Important Must-Know Real Estate Terms

There are a lot of real estate terms out there. The good thing is: you don’t need to know them all! There are a few important terms, however, that every homeowner or potential homeowner should understand. Here, I will break down some of the most essential real estate terms.

Appraisal and appraisal fee:
The appraisal fee is a one-time fee that’s paid for the lender’s appraisal of the property. The home needs to appraise at the price the home is being listed at, in order for the bank to finance the loan.

Fixed rate vs. adjustable rate:
When you take out a loan on a property, a fixed rate mortgage will give you a mortgage rate that is set right when you take out the loan. Fixed rate mortgages won’t change. Adjustable rates, otherwise known as ARMs, generally start out at lower interest rates, but they can rise – the rates can go up and down throughout the life of the loan.

Loan amount:
Your loan amount is the total purchase price, minus the down payment amount that you choose to put down. The loan amount can be spread out over 15, 20, or 30 years.

PMI:
PMI, otherwise known as Private Mortgage Insurance, is insurance for the lender to help cover potential losses if the borrower stops making payments on the loan. It’s usually required when your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price of the home.

Ready to get your real estate journey started? Contact me to start a conversation about what it takes to purchase or sell a home. I’ve been helping clients of all kinds for more than two decades. As a Realtor®, I can help you start the process, help answer questions on any terms that you need clarification on and can provide helpful tips along the way. I am glad to help you with the information you need to start your adventure.

Posted on November 29, 2018 at 8:17 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Home Maintenance, Home Remodeling Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Ways To Improve Equity In Your Home

Buying a home is a dream come true for many people and the longer you live in it, the more opportunity you have to build equity. Equity is the difference between what the home’s market value is versus what you owe on it and with each house payment you make, the more equity you gain. Also as your home’s value starts to increase your equity also grows. If you’re looking for additional ways to improve equity in your home, here are a couple of ideas.

#1: Large down payment.
When you’re ready to buy a home, you can get a head start right at the get-go, by making a large down payment. Putting down 20% or more of the property’s value is a great way to not only add instant equity, but it can also keep your house payment lower and it will also allow you to avoid paying private mortgage insurance each month which doesn’t insure you but rather insures the lender against a possible loss.

#2: Shorter mortgage terms.
It’s very common for homeowners to take out 30-year loans on their home, but if you can swing refinancing your home to a 15-year mortgage, you will be able to pile on the equity and help pay off the loan quicker. Your monthly payments will be higher, but the payoff can be significant when your mortgage is paid off in half of the time. If you can’t swing the refinance to a 15-year mortgage, consider paying a little more on the principal of your loan with your payment each month or make one or two extra payments a year and apply it toward the principal. This can help you pay off the loan sooner and will help bolster equity over time.

#3: Home renovations.
There are some remodeling and home improvement projects that can help increase the value of your home and boost the equity. Replacing windows and doors, adding attic insulation, and completing a kitchen or bathroom remodel can all help with increased property value and greater home equity. There are certain home projects that do not add as much value. If you’re not sure, I’m glad to provide advice on which to-dos reap the most return.

If you’re ready to explore the option of buying or selling a home, contact me. I’ve been helping clients of all kinds for more than two decades. As a Realtor®, I can help you start the process and can provide tips along the way. I am glad to help you with the information you need to start your adventure.

 

Posted on October 22, 2018 at 8:37 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Home Maintenance, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get Your Home Ready for the Change of Season

Fall in the Pacific Northwest is stunning. The leaves are already starting to change, the mornings are crisper, and the sun is starting to set earlier. Autumn is the perfect time to cross off some things on your home maintenance checklist, that may seem small but can make a big difference in the long run. Here are some important things you can do to get your home ready for the change of season.

#1: Get the gutters prepped.
Autumn in the Northwest brings a fair share of rain, so that means your gutters are going to need to kick into overtime soon. Your roof will drain thousands of gallons of water from the exterior over its lifetime, and in order to keep that process flowing, your gutters need to be cleaned out regularly. Clogged gutters not only disrupt the flow of water, but they could also lead to damage on your foundation or leakage in your basement. Before the rainy season starts and leaves start falling, be sure to get your gutters cleaned, either by doing it yourself or by hiring a professional gutter cleaning service.

#2: Get leaks sealed.
If you have leaky windows or doors, be sure to seal them with proper caulking before cold, windy days settle in. Weather stripping is an easy and cost-efficient way to reduce your heating and cooling costs, all year long because they can reduce drafts and keep warm air inside where it should be on those chilly fall days. If you have already sealed the areas around your windows and doors and you are still noticing drafts because your windows and doors are old and inefficient, it may be time to consider replacing those items in your home. New windows and doors will not only be energy efficient and reduce noise, but they will also add value and curb appeal to your home should you choose to sell it later down the road.

#3: Review safety procedures.
It’s a great idea to check safety products around your home as well as review safety procedures you have in place. Replace batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, be sure you have fire extinguishers on each level of your home, and then review your fire escape plan to ensure that you have an exit path should a fire occur in your home. Be sure that your windows aren’t blocked with furniture and have rope ladders available in rooms that are on the upper level.

Part of being a homeowner means staying on top of home maintenance to-dos. Keeping your home maintained well will keep it in great working order no matter what kind of weather happens outside during this year’s fall season. Ready to start your adventure in home buying or are you ready to sell your home this fall? I’ve been helping customers of all kinds for more than two decades. As a Realtor®, I can help you start the buying or selling process and can provide tips along the way. I love working with people around Clark County and am glad to help you with the information you need.

Posted on September 19, 2018 at 8:40 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Maintenance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Things to Know Before You Start a DIY Deck Building Project

Planning on building a new deck? There are a few must-knows before you dive in and tackle a deck building project on your home. Here are some tips that will help you plan and prepare for a successful DIY project.

Tip #1: Research what design will work best for your space.
First, you’ll need to decide exactly where your deck should be placed. Do you want it freestanding, attached to a back door, or on the second level of your home? Research what design and style will work best. A well-designed deck will help you create a list of materials based on that design. It will also ensure that the outside area of your home is put to use the best way possible without any empty or wasted space. 

Tip #2: Research the permit process.
Check out the local city building codes to see if you need a permit. Oftentimes a permit is needed if the deck is over a certain height. Be sure that you check what the total size requirements are for the city as well to make sure that it isn’t too large. When you go to sell the house and need to go through the inspection process, you don’t want to run into a problem because the permit process was not followed.  In addition, you should always check to see what your Home Owner Association (HOA) rules are. Most HOA’s require approval of any outdoor project.

Tip #3: Research your material options.
When it comes to deck materials, there are a few different options. While wood is traditionally the type of material that is most used for decks, there is also composite decking that can be used. The cost is usually more than traditional wood, but if you plan on using the deck for a long time, it can actually save you money in the long run when compared to cleaning, refinishing, and replacing wood boards. Composite decking usually comes with a warranty as well, so you are covered in the event of something going wrong.

Once you have completed your research and have all of the proper tools necessary for launching into building the deck, you’re ready to get started. It’s a big project, but one that will pay off well! Having a beautiful deck is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors and it will also add value to your home.

Posted on July 7, 2015 at 3:27 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Maintenance, Home Remodeling Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Patio Decorating

Next up in our series of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects: patio decorating. The weather is gorgeous right now and it’s the perfect time to sit outside after a long day and enjoy your patio space. Looking for some great ways to decorate your patio without spending a lot? Here are three simple ideas for creating a tranquil patio environment on a budget.

Idea #1:
Shop around for used pieces:

There are a variety of unique used pieces out there if you look hard enough. Check around estate sales, flea markets, or other sales that are known to have one of a kind furniture and décor. For example, there are often oak barrels used for wine that have been repurposed into fantastic chairs or tables. This is the perfect touch for a vineyard-style garden or patio area. Or, look for beautiful restored or handmade picnic tables – they are gorgeous additions to any outdoor space and can be surprisingly affordable.

Idea #2:
Add lighting:

Summer evenings mean spending more time outside. As the night gets dark, it’s appealing to sit outside and enjoy the warm summer air. The setting sun won’t put a damper on any of your patio activities if you add the right lights. Add ground lighting around the patio area or use some creativity and hang string light bulbs around the area.

Idea #3:
Focus on creating a gathering space:

One of the best parts about having a patio space is the ability it has to draw people together. Making your patio space a place of comfort means that people will naturally feel drawn to it and will want to hang out there. For example, wicker chairs can be found for very affordable prices at stores around town and they’re comfortable enough to invite guests to sit in for hours at a time for a fun dinner party. Add soft pillows and throw blankets (perfect for when the night air gets a bit brisk) to the chairs, then find some unique vases that you can use to put flowers in for table decoration. Add a rustic serving tray to serve desserts or drinks on and before you know it, you have a table set for a wonderful and comfortable evening of entertainment outside.

No matter how big or small your patio space is, if you try hard enough, it can live up to its lovely potential, making it a great memory making spot for years to come.

Posted on June 24, 2015 at 4:40 am
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Maintenance, Home Remodeling Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fabulous Kitchen Design Trends

Do you spend a lot of time in your kitchen? It’s likely that your kitchen is one of the rooms in your home that you spend the most time in – especially if you love baking or cooking!  The kitchen is a central gathering point in the home, whether it’s with family or special guests.  It should feel as spacious, comfortable, and cozy as possible. Making your kitchen warm and inviting is a must-have!  If you’re considering a kitchen remodel or if you’re house shopping and curious about what the kitchen trends are in new homes, we’ve outlined what some of the fantastic trends are here.

Color and style that matches: Using colors and styles that coordinate with the rest of the kitchen space, and even tie into the rest of the home is important. For example, if you like darker cabinet colors, brighten it up a bit with some lighter coordinating countertops. Or, if you’re considering a remodel and you have a lot of vintage or antique décor in the rest of your home, you shouldn’t remodel your kitchen to be super modern and contemporary. Instead, look at design styles that are more classic that flow with the rest of your home. Consider what colors or décor will help you easily blend your kitchen style into the other parts of the house.

Bright, bright, bright: One trend that will likely continue is light and bright kitchen spaces. Light cabinets with a lot of surrounding bright lighting are definitely must-haves for many home buyers today, as well as those that are looking to redesign the kitchen area. Using light colors make the space feel more spacious, and it also gives it that crisp, clean look that many people desire.   

Light paint: Light cabinetry with bright, bold colors is another trend that is common in kitchens these days. If you enjoy the look of white cabinetry, consider adding a bold or bright color to the surrounding walls like red or orange. This is a fantastic way to accept the space and make it notable.  

Open space: Open concept kitchens are very desirable for homebuyers today. When shopping for a home, consider how long you plan on living there. If you plan on living there for years to come, even into the retirement years look at homes that you can grow into and space that is easily accessible when you’re older.

These trends go for big and small kitchens alike. No matter what your style preferences, homes that offer open spaces are usually most desirable, especially for those that entertain a lot and enjoy roomy cooking and dining areas.  Kitchens are one of the most important parts of the home and are one of the biggest returns on investment if you choose to remodel, so be sure that you love the space and can envision yourself in it.

Posted on September 22, 2014 at 4:12 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Maintenance, Home Remodeling Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,