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March
11

Buying a home can be a challenging process for young people. Millennials are buying homes at a higher rate than ever, but there are some caveats. A home inspection, while routine, should be taken seriously. From ground to roof, the entire house will be evaluated for fitness to purchase. This means the inspector walks through, documents the state of things, and points out any issues. Know what to look for in an inspection and how to know if this is a make-or-break issue during the process. 

 

Water Issues

Managing water starts with the exterior of a home and goes inside. One of the biggest contributors to a failed inspection is water leaking, damage, or other issues with water management. Foundations may be compromised, causing issues down the road. If water is managed well, this can help the cause. If the house is poorly managed, then water may continue to erode the foundation, seep into the home, or cause other damage. Inside the home, well and septic systems should be inspected along with filters and water heaters to make sure they've been maintained on schedule without issue.

 

Look Above and Below

Although the foundation is very important to a home, so is the attic. If the attic is not properly ventilated, the roof will not last to its full expectancy. Insulation in the attic is important, along with knowing how well it stays cool in summer and warm in winter. Airflow management is essential, but so it's keeping it well maintained.

 

Maintenance Challenges

Young buyers may be more eager to get into a dream home and start to work on creating that perfect property. To keep it in the best condition possible, there is a significant investment of time (and money) required. Homes built in the 1970s and earlier, in particular, were not maintained as well as necessary. Some have been given a few upgrades here and there, but not kept up well enough to escape constant upkeep. To keep dirt and debris buildup near doors and other areas, it means work. Upkeep and maintenance avoid big issues like the replacement of parts and systems down the road. 

 

A home inspection is done to keep the potential buyer aware of any issues that may come up. It does not guarantee there are no other issues or this will fix everything. The key is to stay on top of what needs immediate attention and be willing to go the extra mile to keep things updated as needed. Put away an emergency fund and look into a home warranty as ways to save some money for when things need repairs or replacement down the road. Most of all, enjoy the process of finding the right home. 



Families often look for that perfect home without realizing all homes have their issues. Choice Properties helps many families and individuals look for that perfect property. We make sure from the start until inspection and beyond you are happy with your home search and purchase. Call us to find out how we can partner with you to find the perfect home to suit your needs.

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. 

December
28

Selling a home can be a tumultuous process. While some offers may seem great upfront, it does not signify the process is almost over by any means. Between offer and closing, there is the actual sale that requires lots of time and persistence to make it through. It is often a rapid-fire time of answering and responding to emails, questions, and inquiries about credit histories and property values, and other things that can derail a home sale at any point before closing. Find out some of the top reasons why pending sales fall through and how to navigate this with an experienced realtor.

Pending Sales

Terminology is key when talking about property sales. A sale is considered to be pending when a seller accepts a buyer's offer until the sale is closed. Some agents also call this 'being under contract' or 'contract pending.' There may be contingencies that come up in the process, meaning either buyer or seller has requests that must be fulfilled as part of the contract. This prevents them from getting into the deal and being stuck if major repairs are needed. 

Mortgage Application

A common reason for pending sales to fall through is the buyer cannot qualify for financing. Most buyers finance a home because they don't have enough equity to purchase one outright. A letter is often submitted that they are pre-approved or pre-qualified for a loan. This is not a guarantee, but an estimate of how much the bank believes the buyer can afford. This means checking credit history, getting verified documents of income, and making sure they have enough money to continue making payments after the purchase goes through. 

Home Inspection

The home inspection is often where good sales deals go wrong. A professional home inspection can reveal concerns or problems a buyer is not aware of, maybe even the seller, until the report comes back. Some common issues they look for:

  • Mold
  • Foundational issues
  • Roof damage or lack of upkeep
  • Interior hardware like furnaces and water heaters including the age of these appliances

Buyer's Sale

When buyers look for a new home, they are usually trying to sell their primary residence. Doing this at the same time is tricky. If they find a home they love, they might write up an offer and include a home sale contingency. They will have sometimes up to 60 days to sell their home and keep the current offer on the table. Market conditions are important to this process to see if there may be other, better offers, or if the person is definitely a good candidate to sell their home, also, and move forward with the process.

Prevention Tips

When you know what to look for, you can often take preventative steps to keep the process going smoothly. Explore some proactive measures that might be helpful:

  • Keep contingencies in mind: some sellers require a pre-approval letter and proof of funds prior to moving forward. A strong letter and good down payment are signs the buyer can get a mortgage without major issues
  • Pre-inspection: this step will alert you to problems that might hinder the sale of your property and give you time to fix them before trying it out in the market. The older the home, more repairs there will so be/ aware this can actually save money in the long run
  • Appraiser: give them a fact sheet with things like square footage and comps in the neighborhood. The appraisal may be subjective but let them know you are aware of what local averages and ranges are so you feel you get the best appraisal for your property
  • Keep a list of repairs: if you made repairs and upgrades, you are on your way. If you have a good school district, this is often a selling point for families. Consider this a selling point and look at all the things that have been dong as potential upgrades to a buyer

Real estate transactions come with real risk and uncertainty. To have more certainty in the process, it helps to have some ducks in a row ahead of time to make the process go more smoothly on the back end and sell your home or buy the potential home of your dreams. 

 

Trying to make the process easier is the job of a real estate agent, but there are some things sellers and buyers can do ahead of time to make it go more smoothly. If you are ready to jump into the transaction part of the journey, we will help you navigate the process of selling or buying a property. Choice Properties has experienced agents ready to answer questions and help you get started on the process. Call us to get started. 

December
10

 

Moving to a new home is nerve-wracking for many homebuyers, regardless of whether it is their first time or one of many homes they have purchased. Location is key for many buyers, with good reason. A decent location with access to quality schools, easy transportation to work, and local, family-friendly activities gets people excited about the possibilities of being in a neighborhood that functions well and will be a home for years to come. A home that is near a busy highway or roads can be a worthwhile investment, so long as the family knows all the pitfalls of being too close to traffic. Learn more about roads and highways and just how much they impact home value.

 

Mapping the Roads

Traffic volume, location of major roads, and proximity to homes are all key elements of understanding the way roads and highways affect home value. If a road is marked as a 'motorway,' this usually indicates high traffic. Anything marked 'residential road' usually has low traffic volume. It is important to talk with the realtor and find out more about the neighborhood if there are concerns about traffic or noise pollution. Even suburban areas with residential neighborhoods can have higher levels of traffic, depending on pending developments or other issues at hand. 

 

Adjusting Values for Roads

It helps when looking at home values to understand why we need to adjust them based on roads. It is difficult to know which road is responsible for a home selling for more or less than its value. By reviewing maps and local home values, it can inform some of the reasons why this happens. In most cases, a home may be affected by a busy road only by distance to the nearest busy road. The distance and cutoff approach does not work well where there are fewer homes. If a home is near a big highway but another one is between that home and the highway, it is still reasonable to consider a busy road adjustment for the first home. Homes not so near that highway will not have the same adjustment, even if they are still nearby. A group of homes or subdivisions located near a highway might have higher home values if it is a commuter situation where people in that area are likely to live there because they can compute costs associated with people desiring a location near arteries that take them into a major city. People likely will pay more to live in those areas than rural ones further from desirable ones. 

 

Road Geometry

Home values are calculated by looking at road geometry. This means reviewing home coordinates and putting them into a set of points for a given market. This generates a diagram from the set of all points. This Voronoi diagram looks at all home points to compute where the region touches a road point. If a home region touches a road region, that home is adjacent to that road. The region of space is closer to that road than anything else. Data may seem unimportant but it is the bigger picture of how home values are determined. New roads are built all the time so it is important to keep it updated for buyers and sellers, as well as real estate agents. Looking at this data gives people an idea where the best places are to build with the best opportunity to sell their units and make a profit. When people have information, they are more empowered to move forward with their purchases and sales, informing the process all the way through. 



Finding that top-notch property is tough work. There is a lot to consider. When you make the decision to work with Choice Properties, we have done all the leg work. All you have to do is find the house of your dreams and we are ready to help you make it a reality. We specialize in meeting your home buying and selling needs all the way to close. Call us to find out how we can help you today.   

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.

April
17

Buying a Home for Retirement

Buying a home after you have retired may feel like an overwhelming challenge. You may be asking: Should I stay in my current home? Should I downsize to a smaller house? Will moving into a new home fulfill my needs? Buying a home for retirement is a financial commitment, but comes with a return of investment and a list of benefits! Whether you are looking to downsize or simply desire a fresh start in a new home, here are some considerations to ask yourself along the way.

Location

The first step to buying a retirement home is choosing the area you wish to live. Real estate is all about location, meaning it is especially important to choose the correct spot to retire. Depending on the situation some of the factors that may influence your decision include proximity to friends and family, the yearly climate, and neighborhood preferences. Perhaps a community with sidewalks for evening strolls, or nearby parks for afternoon picnics will suit your needs.

Budget

Purchasing a home upon retirement depends on your budget, and how much you are willing to spend. Of course, choosing to apply for a mortgage is always an option although most include home buying into their retirement plan. If you are planning to purchase or build a retirement home, knowing how much you can realistically afford to spend will help set expectations.

Maintenance

It's well-known that the cost of owning a home is more than just the mortgage, taxes, and insurance. Factoring in the expense of maintenance and upkeep is also an important consideration when browsing for a retirement home, as most desire low-maintenance living. Whether you are seeking a home with ample yard space for a seasonal garden, or a neighborhood with homeowners association that tends snow removal and lawn care, the award winning agents at Choice Properties will help you meet your goals.



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
3

Tips on Boosting Curb Appeal This Spring

Whether you just purchased your new home or you are interested in listing to sell, curb appeal can greatly influence the exterior of a home. Curb appeal refers to the level of attractiveness one may have on a property when viewing it from the outside. There are many ways to add pops of color and a fresh look to the exterior without having to keep up with maintenance. Consider these tips on boosting curb appeal this spring, greatly enhancing the aesthetic of the home.

Power Wash the Exterior

Winter is sure to leave a layer of dirt and debris on outside windows and siding. A bucket of hot, soapy water and a long soft-bristled brush will easily remove dirt from wood, vinyl, metal, stucco, and brick. Perhaps consider renting a power washer to scrub harsh dirt from your driveway, revealing the true cleanliness. Take this time to wash outside windows as well, while clearing gutters of fallen leaves and sticks.

Freshen Up the Paint

Although you may not want to completely repaint the outside of your house, there are still small steps you can take to give the fresh, new look. Giving the front door a new coat of paint will do wonders for your front porch. Go bold this spring with a deep violet or bright yellow paint color!

Tackle the Lawn

A well-manicured lawn includes fresh mulch, pruned shrubs, and cut grass. Replacing overgrown bushes with leafy greens and colorful annuals is great to add a pop of color to curb appeal. Surround any trees with dark or reddish-brown mulch for an easy, yet classy look. Pulling weeds and planting seasonal flowers in your garden beds makes your home feel welcoming and well-groomed.

Keep Up With Maintenance

There are certainly steps you can take each spring to make your home feel new, but keeping up with yearly outdoor maintenance is key to maintaining curb appeal. Tending to hanging gutters or peeling paint as it is occuring will save you time, trouble, and money.




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.

November
8

5 Home Selling Hacks for Fast Results

Selling your home may feel like a stressful time, but it doesn't have to be! The award-winning agents at Choice Properties are ready to help you sell and prepare for the next adventure in life. However, there are a few tips and tricks that will help boost the perceived value of a home to a prospective buyer. Consider trying these 5 home selling hacks when staging a home for fast results, and leave your agent to handle the hard work.

 

Express Statement Pieces

 

Potential buyers viewing your home should be welcomed to a clean, open space. Avoid clutter by packing up small nick-nacks around the house and only leave statement pieces behind, such as a couch and dining room table. This gives the buyer a chance to envision the space with their own personal items, making them more inclined to be interested.

Maximize Space With A Mirror

Perhaps the easiest trick to making a room look bigger is to hang a mirror. Place the mirror on the opposite wall you want it to reflect. For example, hanging a mirror on the opposite wall of a window will bring more greenery and natural light into the space. This hack is perfect for smaller rooms you wish to feel bigger.

Lighting Matters

Introducing proper lighting to a room can turn any space into a dreamy vision. Poor lighting instantly displeases buyers and is not worth the risk! Taking time to research the best lighting for poorly lit bathrooms and bedrooms is a simple way to bring a warm-feel to the room.

Make the Space Cozy

Be sure those viewing your home feel comfortable by leaving the thermostat on an appropriate setting for the temperature. The environment of the home is crucial, as most families enjoy a sense of feeling cozy in their space. The key is to bring a sense of coziness without being overbearing. Consider baking fresh cookies for guests to enjoy during open house, leaving buyers to feel welcomed and content.






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
23

 

What's the Difference Between a Fixed Rate and an Adjustable Mortgage Rate?

Taking on a new journey of buying a home is an exciting time, but also comes with creating a budget and researching loan options. You may be asking yourself, what's the difference between a fixed rate and an adjustable mortgage rate? While the marketplace offers a wide variety of loans within these two categories, the first step when researching mortgage options is determining which of the two main loan types fit your needs.

Fixed Mortgage Rate

A fixed rate mortgage is a well-known loan option, especially for those looking to buy their first home. During this loan option, the interest rate is set for a certain amount of time, ranging from 10, 15, or 30 years. During that time, the interest rate does not change giving homeowners a state of certainty.

Adjustable Mortgage Rate

The second loan option is an adjustable mortgage rate. Unlike a fixed rate, this option means your interest rate can change periodically meaning monthly payments could go up or down. Adjustable rates typically start with a low interest, but will rise as time goes on, also rising your house payments.

One of the most difficult decisions most homebuyers will deal with is choosing between a fixed loan or adjustable loan. At Choice Properties, we understand each buyer situation is different, motivating us to ensure your home needs and desires are met.





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
20

What You Can Do if you Get Bad Home Inspection Results

Home inspections come with a nervous feeling of "what if," with the results potentially scaring away an interested buyer. Although home inspections are required, they should not be a step in the process you stress over. Remind yourself to stay relaxed and calm during the inspection, knowing you are equipped to tackle any results. At Choice Properties, we know the anxious feeling associated with the process, so we created a list of what you can do if you get bad home inspection results.

Be Prepared

Although you should not always expect the worse, being prepared for shocking news allows you to mentally process in a healthy way. Going into the inspection knowing you have physically and mentally prepared will let you welcome the results in a breeze. It can be hard to stay patient during this process as you are one step closer to selling to a potential buyer, but repairing any damages or concerns without rushing will ensure a promising reward.

Repair As Needed

When receiving a bad report, your mind is probably running circles wondering where to start. Take each project with a grain of salt, and remember to discuss with your trusted realtor and interested home buyer to develop a plan of action. If you agree to help the buyer with repairs, it is common to have them waive liability for later problems in exchange.

Even if you are surprised by the inspection findings, it's best to keep quiet until the buyer has presented you with a request of repairs or price reduction. The potential home buyers may not interpret the report as negativity as you do, saving you the stress and effort. If the buyer is interested in resolving the issues, schedule a chat with your realtor to review and discuss standard negotiating.

Selling your home the easiest way possible comes with learning to accept what you cannot control. Don't get ahead of any repairs before speaking to your realtor and determining a logical solution.




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.

March
28

Tips for Opening Those Indian Lake Ohio Rentals After The Long Winter

Tips For Opening Those Indian Lake Ohio Rentals After The Long Winter

Opening your rental property after a long winter is the most exciting part of the year. It can also be the most stressful part. To get the season off to a great start, follow our planning tips for your opening weekend in your Indian Lake Ohio Rentals.

Opening Checklist

It's important that you start by making a detailed checklist of all the things you need to do when you get to your lakefront rental, including everything you need to take care of before you leave home. It may take a bit of time and effort, but it pays to be organized.

  • Call the electricity company, phone company and trash collection to turn your services back on.
  • Check that all insurance documents are up to date on the home, boat, trailer, etc.
  • Organize your keys, tools, cleaning supplies, clothing, batteries, and food.

Systems And Safety

Once you get to your Indian Lake Ohio rental, you'll need to make sure that the home is safe to inhabit again, before turning on the water and other systems. A checklist for the outside of the property should include checking the following:

  • Power lines
  • Phone Lines
  • Trees
  • Roof
  • Chimney Stack
  • Deck
  • Dock
  • Siding
  • Windows
  • Screens

After you have made sure the outside is all clear, there's a different checklist for indoors, including:

  • Checking the furnace filters.
  • Checking pipes for rust or damage before you turn on your plumbing and water heater.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of critters. Check screens and windows for holes and gaps and electrical cords for fraying or bite marks.
  • Inspect your deck and eaves for signs of rotting.
  • Test the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Food And Necessities

Finally, check the basic necessities. You'll want to make sure the house is stocked with food and other everyday things you'll need, like sunscreen and bug spray. Look through the bathrooms and take inventory of your toiletries and what needs replacing and replenishing. Change the sheets if needed, and air out the place.

All this seems like a lot of work, and it is. However, it is worth it when you've gone through your checklists and there is no element of surprise later. And keep in mind, that closing your Indian Lake Ohio rentals is equally important. The spring opening experience can be a pleasant one when you take the time to close the house properly in the fall, and follow your checklists the next year. Prevention and good planning are the key to opening your rental home quickly and enjoying it for the summer.


Choice Properties is always here to answer any questions, regarding searching for your dream lake house or selling your current house. Give us a call!

March
7

Calculating the True Value of Waterfront Property in Ohio

Calculating the True Value of Waterfront Property in Ohio

Proximity to water is one of the largest influences on the value of a piece of property. Whether the property is located near a lake, river or ocean, buyers are willing to pay a lot more for it. A lot of people believe the value lies in the view, there's actually much more to justify the higher price.  

Desirability

Waterfront property tends to cost more because buyers place a value on this type of property. Look at it this way. If you'd pay $200,000 for a house with views of other houses and the street, what would you pay for the exact same house with a view of a serene lake, or of rushing rapids? Chances are you'd pay more, and that desirability factor is a big part of the higher price of waterfront property.

Scarcity

We all know that 70% of the Earth's surface is water. Even though water isn't scarce, waterfront land to build upon is. The basic principles of supply and demand dictate that prices go up for any desirable item for which there is a limited supply. The classic saying that the three secrets to real estate are "Location, Location, Location" holds true here. Being on the water is typically the best location available.

Development Cost

The value of waterfront property also lies in its development cost. Generally it is more expensive to develop. Builders might need to engage in special reinforcement to prevent erosion or avulsion of the land. Lake or riverfront properties may be located away from water, sewer and electric infrastructure, requiring developers to pay high connection charges or to build well or septic systems to provide basic utilities to the parcel. All of these additional costs get taken into account when the property is being priced for sale.

Size & Design

Other factors that can impact the price and value of waterfront property is its size and design. The property could be large to allow for a buffer between the house and the water in the event of flooding or erosion, or it could be common practice to build more expensive buildings adjacent to the water. Whatever the reason, people who can afford water views most likely are going to want a fancier home, so developers will put as much additional value as they can onto the waterfront lots so they can price the property higher.

If you have a prime waterfront location, it can significantly increase the value of your home. The question is only by how much. There is limited availability because there simply isn't enough waterfront land to build on. This makes the waterfront properties that do exist extremely valuable.

Nationally, waterfront homes can be worth more than double of the value of homes overall. The real estate website Zillow says that the most expensive waterfront homes are located in Hawaii, California, and along the coast of Long Island Sound. Nationwide, the premium for waterfront homes has increased year over year.



If you are interested in starting the search for your dream lake home, contact Choice Properties today!

April
5

Going Green: 6 Tips for Planting Your Spring Garden

Spring fever has come with the arrival of some warmer days and longer hours of daylight. This is the time people start to dream about rejuvenating the outdoor garden and picturing beautiful landscapes. Mulch, weeds and other things can get in the way of the dream garden. Learn more about how to choose the right plants to boost the appeal of a home garden that everyone can enjoy.

Plant a Spring Garden in Indian Lake

Dirt Matters

A soil test is the best way to see what is going on underneath the dirt in the yard. The local agricultural extension office can provide helpful information such as what will grow and how to improve the soil quality. Some of the follow are tips to help get started:

  • Add organic matter to the soil
  • Start a compost pile or add bags of composted manure
  • If soil is drained, plants that tolerate wetness are recommended or a dry creek bed can be installed to prevent standing water

 

Tree Challenges

The trees planted in a person's yard can make a huge difference to the health of a garden. Some trees drop seeds all over and others can dwarf a person's house over time. It is important to select a shrub or tree for the garden with the following considerations in mind:

  • Size
  • Form
  • Habit
  • Avoid planting trees with weak limbs or susceptible to pests

 

Know the Garden

There is more to a garden than 'full sun' and 'partial shade.' Too much sunlight can burn foliage and compromise plant health. Too little sun can make plants weak. Selecting plants that thrive for a person's specific conditions is key to making the whole thing work properly.

  • Eight or more hours of direct sun is a perfect spot for vegetables, fruit trees and most flowers
  • Partial to full shade is most ideal for growing perennials, ferns and small trees typically found in the understory of a forest

 

Have Confidence

Look for healthy plants. Inspect foliage at the place of purchase and check the plant for firmness along with healthy roots. The best place to buy is a local garden center or online from reputable nurseries.

 

Four Seasons

Choose a variety of plants to start that offer interest at different times of the year. Summer-blooming plants like canna, coneflowers and guara keep showing until fall while others can take over as fall foliage. Winter plants like trees can add architectural beauty through the colder months.

 

Divide and Conquer

Some of the best plants are perennials or ornamental grasses that can be divided up to grow across a garden over the years. Digging up and dividing plants help keep them actively growing. A healthy amount of water helps keep the plants establish in the ground and grow healthy. This is best done every two years to support a cohesive look to a person's garden.

 

Spring gardening has endless possibilities. Be sure to try the above tips to find the best ways to help grow a sustainable, interesting garden for years to come.


December
13

 

 

 Comparing Renting vs. Owning

One of the hottest topics in housing is whether to rent or own a home. Market conditions and personal finances and other things factor into the decision to rent or own a home. Learn how calculations actually work in order to feel confident on deciding what is right for the budget and family.

 

Check Numbers

The first thing to understand is how math works for each individual looking at homes. Calculating monthly costs of home ownership, subtracting tax benefits and comparing the final figure will help gauge the difference between home rental versus home ownership in the same neighborhood.

Assume a credit score of 750, a $300,000 home purchase price with 10 percent down ($30,000) for a 30-year fixed mortgage. Current rates hover around 3.25 percent. A mortgage calculator will tally the total monthly cost as follows:

 

Mortgage payment of principal and interest  $1,175

Property taxes  $300

Private mortgage insurance (PMI)  $133

Homeowners insurance  $67

TOTAL monthly cost  $1,675

 

Calculate the tax benefit by deducting the mortgage interest and property taxes. Multiply the loan amount by $270,000 by a rate of 3.25 percent for a total of $8,775. To calculate annual property tax, multiply the $300,000 home price by a national average of 1.2 percent property tax to get $3,600. The sum of $8,775 along with $3,600 equals $12,375 in deductible costs. Based on the income needed to qualify for a $300,000 home, the tax bracket is likely around 28 percent. Multiply $12,375 by 28 percent for annual tax savings of $3.465. Divide that number by 12 months for estimated savings of $289. Subtract this number from the total housing cost of $1,675 for after-tax cost of $1,386.

Compare the estimated after-tax housing cost of $1,386 to market rent for a comparable home in the same city with similar size, quality and location.

 

Looking Ahead

The second thing to understand is that it takes time for owning to become cheaper than renting.  A cost-benefit analysis is helpful when determining which is more cost effective but also which provides the most benefit over the long term. A breakeven horizon is when buying becomes more favorable in a year when costs to buy become less than or equal to renting costs. When it comes to making an investment, it is important to note how long it will take for this to happen if questions remain as to the benefit of renting versus owning for the future.