Claire LeBlanc - REALTY EXECUTIVES



Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 3/18/2020


 Photo by James DeMers via Pixabay

If you're hoping to make some major changes to your home, you're likely interested in the types (and terms) of financing available to you. The 203k loan was designed to give homeowners an attractive interest rate, so they'd be more likely to upgrade and modernize their homes. However, it's not available to everyone. Find out more about how the loan works and who qualifies. 

The Gist 

A 203k loan is granted by the FHA, though it's not the same as an FHA loan. You can apply for this loan at the time of purchase or after you've already owned the home for a while. Typically, these loans are granted to people who want to transform properties that have seen better days. So if you're buying a major fixer-upper in an abandoned part of town, you're more likely to qualify. Just as with any lender, you'll want to approach several before finding one for you. 

The Terms 

The interest rate that each homeowner qualifies for will depend on everything from the going rates to the homeowner's credit score. However, it tends to be around 1% more than a conventional home loan. A regular FHA loan has a minimum credit score of 580 but 203k loans typically require at least 640. You'll also need 3.5% of the total cost of the loan in order to qualify. (So if the repairs cost $10,000, you'll need at least $350 to get started.)

How Repairs Work 

These loans are only given to primary homeowners, as opposed to second, vacation or flipped homes, and you're typically not allowed to do the repairs yourself. These loans require you to have serious work completed by an approved contractor, despite the individual zoning laws of your neighborhood. Owners must include an itemized list of upgrades to lenders before being approved. If you aren't able to live on the property during the time of repairs, you can borrow up to six months of mortgage payments to counter the financial burden. 

Types of Loans 

You can either take out a streamline or standard loan. A streamlined loan is typically for those who need to make less than $350,000 in repairs, while a standard has no monetary limits. You can use a standard loan to essentially build an entire property, it only requires a small part of the foundation to exist before qualifying. As you might imagine, standard loans require a more intensive underwriting process. 

The 203k loan can be a great way for homeowners to get the home they want and take a big step toward revitalizing a neighborhood. And while not everyone qualifies, the terms of the loan are typically far more reasonable than conventional lenders. 




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Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 9/18/2019

A home inspection represents a key stage during the homebuying journey. This inspection enables you to examine a house with a professional property inspector. And if you discover minor or major property issues, you can ask a seller to perform repairs. Or, you may choose to reduce your initial home offer or rescind your proposal.

Ultimately, it pays to be diligent during a home inspection. If you perform an in-depth assessment of a house, you can understand whether this residence is the right choice.

On the other hand, there may be property problems that you identify during a home inspection that you won't ask a seller to repair. These issues may include:

1. Cosmetic Problems

If you ask a home seller to perform cosmetic repairs, the seller may choose to walk away from your homebuying proposal. And if this happens, you could lose your dream house to a rival homebuyer.

There is no need to jeopardize a home sale due to a cracked floor tile, a deck that needs to be stained or other cosmetic problems. Instead, plan to perform cosmetic repairs on your own.

In addition, keep in mind that many cosmetic issues are quick and easy to fix and won't require you to break your budget. This means you likely will have no trouble completing myriad cosmetic repairs after you close on a home.

2. Loose Fixtures

A loose doorknob or light fixture can be frustrating. And as you walk through a house during an inspection, you may feel like repairing a loose fixture is a top priority.

Loose fixtures generally require simple hand tools to repair, and problems with these fixtures frequently can be solved in just minutes. As such, you may want to focus your attention on bigger and potentially more expensive home repairs as you determine which property repair requests to submit to a seller.

Of course, if a loose fixture creates a safety hazard, you should not hesitate to ask the seller to fix this problem. Because if a hazardous fixture remains in place, it may put your health and safety at risk.

3.Non-Functional Light Switch

A non-functional light switch may raise red flags as you inspect a house. But in many instances, this problem is minor.

If you notice a non-functional light switch during a home inspection, there usually is no need to worry. In fact, a property inspector typically can tell you whether a home's electrical system is safe to use and up to code.

For homebuyers who are uncertain about how to proceed with a residence following an inspection, it pays to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer expert tips to help you make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Consider your potential property repair requests following a home inspection. By doing so, you can prioritize major property repairs and increase the likelihood that you and the seller can find common ground as you work toward finalizing a purchase agreement.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 11/22/2017

Who says your ordinary residence can't become a "smart" home? Now, there are many state-of-the-art smart home technologies you can deploy to transform a standard house into one that will capture homebuyers' attention in a competitive real estate market. Some of the top smart home technologies for today's home sellers include: 1. Thermostats Remember the old days when you had to set your thermostat manually? Thanks to high-quality smart thermostats, you can program your thermostat to ensure your home maintains an optimal temperature at all times. Whether you want your home to be warm in winter or cool in summer, a smart thermostat empowers you to maintain the ideal temperature consistently. Also, a smart thermostat may help you cut down on your heating and cooling bills significantly. And if you're able to highlight this energy savings to prospective homebuyers, you may be able to differentiate your residence from others in today's real estate market. 2. Smoke Detectors Imagine what it would be like if you were notified on your smartphone or tablet in the event of an emergency at your home. With top-of-the-line smart smoke detectors, you now can transform this dream into a reality instantly. A smart smoke detector typically is inexpensive but can make a world of difference for homeowners. This device often is simple to set up and guarantees you'll be alerted if your smoke alert goes off. Installing smart smoke detectors throughout your residence is a great way to enhance the quality of your residence. Remember, homebuyers will notice all the small things during a home showing, and the addition of smart smoke detectors could be a positive influence on a homebuyer's decision to purchase your residence. 3. Light Bulbs New smart light bulbs are available that are embedded with deluxe motion sensors. That way, these bulbs can detect when you are in a particular room and illuminate the area accordingly. In addition, smart light bulbs usually are energy efficient, providing you with yet another way to cut down on your energy bills. Implementing smart light bulbs throughout your home may seem costly, but it actually may help you save money over an extended period of time. Furthermore, home sellers who install smart light bulbs can add another distinct feature to their residence, and ultimately, may make their home that much more appealing to prospective homebuyers. Smart home technologies are changing the way homeowners manage their residences, and new devices and tools likely will become available that empower property owners to enhance the quality of their homes as well. However, today's home sellers should take advantage of smart home technologies as much as possible. By doing so, home sellers can work toward improving their residences and maximizing the value of their homes. When it comes to selling your home, you should be prepared to think outside the box. And with smart home technologies, you'll be better equipped to ensure your home makes a memorable impression on homebuyers. Incorporate smart home technologies into your residence today, and you'll be able to improve your residence quickly and effortlessly.





Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 8/10/2016

It's many homeowners' worst fear to come home to a water disaster in their home. Water damage can cost thousands to repair and will include a lengthy process in order to adhere to safety standards, potentially disrupting your home life for weeks. In this article we'll give you tips on how to avoid water damage and what to do when you discover it.

Water damage vs. flood damage

Many people are unaware of the difference between water damage and flood damage. Water damage can occur when you have plumbing issues such as a leaking pipe or overflowing bath tub. Flood damage, on the other hand, is defined by FEMA as an "overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters," or even mudflow. Flood damage tends to be the more costly and the more dangerous of the two, as it puts home inhabitants at serious health risk. Part of the stipulation in differing between the two types of damage is insurance coverage; water damage is often covered by homeowner's insurance whereas flood damage is not.

Avoiding water damage

To avoid costly and time-consuming repairs, follow these steps to prevent water damage from occurring in your home:
  • Keep your gutters clean to avoid backups and drainage issues
  • divert rain water away from your house with downspouts
  • Disconnect hoses and turn off their water supply when temperatures drop to freezing overnight
  • Don't leave water using appliances running while you are away from home for extended periods of time
  • Keep up with maintenance on your dishwasher, washing machine, toilets, and tubs
  • Turn off your water main when you go away on vacations
  • Check the water pressure to your home. High water pressure can be nice in the shower, but pressures too high can cause your plumbing to fail
  • Check regularly for leaks. Some water damage may go unnoticed for weeks or months, which subjects you to another danger: mold

What to do if you have water damage in your home

If it's too late for prevention and you've discovered water damage in your home there are several steps you'll need to take to ensure the safety of your home.
  • Turn off electronics in the affected area. If possible switch off power to whole the whole section of your home at the circuit breaker. This first step is to ensure your own safety. Once you've turned off power to all potentially dangerous electronics, you can move on to the next step.
  • Remove electronics and other perishable items from the area. If you remove the items soon enough you might be able to salvage them by drying them out.
  • Soak up the bulk of the water. You can do this the old fashion way by using towels and buckets. Or you can use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to suck up the water from rugs, carpets, and other surfaces.
  • Dry the area completely. To avoid mold, use fans and a dehumidifier to fully dry out the area.
  • Disinfect. Spray the area to remove any bacteria that may have accumulated due to moisture.
  • Contact the professionals. A contractor will be able to tell you the full extent of the damage and whether any serious repairs will need to me made.
 





Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 5/11/2016

Take a drive down any residential road in your town or city, and you're bound to notice a neglected porch or two. Is your porch giving your home the best face it can have? Could your porch use a little spice? Here's how to get the most out of your porch, whether it is only a few feet, or a covered area spanning the length of your home. 1. - Replace things when needed. New welcome mats, address numbers, doorknobs and deadbolts can breathe new life into your porch space. All of these experience significant wear-and-tear in only a short time, and replacing them when needed shows passers-by and potential home buyers that you live in a house that is well taken care of...Even down to the last detail. 2. - Don't be afraid to paint. Often times, painted areas on a porch can be overlooked. If you are in the middle of a deck painting, then don't hesitate to touch up your porch as a part of your project. 3. - Bring a little life onto your porch. Consider buying a few weather-hardy plants that could complement the color scheme of your home. Tasteful plant window boxes installed on the windows closest to your porch can make your porch appear much bigger than it is, and is an optical effect that will definitely work in your favor. Just be sure to pick plants that don't run afoul of your home's outdoor color scheme, and you'll find that bringing a little plant life onto and around your porch is a very enjoyable investment. 4. - Lighting is not only important for looks, but for safety as well. Make sure that your porch light is always in working order, and be sure to choose quality bulbs that match the wattage of the outlet. Some homes have faulty porch wiring, and sometimes lack proper lighting. If you are in one of these homes, consider making a project out of it. Proper lighting will show off your porch at night in all the right places, and will be a welcome safety addition for your family and visitors.







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