Maintenance of the Month

This winter has been brutal. One can only imagine what their house is feeling during the winter months. There are some monthly maintenance items that you can check off the list in order to lessen your poor home’s burden. A few little up keeps can help your home work and look its best despite the dreary weather.

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One thing you can do to help your air circulation is remove your vents to vacuum the dust from them. Just like you remove lint from the dryer, you remove dust from the vents to promote clean air and keep your systems from working harder than they should have to.

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Grouting the floors, showers, and back splashes. I’m sure it has been a cool minute since those cracks have been updated. After years, grout can slowly wear away and collect stains so a new grout job will refresh its look. If your grout is newer then it may be a good idea to give it a scrub down.


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Clean out the gutters. If the seasonal sludge has blocked up your gutters, it may be a good time to clean them. Investing in gutter guards may save you some time and effort in the future.

 

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For safety purposes, check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors for dead batteries and if they are properly working. “This Is Us” fans will know the importance of this crucial step. Nobody wants another faulty slow cooker situation.

 

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Keep your HVAC cleaned up. Replace the filters on it as well as schedule a routine maintenance appointment for it. It could save you money in the future to do small things to keep it running smoothly now.

 

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Check for rotting wood. The frame of your house is an important structure that needs attention just like any part of the house. Check for rotting wooden beams in the attic, porch, and indoor frame. Have them replaced as soon as you can if they are eaten by termites or moisture.

These are just a few things you can start with now before full blown Spring cleaning commences. A few things each month will keep your home on the right track to a clean, safe and efficient home.

 

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Homestead Exemption

Every tax season is a nightmare. This little tidbit of knowledge can help ease the burden of taxes this year. This tax season save money on your home with the Homestead Exemption. It is an exemption of the assessed valuation.

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A homestead is any structure, condominium or home located on owned or leased land as long as the individual lives in it. It can include up to 20 acres as long as it is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to residential use. The exemption removes part of your home’s value from taxation thus lowering your taxes. Not all homes qualify; only the principal residence of the homeowner.


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To qualify you must be a resident of Oklahoma and the homeowner that resides on the property by January 1st with the deed executed before January 1st and filed with the County Clerks Office before February 1st. You may file it for two years up to the delinquency date. Once you have applied for and granted the Homestead Exemption then you do not have to continue applying as long as you continue to occupy the homestead home.


pexels-photo-296886.jpegYou may even be able to apply for an additional exemption if you qualify for the original homestead exemption and are head of the household. There are several options including county, school, disabled, optional percentage and senior tax exemptions. This is potentially another $1000 if your total annual income did not exceed $20,000 the previous year. Apply today from our Oklahoma County Assessor site.

 

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New Year, New House

It’s already the New Year people and it’s time for big ideas and big changes. There is the one thing that has been on your mind for a while now but can’t seem to get started. Now is the time. Those homes you have been eyeballing secretly, following the buyer’s apps, and drooling over those historic district houses, well now is the time to act.

Make your New Year’s resolution to treat yourself
to a well deserved new home.
You’ve survived through 2017 so you’ve earned it.


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Why is the New Year a good time to buy? Tax Deductions. Start this year off right with huge tax deductions that are ready to be taken advantage of. Next year you will thank yourself while filing in February. I know it seems like a long way off now but so did the end of 2017, am I right?


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In addition to the usual perks of buying, the holidays and New Year make everyone a little more jolly. The freshness of the New Year may make people nicer as you start your journey into purchasing. Your real estate agent will be more attentive due to slow traffic; the seller may be easier to negotiate with in the spirit of the season. YOU will be less stressed and more easy-going in light of the exciting prospects of ownership.


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Not many people shop for houses this season so many sit on the market for a long time. This will save you money by getting a great deal in a slow market. Sellers will be thrilled to negotiate and sell to you after waiting a spell on a bid.


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It’s better than renting. On rentals you are essentially burning your money each month. Buying is an investment that will eventually make you money if you ever decide to sell your home.

Make your New Year work for you, make your new year’s resolution to own.

 


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It’s the Most Wonderful Time to Buy

Winter gets a bad rap. It’s known for the cold, bad driving weather and terrible hair days from the elements. Despite the negative connotations, it does have some upsides and one of those include a great time to purchase a home. If you are toying with the idea of purchasing then consider these points.

First of all, someone moving in winter probably needs to leave his or her property quickly for job relocation. These owners are more willing to negotiate which benefits the buyer because the buyer can get a better deal. To say what everyone is thinking, they are desperate. Which is good news for you. On the flip side, do not list your house in the winter if you are trying to get the most out of the sell. Bargain hunters are on the prowl for a good fixer upper.

House prices are annually at an all time low in the winter season. The buyer will get more purchasing power and get more bang for your buck by purchasing at the end of the year. This is due to lower level of listings and preoccupation with more pressing motives such as holidays and family.

Touring homes in winter can be rewarding. Right away you can tell if the windows are drafty, if the central heating and AC are working, or if your feet are already freezing on the hardwood floors. This can save you costs in the future and make huge impacts on your future daily life.

Winter may just be your season this year.

 

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Quick Rental Fixer Uppers

Keeping your rental unit looking its best can be tricky. You want it to look great but also don’t want to spend a lot because it’s purpose is to bring you income and not the other way around. Fortunately, there are some low cost ways to ensure your rental looks modern and well groomed before your next potential renter tours their future abode.


 

The first place renters are going to see is the front door area such as the foyer or entryway. This area should be a large focus since it is what creates the first impression. Tile that matches the kitchen or vinyl is a clean refreshment to this area that will tie it together. The kitchen is also a main interest of buyers. You will want the cabinetry to be appealing. If they need a little love then an easy way to do this is to wipe on a little liquid scratch if they are in fairly good condition. If they are in need of loads of love, then cover them in contact paper or paneling. Once accomplished and they still don’t meet your satisfaction, replace the knobs with some cool trendy ones to finish the motif.


 

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The sink and faucet fixtures should be in good repair. Unable to replace them right now? Paint them. Yes, I said it. There are plenty of tutorials out there on your to paint your sink and fixtures, and not the terrible paint jobs like the painted tub in your college efficiency. I was a non-believer until my own mother, who is craftier in ways I will never be, painted her sink a dark gray and it was stunning. No one could even tell that she didn’t buy it like that.


 

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Light fixtures and ceiling fans are a cheap investment that can update a space. Choose fixtures that are all matching colors and finishes to be consistent throughout the rooms. Are your switch plates ugly? New switch plates and plugs can also achieve a fresh and subtle look. New trim can liven up your borders. Especially if you current trim is cracked or worn, it can make a house seem outdated and unkempt. Off white Mini-blinds are so boring. Change them out with wood blinds, curtains, or shades to go from disgust to upper crust in minutes.

There are plenty of ways to make an old space look new. All you have to do is think outside the toolbox.

 

 MelissaBarnett.com

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Helpful Hints to Real Estate Investing

Are you ready to invest in Real Estate? It can be overwhelming knowing where to begin or what the specific goals you have in mind are. You may have heard your neighbor talk about how their rental properties pay their mortgage and you want a piece of that pie. It sounds like the hot set up and it is. Though rentals can be hard work, they also are a great way to aid in your retirement or passive cash flow. Most millionaires in the United States started by real estate investing and own multiple properties. You can become a landlord, a flipper, or owner as well. “Property Owner” has such a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?


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Helpful hint #1: Do your research. Find out what kind of investor you want to become. Most people have in mind when looking to invest is to own the property, be a landlord and rent the unit out to a tenant. If this sounds too much to handle then there are investment groups that will give you the benefits of being a property owner without the hassle of managing and maintaining it. You would invest in one unit of a complex and the company will manage it all for you. Flipping is also a popular investment strategy. It is where a potentially livable house is bought and renovated in a short period of time to resell. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to have their own show on HGTV…


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Helpful Hint #2: Sweat the small stuff. Start small when investing such as a condo, small home, or duplex. It will be a better option for your checkbook and will give you a steady income to slowly build your empire of units. Once you feel comfortable with how the process works then you can move on to bigger and better buys.


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Helpful Hint #3: Know Your Market. Shop around and don’t settle. Identify what region you want to purchase in. It is recommended to buy in working class areas. Make sure it’s a good investment and a profitable area. Look into any restrictions that purchasing in that area may arise. Research is the key of successful rental ownership.

Don’t stop here. Go research your next rental before someone else does.

 

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Benefits of Buying

Renting is overrated. The money is being thrown into the wind while your landlord is rolling in your hard earned cash and paying off their mortgage while telling you they’ll get to that leak under the sink “soon.” I remember renting one year when I didn’t even see the landlord. I couldn’t tell you what they looked like. My dishwasher was broken and the maintenance man told us to not use our health hazard heater because it was outdated. Needless to say it was a cold winter and we moved out of there quickly as possible. Does this sound like a familiar situation? Then you may be ready to sail into the sea of ownership where you are the Captain and that ship is under your control.

Buying a home comes with certain freedoms. One of those freedoms is not having a landlord. You are able to paint, hang wall art, and landscape as you please without the risk of not getting a deposit back. There are no noise restrictions, pet deposits, or remodeling. Butters, the hound, can run and be free in his house without his human worrying about what the landlord will say about his accident on the carpet. Renting stifles this ability to truly make a space your own. A home is yours to customize into a beautiful space that mirrors your personality with no guilt.


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Taxes are a big stressor. Who doesn’t want a little relief when April comes around? Homeowners are offered several tax breaks. Some of those include Mortgage Interest, Tax and Penalty Free IRA, Home Improvements, Energy Credits, Home Equity Loans, and Real Estate Taxes. There is even a Home Office credit if you work from home. So many deductions, so little stress.

A homeowner’s net worth is 45 times that of an average renter. While rent is never recovered, mortgage payments build equity. It is an investment in the future by increasing an individual’s net worth. Not to mention it is cheaper to buy than rent. The average mortgage is lower than a rental payment and over time the interest portion of the mortgage payment decreases therefore the interest that you pay will be lower than a rental cost.


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Having a home in a neighborhood provides a sense of community. You know your neighbors. You know where your children will grow up and go to school. You know that you can walk your dog every night with a peace of mind. One doesn’t always get that when renting because you never know when the rent may be raised depending on your lease. You may not even be able to renew your lease when the time comes. Community is a sense of stability and security.

Free yourself of the waves of rent, buy your dream boat.

 


Come to our First Time Home Buyers Workshop if you would like to learn more on August 26th:

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With your Realtor by your side, let’s make an offer!

Making an Offer
Once you find a home you like, your agent should help you to put together an offer that will be formalized in the purchase and sales agreement, a binding contract between you and the seller.

Consider how aggressive you want to be in negotiations and how competitive the market is (after all, until your offer has been accepted, the seller can take other offers). If you’re hoping to conserve cash, then consider making a stipulation that the seller contribute to closing costs — the amount varies depending on the type of mortgage and down payment amount, but can range from 3 to 9 percent of the sale price.

Also decide whether you want your offer to be subject to the home passing inspection, and what type of inspection. A traditional home inspection covers any flaws in the property so that you know exactly what you’re getting into. You can also include a pest inspection, radon testing, and a bunch of other options.

I was prepared for an endless back-and-forth with the seller (maybe I watch too much TV), but our negotiation was short. We made an offer, the seller countered, and our agent advised us to come back with our “best and final” offer to let the seller know that we were done negotiating. They accepted.