Category Archives for "Homeowner Tips"

Common Mistakes Made in buying Home For The First Time

“Real estate is an imperishable asset, ever increasing in value. It is the most solid security that human ingenuity has devised. It is the basis of all security and about the only indestructible security.” – Rusell Sage, American Financier, and Politician

If you’re thinking about investments, then stepping into the real estate world could be your breakthrough. Real estate in the Philippines has proven to be a solid investment throughout the years. That is why more and more people are into home buying. But whether you realize it or not, there are two end results when you make a decision. It’s either you succeed or failed. Congratulations when you manage to own your dream home. You just made the right choice to achieve want you to want. However, for those first-time homebuyers, buying a home can be an overwhelming experience – and sometimes, they made the wrong choice.

Yes, shopping or a home is an exciting experience, yet it can also be exhausting and a little bit scary. For you not to commit costly mistakes, we list down some common mistakes most homebuyers make when it comes to choosing and buying a property. Here are those:

Mistake #1: Not Educating Yourself on the Buying Process

Never jump into the real estate world if you know nothing at all. This would only give you complications and headaches in the long run. It does not matter if you are a first-time homebuyer or a second timer, you need to know at least the basic when it comes to homebuying process. Perhaps, you can do some research online to educate yourself on the steps involved when buying a property. This is to make sure you will not jump to any conclusions or decisions later on.

Mistake #2: Not Preparing to buy a house

The moment you decide to purchase a home, make sure you have enough savings in your back account. When you have enough budget, then you can afford the down payment, a fee for the inspectors, the attorney, the appraiser, etc. Keep in mind that your money is important when buying a home. Not preparing your finances is one of the common mistakes most homebuyers make. Moreover, if you have enough money, then it would be easier and faster for you to have your new home.

Mistake #3: Compromising on the Important things

This is another mistake most homebuyers make. Keep in mind to consider the most important things you need. For instance, if you are planning to have a family and have kids, do not buy a property that has only one-bed room. This will only lead you to buy another property that would match to your needs. One thing is for sure; you do not want to spend too much for it.

Mistake #4: Neglect to Inspect

Just because the property looks good in the picture, that does not mean it would also look good in person. Before you decide to pay for the down payment, make sure to check the property whether you like the overall appearance of it or not. Not just with the appearance, you also need to balance and think twice if that particular property suits your lifestyle.

Mistake #5: Not Hiring a Real Estate Agent

If you are a first-time homebuyer, it is advised to hire a real estate agent. Perhaps, some of you might think that you need to have a separate budget for their fee and it is just a waste of money. But keep in mind that agents are there to guide and help you achieve your dream home. Moreover, real estate agents are there to make you understand whenever there are things that confused you. Not hiring a real might not be a good idea especially when you are a first-time homebuyer.

Mistake #6: Not Shopping Around

Just because you like a particular property, that does not mean it is suitable for you. Always remember that there are a lot of real estate properties that are available for you. When buying a property, do not stick with only one. You should shop around and consider its pros and cons of each property. If you think that that particular has a lot of pros, then perhaps, that might be the one for you to buy.

Mistake #7: Buying on Emotion

Yes, buying a property can be overwhelming and we tend to get excited whenever we see a beautiful property. Again, when it comes to home buying, you need to think about its pros and cons. That means you are not just going to think on how beautiful the property is, but you also have to consider whether the property is the right one for you.

If you want to achieve a desirable outcome, you must avoid these mistakes mentioned above. Moreover, knowing these things will help you understand what and what not to do when it comes to homebuying.

Joseph Sayaff is a freelance writer in the Philippines. Born in the village of Babupatti (Raniganj) in the district of Pratapgarh. Joseph Sayaff is taking full advantage of writing articles that will help the real estate industry, Amaia Scapes trece martires. Joseph Sayaff is writing since 2006.

Renovate, Remodel, or Get Out – Guidelines to Determine the Right Home

When you’re living in a house that doesn’t have enough room or fails to meet the needs of your family, deciding what is the right next step can be very difficult. These guidelines will help you to determine which investment will take you from the wrong house to the right home.


It may be that you won’t need to go so far as a renovation to get more from the place where you live. If the complaints you have are centered on superficial issues, a minor remodel may do the trick. Consider whether or not you would be happier in your current home with new flooring, appliances, or paint. To get an idea of what this would cost you, research what types of materials you want to use and how much any required labor would cost. This is an excellent option if you are trying to update the home you’ll stay in, or if you’re trying to improve the value of a house for sale without spending a fortune.

More and more often homeowners and buyers are seeing the value of energy efficiency. Even small, inexpensive changes can reduce both monthly bills and environmental impact, and the right green updates can add value as well as comfort. Look into Energy Star rated appliances as a place to start, and consider larger upgrades such as a tankless water heater or mini-split ductless air conditioner if you have a little more capital to invest.


One of the most important questions to ask when deciding whether to renovate a home is whether or not this will be your ‘forever home.’ Really in depth renovations can cost as much as a relocation, but for the home you plan to grow old in, that expense may very well be worth it, especially if a small addition such as another bathroom or one more bedroom would make this the perfect home. Remember, no amount of renovation will change the location of your home, so if the view or the nearby highway is a problem, it’s probably time to consider selling.

Making a well-informed decision will require you to understand the potential costs of renovation. Again, you’ll want to investigate the materials and labor that will be required so that you will be able to effectively negotiate with the contractor or subcontractors you’ll need to hire. It is also wise to set aside about 10-20% of the estimate to cover additional costs that are unexpected, but nearly inevitable.

Be sure to take into account the indirect costs of a renovation as well. Will the inconvenience you face while the work is going on be more than you and your family can take? Will you need temporary housing while the work is being done? The cost of a rental or hotel can add up very quickly. Will you require a loan to complete the work? If so, add the interest and the loan origination fees to the predicted cost of your renovation.

Before you begin or commit to any costs, have a professional contract from your area come in and evaluate the property. This will ensure that there aren’t any building codes or structural issues that are going to prevent you from being able to make the changes you want.

If you’re renovating a house in order to make it easier to sell or to raise the value of the home, consider carefully the return on investment that you can expect from any changes that you make. For example, renovating a kitchen will increase the value of the home much more than adding an office or family room. It is also worth noting that the more money you spend on the renovation, the lower the percent of return will be.

For example, by spending $35,000 on a kitchen update, you may raise the value by around $50,000, while pouring $90,000 into the same kitchen will probably only add around $65,000 in equity. You’ll also want to avoid renovating to the point that your house becomes the most expensive one in the neighborhood. This will slow down the sale and make it less likely that you’ll recoup the investments you’ve made.


If the house you live in will need massive renovations in order to become the home you want, or if it is so old that renovating would be too complicated, relocating may be the best option. Start by evaluating the price of your current home and consider getting preapproved for a loan to find out how much you may have to work with for your house hunting.

Investigate how likely it will be that you’re able to sell your home quickly. Look into how prices have changed in your neighborhood, the speed with which other people are selling their homes, and how many homes are on the market in the area. If the market is flooded or the prices are stagnating, now may not be the time to list your property.

Determine your ideal neighborhood and spend some time shopping around open houses and other listings to see if the right house in the right area is listed at this time. You’ll get an idea of what is available and what you’ll be expected to pay. Keep in mind the indirect costs, such as closing fees and movers to get you into your new home. Also remember that new home buyers spend about $3300 on average making small updates and improvements in the first two years after they move in, which doesn’t take into account necessary but often overlooked expenses such as cleaning supplies or blinds.

Don’t let the fact that your home needs some work convince you that it won’t sell. By using a real estate agent who works with investors and pricing the property competitively, you may be able to get more than you think out of it.

Whether you’re looking to sell your home or improve it for yourself or for sale, it may be that the best answer is to give it a little time and check the market again. Being listed for too long without selling will push down the price of any property, so don’t try to sell in a weak market. Reevaluate in six months, and if things still aren’t picking up in the home sales department, maybe it is time to consider some remodeling or renovating to make the home fit you better for a while. If you make careful, well-thought out decisions about what to change, when the time does come to sell, you’ll be able to ask for more than you would now.

10 Tips On Building Your First House

A house is a place to relax, spend quality time with family members and friends, and unwind. A house is also the biggest investment that anyone can make. Consider the following tips if you want to get your first house built according to your needs, a house that will provide you the best value for your investment and will be cheaper to run for a long time to come.

1. Start with a list of your needs

It can be complicated to get a house built. Starting with a list of things that need to be considered is a good idea so all the details can be remembered. The “must haves” should be written down to set the priorities straight. Next, a “wish list” should be written. Extras that would be of excellent use or value to you should be included, like granite benchtops, a rainwater tank, shaded alfresco dining or solar hot water. While staying within a budget, the things that are really needed can be prioritized with the help of a list.

2. Plan your budget

For most people a home is a long-term investment. Now is the time to look for a house not only with good upfront value, but one that will hold that value overtime too. When looking at houses, focusing on the short term and ongoing costs is really important. Along with the base house prices, all other hidden costs should be factored in too. Budgeting for a house can become easier by finding out whether costs such as construction insurance premiums, council approval fees, floor finishes, landscaping, lighting, etc. are included in the quoted price.


3. Choose your site

Location is very important. If you choose a lot, everything that is necessary and well connected to public transport, it will maximize your investment. This will protect you from the effects of increased traffic congestion and rising petrol prices. Your life will become easier and healthier if you are able to cycle or walk to public, schools and shops. Think about a better location with convenience and everyday travel times. When looking at different lots, the position of a home should also be considered as how naturally cool it will be during the summer and warm in winter.

4. Choose your building contractor

Once the budget has been planned and a site has been chosen, choosing the right building contractor will be a part of getting your dream house built. Being your own general building contractor will have its downside. Despite the fact that good contractors earn their fee, they are aware of permitting offices, sub-contractors, have suppliers, and know how to eliminate or minimize downtime. Therefore, you should hire a general contractor so that the construction of your new house is overseen by an experienced professional. Take time to find a reliable building contractor with references because it is an involved and long process.

5. Check Building Codes

There are certain aspects of the process of building your dream house that will not be under your control. Similarly, do not expect that your house will be built substantially and will be free of defects and will comply with applicable codes and regulations. This is why you should check building codes beforehand, so that virtual unchangeable parts of your house are built properly and in accordance with building codes. You may also ask for things that you do not necessarily want and things that will not be cheaply or easily changeable to be omitted.


6. Choose your new house

Finding the requirements for homes at a chosen location is the first thing that should be done. This can be done by checking with the building contractor and with the local council. If buying into an estate, a developer’s additional requirements may have to be followed. At this point, the builders’ floor plans should be compared with the initial wish list that was written. It should be made sure that the house you want to get built will fit well on your lot. For rooms in your house, North-facing rooms are the best.


7. Work with your building contractor

You may end up with an ideal living space, somewhere you can entertain, relax and spend quality time, if you work with your building contractor. Open plan living is famous and a wonderful flow of space can be created by them. However, it should not be too open. Inside a house, a clever design of space is vital. The kitchen will be the heart of your house. Therefore, make sure that your kitchen ends up being functional and well designed, and adds value to your house. Pay extra-special attention to every part of your house.

8. Select heating and cooling

To ensure that your future energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions of your house will be reduced, make sure water efficient showerheads and taps are installed in your house. You will save energy and water by them, by using less hot water. Moreover, the best choice of heating and cooling system depends on how many of the rooms in the house will heated or cooled. Depending on your needs, the systems should be of the right size. This way, money will not be wasted on both the upfront costs and the costs of running the systems.

9. Place fire escapes

The chance to add additional doors that lead to the outside to the first floor of your dream house that you are getting built should be passed up. Not only will this add value to your first house, but in an emergency, it could also end up saving your life and the life of your family members as well. It is ideal to have four doors in the first floor of your house so that if a fire strikes, everyone in your house will be able to get quickly.

10. Be Flexible

At the end of the day once your house is built, you should be ready to compromise in order resolve problems and situations.

Construction is not a perfect science. Things may change or may have to be changed considering the combination of natural elements, such as human errors, site conditions, weather and wood members. Errors may also happen. Therefore, a building contract may not be able to achieve your idea of absolute perfection, so you will have to be a bit flexible.

Getting a first house built is the best decision that can be made by anyone, however, the task can also be very daunting, so the above tips should essentially be considered. Moreover, if you’re choosing a house over the internet, make sure you can see how it is going look. Also make sure the website provides you with a good search and a good variety. All the other tips are up to you.

Homeowner Tips – Autumn Upkeep Before Winter

What’s the difference between your home this year and your home last year? Well one of the differences is your home is now 1 year older. It’s gone through another year of harsh weather, aging and abuse.

Spring and fall are great seasons to do necessary maintenance and upkeep to avoid costly repairs down the road. It doesn’t matter if you live in mild San Diego or in the harsh New England area. Annual maintenance should be done to maintain your home.

Start at the top

Because your roof is not at eye level it’s easy to forget that drains and gutters can become clogged with debris. Leaves, dirt, pine needles and other pieces of garbage can find their way into the openings on the roof and cause leakage problems. While you’re scraping out all the debris from your gutters check to make sure everything is aligned.

Misaligned pipes are a common cause of poor drainage and damage. And make sure all the downpipes are keeping water away from the house foundation. Water should be at least 10 feet from the house to avoid damaging the foundation.

Autumn Upkeep Before Winter

Block Those Pesky Leaks

Before the winter snow and autumn rains come start block up any leaks the may have developed since you last checked. Recessed lighting, electrical outlets, doorframes and window seals are very common places where can cause a problem with leaks.

Try lighting incense and waive the smoke near these trouble spots to identify possible weeks on windy days. Don’t forget to check the cracks beneath your doors. A nifty DIY solution to sealing those door way cracks is to place a rolled up bath towel under the doorjamb.

Try Adjusting Your Fans.

Did you know that ceiling fans don’t always have to go the same direction? Most ceiling fans come with a switch that allows you to make the fan spin in the reverse direction. This counterclockwise rotation can produce a reverse spin can actually make the air warmer.

That’s because warm air rises and spinning in reverse will push the hot air back down to increase circulation cutting your heating costs by at least 10%.

Adjust Water Heater Settings

A simple and free solution to saving money this fall and winter with heating bills is to turn down the temperature on your water heater. Most conventional water heaters are set to 140°. But you really don’t need a water heater that hot. Simply by lowering the temperature to 120° or lower you can reduce your water heating costs by at least 10%.

And while you are adjusting your water heater also add insulation to the pipes and the water heater itself. Water heater insulation will prevent all that excess energy from escaping costing you money.

Keep your Eye on the Thermostat

It can be very easy to forget to turn down the heat on your thermostat can you leave your home Cooling off the house when you leave for long hours during the day can save you unnecessary heating charges. Did you know that there are lots of wonderful companies that can connect your thermostat to your Smartphone?

For example Vivint is a company that provides home automation solutions. They can automate every appliance in your home including your thermostat and allow you to control everything from the convenience of the Smartphone or computer. Don’t Wait Till Winter is Here Now is the time to start preparing for this winter season.

Last year we had a very intense and long winter season in the United States. Some areas in the Northeast had snow on the ground virtually the whole winter and well into spring. If you wait to winterize your home you might run out of time. But if you take the necessary steps you can end up saving lots of money on your energy bills and keep you home free from major problems a little longer.

Detached Garage – Is It Covered by Your Homeowner’s Policy?

Detached GarageWe find quite a few considerations that you must keep in your thoughts before you start constructing a detached garage on your residence. First of all a garage is a huge and expensive construction, so that you might be demanding the authorization of your regional regulators before you can continue with the construction. You should also ask yourself whether you should be constructing a garage or a detached one, this so because both have their features, pros and cons and you should select the one which best matches your need.

Constructing a separated garage area is often an excellent preparation to having a detached one. Not only does it not provide you with more space to perform with but also by having a separated garage, area you will have more choices as far as construction is involved. Having such a garage area also performs best if you want a workshop or a place to work where you cannot be disrupted or diverted.

When you want to make a garage area, the first thing that you will need is an excellent set of programs. You can quickly get these from the World Wide Web or a regional shop. Do study, as getting excellent separated garage area programs are critical to constructing an excellent garage area.

Important Considerations before Constructing a Separated Garage:

1. The Style of Your Lot/Property:

The detached kind garage is generally a huge construction, it includes and hence needs a lot more place than a frequent detached garage and so you should be considering this kind of a garage only if you have adequate place to additional.

2. The Function of the Garage:

Do you want the garage for generally status your vehicle(s) or do you also have additional devices such as a garden tractor, bike etc.that you will be needed to store? Many individuals also look at the detached garage as a way of having some personal place for constructing workshop or even just a house business workplace where they will not be disrupted.

3. Do You Have Construction Organized Down The Line?

If you do then a detached garage is generally, the best choice that you have. Coming to an additional construction on a detached garage indicates playing with the property and for most individuals that is an automated cope buster. Thus if you think that you might want to add an basement to your garage then, yes, a detached garage is what you should be considering.

4. Costs:

A detached garage is generally a construction of your house and your constructor can use the surfaces and base of your house to create the garage, this creates the detached garage inexpensive and cost-effective. However a detached kind garage is in its own right a little house in itself, which will need a new base, and new construction, this creates it expensive.

As you can see, you have a few choices to create before you can create a decision whether or not a detached garage is what is right for you. After you have taken into consideration all the choices, you should continue with your detached garage strategy.

7 Big Mistakes Homeowners Make When Refinancing

There are a few things anyone shopping for a refinance loan should be aware of. Knowing how to avoid the top seven mistakes homeowners make in this process can save you lots of time and money. Here are the most important things to avoid when refinancing your home.

1. Home Value

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they consider refinancing their home is determining their home value. It is easy to get excited about the possible value of your home when you see other homes, similar to yours in your neighborhood, being listed for prices much higher than what you paid for yours. This often leads people to think their home has a lot more value than it actually has. People need to keep in mind that the prices homes are listed for are not the amounts used in determining your home value by an appraiser. Home value is determined by taking the average sale price of three homes similar in size and location which sold in the past 6 to 12 months.

People often assign more value to their homes by factoring in things to their home value which an appraiser will not. Many people add to their home value if they refinished a basement or converted a garage or porch into an extra room. If the room does not have proper HVAC vents, for example, it will not add value to your home. Other additions, such as a swimming pool or expensive landscaping do not increase the value of a home. Additionally, upgrades made to a home which are not consistent with the style throughout the home do not add value.

You can obtain a realistic home value by locating a website listing home sale prices in your area. You can take the sale prices of three homes, similar to your home, and get a good idea of what an appraiser may tell a lender your home is worth. This will give you a more realistic ballpark figure to have in mind when determining your refinancing decisions.

Home Value

2. Shopping Rates

People can end up losing a lot of money in home refinancing by shopping too little or too much for good rates. A common mistake made by those who do too little shopping is going to a broker or lender without comparing them to anyone else. This happens when people decide to simply take the initial offer made to them by their current bank. Another instance is when people use someone who was recommended or a friend/relative in the industry.

Other people spend too much time shopping various brokers and lenders. This can become a waste of time and could result in a person losing out on a current low rate.

The best thing for anyone looking to refinance their home is to compare rates and products being offered by three different entities. This will give you a good idea of what is currently being offered in the marketplace. It also can provide you with information which can be used to get a broker or lender to lower interest rates, points or fees on your loan.

3. Delay Home Improvements

If you are looking to refinance your home and do home improvements, wait until after you have made it to the closing table. Too often, people get anxious about making home improvements to their home and start them too soon. If an appraiser comes into your home and finds incomplete projects it could negatively affect the determined value of your home, thus reducing your loan amount. Having implemented projects in your home could also cause your home refinancing loan to be rejected. This is why it is best to wait until you have closed before you pick up the sledgehammer.

4. Remain Accessible

When going through the process of refinancing your home you will want to make yourself as accessible as possible to your broker or lender. You want them to be able to reach you should any form of additional questions or documentation be required to get your loan processed. Being out of reach during this time could cause your loan to be rejected. This is because loan requirements are much more stringent than they were before the housing crisis. Proper documentation and strict deadlines for receiving them are now a normal part of the lending process.

5. Acquiring New Debt

There is common thought amongst those applying for a home refinance loan, especially those doing a cash-out loan. This is that they can acquire new debt or increase their debt because they are planning to pay it off with the loan they are applying for. The problem with doing this is that it has adverse effects on your DTI, or debt to income ratio. The addition of new debts, credit cards, or an increase in credit card balances can cause your DTI ratio to become outside of the acceptable range for loan approval. The best thing to do is to hold off on additional purchases until after your loan has been finalized.

6. Loan Term Selection

All too often, one of the most expensive choices people make when locking into a refinancing loan is the length of the loan they select. It is not a good idea to get past the 10th year of a 30 year home loan and being another 30 year loan. This could cost of you thousands of dollars over the course of the loan. The best thing to do is to get into a 20, 15 or 10 year loan. Although the monthly payments will be higher, doing this will save you a small fortune. All too often, people their make decisions based on the desire to have more money now. This ends up hurting their long term finances.

7. Rate Locks

Many people who get a rate lock from a lender do not take into consideration the unknown factors. For instance, if you have a 30 day rate lock on your loan, you may want to schedule closing on the loan at least a week prior to it expiring. This is because there is always the possibility of something occurring in your life you did not expect to have happen. An emergency or other unplanned event could cause you to be unable to make it to the closing table until after the lock has expired. Scheduling some cushion time helps to ensure you get the rate you were quoted and you are not facing the possibility of higher rates because of scheduling conflicts.

3 Tips for Cutting Building Expenses on your New Home

Building your own home is tremendously exciting. Instead of having to buy an existing home and adapt it to your needs, you can start from the ground up and create the home of your dreams. The process, however, will be difficult, and there will likely be setbacks along the way.

In addition, it can be difficult to predict the total cost of your project. While it is always important to ensure that you can cover any additional fees incurred, it may be wise to take steps to cut costs as much as possible.

Here are three tips for cutting costs when building your home.

Cutting Building Expenses

1. DIY

Some tasks, such as wiring and plumbing, will require expert assistance. Those who are handy, however, may be able to do some of the hard work themselves. In particular, interior work can often be done by those with little experience, and painting, laying flooring and installing accessories will not require expert workers.

In addition, doing work yourself helps give you an additional sense of ownership of your home. Before proceeding, it is important to ensure that the work you do will not need to be redone later; when in doubt, ask experts for some advice and guidance. Having a friend or family member who has done similar tasks before can help tremendously.

2. Buy Used

When most people build their own homes, they purchase all new equipment. However, there may be ways to save considerably on your home. Used cabinets, for example, can be restored and painted. In many cases, they can look even better than new cabinets.

Hardwood flooring can often be purchased used, which can lead to significant discounts. When it comes to furnishing your home, buying used furniture may be a great way to offset any extra fees incurred during the construction phase.

3. Shop Around

One of the best ways to find the lowest prices possible is to ask for multiple bids. Constructing a new home is expensive, and contractors and construction companies will want to earn a contract from you. Take advantage of this and try to start a bidding war if it is possible.

In many cases, it is possible to lower the amount you pay substantially by engendering competition. Of course, it is also important to ensure that those you hire are up to the task. Always ask for examples of previous work before hiring a contractor or construction company.

Owning your own home is tremendously exciting, but building a home can be an intimidating task. Unfortunately, setbacks are sometimes unavoidable, and many people encounter a considerable amount of stress along the way.

The benefits of owning your own home, however, can outweigh the disadvantages, and a bit of perseverance can go a long way. By asking for help and taking time to ensure that you are proceeding correctly, you can build the home of your dreams.