Jo-Ann Henry's Blog
If you're on the fence about whether to attend an open house, there is no need to worry. Ultimately, it is always better to err on the side of caution, especially if you're on the hunt for your dream home. And if you attend an open house, you may be better equipped than ever before to determine whether a particular residence is right for you.
There are many reasons why you should attend an open house, and these include:
1. You can assess a house both inside and out.
An open house provides a stress-free opportunity to walk through a house and examine it on your own. As such, an open house is a can't-miss event, particularly for a homebuyer who is actively seeking the perfect residence.
Of course, an open house enables you to learn about a home's condition both inside and out. And if you find that you like a home after you attend an open house, you can always set up a one-on-one home showing with a seller's agent or submit an offer to purchase.
2. You can envision what life may be life if you purchase a particular home.
It's one thing to look at pictures of a home and imagine what it would be like to live there. However, homebuyers who want to do everything possible to find the right residence should attend an open house to fully capture what it may be like if they purchase a particular residence.
Remember, how a home makes you feel can have far-flung effects on your decision about whether to submit an offer. And if you attend an open house, you may quickly discover whether you can picture yourself as the owner of a residence. Or, if you find that you are uncomfortable with a home, you can instantly move on and pursue other houses.
3. You can obtain home insights that you won't necessarily find in a house listing.
A home listing often contains details about a home's age, recent house upgrades and other pertinent information. But a home listing alone rarely provides you with all of the insights you need to make an informed decision about whether to submit a homebuying proposal.
During an open house, you can ask a seller's agent lots of questions about a residence. This will enable you to obtain insights that you otherwise may struggle to discover in a home listing. And as a result, you'll be able to make the best-possible decision about how to proceed with a residence.
Clearly, there are many reasons to consider attending an open house. If you need extra help as you pursue residences and debate whether to attend open houses, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer expert guidance throughout the homebuying journey. By doing so, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to find your ideal residence in no time at all.
One of the final hurdles to buying a house is making sure your future home is structurally sound. To the untrained eye, the property you've made an offer on may appear to be "close enough to perfect."
However, your excitement over that gourmet kitchen, finished basement, and manicured lawn may be causing you to view your future home with rose-colored glasses!
Fortunately, you can (and should) hire an experienced, licensed professional to thoroughly inspect the property and point out flaws and potential problems that might need to be addressed by the seller -- either in the form of price concessions or repairs. If the seller is unwilling to be flexible in those areas, then you may have the option of withdrawing your offer. Hopefully, it won't come down to that -- especially if you love the house -- but that situation could arise and derail your plans for buying a particular property.
Many real estate purchases do involve a few bumps and detours along the way, but they frequently can be resolved by your real estate agent and/or attorney.
The starting point for identifying structural issues with a house is to have the property inspected by a reputable home inspector. Here are a few of the key areas they'll evaluate and include in their report:
- Foundation and basement: Cracks, leaks, and signs of instability can often be identified through a visual inspection of the underlying structure of a home. Some issues are relatively minor, while others can be quite costly.
- Roof and attic: Although most new roofs typically last for 20 to 30 years, time has a way of slipping by when you least expect it! Depending on weather conditions, climate, and falling tree branches, roofs of any age can be subjected to a lot of wear and tear. Since roofs play such a vital role in protecting your home and family from the many forces of nature, it's crucial that your roof be intact, in sound condition, and fully functional. An inspection of the home's attic and/or crawlspace will also reveal actual or potential problems with leaks, mold, roof damage, or infestations.
- HVAC, electrical, and plumbing: There are a lot of systems that provide homeowners with comfort, convenience, and the ability to meet day-to-day needs. Whether you're talking about major kitchen appliances, hot water heaters, or climate control systems, there are dozens of things an inspector needs to check and keep you apprised of.
- Exterior checkpoints: Property inspectors will also assess the condition of the outside of the house, as well as drainage efficiency and any visible structural damage or signs of deterioration.
When it comes to home inspections, your real estate agent can not only provide you with professional referrals, but they can also accompany you on the actual property inspection. That will help make sure important questions, issues, and recommendations don't slip through the cracks!
Money is the root of many people’s stress and anxiety and it’s also the cause of many fights. But it doesn’t have to be for you. You may own a home now, but it doesn’t mean you should stop saving or that saving has to be a difficult undertaking.
Ideally you already have a robust emergency fund—this type of account is suggested by financial experts to have even before paying down ‘good’ debt such as student loans. This account is extremely important as you never know when or if that “rainy day” will come. The suggested amount to have in an emergency fund is six to nine months’ worth of income—and to be on the higher end if you own a home and have children. For instance, if you take home $3,000 a month, you should have $18,000 to $27,000 in your emergency fund. You should also consider whether it’s best to keep these funds in a regular savings account or a money market account.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of an emergency fund,let’s discuss how to keep saving—whether you are saving just to save or saving for a vacation, new car, or that fancy grill you’ve been eyeing.
Automatic deposit from primary income: If you aren’t doing this already then you should be. Automatic deposit is the easiest way to save money. Many places of employment offer this option, and if not your financial institution will. Automatically depositing money into a savings account (separate of the rest of your income) will force you to save. And if your place of employment offers this option then that money will never enter your checking account—out of sight, out of mind. If you must use your financial institution then have the automatic transfer occur on the day you are paid so the money is almost like it was never there for spending. Of course, this will be an adjustment if you are used to living off that money, especially if you just purchased a home. However, you can start small and work your way to a larger amount such as when you receive a raise or have other forms of incoming income.
Automatic transfer from checking to savings: Many financial institutions offer the ability to automatically transfer funds between your checking account and savings account each time you use your debit card. If your bank does not offer this opportunity there are apps for your phone that can easily connect to your online bank accounts and do the work for you. It’s a great way to save a small amount of money each time you swipe your card. And depending on how often you use your debit card, those savings could add up quickly. For example, you spend $25.33 at the grocery store and use your debit card to pay. Your bank (or app) will round that number up to $26.00 and transfer .67 into your account of choice. It’s too easy not to participate!
There are many other ways to be a better saver, but it’s best to start simple and small. Overwhelming yourself with how much you need/want to save and with many ways of saving, might cause the opposite to happen. Remember, you have a house to pay for and all the other expenses that come with it. Be conscious of your financial situation and be diligent with your savings strategy and you’ll be on the road to being a savings master.
Have you ever wondered how rooms in magazines always seem to be pulled together in a way you just can’t seem to replicate? Spoiler alert: the secret sauce is the addition of greenery and fresh cut flowers. But don’t worry you don’t have to run out and buy bouquets of flowers each week to gain the same effect for your home. You can turn your new home into a green paradise all year long with these five easy to care for plants.
Aloe - A plant that’s easy to care for no matter how green your thumb, the aloe is a hearty plant that can survive a little neglect here and there. Note, though, that the aloe does do best in dry areas and while it can go without frequent watering you want to ensure it is in a pot that drains well to avoid root rot. A large aloe plant can add balance to a minimalist room while a row of smaller plants adds whimsical charm to a child’s room.
English ivy - Here’s a plant for the homeowner who wants a plant to add some decorative interest. As a sprawling plant, the English ivy will look beautiful draped along shelves or windows. The ivy is another easy to grow plant that doesn’t require frequent watering and will thrive with lots of light.
Rubber tree - Looking for something to fill a bare corner? Pick up a rubber tree to add life to the room. Its height allows it to make a statement on its own without a corner table to put it at eye level. This tree prefers indirect light and only requires watering about once or twice a month.
Peace lily - Add some beautiful blooms to a room all year with the peace lily. Not only does it boast beautiful white petals, it is also known to greatly improve air quality. This lily is easy to care for and can be coaxed it to bloom all year in a room with low light conditions.
Spider plant - Draw the eye upward in small rooms by hanging the spider plant from the ceiling. With proper care, this plant will eventually offshoot with “babies” that add more visual interest to its foliage with delicate white flowers. Another plant known for its ability for improving air quality the spider plant is easy to care for.
When choosing plants to add to a room don’t be afraid to get creative as you would with decor and take into consideration how well the color and shape of the plant matches the style of your home. Whether you reach for something to sprawl out over a sparsely filled bookshelf with the English ivy or fill an awkward corner with the rubber tree keep the flow of the room in mind. Happy decorating!