Before Purchasing A Home…….

buying-a-homeWhen it comes to buying a home there are many things to consider. After all, it is a huge financial investment and one that you are locked into until you choose to sell.  While owning your own home can be great and often a lot more affordable than renting a home, there are also different expenses and financial obligations that come with being a homeowner.  Knowing a few things before setting out to purchase you first home can make all the difference. Check out our list of things to know before purchasing a home or property.

What You Need To Know Before Purchasing Your Home

  • Beware Of Fixer Uppers- While purchasing a fixer upper may seem like a good idea and may allow you to buy a home in area than otherwise may be a bit out of your price range, remember that some fixer uppers can turn into a money pit.  It is EXTREMELY important that you have a thorough inspection done of the house, plumbing and especially the foundation! If there should be something wrong with the foundation it is better to know beforehand and most times recommended to shy away from buying a home no matter the area should the foundation be compromised or have other issues.
  • Do Your Homework- should you find a home that you really like and are prepared to put down a deposit on or make an offer for you should ALWAYS dobecoming-a-homeowner your homework first.  This means you should check out how long the home has been on the market, if there have been previous offers since it has been on the market. What the cost of insurance , utilities, and HOA fees may be so you have a better idea of what it will cost to keep your home up and “running”.  You also want to make sure that the home is on the market for a fair price and that the asking price isn’t inflated. By doing a little research on the home/property you can save yourself a lot of money and headaches
  • Start Saving For That Down Payment- If you are looking to buy a home in the near or far off future it is best to start putting money away for a down payment.  While first time buyers especially have different percentage options for a down payment it is always recommended that you put down at least 20%.  This will help lower your interest rate, lower mortgage payments and also allow for other loans to be offered.
  • homeowners-infoDon’t Rush, take Your Time- Don’t allow realtors to make your feel rushed into a buying decision.  Or don’t put pressure on yourself to make a rushed decision. While you may like a home now if you feel like things are moving a little to fast pressed the brakes and take your time.  If the result is losing the home it may be for the better. With a financial decision this big you don’t want to feel rushed in to decision making or like you can’t completely get your thoughts, finances etc in order. Once you have signed the paperwork and are in the closing process there isn’t any turning back.  It’s best to take your time and not to rush into anything.

Purchasing a home can be somewhat of a stressful time but it should never be TOO stressful. Remember you are the buyer and  in control of how you let things proceed. Don’t allow yourself to feel pressured or bullied by a realtor or potential seller.  It’s best to get your ducks in a row and take your time before making any big decisions. You will definitely feel better about it in the end.

What You Need To Know As a Homeowner

homeowner-checklistOwning your home is not only a great investment financially, it is also a great investment for your family.  Although owning a home gives you freedom in making any home improvements you desire, as well as a great way to put your monthly house payment into a long term investment and not in someone else’s pocket, there are also the times when owning your home can cost a lot of money too.  When your AC unit goes out and it needs to be replaced, or perhaps your water heater is having issues etc. While homeowners can’t completely control the repairs and issues that may happen in their home, being aware and knowing what to look for can make all the difference. Check out our list of things every homeowner should be aware of and no how to handle should any of these issues occur.

What Every Homeowner Should Know

 

  • AC/Furnace- As a homeowner you want to keep both of these units in the best condition possible.  When one has an issue it can often lead to costly repairs or even more expensive replacements.  By changing their filters regularly you help to keep them in the best working condition possible. Mark your calendar or set an alert on your smartphone for when a filter change is needed.  Some benefit from being replaced monthly while other systems can be changed every 3 months. Do a little bit or research on your unit and determine the best schedule.
  • Monitor Your Water Heater- By performing a monthly check on your water heater you are helping yourself to stay ahead of any repairs or issues that may occur.  Often times water heaters can start to leak from normal wear and tear especially the drain or relief valves. These tend to leak over time and are an easy fix.  If your actual water tank is leaking however, you have a much bigger problem. If the leak goes unattended it can often lead to flooding and water damage which can be extremely expensive to repair.  By monitoring your water heater you can help to prevent bigger problems before they happen and catch leaks when they are small.
  • Galvanized Pipes- Galvanized pipes in your home tend to clog over time due togalavnized-pipes mineral build up.  If you notice that your faucet isn’t producing a sufficient water stream chances are your piping is to blame.  While it’s best to replace galvanized piping there are a few other tactics you can try to help minimize mineral build up.  
  • Caulking Issues- This one goes hand in hand with home improvements and caulking repairs.  Whenever setting out to caulk something avoid using a squeeze tube which will lead to messy looking uneven caulking.  Instead get the job done efficiently and right the first time by investing in a caulking gun. It will save you a mess and also help to make your caulking flawless!

While there are numerous other things to be aware of or monitor as a homeowner in the end the more you know the better you will be.  Learn new homeowner tips each week, take a look at your property and assess things. Afterall now that you own your home the only person to call when something breaks or needs replacing is yourself and your chosen repairman.  By maintaining your home and it’s appliances you will set yourself up to combat expensive repairs and replacements before they actually occur.

Is Solar Power Right For Your Home?

solar-powered-energyMany homeowners are jumping on the solar energy wagon and having solar panels installed in their homes, in hopes of saving money on utilities, earning that solar power tax break, and making their homes more energy efficient.  What many homeowners also want to know is what are the advantages and disadvantages of installing solar panels and is it worth the cost? We got the lowdown on both the pros and cons of installing solar power panels and if they fit certain areas better than others. Big Island Solar, a solar panel installation company on the Big Island of Hawaii, was our go to for the most sound solar advice out there.  Why? These guys are based in a state that perhaps receives more sunshine every year than Florida which is actually nicknamed the Sunshine State. They not only are fair business people, they also believe in it making complete sense for the homeowner to install solar paneling. Although solar energy is great for a lot of people it may not be the right for fit others. See If solar power is right for your next home improvement!

Advantages Of Solar Power For Your Home

  • Save On Energy Bills- This is probably the top reason many people obtain a solar power system for their home.  Depending on the size and amount of solar panels installed and the amount of electricity and heat you use in your home, solar systems aid in providing energy thus lowering your utility bills.  What’s also great is should you produce more solar energy then you use you can sell the energy back to the grid system should you have on grid solar power. Seems like a win win situation right!
  • Renewable Energy- Although some areas in the world are better than others duesolar-panel-installation to the amount of sunshine verses rain and cloud coverage they recieve, pretty much anyone can benefit from solar energy.  Not only is it a renewable energy source the sun isn’t going anywhere for a long time and thus a natural form of power that can be utilized while saving other energy sources.
  • Minimal Upkeep/Maintenance Costs- Many solar company manufacturers offer a long term warranty plan of up to 25 years should you have any issues etc with your panels.  Also maintenance is relatively easy and panels only need to be cleaned a few times of year. There are generally no parts that need to be changed regularly or that suffer wear and tear that will aid in slower performance.
  • Tax Break- a tax break is available to those who qualify and go about the tax break procedures.  Check with your states criteria and also ask your solar panel company the ins and out and they will help point you in the right direction

Disadvantages Of Solar Power For Your Home

 

  • Initial Cost- the upfront cost of purchasing your solar system and having it installed can be quite daunting to people.  The costs include the purchase of the solar panels themselves, wiring, the inverter(part that converts the sun into solar energy) batteries, and the installation fees.   While it may seem a huge initial cost over time it will eventually pay for itself in the form of lower energy bills and even the selling of unused power like we mentioned above.
  • renewable-energy-sourceWeather Dependency- The weather that you associate with the area you live in is of great importance when making the decision to convert to solar power.  Even a few rainy days in an usually sunny place cab alter the amount of energy you are able to collect. Also no solar power can be collected at night. If you live in a rainy place like seattle a few solar panels may be beneficial in aiing your usual power supply but wont’ be as effective if you had solar panels and lived in say, Hawaii.
  • Pollution?- Many people are baffled to hear that solar panels can be associated with pollution when they are helping to save other sources of energy that is not naturally renewable.  However, the installation of solar panels is associated with the letting off of greenhouse gases which we know can definitely affect the earth and our environment.

There are a few more advantages and disadvantages to choosing to go the solar energy route. In the end it depends on the individuals needs, budget, and investment purposes.  It is best to schedule a consultation with a reputable solar panel expert in your area and weigh out all of your pros and cons before making your final decision.