Categories

Simple Monthly and Yearly Maintenance Schedule for New Homeowners

Categories: Blog | Posted: May 28, 2019

If you’ve just moved into a new home, it’s hard to imagine anything but that shiny, perfect interior and exterior. However, as a homeowner, you’re going to be putting a lot of time and energy into maintaining that home. When you start considering everything that needs to be updated, cleaned, and repaired over time, it can get a little overwhelming.

But you can prepare for regular maintenance by keeping this schedule in the back of your mind (or right in your Google calendar). That way, you can tackle these tasks head on and keep your home safe and secure for many years to come.

Monthly Tasks

Check and Change HVAC System Filters

Checking your filters each month is an easy way to avoid super expensive repairs later on. Plan to go around the house checking these filters at the same time each month; you can even build it into your regular monthly chores. Be sure to clean or replace filters when they get dirty.

Inspect Your Fire Extinguisher

Don’t wait for a full-blown grease fire to realize your fire extinguisher is outdated or worse, missing. Every monthly, take a look at your fire extinguisher(s) to make sure it’s easily accessible, has the right amount of pressure, and isn’t expired.

Clean Your Kitchen Range Hood

Range hood filters get grimy fast. You definitely don’t want to pull yours out a few months from now and find a thick layer of grease covering it. Use a degreaser to clean it, then rinse and dry before replacing thoroughly.

Check Water Softener

You won’t need to add salt to your water softener each month, but it’s a good idea to take a look and make sure.

Yearly Tasks

Replace Batteries in Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

There’s nothing more important than your family’s safety. Regularly check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re in working order. Once a year, replace all the batteries in those detectors. Don’t forget — plan to do this every year on the same day, like an anniversary, daylight savings, or a holiday.

Service Your HVAC System

Once a year, it’s a good idea to get your HVAC systems serviced by a professional. Clean systems are more energy-efficient, and you can stay ahead of potential issues by regularly serving these systems.

Vacuum Refrigerator Coils

You heard that right. As the fridge coils get dusty and dirty, they can suck up a ton of extra power. Keep your refrigerator running efficiently by vacuuming out all that grime.

Service and Prepare Air Conditioner (in the Spring)

Depending on whether your home uses window units or has central air, you’ll want to prepare your air conditioner before the hot weather rolls in. If you have a central air system, consider calling in a professional to service it and get it ready for summer.

Turn Off Outdoor Faucets, Unhook Hoses (in the Fall)

Prepare for colder weather by turning off your outdoor faucets and flushing them, and doing the same to your hoses. Unhook them and store them until the Spring.

There are other tasks you’ll want to do on a semi-regular basis to keep your home exterior maintained, like cleaning out your gutters in the Spring or cleaning out window wells in the summer. But the list above of monthly and yearly tasks are the most important ones to keep in mind to make sure you’re keeping your home up to date. With regular checks and repairs, you’ll be able to live in a safe and secure home for years to come.

Take Advantage of Low Interest Rates to Get More Home for Less

Categories: Blog | Posted: April 18, 2019

You’ve probably heard that now’s the time for buyers to get into the market. The main reason for this is interest rates – that is, historically low interest rates.

If you’re considering buying a home in the next year, you may want to bump up that timeline. Right now, interest rates are low enough that you could afford more home than ever before. We’re talking about how interest rates affect your buying power and why you can afford to buy more home for less by taking advantage of today’s rates.

How Interest Rates Affect Buyer’s Purchasing Power

It’s important to understand how interest rates affect how much home you can afford. After all, the interest rate you can secure will impact not just monthly house payments, but also your overall purchasing power.

What is your purchasing power? It refers to how far your dollar goes. Purchasing power is the amount of house you can afford based on your available budget. There are all sorts of factors that go into this, like your down payment amount, debt, and credit score.

But interest rates play a huge role in what kind of home you can buy. Take a look at the chart below, which shows how different rates affect monthly payments for two different houses.

 The chart above doesn’t factor in any down payment amount on the home and focuses on Principal and Interest (P&I) monthly payments. If you’re interested to see how your monthly payment may change with these interest rates, you can calculate that here.

Paying Less for More Home

You can see how the buyer’s purchasing power changes based on what interest rate they can secure. We’re specifically looking at homes in the $400,000 and the $450,000 range.

A buyer who secures a rate of 3.75% for their new home could have the same monthly payment ($2,087) on a $450,000 home as someone with a rate of 4.75% would spend on a $400,000 home. The lower the interest rate you can get, the more home you can afford.

Today’s buyers can afford more home for the same monthly payments. You can extend these numbers to larger, more expensive homes depending on your budget.

Comparing Today’s Rates to The Past

Today’s interest rates are historically low. Even just a few years ago, rates were double if not triple what they are now. Back in 2006, the average mortgage interest rate was 6.4%. While that’s not terribly higher than today’s higher rates, even a few percentage points can make a huge difference in monthly payments.

Before that, in 2000, interest rates were averaging at 8%. Your monthly payments for a $400,000 home back then would have been $2,935 — nearly double the highest amount on the chart above.

While doubled interest rates may not seem crazy to you, consider what homebuyers faced back in the ’80s. In 1981, buyers faced interest rates at 16% or higher (source).

Can you even imagine? Compare that to today’s rates, even on the high end of 4.75%, and you can see why so many people are urging homebuyers to jump into the market right now.

Home Buyers Today Can Afford More Home for Less

The interest rate you secure plays a considerable role in determining how much home you can afford. Today’s rates are crazy low compared to those just a few years ago, not to mention those back in the ’80s and ’90s.

If you’re looking to buy a home, now’s the time to do it. You can take advantage of these historically low interest rates. You can even go beyond your expected price range because you can realistically secure a rate low enough to pay the same monthly payments on a bigger, more expensive home.

The market is hot right now for a good reason. Lower interest rates help home buyers – whether first-time buyers or seasoned buyers looking for their next home – get more bang for their buck.

Page 4 of 92« First...23456...102030...Last »