tips-review-insuranceHome insurance costs tend to go up every year and it is too risky if you go without one. You can change policies every year but that will be onerous. It is a lot easier to stay with a home insurance policy that provides enough coverage. Longevity with one provider can also spell discounts for you. Here are some tips to keep the costs of your home insurance down:

Increase your deductibles. You need to set your deductibles to as much as you can afford. Remember that your home insurance will cover for your property and not just the small stuff.

Make some home improvements. Fix your roof, install CO2 and smoke detectors, and install a back up generator.

Go for hip roofs. This kind of roof has the best design to withstand very strong winds. You need to avoid certain areas of your roof that will catch the wind and be prone to damage.

Choose the best location. Get a home in a location that is not prone to flooding, storm, or forest fires. Make sure you will end up in a community that has its own fire department. Make sure you have the property inspected before closing the deal.

Reinforce the structure. Protect your home from the elements by installing window shutters, garage door protectors, and roof reinforcement.

Invest on home security. Keep your family safe from home intruders by installing security cameras, sensors, and alarms.

Do not insure the land. You can exclude the value of the land when getting an insurance coverage. The land will not be burned or stolen so its just the home that you need to cover for.

No necessary coverages. In most residential zones, you do not need to get a coverage for earthquakes. Also discuss possible discounts with your provider.

You need to leave a very good first impression to any prospective buyer of your property. If you are planning to put your property on sale, you need to make it look great for a sale. Most property buyers browse the internet when looking for a good purchase even before talking to any real estate agent. As a seller, the online property listings is a great staging venue for your home. Here are some tips to ensure that your house will stand out:

Research about the competition

Knowing how your property compares to other similar properties is very important so you can market it properly. Find out how much other properties are selling for and look at their best selling points. This will help you focus on the best assets of your home and make it more noticeable to buyers.

Flaunt the potentials

You need to showcase the best features of your property. You need to look at it at from the perspective of a buyer. Walk into every room and see what you like most about it if you are planning to buy the house. Make sure you do not have any clutter anywhere. Point the spotlight to things that will convince the buyer that its the property he is looking for.

Use some good lighting

When you take photos of your home, make sure you have very good lighting. The images of your home are the most crucial part of your ad online. You need to produce high quality images to give a good impression about your home. A well-lit space will make it look cleaner, more appealing, and bigger. Make sure you fix any flaws at home before putting it up for sale.

Promote thru social media

Once you have posted your ad online, make sure you will get it out to most people you know and don’t know. Tap the power of social media and promote the real property sale in every venue possible like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, among others.

mortgage-refinanceAre you planning to refinance your current mortgage but afraid cause you might screw things up? There are common mistakes homeowners fall trap to. Remember though that these slip ups are avoidable and it starts by knowing what they are:

Not shopping enough for lenders

When refinancing, you cannot go over-shopping for lenders. You need to look for the best one that suits your needs. You give up your choice if you grab at the very first lender who wants to help you. The real estate environment today does not give you much on getting large differences in terms of interest rates. The small differences though may add up over time so finding the best lender to work with means saving a lot of money through the length of your loan.

Not putting the fees and costs in the equation

Refinancing will cost you money. That is a reality that you cannot escape from. Homeowners need to factor in all prices and costs and see if it will not outweigh the potential savings. Refinancing is about how long you will be able to recoup the expenses you need to make when refinancing. Take into account the application fee, appraisal fee, inspection fees, loan origination fee, and the points you would like to take. The fees will really depend on the requirements of your city or state.

As much as possible go for a loan that can give you at least one percent lower rate compared to your existing interest.

Not going for short-term loans

You also have a choice when it comes to the number of years you will pay off your loan. A lot of home buyers go for the longer term loans like the 20- or 30-year loans. Short-term loans like a 15-year loan will mean higher monthly amortization. The latter though will result to you paying off your loan earlier. Over the life of the real estate loan, you will be saving a lot of money with a shorter loan plus the interest rates are a lot lower too.

Not locking in the interest rate

Getting a big loan involves some apprehensions and some homeowners might take some time before deciding. Do not forget though that you can lock your interest rate as soon as possible. Confirm your rates before there is movement in the market again.

questionable-agentChoosing the right real estate to work with you has a big impact on the home buying process. Here are some practical tips on how you can get the best real estate agent to represent your home:


  • You need to make sure that you are comfortable talking with the real estate agent. There should be that rapport to ensure that the business will go smoothly.
  • List down your expectations and discuss this with them so goals can be set and achieved.
  • Interview the potential agent very well. Ask for their plans and how they will execute them so you can get the property that you want.
  • Get the right agent. You want to get someone who specializes in buying a $200K property to get your $200K house and not a $2 million worth of real estate.
  • Research very well. Make most of the internet and local listings to find the best real estate agent that you can work with.
  • Ask your friends and relatives if they have worked with an agent that they can recommend to you. Remember though that it does not follow that if the agent worked well for their set up, that the same agent will be a perfect fit for you situation too.


  • Never get a loved on or friend to be your real estate agent. You do not want to put your relationship with them in danger in case the deal does not go well. You need to find someone that you can be professional with, someone you can speak your mind to without worrying about relationships.
  • If you have not picked the agent for you, do not engage with someone until you have made up your mind.
  • Do not get someone who represents both seller and buyer. You have to be wary of transparency issues in these situations.
  • When it is not working for you, you have to be honest with your agent and break it off with him or her. Be respectful and tell them your reasons why you have to let them go.

You might have a great set of furniture but your unique wallpaper might not appeal to a lot of potential buyers. You should see the home from the perspective of a buyer and this should guide you how to enhance the property. Here are some practical and quick fixes to dash up your home:

Make the entrance inviting

People who are looking for a home to buy usually drive by to check the property out before deciding to contact the seller. The area near the front door should be nice and you will almost likely be contacted so the interior can be checked.

No Clutter

Put away any stuff which may distract your target buyer from focusing on the property. Put away boxes, knickknacks, and photos so the square footage of the house can be clearly appreciated.

Showcase your space

You need to arrange the furniture so you can show how big the spaces are. Remove unwanted pieces so you can create a smooth flow of traffic when you give a tour of your house. Clear the walls of your furniture so the buyer can go around the perimeter of a certain room and it will also help to make the room look bigger.

Reduce odors

Smells will make an impression to potential buyers. Make sure you remove odors of cooking, smoking, or of pets. Make it as fresh as you can. Open the windows before you do an open house. Boil some cinnamon or bake some goodies to make it smell nice and fresh. Clean the rooms and fixings thoroughly and make everything squeaky clean.

Do necessary repairs

Go around your home and make sure you fix the things that need some fixing. Check the walls, ceilings, faucets, cabinets, and other parts of the house. Pretend that you are buying the home and check what the buyer might check out.

Did you move or maybe you have a friend who’s doing a housewarming soon? Checkout our list below of gift ideas with which you can never go wrong:

Customized silhouette mugs

You can get personalize mugs for couples with their silhouette printed on them. You just need to supply the maker a picture of the couple and they will take care of everything.

Key Chain

Have a special feature added to a key chain. Add details like a quote, a monogram, or even a clock. The new homeowner will remember you every time they open their front door.

Snack bowls made of stainless steel

The new bowls will be great when they have some friends over to chill and enjoy some good food. They look modern and will never go out of style.

Dart Board

You can also wrap up a dart board with a cabinet to bring some good fun to the new home. Do not worry about missed shots, the cabinet doors are there to protect the wall behind it.

Monogrammed doormat

A good doormat is always a good welcome for the guests visiting the new homeowners. You can get pick a letter for the center of the rug and it should look elegant down their doorway.


You can get them elegant plates which they can use for special occasions or you can also get the homeowners plates with playful designs and fancy shapes. Another option is to have them customized with their initials or a symbol which is important to the new homeowners.

If you are contemplating on buying a vacation home, you might want to answer these questions first:

Where to buy?

One of the most important consideration when buying a vacation home is the location. You might like a place when you visit it the first time but you have to think long-term before buying a property.

You need to think how you will get to your vacation home. Most vacation home buyers actually opt to get real estate which is a around fifty miles away from their primary home. As much as you want to get a beach front property in a tropical island, you should be realistic since you will not go there for a weekend get away.

Are you buying it to be rented out? You might consider this if you need an extra income so you can pay for the mortgage of the vacation property. If this is your concern, you need to get a vacation home on a popular travel destination where tourists sought for short-term accommodations.

Can you afford it?

Times are tough and having a second mortgage is another responsibility. Do the math first and do it right since your dream vacation home might be your worst nightmare if you cannot pay for it.

Think about financing since you might be paying higher down payment and get higher interest rrates for a second home. You also need to think of how you will handle the insurance and maintenance.

Will it be a smart investment?

If you are planning to get a vacation home, it might help if you will also think of it as a rental property. You will not be using it all the time so it will be wiser to have it rented out. So when looking for a property look for something that can be rented out.

How will the vacation property affect your taxes?

As an investor you should know how getting a new property will affect your taxes. You do not want to have problems with the tax collection agency. You also need to prepare additional paper works if you want to rent out the vacation home. If you rent it out, this will be an additional income and might be additional capital gains tax for your books.

16249817_1While the location is going to be very, very important, the types of people that are in the neighborhood is going to be important as well.  You want to make sure that you are purchasing a home that you are going to sell in a neighborhood that not only looks good but has trust-worthy people there.

Crime should be very, very low and overall, what does the neighborhood look like?  This can be very important to any potential buyers.  I know that when I was looking to rent a place, I looked at the neighborhoods to see exactly what they looked like before I rented.

The overall appearance should look good and the types of people should be nice – which is not all that hard to find.

REOSignFeaturedInvesting in real estate is something that is great if you are looking to make a little extra money or even make it your main source of income, however you want to make sure that you know what you are doing whenever you start investing.  Firstly, you want to make sure that you analyze the neighborhood and the market that you might be purchasing a house in.

You want to make sure that you choose a place that is around everything and that is overall, a good location.  To be honest, this is a deal breaker for people.  Even if you fix up the house and it looks great, if it is not in a good location, people will not buy it.

In the next blog, we will explore some things to watch out for whenever you are investing in a property!

home_mortgage_photoNow that we have talked a little bit about obtaining all of the loan information, the next step is going to be making sure that your credit report is all cleaned up.  What this includes is making sure that you certainly can explain anything that is on your credit that you can not fix – honestly, this is going to come up whenever you are shopping for mortgages, so make sure you can explain.

Anything that you can not explain may look a little bad to any potential loaners, so make sure that you have any explanations at the ready whenever you are questioned about your credit report.  You also want to make sure that you get an explanation for every single fee that you do not understand.

The reason for that is because you want to make sure that you keep all of your costs in check and you know what you are paying!