Joe Kulle and Katie Riley - Heritage Homes Real Estate



Posted by Joe Kulle and Katie Riley on 4/22/2018

Let's face it Ė buying a home can be difficult, particularly for those who are exploring the real estate market for the first time.

As a homebuyer, it is your responsibility to learn about the ins and outs of the housing market. By doing so, you can understand what differentiates a high-quality house from a subpar residence and proceed accordingly.

Furthermore, an informed homebuyer will know how to evaluate a home's exterior properly.

What does it take to conduct an in-depth assessment of a house's exterior? Here are three questions that every homebuyer should consider as he or she examines a home's exterior.

1. How do I feel about a home's exterior?

For many homebuyers, finding a house with an awe-inspiring exterior is a top priority. However, it is important to consider how you feel when you see a home's exterior for the first time.

A home's exterior should impress. At the same time, you need to evaluate a house's exterior in conjunction with other home features.

For example, a home may boast a massive kitchen and other dazzling interior features. On the other hand, a home's exterior may leave much to be desired.

Consider the pros and cons of a home's interior and exterior as you determine whether to submit an offer on a house. And if you need extra help along the way, be sure to consult with a real estate agent.

2. Will home exterior repairs be needed in the near future?

Examine a house's driveway, walkways and lawn as you conduct a home exterior evaluation. This will allow you to review the condition of these home exterior areas and determine whether repairs may be needed sooner rather than later.

Home exterior renovations sometimes can be costly and time-intensive. Thus, if you notice home siding that is cracked or other exterior issues, you will want to consider the time and expenses that may be required to fix such problems.

3. How much time will I need to commit to home exterior maintenance projects?

A home may have a beautiful exterior. In order to keep a house's exterior looking great, you'll need to conduct regular maintenance.

Consider what you will need to do to maintain a house's dazzling exterior as you explore all of the options at your disposal.

Will you need to hire a landscaping company to mow the lawn and trim the hedges? Or, are you willing to commit the time and resources necessary to perform assorted home exterior maintenance tasks on your own? These are just a few of the home exterior maintenance questions to consider as you review a property.

Of course, if you need guidance during the homebuying process, real estate agents are available to provide expert assistance.

A real estate agent possesses comprehensive housing market knowledge and can offer real estate insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble examining a house Ė both inside and out Ė and making an informed homebuying decision.




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Posted by Joe Kulle and Katie Riley on 4/15/2018

Let's face it Ė homebuyers often face intense pressure. In many instances, dozens of homebuyers may compete for the same residence. And if you don't act quickly, you risk missing out on your dream house to a rival homebuyer.

Believe it or not, it sometimes can be beneficial to take a wait and see approach to buying a house. Some of the key reasons for homebuyers to consider deploying a wait and see approach include:

1. You can determine exactly what you want in your dream house.

Differentiating between must-haves and wants can be tough, particularly for homebuyers who are shopping for residences for the first time. Fortunately, if you take a slow, gradual approach to homebuying, you can view a variety of residences and narrow your search accordingly.

Oftentimes, homebuyers can benefit from attending open houses and getting a firsthand look at myriad residences. Each open house provides an opportunity to analyze a home, review its pros and cons and determine whether a residence is right for you. As such, homebuyers can attend many open houses to better understand what they want from a dream residence.

2. You can get your finances in order.

Although you know you want to buy a house, getting your finances in order may prove to be hassle. Luckily, homebuyers who implement a wait and see approach can find a mortgage that matches their finances perfectly.

Ideally, a homebuyer should meet with several banks and credit unions and explore all of the mortgage options at his or her disposal. During each meeting with a mortgage lender, a homebuyer can receive expert insights into many mortgage options.

A homebuyer may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage as well. If a homebuyer embarks on a search for the right mortgage today, this individual can move closer to entering the housing market with a budget in hand and simplifying his or her home search.

3. You can find the perfect real estate agent.

Ultimately, the real estate agent that you select may dictate the success of your quest to find your dream residence. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to hire a hardworking and experienced real estate agent, you should have no trouble streamlining your home search. On the other hand, if you rush to hire the first real estate agent that you meet, you risk making the wrong choice.

When it comes to finding the perfect real estate agent, it pays to be patient. By spending some time learning about various real estate agents in your area, you can select a top-notch housing market professional to guide you along the homebuying journey.

Lastly, don't forget to select a real estate agent who is available to respond to any homebuying concerns and questions, at any time. With this housing market professional at your side, you can boost your chances of discovering your ideal residence.

There is no need to rush to find your dream home. Instead, take a wait and see approach to buying a house, and you may reap the benefits of your decision for years to come.




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Posted by Joe Kulle and Katie Riley on 4/8/2018

Preparing your home is one of the most important things you can do before leaving for an extended period of time.

Whether you have a vacation home that you spend your summer months in, you travel for work, or you simply have a second property that will be unoccupied for an extended period of time, itís vital to take the steps to preparing the home for the elements while you are gone.

In this article, weíll talk about winterizing, preparing a home for heavy rains, and protecting it from a number of external forces. That way you can rest assured that your property will be safe while youíre away, saving you money in costly repairs.

Winterizing

Many Americans spend the winter months in a warmer climate. Similarly, it has become quite common to purchase vacation homes and cabins in the northern part of the country to visit during the summer months. Regardless, these homes will have to be winterized to avoid damage.

First, and most important, be sure to turn off the water at the main supply sources. Next, open up your faucets and drain all of the lines that carry water throughout your home and yard. Drain, and put away your garden hose, to protect it and your fittings from damage.

Now that youíre protected against water damage, youíll want to protect against potential fires. Turn off and unplug all appliances. Not only is this a way to avoid fire, but it will also help you avoid needlessly spending on electricity.

Itís a good idea to turn your thermostat down so that your home is kept above freezing, but not at a needlessly high temperature.

Preparing a home for extended leave

Even if your home isnít facing the winter cold, there are still measures that should be taken during an extended leave.

Cleaning your refrigerator out completely and then washing the interior will help avoid odors from spreading throughout the house.

Other odors can arise from the drains in your home, especially if itís likely to get hot. To prevent this you can cover up your drains with painterís tape.

Youíll also want to remove any food from your cabinets that could attract mice, ants, or other pests. While youíre cleaning, wash and put away any linens that you wonít be using for some time.

Be sure arrangements have been made at the post office for any mail you receive at your home. You could set up mail forwarding, have neighbors take in your mail, or purchase a PO box for the time youíre away. Regardless, itís a good idea to not have mail piling up outside an empty home as it could attract the attention of those seeking to benefit from your house being vacant.

Before leaving, make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked. Remove any spare keys from obvious locations around your home, and make arrangements for someone, such as a neighbor, to check on the home and report any problems to you.




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Posted by Joe Kulle and Katie Riley on 4/1/2018

As a homebuyer, it is paramount to establish realistic expectations for the homebuying journey. That way, you can take a step-by-step approach to achieve various goals along this journey and acquire your ideal residence faster than ever before.

Setting realistic homebuying expectations can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you set realistic homebuying expectations.

1. Assess Your Home Must-Haves and Wants

Dozens of homes are available in cities and towns nationwide. If you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you may be better equipped than others to determine exactly what you want to find in your dream house. As a result, you could reap the benefits of a quick, seamless homebuying experience.

Oftentimes, it helps to create a list of home must-haves and wants prior to searching for a house. This list can be updated as you proceed along the homebuying journey and will serve as a guide to help you discover your ideal residence.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

With a mortgage in hand, you can narrow your home search to residences that fall within your price range. Then, you can speed up the homebuying journey and find your ideal residence in no time at all.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions generally offer a broad array of mortgage options. Examine all of your mortgage options closely, and you're sure to find a mortgage that matches your finances.

Also, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions when you meet with potential lenders. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to help you in any way they can. Thus, you can gain expert insights from these mortgage specialists that could help you make an informed mortgage decision.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a home in any housing market. Therefore, he or she can help you prepare for the real estate market and establish realistic homebuying expectations from day one.

Typically, a real estate agent first will learn about your homebuying goals. He or she then will help you map out a successful homebuying journey, one that concludes with you discovering your dream house at a budget-friendly price.

A real estate agent offers plenty of support at each stage of the homebuying journey too. This housing market professional will set up home showings, keep you updated about new residences that become available and help you evaluate houses. And if you want to submit an offer on a home, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to put together a competitive homebuying proposal.

Achieving the optimal results during the homebuying journey sometimes can be difficult. But if you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you may be able to streamline the homebuying journey and ensure that you can purchase a great house that suits you perfectly.




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Posted by Joe Kulle and Katie Riley on 3/25/2018

With school loans at an all-time high, and growing for each passing generation, many homeowners are ready to shoulder off any and all debt as quickly as possible. If youíre in this camp and looking to aggressively pay down debt there are a few options available when it comes to paying your mortgage off.

Seller concessions.

Also known as seller contributions, are where the seller agrees to pay a portion of the closing fees for the buyer. This can include title insurance, inspection fees, and processing fees. If the seller is looking to sell the house quickly they may consider agreeing to seller concessions.

Government options for loans.

Energy-efficient Mortgage (EEM) was created to help homeowners renovate to add environmentally friendly features to their home. So if youíre looking to install double-pane windows or update insulation this could be the loan for you.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans offer lower closing costs, smaller down payments, and a fair interest rate.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans can be applied to homes in rural areas, regardless of if they are a part of a farm. You may qualify to apply for zero down payment and loan payments will be at a fixed rate.     

There are also many local programs offered at the state and city level. A quick Google search for loan options for your area should set you in the right direction!

Plan to Refinance

Down the road, you can refinance for a fifteen year home loan instead of thirty. Youíll pay off your loan in roughly half the time and save money on payments towards interest.

Throw It Everything Youíve Got

Youíll want to check with your lending company first as some have penalties for payments outside of the loan terms. However, if possible, making an extra payment either regularly or time to time will help cut down the overall time it takes to pay off your loan.

For example, you can make one extra mortgage payment each year or tighten up your day to day budget and apply what your savings towards your loan. Many homeowners get creative and take on side gigs to create the extra cash necessary to make additional payments.

If you donít have that room to flex you can also always apply any bonuses, tax refunds or windfalls that come your way. This also makes a bigger impact when paired with regularly scheduled extra payments.

Aggressive debt payoff strategies arenít for everyone. And thatís okay! However, if youíre looking to live a debt free life and enjoy your home knowing itís been paid in total these tactics are for you. With some strategy and creativity, you can find plenty of ways to make the process go quickly and smoothly.