5 Ways to Get to Know Your Neighbors

Whether you're a social butterfly or a homebody, getting friendly with the folks next door will make your new house feel like home. Leaving friends and neighbors behind can be the toughest part of moving to a new home. These five tips will help you make connections and settle into your new community in no time. 1. Knock, knock For an extrovert, walking over to a neighbor’s home to say hello may feel like a no-brainer. But for more reserved personalities, this tried-and-true method usually requires Read more [...]

How Renting Out Your Vacation Home Can Land You in Hot Water

When it comes to financing your vacation home, not all loans are created equal — so choose wisely. Ready to buy that ski cabin or lake house? Renting it out while you’re not using it is a great way to make it happen — but not so fast. Lender rules may not allow it, so here’s what you need to know. Loan types and their rules The first step to financing your vacation home is understanding what mortgages are available and their rules about renting: Primary residence loans. These loans are Read more [...]

9 Listing Photo Do’s and Don’ts

You have one chance at a great first impression — knock their socks off with listing photos that shine. Your bags are packed, you’re ready to move and the last thing you want to do is follow your agent’s advice about putting time and money into your listing photos. But if you don’t, your photos could prevent the home from selling quickly. Consider these nine do’s and don’ts to help your listing attract the attention it deserves. 1. Do: Take a shot from the curb. Keep your home’s Read more [...]

What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Contractors

When you're building or renovating a home, having the right team on your side makes all the difference. Building or renovating a home is a complex project with plenty of moving parts. Even if you’re planning to take a DIY approach, it’s likely you’ll need some help from contractors along the way. Here’s a guide to the types of contractors you might enlist to help you complete your dream home. General contractors If you think of a general contractor like a general in the military, you Read more [...]

Understanding the Role of the Real Estate Agent

The road to homeownership can be bumpy, and it’s often filled with unexpected turns and detours. That’s why it makes sense to have a real estate pro help guide the way. The road to homeownership can be bumpy, and it’s often filled with unexpected turns and detours. That’s why it makes sense to have a real estate pro help guide the way. While real estate websites and mobile apps can help you identify houses you may be interested in, an experienced agent does much more, including: 1. Read more [...]

Renters: Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

While you save up your down payment, take these 5 steps to get you closer to closing. For renters planning to buy a home, preliminary steps like creating a budget and saving for a down payment are obvious. Here are five more advanced steps toward moving out of your rental and into a dream home of your own. Understand the full cost of homeownership As a renter, a single rental fee covers your monthly housing payment. But as a homeowner, four main factors go into your monthly housing payment: Read more [...]

10 Tips for Spring Home Buyers

Follow these 10 tips to make the home-buying process a happy one. The arrival of spring means it’s time to start fresh. Along with pulling out your warm-weather wardrobe and tackling spring cleaning, you may have a bigger project on your to-do list: buying a new home. Before you start on your home-shopping journey, check out these 10 home buying tips to save you both time and money. Find the right agent Real estate expert Joe Manausa says the key to happy spring home buying is finding Read more [...]

What Is a Home Warranty, and Do You Need One?

If you own a home, chances are this repair and maintenance safety net could come in handy. First-time homeowners may be in for a shock when their water heater breaks on a cold winter morning, or their dishwasher starts to leak all over the new hardwood floors in the kitchen. The instinctive call to the landlord won’t work this time around. Welcome to the joys of homeownership. So, when this happens, what do you do? Many homeowners aren’t equipped to perform even small repairs, particularly Read more [...]

Should I Buy Down My Rate After 2017 Fed Rate Hikes?

What the current market outlook means for you. Rates are up .5 percent so far in 2017, and could go higher. This raises the question of whether it makes sense to buy your rate down to control your mortgage costs. Let’s review the market outlook, then answer the question. Where are rates headed from here? Rates are tied to daily trading in mortgage bonds, and rates rise when bonds sell on improving economic sentiment — this has been happening in 2017. Concurrently, the Federal Reserve Read more [...]

What to Expect When You’re Inspecting

Here’s a guide to each player's roles and responsibilities during a typical property inspection. If you’re a first-time buyer who just nabbed your first place, you’re likely in one of the scarier places in the real estate transaction. Before choosing paint colors, you’ll need to inspect. If you’re feeling nervous, you’re not alone. The property inspection is one of the most important parts of the home purchase process, yet many buyers don’t know what to expect. Here’s a guide Read more [...]