Things to consider

Sometimes you may wonder to yourself if it is better to buy a house or just build one yourself. When considering this, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The most important thing to consider, is if you can afford it! Consider the construction costs of building a house. Take into consideration the lumber cost, if the land plot needs additional surveying and ensure you have wiggle room if need be. You can never predict everything that could happen.

Do you have time to wait for the house to be built? This process is a very lengthy one. This can take around 6 to even 18 months to build, depending on how complicated your house is. If this is too long, buying an already built house may be your best bet.

Can your relationship take the stress? Sometimes there are many decisions you must make with your partner in order to finish building the house. If you two don’t agree, this process will become even more stressful and long.

Is this a longtime place you will live? If you don’t plan on staying in the house for very long, it may not be worth it. After waiting so long for a house to be built, only to move shortly after may backfire. You may become emotionally attached to the house or just so exhausted you do not want to move anywhere else.

One more thing to take into consideration, what do you need for this house and what do you want? These are two very different things, and is something you must be able to make sacrifices for. Building a house can be expensive, so make sure you build what you can afford and need.


Top 3 Home Buying Mistakes

When buying a home, there are alot of different things to remember. If you keep these three things in mind, the home buying process should be a breeze!
One important thing to remember is to not buy a house if you plan on moving again soon. This can end up busting your budget. As frustrating as renting can be, it is better to rent than to buy if you are going to be moving often. Some people assume that they can just sell a house immediately or rent it out, but it does not always work out this way. Better to rent and buy when you are ready, then to go bankrupt.

Another important thing to keep in mind is to not bust your budget. It may be tempting to buy the house of your dreams, that has everything you can imagine. However, everything that you want in a house can add up quickly. Stretching your budget an extra $10,000 or $15,000 may seem worth it for something you want, but it’s not something you want to do. Remember how much you can afford monthly, and keep in mind that jobs can change, life expenses can increase anything could happen!

Last of all, do not forget about the added costs! When buying a home, it is not just about replacing a rental payment for a mortgage payment. You need to keep in mind maintenance costs, utilities and property taxes. Most people tend to forget these extra payments and end up buying a house that they cannot possibly afford. Keep these things in mind when picking out a house, and you will be fine!

Home Equity Scams

In the world of real estate, you will find some very dishonest lenders that are willing to take advantage of your desire for cash and in the end scam you out of your equity. Here are some scans to look out for.

Equity stripping is when a lender can get you a home equity loan, even though your monthly income is not enough for the payments. These lenders encourage you to apply anyway, and should you default on payments, they get to foreclose and take your home and strip you of your equity.

Another one is loan scamming. This is when a lender encourages you to refinance your loan. When doing this, the lender charges high fees. The more you flip a loan, the more your debt increases and soon your can become in over your head and most likely loose your house.

Credit insurance packing is another scam. Once a home equity loan has been agreed on, a lender can give you papers to sign that include “charges” for credit insurance that you never asked for. The lender essentially hopes you will no notice and sign anyway. If you do notice, a lender could use scare tactics and tell you that should you not agree to these terms, the loan will have to be re-written and a delay in your application.

Deceptive loan servicing is a scam in which the loan service fails to provide you with an accurate or complete account statements and payoff figures. This makes is pretty much impossible to figure out how much you have paid off or still owe. The service may even tack on late fees or legal fees you don’t understand. This way you are confused, and have more to pay than you should.

Signing over the deed is one more scam. If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, the lender can threaten to foreclose the house. The lender can offer you a new way to finance, and in the meantime really be asking for the deed to your property. Once the lender has the deed, he can treat it as his on property.

How to get a good foreclosure deal

If you are hoping to buy a foreclosure, especially in the hopes of either saving money or making a profit, there are some things you need to take into consideration first. Tip number one, don’ make lowball offers on just listed properties! Most banks are not going to accept this offer, as they have just been on the market and want to ensure they get a good deal for their house. Normally banks consider lowering the price if the house has been on the market for 90 days with out an offer.

Another good tip to keep in mind is to not get into bidding wars! Sometimes agents will list a house for a very low price in order to grab people’s attention and then the bidding war commences between all the interested buyers. Do not fall for this! Make sure to do some research and find out how much the house is actually worth.

Research is most important, always make sure to do it!! When wanting to buy a foreclosure, you need to act fast. The house of your dreams maybe snatched up very quickly before you even have a chance to act. This is why you need to already make sure you know what you want and can afford, and once you see something you like, act on it quickly.

The best way to make an offer on a foreclosure is to buy it with cash. This may not be always possible for some people, so it is best to make a backup plan in case you really want a house. It is always possible to borrow from relatives and then secure a mortgage after the deal is closed. This way, you can ensure you get the house as transactions tend to go more quickly when a buyer pays cash.

When making an offer on a foreclosure, keep in mind what the bank wants. Banks like quick and simple deals. If you have a bigger down payment and deposit, this makes you seem like a strong candidate. This also makes you seem more committed and will have no trouble actually closing on the deal. This will make you look more attractive and a bank will choose you over other potential buyers because of this. Just keep these tips in mind, and this will help you secure a foreclosure!

Tornado Preparation

So we’ve learned how to help protect your home as best as possible from earthquakes and hurricanes, but what about tornadoes? Well fear not! If you live in the center of the US, the last two natural disasters may not effect you, but tornadoes may!

The first thing you will want to consider are how strong are your doors really? You will want to make sure the doors in your house can withstand strong winds. This way when you come back, your house will still have doors, and also a door won’t fly off and become a potential hazard to others. In such strong winds, a flying door can become very dangerous very fast. You will also want to strengthen your garage door as well. This door may very well be the weakest link in your home. Once this door has been blown off, then the house is lost as well as it is wide and open for the tornado to hit.

During a tornado, you are mostly likely hoping that when you return, the roof on your house is still there. In order to help put your mind at ease, make sure to re-enforce your roofing to make this a reality. When a tornado hits, the winds exert an inward pressure against the windward wall, outward pressure against the sidewalls and leeward wall and upward pressure against the roof. Keep this in mind when re-enforcing the roof. If the roof blows away, then your house becomes extremely vulnerable.

Just like in a hurricane, make sure to cover and protect your windows! If a window is left open, or smashed, then this just becomes essentially a hole for all the debris to come into. Make sure that the foundation of your home is also held down. This way your house literally does not fly away.

These are some simple, but essential tips when it comes to preparing your home for a tornado. If you follow these steps, then hopefully your house will still be standing, and will have faced only minimal damage.

Earthquake tips

If you are living in the United States, then chances are you may have to face a few natural disasters in your life time. This type of disaster can differ depending on where in the U.S. you live. The East coast faces many hurricanes, but what if your live on the West coast? Here are a few tips to help earthquake proof your home!

The first main thing to do is ensure your water heater is strapped, meaning it cannot fall down. If this falls then this can create water damage to your home as well as possibly mixing with electronics in your house that could cause disastrous effects. Also, make sure to install an earthquake gas shut off valve for your gas meter. This can ensure that there are no gas leaks should a pipeline rupture.

You will want to also install something called positive connectors at the joints where posts meet beams and footings in your home. Connect the wood frame of your house to the foundation. These precautions can help your house to still be standing when you come back after an earthquake, which of course is the ideal situation. If your home happens to have a post and pier, masonry block, stone or brick foundation, then it is best to consult with a contractor about options. You will want to make sure you do everything you can to help strengthen your home. A good option is install a redundant post and beam system that is adjacent to the humble foundation. This can be a back up support in case the old foundation should fail.

All this may not completely prevent damages to your home, but it will help to protect it and make the damage less catastrophic. At least this way, you can relax knowing you did all you could to prepare for an earthquake and that you will have the least amount of damage to your home possible.

Hurricane Preparation

Hurricane season has already begun, and it is very important that you are prepared and so is your home! There are a few things you should definitely do in order to best prepare for a potential hurricane.

One thing to ensure that you do is to check your insurance coverage and make sure if reflects your current home. You may want to add flood insurance if you haven’t already! Take the time to do a home inventory, this way should you have to file a claim, the whole process will be alot easier. Document your home items with a camera and keep receipts for valuable items.

You may also want to install a few items such as hurricane shutters. Also put head and foot bolts on the doors, as well as hurricane straps or clips to help hold the roof to the walls of your home. A safe room may also be a good idea as well. Landscaping is also very important. If you are not on top of this, then you may have alot more flying debris and tree branches flying around your home.

Make sure your home is supplied with an emergency supply kit. You will want to have at least a two week supply of water and non-perishable food for everyone in the family, including your pets! Most importantly, you will want to already have made an evacuation plan for your family. This way, you can keep as calm as you can during the actual event. Do not take risks during an emergency like this. Do not run back into your home to grab items during the storm, or refuse to evacuate. Just try your best to prepare your home before such an event, and hopefully your home will have little damage when you return.

For Sale by Owner

Usually buying a house entails buying it through a listing agent, but sometimes the homeowners themselves will list their house. So why would people do this? The main reason is to save money. To prepare yourself to sell your own home, there are a few things you need to do. The first thing is to make sure the outside of your house looks well taken care of and pruned!
The next thing to do is to price your home. You can do this by hiring an appraisal professional, but if you want to save this money, you can do it yourself. This can be done by seeing what other homes that have similarities to your house have been listed for.
Next, you need to ensure you take good photos of your house. Most people shop for houses online, so you will want to make sure you have very eye-catching photos listed. This means they need to be taken with a high-definition camera as well as natural lighting. Time it to where you have the best natural light coming into your house. This will make your house look more appealing to others.
A detailed listing is also a must. The listing needs to stand alone, and draw people in. You can brainstorm ideas by looking at other house listing and see what attract you. If this attracts you, it will most likely attract others.
Once the listing is up, being available is vital. Potential buyers need to see your house, and if you are the one selling it, you are the one everyone will have to go through. A potential buyer should always be able to reach you, whether this is through e-mail, phone or in person. You need to engage these potential buyers and try to convince the to come see your house. Be prepared to work with a potential arrangements for showing the home. If this buyer is coming with their own agent, you’ll most likely have to leave the house during this time.
After all this, you’re not done yet! You’ll still need to know what to do during a closing too. This can be a pretty complex process that entails lots of paperwork. You have to stay on top of this, and to also make sure the buyer is doing the same thing. Selling your home yourself is pretty hard, however it is possible if you put in the time and effort!


When moving into a neighborhood, you may be wondering about the dreaded HOA fees in the back of your head. Well fear not, because this post will tell you all you need to know about HOA fees!

The first and most important thing to do when it comes to HOAs is to research and do your homework! Home owner associations manages the common area and amenities of the neighborhood There are certain documents that have all the HOA information that you should be sure to read before making a decision of moving in. One of the documents is the covenants, conditions and restrictions. This is what all the homeowners in the neighborhood must abide by. These rules can limit you on many things such as maintenance or number of pets.

The HOA budget and financial statements are also very important as well. The budget should include operating expenses, salaries and utilities. Thus, if the budget is small, then you may have to spend extra money or have your dues increase. When you join an HOA, you gain access to their amenities, and this is sometimes what makes it worth it to some people. This is because you are able to enjoy things you would not be able to otherwise such as pools, gyms or tennis courts.

So in short, you need to ensure you do your homework so you won’t be surprised come move in day. Many feel that HOAs and the rules that come with it can be very limiting. Research what these rules are and see if this is something you can or cannot live with.

Lowering Property Tax

With the many things that one needs to remember and consider when buying a house, one things that can be pretty overwhelming is property tax. These taxes can continue even if the mortgage is paid off! Well fear not, read further and you can find out a few tips on how to lessen your property tax.

One thing you can do, which most people do not realize, is to request a copy of your property tax card from the local assessor’s office. This card will inform the homeowner about the tax history of the house. It will let you know the size of the lot, dimensions of the room, the number and types of fixtures in the home and it will include any upgrades that have been done. If there are any discrepancies, then you can tell the tax assessors and have a re-evaluation done.

Any changes structurally to your home will, in the end, increase your tax bill. So, when you are considering adding a new addition to the house, make sure to research how much this will affect your tax payments so you will be prepared. Your local tax department should be able to help you with this.

Unfortunately, tax assessors have a certain amount of subjectivity when it comes to assessing a home. But more often than not, more attractive homes receive a higher assessment. In a nutshell, your property is being compared to your neighbor’s and the urge to improve your property is strong, and this may cost you alot more in the end. Try not to make any cosmetic improvements to your house until after the assessment has been done!

Since you are able to look your own property tax card, this means you can also look at other property tax cards as well. This means you can review other homes and compare and contrast your own home. This can lead to finding mistakes that in the end can lower your own property tax!

When the assessment of your house is being done, don’t let the assessor wander around your home unattended. More often than not, the assessor will only see the new and improved features of the house, and not the things that are out of date. By walking with them, you can point of the old and new things in your home to ensure you receive the fairest evaluation possible.

This all may sound a little overwhelming and impossible. But just make sure to do your homework and due diligence to ensure you are receiving the fairest property tax you can!