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Living Below Your Means

Categories: Celebrity Gossip, Featured | Posted: October 7, 2010

small house, BIG HOUSE

Before the recession hit the nation, home buying trends were toward buying the biggest and most expensive home you can buy with the goal of short term appreciation leading to a huge windfall on the re-sale of your home.  Well, we all know what happened to that trend.  Nevertheless Antares Homes was pretty quick to begin downsizing our plans to meet the market where it currently is.  People are still buying larger homes, but instead of just a few people living in them, multigenerational families are living together.  Another trend we are seeing is our customers buying a lot less home than they are qualified for.  I hear my customers tell me over and over again that they want to live life and not be strapped and chained by their home.  Now, I’ll tell you, lending is tight.  No bank is going to lend more money than they think they will be able to re-coup and so when someone is qualified for our largest floor plan in a neighborhood and they want to buy one of the smaller ones, I have to ask: Why?  I mean, there is a difference between living in the smallest floor plan and living in the largest floor plan.  When you can buy a $160,000 home and you are telling me you want a $115,000 home, I do worry that I’ll have an unhappy homeowner on my hands at some point.  Surprisingly, that has not been the case.  What our homeowners are looking for is a little freedom and a lot of peace of mind.  They seem to be content to live in a little smaller home, enjoy the benefits of our energy efficiency and bank on a steady appreciation rate.  They are spending their money on vacations, hobbies and improving their properties.  They are prepared in case a spouse loses a job or a child gets sick or a family member needs their help.  These are all very current concerns for everyone today and the person who decides to have a smaller mortgage has choices in life that others don’t.  I’ll be interviewing a lovely couple named April and Terrence and we’ll get a closer look at living below your means.

Winterizing Your Home

Categories: Homeowner Tips | Posted: October 5, 2010

Weep Holes-NEVER seal these up!

It’s that time of year again!  The heat has been turned down outside and your dog’s coat starts to thicken up and all of a sudden you can sleep with your windows open.  Most people start to think about winterizing their homes as the weather stops being brutal for a minute.  Since this is Central Texas and not the Midwest or any other clime which has snow for ages, winterizing here is a little less intensive.  The main areas to worry about are the places that cold air and rain can cause problems. 

  • You want to check around your doors and replace any weather stripping that is worn or has come loose. 
  • Check around your windows and caulk in spots where your caulking is damaged.  In a newer home, you may not need to do this for several years, but it is a good idea to check this every season. 
  • If you have a fireplace and it hasn’t been used since January, it is a good idea to call a chimney sweep in to inspect your chimney and remove any bird nests or other pests such as bees or wasps that may have decided your chimney is a great place to live. 
  • Be careful not to stack firewood against your home.  This can cause a couple of problems, one of which is giving termites access to your home and the other is excessive moisture against the slab and siding.  Also, rake and clear away any debris that has accumulated against the slab and siding over the summer months. 
  • Another thing to plan for is having an HVAC professional come to your home to inspect your unit and clean the ducts if necessary.  If you burn candles often or have pets living in the home you should change the filters every month even if you buy the three month filters.
  • Buy some rock salt and keep it in the garage for those surprise ice days.
  • Cut away tree branches that have grown up against your home.
  • Make sure your rain gutters are clear and downspouts have splash blocks positioned so that water is siphoned away from your slab.
  • Disconnect water hoses and, even though we have the frost proof hose bibs, I suggest installing an inexpensive insulated cover once the weather is threatening to freeze.

 

As you are inspecting the exterior of your home for things to seal up, make sure to NEVER seal up the weep holes in your brick.  Those spaces at the bottom of your brick area on top of the slab are there on purpose for drainage and you can void your brick warranty and other warranties on your new home if you seal them.  Any moisture that gets behind the brick needs a way out and that is provided by those weep holes.  Happy Winterizing and enjoy the cooler weather!

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