Cheryl Deschenes' Blog
New technologies are constantly being produced that are designed to make our lives easier. Technology around the home is no different.
America recently underwent a boom in residential solar power, a trend that doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. And, big tech companies like Google and Amazon are trying to nudge their way into the smart home technology sector with devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Many of these tools and technologies are great for convenience around the house. Amazon Dash buttons let you reorder common household goods like paper towels and laundry detergent with the touch of a button in your pantry when you run low.
However, some forward-thinking homeowners are looking towards home improvements that can increase the resale value of their home by making it more desirable to potential buyers.
In today’s post, we’re talking about the latest tech that homeowners are buying to give their home an edge over the competitors in the real estate market.
Read on to find out which technologies can make a difference and which ones will soon be obsolete.
Smart home technology
Our phones have gradually become all-encompassing devices that help us organize our lives, and smart home tech companies hope to do the same thing with your home.
There is no shortage of competition for access to your home in the form of remotely controlled lighting, sprinklers, HVAC, and more.
And, while some state of the art systems might attract potential buyers, it’s important to remember that smart home tech is a fledgling industry.
That means that the tech is constantly evolving and might not be relevant or useful to potential buyers when it comes time to sell your home. (It would be like trying to sell an iPhone that is 4 generations too old for anyone to want it anymore.)
While home security technology is still rapidly changing, there is a benefit to having a system installed that can help woo potential buyers who are concerned about the safety of their family.
Aside from safety, this tech can also be just plain convenient and time-saving. Smart door locks can sync with your smartphone to unlock when you arrive at your home and lock when you leave, shaving a few seconds off of your daily routine.
One benefit of installing solar panels on your roof is that you can then show potential buyers physical evidence of the amount of money they can save each month on their utility bills.
However, it should be noted that there are some exciting new residential solar solutions coming to the market in the near future--one example being Tesla’s solar roof that looks almost exactly like a regular roof but generates electricity for your home.
So, when considering new technology for your home to boost its resale value on the market, remember that technologies are still changing. Keep your timeline for sale in mind, and try to avoid tech that will be obsolete before you plan on putting your home for sale.
If you’re a first time homebuyer and want to start weighing your mortgage options, you’ll have much to learn. With so much at stake, you’ll want to make sure you choose the best mortgage for you now, and one that will still suit your needs years into the future.
Sometimes, first time buyers are hesitant to ask questions they may consider too basic because they don’t want to seem inexperienced to lenders, agents, or anyone else they’ll be in contact with throughout the home buying process.
So, in this article, we’ve compiled a list of commonly asked mortgage questions that first time buyers might want to ask before heading into the process of acquiring a home loan.
What is the first step to getting a mortgage?
This question may seem straightforward, however the first step can vary depending on your financial situation. For those who already have saved up for a down payment and built a solid credit score, the first step is probably contacting lenders and getting preapproved or prequalified.
However, if you aren’t sure about your credit score and haven’t saved up for a down payment (ideally, 20% of what you hope to spend on the house), then you should address those matters first.
To find a lender, you can do a simple Google search for the mortgage lenders in your area, or you can ask around to friends and family to find out their experience with their own mortgage lenders.
What does it mean to be pre-qualified and pre-approved?
If you think of the mortgage process in three steps, the first step would be getting pre-qualified. This means you’ve given the lender enough basic information for them to decide which type of mortgage you’re eligible to receive.
Pre-approval includes collecting and verifying further details. At this step, you’ll complete a mortgage application and the lender will run a credit check. Once you’re pre-approved, your file can be moved to the underwriting phase.
What are closing costs?
“Closing costs” is an umbrella term that covers all of the various fees and expenses related to buying or selling a home. As a buyer, you are responsible for paying numerous closing costs. These can include, but are not limited to, underwriting fees, title searches, title insurance, origination fees, taxes, appraisal fees, surveys, and more.
That sounds like a lot to keep track of, however your lender will be able to give you an accurate estimate of the total closing costs when you apply for your loan. In fact, lenders are required to give you a list of these costs within three days of your loan application in the form of a “good faith estimate” of the closing costs.
What will my interest rate be?
The answer to this question is dependent upon numerous factors. The value of the home, your credit score, the amount you put down (down payment), the type of mortgage you have, and whether or not you’re paying private mortgage insurance all factor into the interest rate you’ll receive. Interest rates also will vary slightly between lenders.
You can receive a fixed-rate mortgage that does not fluctuate throughout the repayment term. However, you also typically have the option to refinance to acquire a lower interest rate, however refinancing comes with its own costs.
When it comes to selling a house, there is no need to make rash decisions. Instead, you should review your home selling options closely so you can make informed choices time and time again.
There are many factors to consider as you review your home selling plans, and these include:
1. Your Home's Condition
How your home looks to buyers may have far-flung effects on your house selling experience. If you allocate time and resources to upgrade your house's appearance, you could boost the likelihood of enjoying a fast, profitable home selling journey.
First, you may want to upgrade your house's curb appeal. You can mow the lawn, trim the hedges and perform other home exterior upgrades to bolster your house's curb appeal and differentiate your residence from other properties.
You should clean each room of your house, too. That way, homebuyers may be more likely than ever before to fall in love with your residence as soon as they walk through your house's front door.
2. The Current State of the Housing Market
The current state of the housing market may dictate how you price your home. If you analyze the local housing sector, you can set a competitive initial asking price for your residence.
Take a look at available houses in your city or town that are similar to your own. You then can use this information to establish a price range for your residence.
Also, find out how long recently sold houses in your area were available before they were purchased. This housing market data can help you determine if the current housing market favors buyers or sellers.
3. Your Home Selling Goals
Consider what you want to accomplish during the home selling journey. By doing so, you can map out what you will need to do to achieve your home selling goals.
For instance, if you want to sell your residence as quickly as possible, you may want to establish an aggressive initial asking price for your home. On the other hand, if you want to optimize your home sale earnings, you may want to consider myriad possibilities to promote your residence to as many potential buyers as you can.
For those who want to review their home selling options, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as well. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can get the help you need to streamline the home selling journey.
A real estate agent offers comprehensive insights that you can use to accomplish your desired home selling results. Plus, he or she is ready to respond to your home selling concerns and questions. And if you are unsure about how to navigate the home selling journey, a real estate agent can provide guidance to help you make informed decisions.
Ready to list your residence? Consider the aforementioned factors, and you can plan ahead for all aspects of the home selling journey.
Aromatic oils have been used for millennia by cultures like the ancient Greeks and Egyptians for use in medicines and ointments. And, to this day, many of us use products containing essential oils, such as perfumes, shampoo, cleaning supplies, and even the food we eat.
More recently, essential oils have become a popular DIY ingredient for household items. In this post, I’m going to share with you some of the many household uses for essential oils and break down which oils are suited for each purpose.
Read on for tips on using essential oils in your home.
Perhaps the most common use for essential oils is in an oil diffuser that emits an aromatic steam into the air of your home. Oil diffusers are great for a desktop that you work by, particularly in the winter time when the air tends to be dry. This mist can help mitigate the effects of dry air on your throat and nasal passage, and emit a pleasant air freshening odor into the room.
There are several oils and oil blends that are used in oil diffusers. Some of the most common oils used are lavender, peppermint, and several citrus-scents like lemon, bergamot, and wild orange.
When using an oil diffuser, be sure to use only a few drops of the oil--using too much can become easily overpowering and even irritating to the skin, nose, and eyes.
Many top-brand air fresheners use essential oils as part of their ingredients. However, they also contain a number of other additives that you might not enjoy. Essential oils give you the ability to create a blend that works for you.
Combine water with a few drops of essential oils into a spray bottle for a refreshing room mist. This solution can even be used on most fabrics--however, just like with an oil diffuser, make sure you don’t put too many drops of essential oils in your solution to protect your fabrics.
Cleaning supplies can get expensive very quickly. Fortunately, the ingredients to make a simple all-purpose cleaner are cheap and can make over a gallon of solution that you can keep refilling as needed.
Vinegar and water-based cleaning solutions often incorporate a few drops of essential oils like peppermint, lemon, and other fresh, “clean” smelling scents.
The best part? These solutions are made from non-toxic ingredients that can typically be used on your countertops, inside microwaves, and on other surfaces that food may come into contact with.
A quick warning: essential oils are made by distilling vast amounts of plant material into very concentrated oils. This means that the oils are exponentially more potent than their plant counterparts. Overuse can easily cause rashes and irritation, so use sparingly, avoid contact with your eyes when working with oils, and always read instructions before use.