor. Find out the options and check around. Be sure to know your options before you buy one and make sure it is the right choice for you and your family. 

 

Choice Properties works with families to ensure they make the best decisions possible when buying a home. We help you navigate the process of buying a home from the start of your search until closing. Our experts work hard to ensure you are satisfied with the process of looking for your family's next home. Call us if you are ready to find that perfect property to suit your needs. 

October
8

When working with a smaller sized house, it's smart to be conscious of your space and make use of every square inch. It is possible to be clever and have both a desk and bed co-exist comfortably in an office that is shared as a guest room. If you find yourself not wanting to fully devote your spare bedroom into a single use space, learn how to make this room as functional as possible. 

Use a Sleeper Sofa

A modern sleeper sofa is perfect to incorporate into an office space, giving a cozy couch appearance by day and functional bed by night. When it's not in use as a bed, the couch makes for a great spot to catch up on reading or taking a break from office work. 

An Office with a Daybed 

If you find yourself with limited space for a sleeper sofa, try a daybed for a less bulky option. A daybed is ideal for creating a casual spot for relaxation due to their low profile design, while still providing guests a space to sleep. 

A Guest Bedroom with a Work Area

Perhaps you find yourself not using the office space as frequently as anticipated. If this is the case, consider using the space mostly as a spare bedroom with a smaller work area. A twin or full sized bed is perfect sizing for a guest room that has limited space. 

Choice Properties offers you a chance to find the home of your dreams. We work with your budget and ideas in mind to support your ultimate vision. Call us if you are ready to check out the available inventory or to speak with a reputable agent who can assist you with your home buying needs.

May
29

5 Tips for Beginning Gardeners

With the warm weather comes perfect timing to tackle outdoor projects. If you have recently moved into a new house, gardening is the perfect way to ground yourself and make the space feel like home. The beauty of gardening is that there is always something new to learn. It takes trial and error, but with the right guidance you can have a green thumb in no time. These 5 tips for beginning gardeners are perfect to start this new adventure with!

Don't Go Overboard

When beginning to garden, it's important to start small and not take on more than you can handle. Gardening is a hobby that takes a certain amount of devoted time. If you run a busy schedule, don't feel down about starting with a small garden! It is suggested to start with containers or a raised bed to manage your seeds. Over time, you can slowly expand your garden and add more plants as you please.  

Purchase High Quality Gardening Tools

Most plants are sensitive and require a level of care, from both you and your gardening tools. Purchasing a hose that won't kink will save you time and worries, but be sure to pair it with a gentle watering faucet. Consider investing in stainless stool tools as they can handle weather elements not rust.

Incorporate Mulch in the Garden

Spreading mulch is one of the best things you can do for your garden. Mulch helps limit time spent watering since it is able to hold moisture. Adding 2-4 inches of mulch on your garden beds will help plants thrive.

Add Compost

Not only is composting a sustainable way of life, but it adds great value to gardens. The secret to a healthy garden is the quality of soil, and compost is a great way to boost the nutrients. Start composting with grass clippings or fallen leaves, while incorporating kitchen waste. This includes:

  • Egg shells
  • Fruit and veggies scraps
  • Coffee grounds
  • Houseplant trimmings
  • Tea leaves/bags





Choice Properties offers you a chance to find the home of your dreams. We work with your budget and ideas in mind to support your ultimate vision. Call us if you are ready to check out the available inventory or to speak with a reputable agent who can assist you with your home buying needs.

April
24

How to Determine the Value of Your Home

Are you wondering what your house, or the house you might buy, is really worth? The short answer is however much someone is willing to pay for it. The long answer depends on the market and whether you have reached out to a lender. Although it is wise to hear from a professional, it's also smart to do your own research. Knowing how to calculate your home's value with the help of online tools while gaining insight from a professional will better prepare you to buy, sell, refinance, or tap into your home's equity. Learn how to determine the value of your home:

Use Online Valuation Tools

A simple google search of "how much is my house worth" will bring up a list of home value estimators. These tools will use public records of property transfers, deeds of ownership, and tax assessments to predict your home's value based on recent sales and listings in the area. Take advantage of these online tools will help you gain insight on the current real estate market in your neighborhood and allows you to compare the prices of home against each other.

Get a Comparative Market Analysis

If you are ready to dive deeper into your home market value, consider asking a local real estate agent for a comparative real estate analysis. Although this is not as detailed as a professional appraisal, a CMA provides an agent's evaluation of a home to provide an estimate value. This is typically done for listing purposes, but can also be a useful tool. The agents at Choice Properties are eager to assist you with any needs, helping you get on the right track to selling your buying your home!

Hire a Professional Appraiser

Lenders will require an appraiser before they will approve a mortgage, but as a property owner you are able to hire an appraiser any time to receive a home estimate. Other key points an appraiser will evaluate include:

  • Market: including the region, city, and neighborhood in which the home is located
  • Property: Characteristics of the house, including improvements and the land
  • Comparable properties: This includes sales, listings, cost, and vacancies within the area

 

 

Choice Properties offers you a chance to find the home of your dreams. We work with your budget and ideas in mind to support your ultimate vision. Call us if you are ready to check out the available inventory or to speak with a reputable agent who can assist you with your home buying needs.

January
30

A Beginner's Guide to Homeowners Insurance

Home insurance may not be the most interesting topic to discuss when buying a home, but it is essentials for new homeowners to understand the details that influence homeowners insurance. Virtually all mortgage lenders require insurance coverage, and for good reason! When shopping for insurance companies, understanding your policy options is key. Take time to view this beginner's guide to homeowners insurance to help understand what a basic homeowners policy provides.

Damage to the Interior or Exterior of Your House

There are a number of tragic events that could damage the interior or exterior of your home. A few to consider are:

  • House Fires
  • Hurricanes
  • Lightening
  • Vandalism
  • Other Natural Disasters

In the event of damage due to covered costs, your insurer will compensate you for repairing or rebuilding if necessary. However, damage caused by floods, earthquakes, or poor home maintenance are not covered and you may need to find an outside provider.

Loss or Damage to Personal Belongings

Clothing, furniture, appliances, and other valued items are often covered if they are destroyed in the insured disaster. However, there may be a limit amount depending on the company you choose to insure through. According to the Insurance Information Institute, most insurance companies will provide coverage for 50-70% of the amount of insurance you have structured in the home.  

How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost?

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of homeowners insurance was $791, however this rate can easily fluctuate based on insurance companies and specific policies. The price is first determined by how much coverage you purchase which is a decision you must make after determining the value of your home and taking inventory. Other factors that can influence the cost are your zip code, the size of the house, proximity to fire hydrants, the condition of plumbing, and electrical systems.




Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

January
16

Tips on Maximizing Space in Your New Home

Regardless of how big your new home is, we all crave the need of maximizing space to make our homes feel spacious and welcoming. If you have been wondering how to make your bathroom more organized or tips on making use of your spare bedroom, stay tuned! The experts at Choice Properties are sharing our tips on maximizing space in your new home, allowing you to truly enjoy your recent purchase.

Open Up Your Entryway

The entryway is the first area of your home that guests welcomes guests. This space should be functional, allowing space for maneuvering quickly and easily. Take full advantage of the space by adding a bench or sitting area for guests to remove shoes. A coat rack also makes it easy for kids to grab backpacks when rushing to the school bus! Mounted wall hooks are easy to install and don't take up much space.

Organize Your Kitchen

The kitchen is the busiest room in any home. This means the space should be enjoyable, comfortable to cook in, and functional to entertain guests. Maximizing space by adding vertical storage shelving in your pantry is a great way to hide food and making use of other cabinets. Using drawers for kitchen utensils and cabinets for plates gives items a designated spot.

Tidy Up Living Rooms

Have you noticed how your living room may become cluttered without even trying? This is a high traffic area and can easily become tight. Whether it's family movie night or Saturday football, consider rearranging the space for better enjoyment! Multifunctional furniture, such as ottomans, are perfect for tucking away video game accessories. If you're looking for a coffee table, consider one that offer drawers and open shelving to store TV remotes.

Don't Hide Junk in the Garage

Although the garage is the perfect place to store items, be sure to do so properly rather than hiding boxes of junk. If your garage became piled with miscellaneous items during the move, it's time to go through and purge the unnecessary. Take this time to donate unused furniture that is in storage or discard broken appliances you never got around to fixing. Installing an overhead ceiling rack for luggage, recreation equipment, and seasonal decorations allows you to park your cars where they deserve!

Make the Most of Your Bedroom   

Every bedroom in your home should be a place of comfort, giving you a space to escape from the daily stresses of the world. It can be easy for nightstands to become cluttered or drawers to be overflowing. Maximize the space by ensuring drawers are cleaned of outdated or unused items. Adding storage to your closets is a great way to organize jeans, work pants, and shoes without taking up space.





Choice Properties provides the best in service when it comes to finding your dream home. Our excellent team of realtors will support you in finding the right home at the right place, right now.

Give us a call today!

October
30

Renovations That Will Increase Your Home's Value

If you have considered renovating your home with the intention to sell in the near future, or just for your family, there are a few things you may want to consider. If you are looking for a renovation that will increase your home's value, there are two ways to go about the process. Getting one or two major renovations completed, such as finishing a basement or adding an extra living space to the existing home is one tactic. Opting to tackle a handful of small projects and fixes is the second option. Whichever you decide to do, here are some remodeling projects than can add more value to your home.

Kitchen Upgrades

These days, potential buyers typically seek a spacious, updated kitchen. Simple upgrades like replacing old appliances and adding new countertops or cabinets can easily add up in cost. Consider these bigger renovations that are worth the investment:

  • Adding an island
  • Adding a breakfast nook
  • Adding new ceramic flooring
  • Adding accent lighting

Removing Walls

Open floor plans are the first to catch the eye of many. Knocking down unnecessary walls is a great way to open up any space with little hassle. Be sure to use a professional contractor for a safe and completed job!

Room Additions

Contrary to popular belief, adding a new room to your existing home is not as expensive as one may assume and is a great way to increase your home's value. Think about converting your attic to a study area or adding another room addition to your house. This will increase your square footage while pushing up your asking price.   

Outdoor Living Space

People crave an outdoor space for relaxation during the warmer months. This could mean building a back deck or slate patio. Make your outdoor space a mini oasis by adding path lights, plants, shrubs, and trees.




Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

 

July
5

Have You Been Wondering if you Qualify for Refinancing?

If you identify as a homeowner or make monthly payments on your car then you may be aware of the option to refinance your loan. Refinancing your house or car loan simply means to finance your investment again on different loan terms, usually with a lower interest rate. This is a good idea for most homeowners when rates significantly lower than what they currently are. Depending on the loan term, choosing to refinance can save individuals hundreds of dollars per month. However, this loan option is not an to everyone. Have you been wondering if you quality for refinancing? Consider asking yourself these questions to see if you meet the criteria.

Do you have 20% stake in equity?

Lenders seek a high percentage invested into your equity, usually around 20%. To estimate your equity, divide the amount you are wanting to borrow by the value of your home. Take your amount and subtract 100 to find your equity percentage. If your percentage is around or over 20%, this increases your chances of refinancing.

Do you have a good credit score?

Aside from holding 20% equity stake, good credit score is another key factor lenders seek before the approval of the loan. The minimum most lenders require is a score of 600-650, while some lenders seek credit scores of 720 or above. If your credit score is low, focus on changes you can make to gradually increase the number. Your credit score comes from five different factors:

  • Payment history
  • Utilization
  • Length of credit history
  • New credit lines
  • Type of credit you obtain

How much debt do you have?

Lenders study your monthly payments including mortgage, credit cards, and car loans that are relative to your income. Ensuring your payment history is correct with no missed payments will increase your approval of a refinance loan. Lenders seek ratios no higher than 38% when analyzing your debt-to-income.

If you are looking to reduce your monthly mortgage payment, refinancing your home is a great option! Upon going through the process you will be saving cash each month, allowing you to invest in other expenses.





Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

June
4

5 Ways Homeowners can Avoid Foreclosure and Rebound

Owning a home comes with the responsibility of not only maintenance, but a financial obligation to pay a mortgage. As life happens, individuals may be presented with challenges and financial stress that can result in missing a payment. If several payments have been missed without contact with the homeowner's leasing company, a foreclosure might be presented by the lender. Although this is one possible outcome of falling behind on mortgage payments, there are several ways to avoid the foreclosure process even if a homeowner cannot afford the debt. The expert realtors at Choice Properties have listed 5 ways homeowners can avoid foreclosure, and rebound out of the rut.

Foreclosure Workout

During the time between the foreclosure announcement and the house auction, lenders are encouraging a compromise rather than proceeding with the auction. Lenders want to see homeowners stay on the right track, and are willing to negotiate a mortgage payment suitable for the current lifestyle.

Short Sale

Following the Notice of Default filed by the lender, but before the auction, there is a time where new potential buyers could make an offer on the house. If an offer is made on the house, lenders have the ability to consider accepting or declining the offer. If the homeowner presents a reasonable short sale offer, the lender may see this as saving them the time and effort of finding a qualified buyer in a soft market.

Bankruptcy

The only option to immediately stop foreclosure is to file for bankruptcy. Once bankruptcy has been filed, federal law prohibits any debt collectors from continuing collection activities, including foreclosure. This means the homeowner will face the creditors in court, buying the homeowner more time to recover financially. This law requires mortgage companies to work in-hand with homeowners, compromising to find the right solution.

Deed in Lieu

In this step of the foreclosure process, homeowners voluntarily sign the deed of the home over to the bank. Although this option sounds easy, it can significantly impact a homeowner's credit score. Lender's can be reluctant to sign over the home, as they fear homeowners are manipulating the system and being dishonest about their financial stress. This makes it difficult for lenders to agree to a deed in lieu.

Assumption/Lease-Option

Most loans in today's world are no longer assumable, meaning the average mortgage contains a clause where the borrower agrees to pay off the loan entirely. If a homeowner is facing foreclosure, they may have the advantage of persuading their lender to modify the loan. This allows another buyer to assume the loan, making it a win-win for all parties.

Consider taking action to avoid home foreclosure, rather than ignoring the situation. There are multiple ways homeowners can steer clear of a completed foreclosure, all of which are easy to navigate.





Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

April
25

 

Spring Cleaning Tips for Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Spring is here, which means it is time to dust off those feather dusters and get the buckets out for some deep cleaning. Most people are not sure how to give their hardwood floors the cleaning it deserves, especially if there are children and pets in the home. Try some of the following to help you get started on that spring cleaning.

Cleaning Up

Ceramic-tile floors can be cleaned easily with warm water, but it is never as easy to clean hardwood. The truth is some cleaning products can harm those beautiful hardwood floors, and take the shine right out of them. To get the most out of your spring cleaning extravaganza, it helps to try the following:

Choose the best products

Knowing what to use on those floors is very important. It will help keep the shine and finish looking like new while keeping it clean. Floors that have been surface sealed compared with unfinished floors differ in how to keep them clean. Most newly-installed floors are surface sealed to provide easy maintenance. All you need to do is sweep, then damp-mop for easy cleaning solution. For non surface-sealed floors, they may be sensitive to water penetration. Sweeping and vacuuming are helpful, but also stripping the old wax then putting a fresh coat should buff it up nicely.

Don't do this…

If your budget is stretched, look for basic soap and water for surface-sealed floors. For engineered hardwood, the best option is a floor cleaner recommended by suppliers of the floor. For non-surface sealed floors, you can find wax strippers and liquid or paste waxes from manufacturers for price comparison. Never ever use vinegar cleaners with ammonia, bleaches, oil-based soaps, or anything that claims to be a one-step wood cleaning product. They may scratch the floor and leave it with residue.

The enemy is water…

Whether the floor is surface-sealed or not, water is not a friend to hardwood. If a floor is not sealed with urethane, polyurethane or poly-acrylic sealant, don't mop it. Use a felt or cloth mop, wring it out and use it just barely damp.

The overall dirt can be cut down in the home using doormats and rugs in high-traffic areas. Rubber backed mats can easily trap water underneath so be careful about using them on the floor. Sometimes it helps to hire a professional if you're not quite sure how to get the job done right.

 

 

Choice Properties provides the best in service with high demand properties. We provide a place where you can look at the home of your dreams and guide us in helping you purchase it with ease. Our goal is to ensure your satisfaction. Call us if you are ready to find your dream property.

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