Collins & Demac Real Estate



Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 2/8/2018

Your home's driveway represents more than just an open space where you park your car day after day. In fact, your driveway could become a major selling point for your residence, one that could put your home over the top in the eyes of prospective homebuyers. So what does it take to enhance the quality of your home's driveway quickly and efficiently? Here are three factors that you should consider before you dedicate time and money to complete driveway renovations: 1. The Quality of Your Home A driveway improvement project should be considered in relation to other home improvement tasks throughout your residence. For example, is revamping your driveway more important than replacing your residence's hot water heater? This rarely, if ever, is the case, which means you may be better off dedicating your resources to other home improvement tasks before you commit time and money to enhance your driveway. Remember, your driveway is important but should not take precedence over various homebuyer must-haves. And for home sellers who are on the fence about driveway repairs, considering a homebuyer's perspective may help these sellers determine which home improvement projects should become top priorities. 2. Return on Investment (ROI) Ideally, you'll want to improve your home's driveway to enhance your residence's curb appeal and value as well as boost your chances of a quick home sale. To accomplish these feats, you'll need to ensure that the time and money you commit to driveway renovations delivers a significant return on investment (ROI); in other words, you'll want to guarantee that you'll get back what you put in to your driveway modifications. Consulting with a real estate agent can help you find the best way to maximize the ROI of driveway improvements, along with any other home repair tasks. This real estate professional is happy to provide tips to empower you with the skills and insights you need to bolster the quality of your home and optimize your residence's value. 3. The Real Estate Market Does your driveway already sparkle? If so, you may be able to use your driveway as a selling point to differentiate your residence from others on the real estate market. On the other hand, a subpar driveway that is loaded with cracks and holes may need to be repaired to the point where it won't detract from your home's curb appeal and value. When it comes to driveway improvements, it is important to note that major overhauls aren't always necessary. Instead, you may be able to fill in various cracks and holes to ensure your home's driveway offers plenty of parking and serves its purpose consistently. Take a look at some of the rival homes in your area to see the quality and condition of their driveways. By doing so, you'll be able to get a better idea about how your residence's driveway appears to homebuyers and act accordingly. Examine your driveway as you prepare to list your home on the real estate market, and you'll be ready to make any necessary improvements to help your residence generate interest from homebuyers.





Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 2/1/2018

Decorating a home is no simple task. You have to consider the architectural style of the house,  how to best use the space to avoid clutter, and to give the home a sense of cohesion and continuity across the rooms.

Professional interior decorators attend school and earn degrees and certificates that help them make these difficult decisions. After all, things like furniture and appliances are expensive items--you donít want to spend a lot of money on items only to decide later that they donít go well together.

If you donít have plans on hiring or becoming an interior decorator, there are a few simple rules you can follow to make sure your home has its own tasteful appearance and atmosphere.

Whether youíre buying your first home, redecorating your current home, or staging a home you hope to sell, these tips will help you create a look that will leave an impression on anyone who steps foot inside.

Space and negative space

In art, negative space is a space on the canvas intentionally left blank. For home design, negative space is an important aspect of decorating any room. Negative space in a home means a part of the room or wall that is left open, free of furniture, decorations, or clutter.

In practice, negative space serves two important functions. First, it creates a spacious atmosphere. Cluttered rooms typically have a negative effect on us, particularly over long periods of time. Rooms with negative space also tend to be let in more light, which improves the overall spaciousness of the room.

The second function of negative space is to draw attention to certain features of a room. On a wooded hilltop, you wonít notice just one tree. But on a hill with only one tree, it becomes easier to focus and appreciate that single tree. This rule also applies to the interior of your home. To showcase a piece of furniture or a painting on the wall, youíll want to surround it with some negative space.

Balance and symmetry

Two concepts that hold true in different types of design are the usefulness of balance and symmetry, and understanding when itís okay to break the rules (make a room asymmetrical).

Having symmetry around your dining room table is usually a good idea. You want the same number of chairs on each side and you want the chairs to match. However, when choosing living room furniture, asymmetrical design can come in handy when pairing a couch with two armchairs.

What does it mean to balance a room? Take a look around your kitchen and living room. Are there some items that are much taller than others? Are some items crowded into one corner? It may become habit to simply place items wherever they fit, but sometimes itís a better option to rearrange furniture to create vertical and horizontal balance.

Create a color palette

The colors of your home are of utmost importance when it comes to creating a good design. One good way to prepare for color issues is to create color palettes for your home--one for each room, and one master palette. Doing this will help you choose furniture, paint, and decorations that will not only look good in each room, but will flow as you walk through the house.





Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 1/25/2018

You may have heard of private mortgage insurance, also known as PMI, but youíre probably not sure what exactly it is. If your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price of the home, then youíll need to pay for this additional insurance in order to secure a loan for the home. This type of policy protects the lender if you end up in a foreclosure situation. This way, the lender is assured that they will not lose money. 


Private mortgage insurance is also required if you refinance your home when it has accrued to less than 20% equity. Again, this protects the lender from losing money if the loan is defaulted on. 


Fees


The fees involved with private mortgage insurance can range based on a few factors including the actual size of the down payment and your credit score. You can expect the cost of the insurance to be somewhere between 0.3% and 1.5% of the loan amount per year. The PMI premiums are tax deductible some years and other years they are not. It really all depends upon the state of the government and what they have enacted for the particular fiscal year. Private mortgage insurance premiums can be paid either monthly or with a large payment upfront, although most policies will require the borrower to pay on a monthly basis.    


This Insurance Can Be Canceled


The lender will automatically cancel your PMI once the loan drops down to 78% of the homeís value. For this reason, youíll want to keep track of your payments in order to see how far away you are from shedding this monthly fee. When your loan is paid down to 80% of the homeís original value, you have the right to ask your lender to discontinue to insurance premium payments.


What Is The Loan-To-Value Ratio?


This ratio is the amount of mortgage debt in the form a percentage based on how much the home is worth. Itís calculated by the following formula:


Amount owed on the mortgage/Appraised value


This is an important factor when it comes to matters of PMI insurance, as itís how the required loan payment percentages are calculated. If a home is worth $100,000 and $80,000 is still owed on the home, the loan-to-value ratio is 80 percent. This means the borrower can request the insurance be cancelled.      


FHA Loans Have Different Requirements


If you secure an FHA loan, they require the payment of PMI premiums for the entire life of the loan. You canít exactly cancel these insurance payments but you can refinance the loan in order get rid of the insurance. This means that you will no longer have an FHA loan.           


Private mortgage insurance can be a nuisance, however as a first-time homebuyer with little capital, the fees may be worth it when youíre able to secure your first home.




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Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 1/18/2018

When it comes to making your home and property safer for your family and others, the Boy Scouts motto says it all: "Be prepared!"

While it's next to impossible to completely eliminate all risks and potential hazards in and around your home, there are dozens of things you can do to make your property safer.

Every family's safety needs are unique, but here are a few basic precautions that can help reduce the chances of home accidents occurring -- both large and small.

Stair safety: All things being equal, it's riskier to walk down a flight of stairs than it is to walk on level ground. While that may seem obvious, most people don't stop and think about the potential risks of descending stairs as they're about to do it. Although tripping and falling on stairs can be injurious to just about anyone, it's especially dangerous for elderly people. From a homeowner's standpoint, there are several things you can do to reduce the risk of family or friends stumbling on your stairs. On an ongoing basis, it's necessary to make sure there are no loose objects on the stairs that could cause someone to lose their footing. Keeping stairs clear of toys, building blocks, and slipping hazards can be challenging if you have young children. Until they're taught to pick up after themselves -- which might occur sometime between now and college -- stair safety is an important issue to be aware of. Another key strategy for preventing household accidents is to make sure railings are properly installed and firmly anchored. Basement stairs can pose additional risks because they're sometimes inadequately lighted. Concrete floors at the bottom of some staircases can make a fall even more hazardous (not to mention painful). Increasing lighting, if needed, and making the bottom step more visible so that it's not accidentally skipped, are two preventative measures for reducing the chances of anyone falling on basement stairs.

Fire safety: Most people are aware that it's essential to have several working smoke detectors placed in strategic locations in your kitchen, bedroom area, and other parts of your house. Even though it's common knowledge, people don't always remember to install enough of them, replace worn out batteries when necessary, or test them every few months to make sure they're in good working condition. Some people remove the battery to silence smoke alarms while they're cooking, which can be dangerous if they don't remember to put them back afterwards. If your kitchen smoke detector has a "push to hush" button, then that can be a safer way to temporarily quiet a smoke detector when you're cooking dinner. Home fire safety also entails several other precautions, including having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen (and other areas), having a second-floor fire-escape ladder available, and teaching children how to avoid and respond to potential fire dangers. More detailed information and educational materials on fire safety is available from government agencies and non-profit organizations like the American Red Cross and the National Fire Protection Association.

Stay tuned to this blog for more helpful tips, pointers, and ideas for keeping your home safer and more secure.





Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 1/11/2018

When spring arrives it brings everyone out to the backyard for games, cookouts, picnics, and a number of other fun, fair weather activities. It also brings yardwork.

With the busy schedules that most homeowners have, it can be difficult to find time to spend hours working in the yard each weekend. Depending on where you live and the size of your backyard, there are many options for making it a bit easier to take care of your lawn and garden.

In this article, weíll give you some advice on how to make caring for your backyard a lot simpler so that you can spend your time outside enjoying the weather rather than working up a sweat.

Lawncare

In most suburban and rural neighborhoods, lawncare seems like a competition. Everyone wants their grass to look as green as their neighborís. But keeping a meticulous lawn can be difficult if you have kids, pets, or just donít have the time to spend manicuring and fertilizing your lawn. Whatís more, lawncare can get expensive quickly and can go wrong just as quickly in the case of droughts and pests.

There are many ways you can simplify your lawn care. If you love having a lawn, but mowing is a pain, it can be easier to remove some obstacles from your yard. Bird baths and other decorations can be a nice accept, but sometimes they make mowing more difficult than it needs to be.

If you donít want to deal with grass at all, or want a smaller area to mow, you have a few options.

You could make your yard more of a natural meadow by planting wildflowers and encouraging long grasses. Laying a brick path down the middle creates the air of a walkthrough garden where you can view the many florae that will be ever-changing in your yard.

If you like your yard to look neat and tidy, creating a patio and placing a few choice potted plants and trees on it will save you a lot of time pushing the lawnmower.

Choose the right plants

Many people plant bushes, trees, and flowers based solely on the fact that they like them. It makes more sense in the long run, though, to choose your plants based on their hardiness, and your ability to care for them.

Some plants are marketed as being impossible to kill. However, you should still read the care requirements to make sure theyíll work with your yardís climate, light, and water conditions.

In warmer climates, cacti and succulents are a good choice and will likely fit the scenery. For colder climates, there are a number of conifers, shrubs, and bushes that will stay green throughout the winter, adding a bit of color to the dreary season.

A good way to make sure your yard will be low maintenance year-round is to use plants and trees that are native to your area. Since theyíre in their natural habitat, theyíll likely require less work on your part.




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